33 West
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33 West

Band World Reggae


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The best kept secret in music


"And now... time for something completely different (Posted by Jordan A. Baker on May 03, 2004)"

Well, not entirely different, but I can't remember the last time I ever wrote anything on Pastepunk about a reggae tinged punk band with horns that wasn't related to the RX BANDITS. Anyway, local northern Virginia act 33 WEST has a brand new disc out soon called "So Far Off To A Bad Start," and are heading out on tour towards the end of the month. These guys have a pretty strong grasp on writing catchy, fun songs, as well as showing off some complex instrumentation. For further details, check out the links below.

music: purevolume.com/33west
site: 33westmusic.com - Pastepunk.com


Evan Horton Goes Underground to Find Music for You
33 West
“So Far Off to a Bad Start”
33 West has been around for nearly 10 years. They’ve played countless shows with numerous bands in all types of venues. The one thing missing from an equation worthy of success is a distributable full-length recording.
“So Far Off to a Bad Start” is the missing link.
With a demo and a short EP already in circulation, “So Far Off to a Bad Start” is the next logical step for 33 West.
(See feature article on Page 5.)
“So Far Off to a Bad Start” is a mix of reggae, punk, hardcore and ska with a bit of Latin influence thrown in.
“The Same Ending” kicks things off in incredible fashion. This song demonstrates guitarist Joe Nelson’s considerable talent. Andrew Gorski’s vocals blend better in this song than any other on the album. All the elements of 33 West come together amazingly well.
You also get the party atmosphere 33 West projects with “The Same Ending.” You can imagine yourself at one of their shows and, having been to a few myself, I can tell you the feeling is true to the experience.
“Saves Me” is an old favorite. I’ve heard this song numerous times at shows and I’m really excited to have an excellent mixed version of it. All the elements are again perfectly placed and Gorski’s voice is perfect. Backing vocals – basically everyone else in the band – are also done exceptionally well.
Dave McGraw (trumpet) and Jacob Walters (trombone) are phenomenal on “Saves Me.”
One complaint I’ve had with their live shows was the lack of horn sound. During live shows, it’s hard to accurately blend that type of sound with the distortions of the guitars and bass, but on “So Far Off to a Bad Start,” the mixing is perfect and the sound is wonderful.
“Price You Pay” is another favorite and it features my favorite element of 33 West’s live show: Nelson screaming the back up vocals on the chorus. During live shows, he doesn’t use a mic but still manages to project above the music. The post-production makes it sound exactly how it does at a live show. Incredible.
I think this is a testament to 33 West’s dedication to their music. Instead of trying to overproduce that element of the song, they kept its purity and the results are outstanding.
“Stupid Love Songs” is a reggae-influenced ballad that encompasses all the talents of the band. Gorski’s soft lyrics are blended behind a soft reggae upstroke and accompanying horns.
Nick Hughes (drums) keeps the beat perfectly and you can tell he’s more than a little familiar with this style of music.
“The Tijuana Song” is a 33 West landmark. The Latin-influenced ska melody is their most memorable song, though not their best. Gorski’s vocals are not as strong, but the rhythm and horn sections come out in full force.
The song is fun and easy to sing along to.
“Epilogue” is the same as the opening “Prologue” but is extended for several more minutes. It’s a nice instrumental end to the album. It showcases Barnum’s master of the bass, and Nelson’s ability and range as a guitarist.
I really enjoy the way the band decided to use instrumentals as a means of beginning and ending the album.
Release of “So Far Off to a Bad Start” is just weeks away. Support local music, support Shenandoah musicians, support 33 West, for all those reasons and for the simple fact that they are a good band that makes really good music. – EH - The SUN

"33 West finds humor in music"

April 15, 2004
American University's The Eagle
33 West finds humor in music
Written by Lisa Leone

33 West finds humor in music
By Lisa Leone

FAIRFAX, Va. - The sound of drums and guitar music seeps out the windows of a quaint house in a residential neighborhood of Northern Virginia. A woman, walking her dog along the street, doesn't seem to notice the noise or all the cars parked out front. In the basement bedroom, which doubles as a rehearsal room, rock band 33 West is practicing for an upcoming show.

