Central Pennsylvania pop punks The Groundbreaking Ceremony recently wrapped up a summer long stint on the annual punk rock juggernaut known as the Vans Warped Tour. The band has been splitting their time between the Kevin Says, Ourstage.com, and Ernie Ball Stages, where they quickly won fans over with tunes off their latest EP ‘Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do’. The pop punk underdogs’ sophomore EP is packed with some of the catchiest melodies, driven guitar work, and melodic pop punk songs found anywhere out there.
The band -- featuring Jonnie Baker, Scott Southlea, Nick Walters and Dirk Smith -- gained the love and support of thousands of fans by turning heads with their debut EP I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! in late 2010, which captivated listeners with its irresistible, catchy melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Their EP, produced and engineered by Doug White (Gym Class Heroes, Every Time I Die), even went on to receive praise on AbsolutePunk.net which raved, “For only their debut EP, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! is catchy, fast, and fun, embedding the best aspects of pop-punk music into this six song EP.”
Armed with endless potential, the band took their debut EP on the road, on self-booked tours throughout the northeast, and by working for the 2011 VANS WARPED TOUR where they took payment in stage time all across the country, playing over a third of the tour, and selling over 6,000 copies of the EP over the course of the summer alone.
Nothing can adequately describe a band’s dedication or commitment to their cause quite like the praise which the band received from JR Wasilewski of LESS THAN JAKE fame who in 2011 called them, “THE hardest working band on the tour. They drive themselves show to show in their airport shuttle bus, get up and walk the line where fans are waiting to get into Warped to sell their CD, then go to catering where they proceed to pack lunches and dinners for all of the stage crews and mobile workers on the tour that can’t make it to catering. They don’t get paid, oh, and they don’t play every day. That’s right. They DON’T PLAY EVERY DAY.” JR later went on to say, “If you see their merch booth or their name on the schedule or they come up to you while you’re waiting in line to get in, buy their CD and support these guys. They deserve it.” How’s that for a blessing from one of the band’s ska/pop punk forefathers?
The band’s hard work paid off when they were asked back to return and perform on the 2012 Warped Tour.
Known also for their enthralling live performances and intimate engagement with fans, these up-and-coming pop punkers are excited for what the future holds. Of the new EP, Baker says, “It’s so refreshing to look at what we’ve done. To see how much we’ve grown and continue to grow, as we finally after years of trying, are putting to paper some of the best material that we’ve ever written, that says exactly how we feel, and how we’ve felt,” says Baker. “Music almost seems like a commodity now -- so to know in our hearts that what we’re putting out there wasn’t written for us, speaks to us as musicians, and speaks to us as fans of the genre, and really bares the brunt of everything we’ve felt in our hearts -- it lets us know that we’re still doing music for all of the right reasons. THAT’S the record we’re looking to put into people’s hands.”
THE GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY’s new EP Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do and debut EP I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! are available online at all major digital music outlets.
Jonnie Baker - Lead Vocalist
Scott Southlea - Rhythm Guitarist
Dirk Smith - Drummer
Nick Walters - Bassist
I Can't Believe It's Not Better - EP (2010)
Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do - EP (2012)
Eleventh and Bleeker
Don't Be A Dream
Sometimes It's Not Enough
Fight To Stay Alive
What The Hell Is A Jiggawatt? (Ride It Out)
Lost and Found
Your Name Here
Nick & Dirk of The Groundbreaking Company | Vans Warped Tour 2012 | Houston Texas
J-14 Hot Band Alert: The Groundbreaking Ceremony
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J-14 is scouting out the hottest bands around... and this week's pick is The Groundbreaking Ceremony...J-14 is scouting out the hottest bands around... and this week's pick is The Groundbreaking Ceremony!
Here are five things you need to know about The Groundbreaking Ceremony whose latest EP Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do! is out now!
1. Pennsylvania's The Groundbreaking Ceremony consists of lead vocalist Jonnie Baker, guitarist Scott Southlea, bassist Nick Walters and drummer Dirk Smith. After dealing with constant line up changes, Jonnie insists they are stronger than ever. "It's a really long and complicated story, but at the end of the day, we're the four that matter, and we couldn't be any stronger of friends and brothers. There's a special kind of bond that arises when you have to drive through the desert heat with no air conditioning, with four-to-six guys in the van that haven't showered in a few days, and Scott decides that straightening his hair is a good idea -- it's unlike any other bond on this earth," Jonnie tells J-14. "We love each other as family, which is important to us, and we could care less where we all came from. We just care where we're all going."
2. The Groundbreaking Ceremony came about their name when their original member Dirk was taking a keyboard class in high school and it happened to be the title of a project they were working on. Throughout the lineup changes, the name stuck. "We have a love/hate relationship with our band name. We love the way it sounds and the implications a band name like that could have, but we absolutely hate how long it is!" Jonnie says.
