These days, success in the music industry is often predicated on a gimmick. Bands have broken through on the heels of what they wear (or don’t wear), what they say in the media or who they happen to know. Rarely is it about the music they make.
But for Sandlot Heroes, it’s different. The band’s past, present and future success all started with couple of really great songs.
It was one of those songs – a massive, three-and-a-half minute nugget of pop rock simply titled “So” – that caught the attention of the biggest radio station in the band’s native Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Immediately after the station debuted the song on its nightly top ten countdown in late 2007, its phone lines were stormed by listeners feverishly requesting “So.” The track swiftly hit number one on the countdown and assumed that position for an unprecedented five weeks straight. The band, which had been together for a few years and had already built an impressive regional fan base through touring, had an undeniable hit on its hands.
The song’s runaway success led to the band sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in alternative and pop music: Boys Like Girls, Yellowcard, New Found Glory and All Time Low, to name just a few. 2008 was a storybook year for the four members of the band – Dan Kastelnik (vocals/guitar), Jake Lare (bass/vocals), Chris Morrison (guitar) and drummer Anz Gibson (drums) – but they couldn’t afford to rest on their laurels. With more eyes on them than ever before, the guys mapped out their next move: crafting a debut album that wouldn’t just top “So,” but blow it out of the water and establish Sandlot Heroes as a certified musical force.
The result: Pretend That We’re Famous. It’s the album the band was destined to make.
“I feel like we’ve been waiting to make it our whole lives,” Kastelnik proudly says of the ten-song disc. “I think it’s the best recording of our band yet… the stepping stone to the next level.”
The quartet recorded Pretend with producer Adam Richman, best known for his work with Universal Republic artist Making April, in his lofty Coney Island studio over the last year. Kastelnik calls Richman the band’s “fifth member,” and praises the producer every chance he gets.
“Adam just captured everything perfectly on the record,” Kastelnik says. “Great pop rock songs are only great when every part comes together, and he helped us realize that.”
There’s no denying the songs that make up Pretend. Each one was written and crafted with remarkable precision, yet their simplicity cannot be understated. Opening track “The Trainwreck,” is an infectious blast toasting to youth and summer, and the rocking “History” prompts fists to be raised. The album’s first single, “Out Of My Hands,” is an unabashedly huge power ballad, complemented by piano and soaring harmonies. It sounds like a chart-topper, and that’s exactly what the band intended.
“We want as many people to hear our music as possible,” Kastelink says. “So we wrote these songs to reach everyone. The choruses are broad enough so that anyone can relate to them, but we’re still singing about personal experiences. That’s a good balance to have.”
The band plans on bringing Pretend to the masses after its October release. Following up their August headlining show at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pa. – which annually attracts over a million people - the band has several high-profile dates lined up, including a stop at the venerable Dewey Music Conference in Delaware. An East Coast tour in the fall is also in the works. In the meantime, the band has explored every avenue possible; in-store appearances at Hot Topic and The Gap, among other stores, have allowed the band to share those unquestionable songs with their fans.
There are no limits to the band’s aspirations. “We want to get your attention,” Kastelnik says. “We want to be huge.”
Armed with the songs to make it happen, Sandlot Heroes won’t have to pretend to be famous much longer.
Dan Kastelnik- Vocals/Guitar
Jake Lare- Bass/Vocals
Anz Gibson- Drums
Chris Morrison- Lead Guitar/Vocals
Single - "Out Of My Hands" (2009) - Recently released onto B104
Upcoming Release : Album - "Pretend That We're Famous"
Single - "So" (2007) - Heavy Rotation on local station B104 on release
There are no upcoming dates at this time.