33 West rocks the house with Andrew Gorski's vocals, Nick Hughes on drums, Ken Barnum on bass, Joe Nelson on guitar, Dave McGraw playing trumpet and Jacob Walters playing trombone. The band had been playing together since 1995, but became 33 West in 2000 with the addition of Nelson.

While the band is serious about their music, their songs are just plain fun.

"In music today there is an awful trend where ... lead singers, especially, take themselves way too seriously," Gorski said. "It's stupid to take yourself seriously."

33 West's sound is a mix of reggae, Latin, punk and rock, with a killer horn section.

"Bands come and go and there are a lot of bands that sound alike," Barnum said. "One thing we can honestly say ... is that we are unique."

The band draws from all of the members' musical backgrounds: Nelson's passion for metal, Hughes' training in Cuban hand percussion and Gorski's love for country and Frank Sinatra.

"So Far Off to a Bad Start," the band's first full-length album, will be released May 11. The band is thrilled about the release of the album and proud of the work that went into it.

"It's like two chicks at the same time, maybe three," Gorski said, likening the excitement of the release to that of the stereotypical male fantasy.

McGraw said he is happy to finally put something out for the fans.

"I feel like we've been in this band for a ridiculously long time and haven't put out anything we're really proud of and really happy to finally get out there," McGraw said. "I'm just really excited."

The diverse styles of music the band plays create emotional "ups and downs" within the album, Hughes said. Some songs are more serious while others are outrageous.

"The Same Ending" and "Teeth" are super-catchy tracks. "Teeth" has punk, jazz and metal styles all mixed within the same song.

"Roses," the most shocking track on the album, lets the band's id out on a killing spree. Gorski sings, "I don't care if it kills me/ It's your last night/...You're pretty when you choke." Barnum described the song as a "dark satire."

"The Price You Pay" is an upbeat reggae track that Hughes described as "danceable." The refrain, "4:30/ She's Dirty/ I won't wear women's underwear," makes it one of the most fun tracks on the album.

"Rust and Solder" is an "intricate" song, Barnum said. The intricacy makes it fun to play and shows that the band is not afraid to challenge themselves.

The band does not only challenge their album, but also their live show.

"The live show has a lot of energy," Hughes said. "Our live show is what sets us apart from other bands." The set is full of head-banging, jumping and Walters doing back flips.

The band has toured throughout the United States and is well-recognized in the D.C. music scene. Their upcoming tour dates will take them along the East Coast from New Jersey to Florida.

"The best part about being in the band is being on the road," Hughes said. 33 West relies on the hospitality of their fans who are willing to give them a place to stay when they are on tour.

The band is always accessible before and after their performances in order to meet the fans. They have played a lot of community centers and "all ages shows" in order to connect with the younger audience that buys their albums.

The members of 33 West are close friends and their songs are written collaboratively.

"If I wasn't in a band with these guys, I probably wouldn't play at all," Walters said.

When 33 West is not jamming together, Barnum and Nelson teach music lessons and Hughes attends college at George Mason University. In their free time, they play baseball and lots of Ping-Pong, or sit just around quoting Austin Powers and making crude jokes. - American University's The Eagle

"Area Rock Band Takes Next Big Step"