3. How do they best describe their sound? "We describe ourselves as feel-good pop-punk aka mom friendly pop-punk," Jonnie tells J-14. "Almost a throwback to the pop punk and rock that got us into the genre like New Found Glory, Green Day, Blink 182, and Senses Fail."
4. Their latest EP's title Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do! took inspiration from ABC's completed series Lost. "Every time John Locke or anyone in the series had that moment where they felt like they were being unbelievably doubted or counted out, they'd sternly say, 'Don't tell me what I can't do!'," Jonnie explains. "We had a mission and a goal going into writing this album, and we wanted the integrity of the album to stand on it's own, and kind of say those words for us."
5. One song that means a lot to the band is a track off their latest EP called "Eleventh and Bleecker". "The song is about not giving up in the face of adversity - pursuing your dreams at any cost," Jonnie tells J-14. "Don't let anyone tell you what you can't do." The song rings true to the very struggles the group has dealt with throughout the years. "We're tired of people telling us that we can't make it in music because we're not a band of sixteen year old's with rock hard abs -- despite the fact that we all have blue eyes, and most of us straighten our hair. We're down to earth people. We've got a lot of heart, and at the end of the day, and even if this band were to end tomorrow, no one would be able to look at us and say we didn't give it our all, or that we ever gave up."
REVIEW: THE GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY – DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO
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Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do is the latest EP from The Groundbreaking Ceremony. I had heard of The ...Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do is the latest EP from The Groundbreaking Ceremony. I had heard of The Groundbreaking Ceremony once before listening to this release, and this was when one of my favourite bands Less Than Jake had dubbed The Groundbreaking Ceremony as the “hardest working band on the tour” during the Vans Warped Tour in the U.S.A. in 2011; a tour which the band took part in with their own means of transport, and without pay. They ended up selling over 6000 copies of their debut EP I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! and ended up with a spot on the 2012 run of the Vans Warped Tour. This band’s story is a great example of how hard work and dedication to your passion can eventually pay off, but also shows how steep that hill to acknowledgement and success for artists can really be.
The very first track off the EP Eleventh and Bleeker features the lyrics that include the title of the album and the entire track seems to basically be a big fuck you to anyone that wants to try and bring the hard-working band down; “I’ll give it all I have because this is the life for me. I know the odds are overwhelming. I don’t care if you disagree; I know nothing comes for free”. The second track Don’t Be A Dream features a more poppy feel compared to the rest of the album, with strong guitars coupled with some solid drumming and of course some relatable lyrics concerning young love. The following track 19:35 is a demonstration of the pop rock element of the band, and their ability to write an extremely catchy chorus. Psalm 51 and The Burden of Goodbye are the more emotional songs featured on the EP, and the vocal styling and lyricism of the band’s vocalist Jonnie Baker shine through on these tracks. The final track Sometimes It’s Not Enough is a beautiful acoustic track that finishes off the high-powered EP nicely.
This EP was released independently by the band, and it should go without saying that hard-working bands like these guys need to be given a chance. The Groundbreaking Ceremony put their best foot forward with this extremely catchy pop punk/rock release and are worth a listen if you’re into bands such as All Time Low, The Dangerous Summer and Motion City Soundtrack.
Interview: The Groundbreaking Ceremony
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The Groundbreaking Ceremony is finishing up on Warped Tour and recently released their new album, Do...The Groundbreaking Ceremony is finishing up on Warped Tour and recently released their new album, Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do. Vocalist Jonnie Baker answered some questions about the tour and the inspiration behind the album.
How’s Warped Tour been going?
It’s been an awesome ride. The sense of community and family around the tour is unlike any other tour you could ever dream of. Everyone really is there to support one another. It’s punk rock summer camp for bands and we’re honored to be a part of it.
Who makes up The Groundbreaking Ceremony? Who plays what?
Jonnie Baker – Vocals
Dirk Smith – Drums/Percussion
Scott Southlea – Rhythm Guitar
Nick Walters – Bass
How did GBC come about?
Dirk actually started the band a long time ago, but only in the last three years when him and I got together in the band finally, did we begin to take the band seriously and start pushing ourselves to be a national act.
How does it feel having JR from Less Than Jake recognize the hard work you put into your music? (“THE hardest working band on the tour.”)
An absolute honor. He and the rest of the Less Than Jake guys were absolutely amazing to us. Always there to share a story with us and give us some sort of wisdom from the road. Truly, they were like our uncles on the tour last year. But it’s also amazing that bands that we looked up to listen to our new record and listen to our story and what we’ve been through and what we’ve done, and respect us, and view us as a peer (however small a peer we may be).
What was the concept surrounding the album title?
