Back to Graham Colton Band

Colton discusses debut CD, opening for Kelly Clarkson
By Matthew G. Solovey, Hershey Chronicle Editor08/04/2005

With their roots-rock influences, and comparisons to groups like R.E.M. and Tom Petty, the Graham Colton Band may seem like an odd opener for pop-rocking American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson.

Colton, however, disagrees.

"Where Kelly came from, where she is now, and where she's going, I think we fit in," he said.
"I think she was looking for a raw, underground band not as well-known to open.
"I've been asked what the difference is between Kelly Clarkson fans and ours. I say 'not much.'

"Most of these are the same kids who are going to see Dave Matthews and Green Day. These are the same kids who are going to put on their hippie clothes to see Dave."
And so far, the arrangement has been working well, as Colton noted that the audience has been very respectful during their set.

"It just works," Colton said. "Kelly and I are the same age. It has been really great."
But there are challenges.

"The kids are watching MTV, VH1 and listening to the radio, and we're not on there," he said. "It's challenging for us. We have a 30-minute set to try to introduce some of our music."
Clarkson fans should expect a raw performance with a classic feel.

"How we recorded the record, and through all the miles we've logged on the road, we try to take the classic approach, through writing the songs, recording the songs and performing. Hopefully what you get from us is honesty.

"We're still learning to be headliners," he continued. "We can go from playing for two drunks in a bar to 10,000 people in an arena. We've definitely experienced it all."

Colton, along with his fellow band members - drummer Jordan Elder, bassist Ryan Tallent, and guitarist Aben Eubanks, as well as long-time pianist John Lancaster - has logged a total of over 400 performances and thousands of miles.

All of that activity has come in support of the group's major- label debut, Drive, an almost- year-old record that the band's singer said is now receiving new life.

"When we finished the album, our producer, Brendan O'Brien, told me that the album is going to age gracefully," Colton said. "I didn't understand it at the time, but now I'm kind of getting it.

"The songs seem like they are continuing to evolve, they seem like they're continuing to be written."

The band plays some of its songs differently than their corresponding album versions, and Colton said even the lyrics are changing as he experiences life on the road and meets new people.

As an up-and-coming group, Colton said the act's biggest challenge has been getting airplay on radio.

"I still can't tell you what it takes to be on the radio," Colton said. "In this day and age, all of the stars have to line up to hit one out of the park. If the big one happens, great. If not, I hope we get to do this for a while."

Graham Colton Band will open for Kelly Clarkson at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8 at Hershey's Giant Center. For ticket and venue information, call 534-3911.