For the hard rock quartet megaphone, the mission has been simple: Saving rock n’ roll from the machine, and bringing it back to where it should be – loud, catchy and in your face. That they’re succeeding with that mission is obvious; a huge draw in their native Orlando, Florida, extensive radio play, gigs opening for arena headliners and festival appearances. And with their new album, Exit Silent Mode, filled to the brim with unforgettable hooks, melodies and songs, megaphone is poised to take everything about their band to the next level.
Comprised of Matt Bloodwell on guitar, vocals and main songwriting duties, Paul Smith on lead guitar, and Scott Smith on drums, megaphone is a collection of some of the brightest rock and roll lights in Orlando music. The band formed in late 2004 when Bloodwell, formerly the drummer for Orlando band Precious, moved to guitar and decided to form a band around the songs that he had been writing. He explains, “I wanted to put together a real rock band with big guitars and big hooks.”
Bloodwell started the band, and then proceeded to recruit his favorite players in town. Paul Smith was a former touring guitarist for Seven Mary Three and a member of VonRay; and Scott Smith, the newest member of the band, having joined in 2007, had been the drummer for Cori Yarckin. “I was a fan of all these guys in their former bands,” says Matt, “It was a big deal to me that they were willing to take a chance with me out front and on guitar.”
megaphone’s debut full-length, For Crying Out Loud, released in the spring of 2005, immediately vaulted them into the upper echelon of Orlando bands, and earned them extensive radio play and touring opportunities, including their songs being featured on the MTV show “Made,” radio play on several central Florida stations, and gigs opening for artist like AC/DC, The Joe Perry Project, Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley of Kiss, Everclear, Edwin McCain, Seven Mary Three and more.
The album’s success was a blessing, sometimes a mixed one. As Paul recounts, “The first album got us a lot of gigs and attention; it really put us to work. We wanted to record a new one, but there was no urgency for it because For Crying Out Loud kept serving us so well and kept creating opportunities for us.” Matt adds, “The first album was kind of a blueprint of what megaphone would be. But Exit Silent Mode really reflects the amount of time we’ve been together as a band. It’s much more organic and represents the sound of the band as it truly is.”
Produced by Matt, Paul and Justin O’Neill, the guitarist in Cori Yarckin and a long-time friend of the band, and mixed by Pete Thornton (Paramore, Shinedown), the new album is a far more accurate reflection of the band. From the hard driving opener, “Write It Down,” megaphone has captured the combination of both anthemic and hook-filled rock that has been their trademark, with unforgettably strong choruses that pay off in spades.
“Gravitate” pulses with a muscular riff and is highlighted by Matt’s soaring hard rock vocals, hearkening back to a time when rock truly rocked, and it has quickly become a signature song among megaphone’s fans. Matt says, “It started as a tune that Paul had, and he trusted me enough to play around with it and change a few things. Once we had the final demo of it, we knew we had something. Paul adds, “It was the first time where Matt and I really collaborated, and we made it far more than the sum of the parts.” Indeed, the entire band shines on “Gravitate” –the rythm section lead by Scott on drums drive the song powerfully and propulsively, leading and lending support to Matt’s vocals and Paul’s wailing guitar.
“My Favorite New Disaster” is perhaps the song that best epitomizes the sheer catchiness of megaphone’s music, with its indelible hook and radiant sheen. Matt recalls, “We had to rewrite the melody right before we recorded. We had thought we had a good arrangement but the verse fell flat. In finalizing everything, we took it to a whole new level. The first time we played it live, the crowd reaction was amazing.”
Having had such a great experience recording, the band is already planning album number three. Matt says, “We have more ideas that we just didn’t get to on this record.” The band is also taking on much more of a DIY ethos. Matt elaborates, “Last time, I think we were trying to impress everyone in Orlando – press, radio, etc. But now we’re using a lot of the new technology to promote ourselves and go straight to the fans and bypass the so-called gatekeepers.”
Wherever they’ve gone, megaphone has attracted converts mesmerized by the sheer power of their songs and performances. They make straight-ahead, balls out rock and roll for an audience that has missed the real thing, or in some cases, are too young to have ever experienced it. On Exit Silent Mode the band has taken their vision of what rock can be to a new peak. As Matt concludes, “We don’t have an agenda. We just want to play and write the kind of music that we wish was available for us to buy. Fortunately for us and everyone else, we’ve found each other, and we all feel the same way about music.”
Matt Bloodwell - Vocals, Guitar
Paul Smith - Vocals, Guitar
Scott Smith - Drums
Eric Lugo - Vocals, Bass
Live Acoustic at The Plaza Theater - 2010 Self Released
Exit Silent Mode - 2009 Self Released LP
For Cryin' Out Loud - 2005, Self Released LP
The songs Gravitate, My Favorite New Disaster, and Not Your Enemy are available for download on RockBand 2 with X-Box Live.
The songs "Not Your Enemy", and "Stain" from this record have been in the top 5 most downloaded rock songs list on the podcast friendly website podsafeaudio.com
"Not Your Enemy" has also been in the top 10 most requested list on XM Radio Unsigned (channel 52)
megaphone has also recorded a version of Butch Walker's song "Alecia Amnesia" to be included on the future release of "Ready, Tribute, Go!", a tribute to Marvelous 3 / Butch Walker, to be released by CD Fastlane Records.
Loud & Proud
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"Have you guys seen King Kong yet?" asks Megaphone's lead guitarist Paul Smith. "It's amazing. I'm n..."Have you guys seen King Kong yet?" asks Megaphone's lead guitarist Paul Smith. "It's amazing. I'm not kidding, I cried and just wanted to go home and hug my dog."