We wanted to write a strong record from the get go. We wanted something that would be able to be listened to again and again, and something that would really speak to people. The record is honest, the record is sincere, and it comes replete with some very personal moments for us. The record is a testament for us that we won’t give up on our dreams, even if the whole world seems to be against us at times.
What was the inspiration behind “Psalm 51?”
My good friend, Christopher John Bark, took his life on February 29th, after being involved in a drunk driving accident wherein he totaled his car, and having been battling depression for a while. Psalm 51 one was less written for the record, and more written for his family under the pretenses that I would openly spread a positive message from Chris’ passing. He was one of my absolute best friends. The kind that you can cry to when a girl breaks your heart, and can blast the car stereo with while driving down the highway at three in the morning. We worked together at an Outback Steakhouse, and we’re both college graduates — living in our mother’s basements. He was trying to pursue a career, and I was always either on tour, or needed every available penny I had to invest into The Groundbreaking Ceremony. Chris called me when he was hurting and he called me when he missed me, after I made a move to St Louis, MO fromPennsylvania. The moment I was told that I would be flying back to bury my best friend, I had the wind knocked out of me. I spoke at his funeral and we read passages from the bible, and I cried so many tears into the shoulders of our friends, guys and girls alike — I wanted to set out to write a way to commemorate his life. He was a person so full of life, and truly, was meant to live. He was the kind of guy that could walk into a room, and it just instantly lit up. We used to crash parties and he would always hide bottle caps in obscure places, and would make a huge mess, and just dance around saying, “Not my house!” — he would then do the “Not My House Dance” where he would basically rip open a bag of cereal, throw it all over the room, and stomp the cereal into the carpet, haha. He was one of a kind. And Psalm 51 was my way of giving back to him and his family for the many ways Chris touched and changed my life. I loved the dude, and I miss him like crazy. He was supposed to be our tour manager this summer on Warped Tour.
Are there any contemporary bands you are influenced by?
Lostprophets, blink 182, All Time Low, Go Radio, Mayday Parade, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Senses Fail, and many more.
After Warped Tour, do you have any other touring plans to promote Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do?
We plan on being out for much of the fall and winter, and plan on wrapping up our next record before next spring, to be able to release it before the summer next year.
Just For Fun:
Do you have any crazy stories from Warped this summer?
There was a night we got kicked out of a What-a-Burger for people in the restaurant recognizing us or asking us who we were. We also ate at a place in Dallas called Redneck Heaven. We had to sign a waiver to take a shot, and then we ended up getting lined up, bent over, and spanked by the extremely attractive and professional waitresses — with belts. We had welts for days.
Who was the last person you fangirled over?
It’s hard to answer this question because you don’t want to be known for doing it, but I think Ronnie Radke and all of the Falling In Reverse guys are not just riding on Ronnie’s reputation. They are a group of the most talented musicians I have ever met. They have such amazing vision and so much charisma — I think they’re all awesome people, and Ronnie in particular was nice enough to say to us that he really liked our record and sees a lot of potential in us.
What album have you been blasting this summer?
We love the new singles from All Time Low, and they’re pretty much a staple in our mp3 players anyway. But we love listening to mixes. Changing song after song. The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Falling In Reverse, Yellowcard, I Fight Dragons — honestly, we’ve been pretty busy just listening to all of the new records that the bands on the tour have just put out. There is so much potential in the music industry right now.
What’s your summer must-have?
The shaved ice from the tour is a must have for me. Followed by showers and then sleep.
What’s on your bucket list?
I just got to do guest vocals for the Lostprophets today in St Petersburg, and took the stage with them — a band that I’ve listened to for the last 11 of the 13 years of their existence. Huge influences on me. Just crossed it off the list today, haha.
Be sure to pick up the band’s latest album on iTunes and keep up with their social networks.
Interview: The Groundbreaking Ceremony
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Independent pop punkers The Groundbreaking Ceremony probably work 10 times harder than most bands to...Independent pop punkers The Groundbreaking Ceremony probably work 10 times harder than most bands to get noticed, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to chat to vocalist Jonnie Baker.
In a recent article, Alternative Press mentioned you guys as a barnacle band on the Warped Tour. Have your efforts following the Warped Tour around helped your band? Have you noticed a dramatic increase in fan interest?
They definitely have helped us. There’s no other avenue for touring as an unsigned and unmanaged band that is anywhere near as lucrative, in terms of really expanding your fan base, making new friends, and keeping yourself afloat financially.
There’s definitely an increase in fan interest, because our existing fans are always excited to see us, but the new people we meet seem to continuously be blown away by how down-to-earth we are, and how fun we are to watch live, and hang out with after the set.