SUN Staff Writer
There are a lot of bands just plugging away out there. With all the different talents and styles, it’s hard to determine who will make it big.
33 West, made up of SU alumni Ken Barnum (bass), Nick Hughes (drums), Dave McGraw (trumpet, vocals), Jacob Walters (trombone, vocals), Joe Nelson (guitar) and Andrew Gorski (vocals) have been together since high school and have been working on making a name for themselves for years.
Formed in 1995 in Chantilly, Va., 33 West was generally a ska band until its lineup was finalized in 2000. The addition of Nelson on guitar moved the band into different directions musically and their sound today revolves around punk, hardcore, ska and reggae music.
Barnum said, “Joe brought us into hard rock and punk. We knew that was the direction we wanted to go, but we didn’t have anyone capable of pulling it off on guitar. Joe is amazing at punk and metal and he works great in the band. Now, we have harder songs, some metal chops and a lot more energy.”
33 West will release “So Far Off to a Bad Start,” their first full-length album, on May 11.
“We released a four-song EP in 2001 which we were never even really proud of,” said Barnum. “Having this great 16 song CD as a result of our hard work is really gratifying. We started recording this in 2002 and ran out of money. Picked it up again last fall and ran out of money. Then in December, we just decided to record it ourselves. I think it makes it that much better for us that we did most of it. We did nine out of 16 tracks.”
(See “Pierced Ears” on Page 8.)
33 West is always on tour. And with the new release, things won’t slow down any time soon. They have a small East Coast tour lined up that kicks off with a CD release party on May 21 at the Chantilly Events Center.
After the East Coast excursion, a Midwest tour is in the works. “We want to spread the word about 33 West as much as possible,” adds Barnum.
In the past few years, 33 West has been recognized by The Washington Post and won the Ernie Ball and DC Hard Rock Café Battle of the Bands. The have opened for bands such as NOFX, Reel Big Fish, Good Charlotte, New Found Glory and The Mighty Mighty
“It’s too important for [us] to ever give up,” said Barnum. “We love playing together and feel like we’re really making something special here.”
A lot of bands know what they need to do to be successful, but very few actually achieve those goals. 33 West up is up to the task. Their dedication to their music and to their fans is unending.
“So Far Off to a Bad Start” is a great album and is hopefully just a sign of things to come from the amazing area band. - The SUN


March 2006- Grey and Burgundy- EP
May 2004- So Far Off to a Bad Start- Full Length includes singles "The Same Ending" and "Call On My Lover". Available in Streaming and for Download at www.33westmusic.com and www.purevolume.com/33west
2001- No Cash No Problems- EP


Feeling a bit camera shy


There are certainly no lack of rock bands striving to climb up from the nether-regions of the music industry and achieve musical recognition and success in its upper-reaches. There are few bands, however, who have the persistence and ability to have such success without the help of a record label. 33 West, from Fairfax, VA, is living proof that a band can record, tour and play entirely on their own.

Lead singer Andrew Gorski, bassist Ken Barnum, drummer Nick Hughes and guitarist Joe Nelson have been touring and performing together since 2000. With the addition of K.C. Hatton (Guitar/Keys), they have solidified their line-up.

33 West released their first full-length album, So Far Off to a Bad Start, on May 11, 2004. This release marks an extraordinary accomplishment on the part of the band. Since 2004 the band has gone on to sell over 2,000 copies of the album worldwide.

"The 16 tracks that appear on this album represent almost three years of hard work and dedication coming out of myself and my best friends," explained guitarist Joe Nelson. "We've spent the last three years of our lives on the road together, playing, writing and growing as musicians as well as people. To me So Far Off to a Bad Start represents learning, growth and progress."

While So Far Off to a Bad Start is 33 West's first full-length album, it is not the band's first release. In 2001 they released an EP called No Cash No Problems, which was called a "fresh sounding disc that shows a promising future" by The Music Korner.

33 West has performed all across the United States, and recently in the Bahamas. Averaging over 125 dates a year, 33 West is always touring and developing fan bases across the United States. They have even been privileged enough to be a part of the Vans Warped Tour for the past four years. The band performed on five dates this past summer and multiple dates of each of the previous three years, including ten dates on the 03’ Warped Tour. In addition, they have shared the stage with Fall Out Boy, Thrice, Sugarcult, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Good Charlotte, Motion City Soundtrack, Streetlight Manifesto and Big D and the Kids Table to name a few.

33 West has won numerous awards and honors, including first place in the Ernie Ball National Battle of the Bands in 2002 and second place in the National Hard Rock Cafe Battle of the Bands in 2001. They are currently sponsored by LeVel 27 clothing, an apparel line started by Billy Martin of Good Charlotte fame, Rotate Clothing Company, Maryland Drums, Eden Electronics, and Mountain Dew’s Amp Energy.

With the new line up, 33 West will be recording a new EP to promote the new sound. The EP should be released by March of 06’ and 33 West will be touring most of the year in support of the new release. This will include the highly regarded South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival and another trip to the Bahamas. Make sure you do not miss out on the band critics have hailed as "one of Virginia's rising stars" with the "distinct reputation of having one of the best live shows of any unsigned band."