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The best kept secret in music


"Thoughts For the Local Music Fan"

by TJ Redig

Last Sunday I was sitting on my deck enjoying the beautiful day and sipping whiskey when a college friend called me up. He informed me that a couple of bands whose members I had attended my previous year of school with were playing a show that night and he wanted to know if I was going. I jumped on the opportunity and arranged for some one to pick me up on their drive to the venue.

The show was great and I am glad that I attended. The two bands that I was mainly there to see were Alysium and Rise or Rust. I knew the drummer from Alysium from dorm life and we regularly hung out until he was kicked out of the dorms. Through him I met the singer who was also a great guy. Of Rise or Rust I knew the drummer but the rest of the band I had never met.

After the show I got to thinking about the amount of work that goes into something like a band. I’ve jammed with a number of groups (as singer and guitar player) but I’ve never been a full member or played any shows.

To me, the trials and tribulations that small, undiscovered artists must endure is completely foreign and I can only begin to comprehend them. All of the work that a label would usually take care of is in the hands of the artists. Recording, promotion, merchandising, and not to mention writing the damn music. That is a lot of to do when you are also working a full-time job to pay the bills or attending a university.

Until a band gets their “big break” the shows will be limited in attendance and the attitude of the audience will be bleak. But the band still plays on.

They rock as hard as they can no matter how few people are standing, no matter how small the pit, no matter that half the damn audience seems to be more interested in picking up members of the opposite sex than listening to the music.

They rock because that is what they love and perhaps we, as an audience, should try a little harder to show our support for that. -

"Runner-up Alysium impresses judges with combination of punk and alternative rock"

By Aimée Groth Staff writer
While other bands were planning their victory parties before last Thursday’s “Battle of the Bandz” began, Alysium viewed the contest as another chance to practice. “A lot of people take it too seriously,” lead singer John Daugherty said. “We got a show? Great, let’s have some fun.” This approach served them well. Members Daugherty, Drew Anderson on drums, Billy Kohls on bass and Eric Duclos on guitar had the daunting task of performing first. Minutes after they took the stage, the crowd was jumping out of their seats. “ They were one of the most unappreciated bands coming
in,” said Joe Vangsgard, sophomore class president, who organized the event. “ They had a lot to prove, and they did it well.” The band took second place, winning $500. Alysium opened with “Hello English Tweed Baby” and included Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” in their set. Alysium’s manager, Lizz Boekman, a senior at Chaska High School, labels the band’s style as “punk-influenced alternative rock.” “We bring together our different music styles and blend them into our own unique style,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of interesting how we clash.”Alysium credits its musical growth to the influence of bands Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold, Led Zeppelin and Pennywise. “All of the sudden, a lot of doors opened,” Anderson said, referring to his discovery of the band Pennywise. “I was caught up in mainstream punk; I wasn’t even aware there was such an underground punk scene. That band is so political, it really changed my view.” Alysium also incorporates political messages into some of their songs.“ ‘Brainwash Nation,’ a song we played tonight, is very political,” Daugherty said. Even so, Daugherty said band members write about everything — except romance. “We don’t sing about high school love,” Daugherty said. “How much can you write about that stuff? We’re not into emo.” Daugherty writes music that everyone can relate to. “I write about what I see and experience,” Daugherty said. “I take something that has happened to me and I broaden it. That way, everyone feels a connection to our music.” Alysium began writing music together when the band formed in the summer of 2000. That July, Kohls and Anderson volunteered at Camp Omega, where they saw Daugherty playing the guitar. “We had an instant chemistry,” Anderson said. “And that formed a band called ‘To Be Determined.’ ”The band asked Duclos, the only Tommie in the lineup, to join last year. Despite feeling a little intimidated, he accepted the offer. “Our second jam session with Eric, we received a call from the Garage,” Anderson said. “They asked us to play a show that night. An hour later, we went downtown for the gig, Eric in his blue sweatpants and everything.” After Duclos joined, Daugherty abandoned his guitar and decided to focus solely on vocals. Ever since, Alysium has been lining up gigs at the Twin Cities Underground, the Garage and the Quest Club. “We placed in the top 10 at a battle of the bands at the Quest last year,” Kohls said. “We also won Dakota County for best band.” Although the band has experienced much success, they are aware that not everything “goes over” in the music business, especially when the media is involved. “We had an interview with the Pioneer Press when we won a contest, but when we saw the paper, there was a big picture of the losing band plastered all over the page,” Daugherty said. “After we read the long article about the other band, there was a small picture of me and a line that read, ‘And Alysium won.’ How crazy is that?” The band members laugh it off. “That’s our life experience,” Anderson said. “We’ve gotten screwed a lot.” As Alysium commented on their lack of good luck, a couple of students ran up to the band and asked them to autograph their T-shirts. Caught by surprise, Daugherty said, “Wow, it’s like we’re famous.” They are the first to admit that while they have improved over the years, they still have a lot of work to do. “We’ve come a long way, and it’s been hard,” Anderson said. Their humble attitude is what attracts fans to Alysium. Although their musical chemistry gets them gigs, what holds the band together is how they get along when they set their instruments down. “If it came between the band and us being friends, it’d be us being friends,” Daugherty said. - ST. Thomas Aquin


3 track EP - Released in Spring 2005
Includes Sell Myself, Righteous, and You Must Leave


Feeling a bit camera shy


Alysium is a post-hardcore band with strong metal influences that is climbing up the ladder in the Twin Cities music scene. Each of the five members of the band provides a different piece of the musical puzzle. Drew’s drumming and Bill’s low-end baselines lend rhythm to the music while Eric’s soaring melodies give it its metallish feel. Scott’s guitar work lays a hardcore backdrop and his vocals have an unbridled ferociousness while John’s inspiring vocals give the music its soul. Each artist’s different style comes together in harmony to create damn good music and a truly unparalleled sound!

Alysium has been together since 2000/2001 roughly. Best friends Drew and Bill started the band when they were in high school. They recruited vocalist/guitarist John right away and then Alysium was born. Their early work was heavily influenced by hardcore punk bands like Good Riddance and Pennywise, which is quite evident in their early sound. They picked up Eric in 2003 which allowed John to drop the guitar and concentrate soley on the vocals. Eric proved to be a great addition to the band by adding his sick metal influenced guitar melodies. One of Eric's favorite bands is Shadows Fall, which is quite evident when you listen to the melodies in the music. The bands newest member, Scott, was added in 2004 to complete the band. Scott's addition adds another guitar, and gives the music a more complete feel, along with some tenacious vocals to back up John. Now Alysium is in full force!

“When I first heard Alysium, I was blown away by their unique sound. Now I’m not going to be all cliché and say that their music is un-classifiable, because I’m sure some reviewer junkie can mush them into some category. But when I say unique, I’m referring to their attitude and perspective. Too often do I purchase some metal core cd only to be disappointed by the lack of “voice” in the music. It’s usually just some guy droning into the microphone about death this, and death that; I really just don’t care! Equally annoying is when I purchase a rock cd that doesn’t live up to what its genre says, ROCK! It’s just some pansy crying into the microphone about how his girlfriend left him 2 years ago and he’s still not over it! If I wanted to hear that, I’d purchase a Toby Keith album. I believe that Alysium is unique because they blend kickass metal music with a consistent, pleasing voice, and not just some monotone schmuck that doesn’t know how to sing."

Brian Christiansen(Manager)
(612) 817-9271
Contact me for booking inquiries or general info

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