The problem is really just getting tours where we can go out for support. We end up self-booking our tours on our own, which is absolutely still fun for us, but there’s a plateau for bands our size, where the only benefit of continuing to do them is just keeping ourselves out on the road, away from home, and in the faces of our fans so they don’t forget about us. Music is a commodity to a lot of people; it’s great when it’s there, but they forget about you if you don’t tour and visit them every few months. And even that would be okay, if it wasn’t so difficult to book tours on your own. I don’t mind doing it, but sometimes the stress would be nice if it wasn’t so omnipresent.
Doing Warped has definitely helped us with getting out there. We look at it as building your resume. Tours are like “jobs you’ve worked” in the past. Letters of recommendation from Kevin Lyman and Lisa Brownlee from 4Fini are like letters of recommendation from the esteemed professors at a prestigious university. So, being a part of Warped and working as hard and as diligently as we have the past two years is starting to show results.
In the Alt Press article, we were kind of lumped into the barnacle band category – but no one on the tour referred to “us” as being one. We were legitimately on the tour, with all access laminates, and were helping out and genuinely a part of the magic that is Warped Tour. “Barnacle bands” is a term specifically given to the bands that are only following the tour and have no affiliation with it. We actually learned about that term this year – we had never known that they had a name for those bands before this summer. And to be honest, it isn’t really a term you want to have associated with your band. We didn’t realise how selling our CDs outside the tour actually hurt the bands and the community inside the Warped Gates every year – if we could go back, we wouldn’t have done it. We’d have just found a legitimate way to be a part of the tour like we did last year and this year. It’s not only more respectable, it’s also more commendable.
Look, it’s an interesting marketing approach instead of just spamming people on Facebook, which seems to be the focus of most upcoming bands nowadays. Has Facebook created a bit of an obstacle, more than a solution for upcoming bands?
Yes and no – there’s always a positive and a negative to any means of promotion. The positive is the playing field is leveled. You can now get the same public exposure on the big social networking sites as any major band like Sleeping With Sirens or Falling In Reverse – but the negative is, you need the money to promote as well as they do. And the connections they have to get into the more exclusive media outlets. Or the connections. Places like Alternative Press, and Substream Magazine, or J-14, or Revolver or whatever. Facebook is just kind of the universal landing page for a lot of bands. But you can’t stop there. You need to have your own website, and still be available on all of the social media sites as well. We’re just now realising how big of a deal Twitter really still is. We ignored it and focused on Facebook for a while, and Warped kind of showed us that you can’t neglect any of your public band profiles.
Less Than Jake’s JR Wasilewski has praised all your hard work. How does it feel to hear kind words from someone like him?
It’s jaw-dropping. JR and all of the LTJ guys are amazing. Meeting Vinnie [Fiorello] and knowing how many bands he’s shaped and changed the lives of, and in return changed the lives of so many of that bands’ fans? Remarkable. Roger [Manganelli] and Buddy [Schaub] were so nice to us, and always took a genuine interest in talking to us and making sure we were doing well. Buddy looked at our day-to-day lives as a daily soap opera for him – he used to say (laughs). They were all genuinely interested in us and super respectful and courteous. We couldn’t haves asked for a better group of dudes to support us and take care of us.
We still touch base with JR from time to time, and I specifically follow him on Instagram and Twitter. I just love seeing what he’s up to and what he has to say. Seeing his tweets and pictures from the LTJ shows makes us miss them and being tour-mates.
Apart from JR, have you managed to convert any other recognised names to GBC fans?
Yeah, this year we did some damage on that front, unintentionally. We had the most amazing time meeting some of our influences from whenever we were first getting into being in bands. We got a lot of praise from Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, The Used, Falling In Reverse and Lostprophets – just some of the most levelheaded and understanding people we’ve ever met. You usually have this fear of meeting your heroes – fearing that they might not be all you hype them up to be – but all of those guys treated us like peers and not some bottom-feeder band.
At any rate, we look forward to running into Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, Lostprophets, Falling In Reverse and The Used again on the road in the upcoming months.
Okay. We’re giving you a free marketing pitch here. Why should people buy your EP Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do? What does it have to offer?
People should buy the new record, because they identify with it. I want to say, “Buy it or your parents will get divorced, and you’ll get herpes!” because that would be a more pressing reason to pick up a copy – but honestly, these songs are earnest, sincere, and from the heart. If you want to hear what the genuine heart and soul of a band sounds like, pick up your copy. It’s inexpensive, and it’s a solid record. One we’re proud to say we think will stand the test of time.
Fun question time: What’s your take on superhero films? Fan or not?
FAN. We all took the time to see The Dark Knight Rises when we had the day off on Warped before the Columbia, MD date. The Amazing Spiderman was awesome, too, we thought. And The Avengers? Incredible. It was the perfect setup for the other movies to come!
What does the future hold for The Groundbreaking Ceremony? What’s on the agenda?