Not exactly what you'd think of when you think of the quintessential rock star, but within the context of Megaphone, such overt sentimentality is fitting. The idea of regular guys who cry at movies and then morph into rock stars certainly isn't new, but it's a notion that fits this band. Megaphone truly is a bunch of guys who know how to rock and don't mind being a little mawkish about it.
Convened by former members of well-known area pop-rock groups like Precious, My Hotel Year, Dynaride and 3AE, Megaphone includes Smith (who was also a touring guitarist with Seven Mary Three and VonRay), guitarist/singer/founder Matt Bloodwell, drummer Matt Brown and bassist James Woodrich. The quartet came together to make straight-up modern rock that, according to the band, is not unlike Butch Walker or the Foo Fighters.
Each band member was looking for something different than their previous bands, particularly Bloodwell. "I was becoming unhappy with Precious, and I had been writing songs that I wanted to write in secret." Once Precious dissolved, Bloodwell said that he sought out the other members to create the brand of loud guitar rock he'd always wanted to be a part of.
The group just released its first full-length album, For Cryin' Out Loud, with a sound that stays true to Megaphone's influences, maintaining the defiant-yet-accessible arena rock attitude of Kiss and Cheap Trick. At the same time, the album includes Bloodwell's tender lyrics about being an outsider and reveling in the unconventional in such songs as "Uncool" and "Freak."
Even before the disc's release, Megaphone has prospered, gathering up fans both locally and throughout the region. This was not by accident.
"Packaging, mastering, the whole thing, we were intent on making it seem as if we had already made it," Bloodwell said of the band's look-successful-be-successful philosophy. "We had most of the CD finished before we did our first show. We wanted to do the recording first to help us focus our sound before we started playing live." As Bloodwell speaks, he chooses his words carefully and postures with purpose. It's intriguing to try and square this image of the conscientious planner with his role as the songwriting force behind the band.
The other members use self-centered jokes to put a patina of irony on just how unironically they rock. Such statements are an extension of the band's stage presence – the twirling drumsticks and rock-god poses are part of the arena rock mentality – but even though they try to laugh it off, it's clear they revel in the power a loudly played pop song can have over an audience. The indie-rock bashfulness of the lowercased "m" in the band's logo is at odds with the fact that, when the huge canvas bearing their name is draped behind the band onstage, it's backlit by the group's lighting designer.
Since the band's slot at FMF last year opening for Everclear, Megaphone has certainly been heard. They were twice profiled on "Mel's Favorite Band" on O-Rock 105.9-FM and have found their music showing up on podcasts worldwide (even scoring two Top 10 placements on the podcast-centered Podsafe Audio site). In the meantime, they're working on new material and will be shooting a video for "Uncool" at their Feb. 20 Hard Rock Live show. But it's their upcoming appearance on a Butch Walker/Marvelous 3 tribute album that has them truly excited.
"Thinking about all that makes us giddy like little girls," Smith admits.
by: Nicole Prezioso
For Cryin' Out Loud
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Megaphone is a rock band that knows what they're doing. Their songs are structured and ear catching,...Megaphone is a rock band that knows what they're doing. Their songs are structured and ear catching, and they posses a sound that's all their own. As they
prove with their smashing debut album, ’For Cryin’ Out Loud’. As a whole comes off very strong, with tracks that can go punch for punch with the best of them.
Songs such as "Freak" and "Not Your Enemy" really kick things off with a bang. Other great songs that follow are "Wasted", "Drama Queen" and "Stain". Megaphone, is powered by founding member, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist, Matt Bloodwell, lead guitarist, Paul Smith , drummer, Matt Brown and bass player, James Woodrich. Every song on this CD is enjoyable but don't expect
anything unique. The lyrics are straight forward and simple but are accompanied by really great hooks and melodies. I can promise you this, you won't regret
getting your hands of this CD. I do have to warn you though, ’For Cryin’ Out Loud’ may never leave your CD player. If you like bands like Marvelous 3, Cheap
Trick, or London Calling you will DEFINITELY love Megaphone! If you're looking for a great album with real music, this CD is for you. Megaphone’s music is
very enjoyable & the lyrics are honest. All the songs ROCK, and you can listen to the album over and over. Megaphone is a group to watch for as rising stars!
Expect huge things from this band.- Tony Sison, ALL ACCESS MAGAZINE
Tony Sison, aka The Atomic Chaser
President, Dedicated Rocker Productions
Home Of The Atomic Chaser's Rockers & Rollers Webzine
ALL ACCESS MAGAZINE, Contributing Writer
5 Out Of 5 Stars
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For some it might be hard to imagine Matt Bloodwell going from playing drums in Precious to singing ...For some it might be hard to imagine Matt Bloodwell going from playing drums in Precious to singing lead vocals and playing guitar in Megaphone. But it has happened and with the lineup of the rest of the band, it actually works very well. The 10 tracks on For Cryin’ Out Loud sound kind of like a cross between Cheap Trick and Precious, some moments sounding like something Precious might have done. But this band is definitely more song-oriented and the tunes are catchy and memorable. We highly recommend this CD to anyone who basically just wants to rock. A very cool effort.
by: Paul Hennig
Our set typically includes various combinations of all of the music from our CDs. These songs include:
Write It Down
My Favorite New Disaster
Bad To Good
We Were Young
Horse You Rode In On
The Last One
Not Your Enemy
Cutting Room Floor
What's Her Name
We are an original rock band, but are capable of throwing out a few covers when requested. Our repertoire of covers includes but is not limited to:
Out On The Tiles - Led Zeppelin
Rock & Roll - Led Zeppelin
Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
Photograph - Def Leppard
Surrender - Cheap Trick
Don't Change - INXS
Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters
Show Me How To Live - Audioslave
Alecia Amnesia - Butch Walker
My Own Worst Enemy - Lit
Man In The Box - Alice In Chains
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
There are no upcoming dates at this time.