Our future is tour, tour, tour, write new music, tour, record, tour, record, tour, and probably some more touring. We’re booking our Fall/Winter tour now, and should be announcing dates over the next few weeks. We’ll also be premiering our new music video for ‘Eleventh and Bleecker’ pretty soon, too. Keep checking back in on us to see what we’re doing. There’s always something new happening in the GBC camp!
- Sergio Pereira
Absolute Punk review of "I Can't Believe It's Not Better!"
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Groundbreaking Ceremony – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! Record Label: None Release Date: July 1...Groundbreaking Ceremony – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better!
Record Label: None
Release Date: July 15, 2010
Pennsylvania’s Groundbreaking Ceremony are a pop-punk/rock band full of addictive tunes.
How Is It?
For only their debut EP, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! is catchy, fast, and fun, embedding the best aspects of pop-punk music into this six song EP. Produced by Doug White (the producer of Gym Class Heroes’ breakout record As Cruel As School Children), I Can’t Believe has his fingerprints on each track. The opening track “Fight To Stay Alive” begins with Dirk Smiths’ drum beats before rushing into Jonnie Baker’s addictive vocals – undoubtedly the driving force of the band. The opener sets up the EP splendidly, encompassing each aspect of TGC into this addictive anthem. The following “What The Hell Is a Jiggawatt?” (yes, the name is a Four Year Strong rip off) has an autumn feel to it, not unlike tracks heard on New Found Glory’s Coming Home.
Guitarists Chas Myers and Scott Southlea set the tone on the sinister “Winter.” This track is full of pure emotion and angst, exemplifying the passion of Groundbreaking Ceremony. Contrastingly, “Lost and Found” picks up the pace of Believe as the fastest and most addictive hit on the EP. Unfortunately, however, the menacing “Your Name Here” falls short; albeit the track displays outstanding instrumentation, the odd structure and vocals are a misfire. Thankfully, the latter “Never Forget” ends the album on a fitting note; paralleling “Jiggawatt,” this track is a definite highlight of Believe.
Although I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better! doesn’t scream originality, it does proclaim the fact that Groundbreaking Ceremony are headed down the right path with their sound – the musicianship is there, the sound works, and the vocals soar. GBC will only go up from here, and ICBINB is the perfect place to start.
Lyrical Lust interview with The Groundbreaking Ceremony
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Such an awesome band, check them out on myspace http://www.myspace.com/gbcrock and on twitter www.t... Such an awesome band, check them out on myspace http://www.myspace.com/gbcrock and on twitter www.twitter.com/gbctwits
1. How did the band get started?
The band was started in 2005 from the ashes of everyone’s other bands. There have been several line-up changes leading up to the current lineup today, but essentially the start came with Dirk, our drummer, wanting to piece together a band that was serious about tackling the music world, seeing the country, creating good music, and living the dream. Sometimes there are differences in opinion regarding what direction people want to take the band in, or the music in, and thus some members leave, and are then replaced, but this band has been and always will be the sole creation of Dirk’s. He is the beating heart behind the band, so to speak. In early June, we decided it was time for a serious overhaul — we had great opportunities, but things kept falling through. So we decided to take things even more seriously, and upgraded our equipment with roughly an $8,000 budget spend. And we’re still not completely done purchasing the equipment that we want.
2. Youre headed out to the MMC next month. Have you ever been there before?
The Millenium Music Conference (MMC) is something we’ve never been a part of, and there are a myriad number of bands that have been chosen to play the some 28 venues surrounding the Harrisburg area.
3. What are you most excited about there?
It’s an amazing opportunity to sit in on some music business panels and really absorb how the industry is changing, who’s at the front of the pioneering stages, and get a good idea of where you should be taking your band next. Not to mention there are industry executives, scouts, and agents running RAMPANT — so we’re honored to have the chance to showcase our music there.
4. You were just in the studio, how did that go?
This studio visit we just returned from was the best studio trip this band has ever taken. We were ready on all levels (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc). Everything was done to a click-track, and Dirk was actually going through his drum tracks in some cases in less than 20 minutes for a song, and if you listen to his drum parts on the upcoming record, you’ll see why we’re so proud of him for that. He’s not a simple drummer by any means, so to have him be so invested in making sure he was ready, was truly an accomplishment that we saw results from. The six songs we’re releasing shortly, are some of the best material that has EVER come out of this band, ever. We’re proud to stand behind our material. We’ve taken things in a very solid direction, and have two amazing singles on the album — while the rest of the album showcases are unique dynamic as writers, arrangers, singers, and more.
5. How do you think your look and sound have evolved since becoming a band?
Each member truly brings something different to the table. On top of that, what we individually love musically, from one month to the next, is constantly changing and evolving. If you factor in the line-up changes, or if you take the time to listen to our discography, you’ll really see how we’ve not only turned things around through time, but how we’ve helped our music to evolve. As far as sound goes, we’ve got the most attractive line-up this band has seen probably ever. We’re all in our early twenties, and two of us as of May will be college graduates. We’ve all got very level heads on our shoulders, and we all get along amazingly. When we’re not on the road, it’s hard to say we get along so well, because we’re not with each other ALL of the time, but being in a hotel room together for a week straight was a blast for us, when we were recording recently, as we basically partied and played video games all week, when we weren’t having production meetings regarding the studio and everything.
6. Who inspires you musically & personally?
This is an awesome question. We each got into music at different stages in our lives, but one of the solid common grounds we share with one another is our love for blink-182. Musically though, we all listen to different things. Collaboratively though, we are CONSTANTLY rocking out to blink-182, Senses Fail, Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, and many of our more veteran scene bands. I’m trying to think of what we listen to on the way to venues for shows we’re playing. Story of the Year, A Day to Remember, 3OH!3, Acceptance, Alkaline Trio, All Time Low, Brand New, Coheed and Cambria, Bring Me The Horizon, Madina Lake, Hoobastank, Hollywood Undead, Glassjaw, Forever the Sickest Kids, Linkin Park, LoveHateHero (whom we’re opening for in two weeks!), Orgy, Lost Prophets, Scary Kids Scaring Kids. The list is literally endless.
7. Give us a random fact about each member of your band.
Chas — has a medical condition known as synesthesia, that basically is the blending of two senses. Chas’ condition allows him to hear colors. Not necessarily in his field of vision, but instead of saying he associates a key or note with a color, he literally can not distinguish between the two. Some songs just ARE blue, or ARE sunset, or ARE what they are, you know?
Nick — can most likely out-quote you in almost movie. He knows more about blink-182 than anyone ever, most likely, and can probably eat more pizza and reference more Ninja Turtle quotes (from the movies) than anyone we’ve ever met. We call him “The Gameshow” because someday he’s going to win the band a bunch of money on one, haha.
Jonnie — graduated with two bachelor of arts degrees from Penn State University, in Japanese, and East Asian Studies. Lived in Tokyo in 2007, and trained under Ninja Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi, in several of his dojo in the Tokyo area. His primary martial arts are Ninjutsu and Muay Thai.
Bailey — is actually a guitarist turned bassist. We needed a bassist and lead guitarist, and he offered to take the bass slot, as he’s supported the band for years, and really wanted to be a part of the project. His addition has been one of the most humble and awesome additions to our band, yet. He’s more than a quick learner, he’s a quick study. Listen to his bass in our upcoming release — his parts are no walks in the park.
Dirk — is, as was said before, the founding member of the band, but it’s also important to note that he is the only original member of The Groundbreaking Ceremony. Who comes, who goes, what direction the music is taken in — he is the only one who has seen and knows the true history of The Groundbreaking Ceremony.
8. How do you stay connected with your fans?
This is one we’ve been tackling a lot of lately. We used to all sporadically run every site we’re on, together. About a month or so ago, we stopped, in an effort to reorganize ourselves, and now we have task sites. Jonnie handles a lot of the Myspace, Twitter and barely some of the Facebook, while Chas handles almost all of our Facebook, and also a few of our other sites (that are just smaller in scale). Nick is our conversation starter at shows — he, Bailey and Dirk all are, actually. They’re the ones that are quick to start talking to people in the crowd about music, and what they’re into — everything. It’s a cool dynamic we have, that we’re hoping is having a good effect on our future.
9 How can your fans get more involved in your band?
Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Famecast, LastFM, and when we come to your area. We always could use more support. Music is a tough gig anymore with the internet taking over, and show turnouts getting weaker and weaker for smaller more independent acts. Don’t just get involved in our band — get invovled in all of your local bands. Check out new talent that sweeps through your area. Connect — reach out! Save your scene.
10. Whats in store for TGC in 2010?
Well, typically we go by GBC, even though acronym-wise it makes no sense. But we’re playing shows on weekends in the tri-state area for the next three months until Chas graduates from Penn State also, and then we’re hitting the road, and not looking back. We’ve got some big gigs lined up (MMC, Four Letter Lie, LoveHateHero, etc), so we’re staying active and busy, and really pushing to promote ourselves right now. The next steps are doing some big tours with some surprise big bands, and working to get ourselves noticed, and hopefully find a good label with a good family to call home.
Redefine Magazine Interview with The Groundbreaking Ceremony
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Get introduced to the world of The Groundbreaking Ceremony with an extensive look into the influence...Get introduced to the world of The Groundbreaking Ceremony with an extensive look into the influences of early GBC, insights on their live performances, and a sneak peek into their next stages.
What inspired the name for The Groundbreaking Ceremony?
Nick: We went to a Wal-Mart in our area when the ground was being broken for its construction, and when it [was written] in the paper as 'the groundbreaking ceremony' of our local Wal-Mart, we fell in love with it.
Jonnie: I joined the band way after the band was formed and running, and I am the newest addition to our line-up, so it could mean anything, and for any reason, and I would absolutely believe it. There was an original lineup that existed when most of the band members were in high school still. After high school, Eric, the lead guitarist, moved to California, and things sort of went in a different direction. Dirk and Mike Soxy are the basic founding members.
Nick: Our mutual friend Kirk sort of has thrown everyone else into the band. He asked me if I was in a band one night when he caught me in a bar, and I had recently just left my band a few days prior. So I said "No, as of recently, no," so Kirk turned to me and said, "You are now, motherfucker!"
Jonnie: Nick didn't want to join [originally], but listened to the GBC's CD in his car and was blown away. He was basically uninterested from the get-go until Kirk played the CD. Then he was enamored with it, and agreed to go to a practice. I joined the band after the former lead singer, Alec Jace, moved to Philadelphia without really getting consent from the band. Nick and I had been trying to work together in music for the better part of the last three years, including his band before this one. I auditioned, and everyone loved me and my voice, so I started coming to practices, and voila, I'm the new front man. There's more to it than that, but without the drama and crazy details, that suffices. You really need a few days to take it all in.
You guys have an interesting dynamic in the sound of your band, with your poppy lyrics and alternative instrumentals. What bands have influenced the sound that is GBC?
Nick: Blink 182, A Day to Remember, Alesana, and definitely Senses Fail.
Jonnie: Our current sound is funny because Blink 182 is what got us ALL into music as heavily as we are, in the first place -- but way before we had even met each other.
Jonnie: I'm an all over the place kind of guy, so our new sound is varying from Thrice to Fall Out Boy, and everything that fits in between. I'm in love with Jonny Craig of Emarosa right now, so I'd like to tailor my vocals around him a little bit, with my own sort of tweaks and quirks.
Nick: Definitely Hannah Montana.
Jonnie: They dressed me up as her for our Halloween show. Literally, they dressed me up. You're laughing; we have pictures on our MySpace of me with the blonde wig with bangs, and some sort of purple sash belt around my waist. To accentuate my torso, I think?
Nick: Oh! Motley Crue! I was Nikki Sixx for Halloween, I forgot.
Jonnie: Nikki Sixx is Nick's nickname in the band -- he loves him some Crue.
So if you had to choose just ONE: Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus? I know it’s a hard one!
Jonnie: Miley! "I Can't Wait to See You Again" was my steeze over the summer. I downloaded it and blasted it in my car for weeks. I wanted to cover it on our next EP but no one else seems game for it.
Nick: Which one has the dark hair? That's the one I choose.
From a lyrical perspective, what is influencing you guys the most, and who is doing the writing?
Jonnie: Mike Soxy has really creative timings, and I personally am just sort of finding my niche with writing with these guys. I am writing all of the new lyrics, while all of the old lyrics from Thevelea were written over the course of the past three to four years by Dirk and Soxy. Influence in your lyrics needs to come from life experiences, I think, which is why my influences are going to be so varying and ridiculous at some points, to sort of illuminate the variety and ridiculousness of all life, including my own. I can't describe to you enough how insanely spectacular our EP we're recording in March is going to be. Soxy's timings with my lyrics and vocal style are going to level buildings.
How have the line-up changes affected GBC's live performance? How have the fans adjusted?
Jonnie: Our fans could not have possibly been more receptive. We just got back from a show tonight actually, where the sound tech from Tuesday Tunes told Soxy that of all of the GBC line-ups, this is the one we need to keep, and that this is the one that is going to make it.
Nick: It's fucking amazing.
Jonnie: We're basically at our peak. Nick's hand is bleeding from how hard he's been rocking out lately. He goes nuts live.
Explain your live performance.
Jonnie: We interact a lot with our crowd, and as far as our performance goes, we go above and beyond to make sure that we are perfectionists... It's never the same show, so there's really no repetition, but we do like to get the entire crowd involved and to stay as ridiculous as possible. Soxy stands on his amp, Nick jumps around a lot, and Jeffy fills in all the in-between. Dirk is on drums so can't move directionally a lot, but he brings his A-game to every performance, and really drives the rest of the band. Nick also does guitar whips. He wants to be like the world's next most awesome trick guitarist.
Nick: Explain our live performance? It's like when someone does a Mortal Kombat finishing move, and rips out your Adam's Apple with their bare hand. That's The Groundbreaking Ceremony, and very Un-Raiden.
With your band and live performances tweaked the way you finally want them, what can we expect from the next album?
Jonnie: Probably an appeal to a broader audience, without catering as much to as young of an audience. We're developing, and music is developing. The genres are changing, and not even to just keep up, but to keep being able to enjoy writing new music, you need to step things up. Our new material is punchier, and a little bit more energetic. The vocals I'm working with are all intended to really push the whole of the works the rest of the way over the top. Our current material is material that we're all proud of, and it shows in our live performances, but our material was also written by some of us when we were at a younger age, and identified with music in a different way. I would say look for more mature themes to be dealt with and represented.
Nick: Again, I just play guitar. It all sounds good, so it could be about Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and I wouldn't notice, as long as the music brings itself all together.
What is the plan for your new EP?
Jonnie: I love this question! We're slated to be in the studio from March 2nd, through March 7th, so we have six whole days of recording. Right now, we've got five new songs written, with a few extra surprises planned once we hit the studio, including some acoustic renditions of crowd favorites off of Thevelea.
Nick: We're looking at an EP that should be around 30-35 minutes in length, but it could be more or less depending on how the studio time is spent.
Jonnie: Yeah, as an entire band, when we hit the studio, we're there to do business, and get as much out of our time there as possible, without rushing our sound, or leaving out all of the right complexities to bring our music to the front doorstep of our fans – new or old.
Nick: We did name the EP tonight finally, though!
Jonnie: Holy crap, this name has been with Nick and me, in the making for three years, and with Nick for some time longer. Stars Bleed Tragedy is what we all agreed on tonight.
Nick: Either way, the new EP is going to be way new, way fresh, and way more than anyone is going to be able to handle.
What can we expect for 2009?
Jonnie: We are trying to get on the Vans Warped Tour and at the very least get a date or two on the Taste of Chaos Tour. As for realistic tours, we are planning small tours, in the neighboring states, that will let us sort of become the big fish in the small pond, before we try another big national tour where we're the little guys.
Nick: Yeah, as long as I get to drink beer all day, and play music, I'll basically be set.
Jonnie: We're probably going to be too broke to drink or do anything but eat ramen and drive to our next venue, but hey, we signed up for that.
Jonnie: We're planning small weekend long tours, and are looking at a tentative spring/summer tour wherein we'll tour for a week, take three off, and repeat until the end of summer.
Nick: We don't know exactly what's going to go on until we record at Chin Music Studios in March, and talk to Neil Sheehan.
Jonnie: Neil's the owner of Standby Records, and while we've in no way shape or form been promised anything, we've got our fingers crossed and our hopes held high. We've definitely got the potential, and we've definitely got the live performance and new material to back up our claims. We'll either get a snag for a label, or we won't, but we're not stopping. We're going to keep working and keep pushing until we make it, and we will make it. That’s our determination as individuals and as a band. As Dirk would say (probably naked in the van), "The band that’s gay together, stays together."
What is touring like for you?
Jonnie: God, now I don't even want to think about tour. Showering in gas station sinks is not my idea of awesome, and five guys in a van in summer after shows -- not pleasant smelling. Tours are the kind of thing you dread and love at the same time. It's like, you can't get enough of it, but... you totally can.
Nick: Yeah, Jonnie and I are kind of the girls in the band. We need showers and clean clothes. If we left Justin, our bassist, on the roof to sleep – he'd do it while we were driving, eating bugs and all -- and then play shows and then sleep INSIDE the van. Soxy and Dirk and Justin can basically eat lint and sleep in mud and be content touring. As long as the shows go well, and we play good sets, they really don't complain. The showering in gas station’s sinks bit is no joke. That's their method to keeping clean. Jonnie and I shower wherever and whenever we get a chance, if people let us crash at their place. It's worth spending a few bucks to be able to really feel clean.
Jonnie: Yeah, I shave like...everything to keep from being able hold a stench. Deodorant showers don’t exactly do it for me, so the cleaner I can stay naturally, the better.
Do you have any closing statements, or anything else you would like your fans to know?
Nick: Yeah, if you see Justin sleeping on our roof while we're on the highway, please let us know.
Jonnie: Yeah, definitely check us out. Now and in the future, we are growing and growing as a band and musically. We are honestly all very nice people -- kids in some respects, and we're always a lot of fun. Come check out our shows, and show us some love. And talk to us!
Nick: Yeah, it might be worth it to mention that we don't really use "friend-getting" applications on MySpace or anything. We talk to all our fans, as they talk to us.
Jonnie: Yeah, I put up on our Myspace about a month ago that we literally all update our MySpace and keep in touch with our fans throughout our days via phone, iPhone, and laptop.
Shameless Media Interview with The Groundbreaking Ceremony
Shameless Media Interview with The Groundbreaking Ceremony
The Groundbreaking Ceremony: 2012 Warped Tour
The Groundbreaking Ceremony
Fight To Stay Alive
*(Your Name Here)
Lost And Found
Don't Be A Dream
*The Burden Of Goodbye
What The Hell Is A Jiggawatt?
*optional songs added for longer set times