Before I Go
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Before I Go

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The best kept secret in music



Before I Go’s Save Your Breath is the first full-length effort from the Michigan five-piece. The disc is a fine piece of work. It’s pretty difficult to stick Before I Go into a category or a genre. You can’t just call them “punk.” Many layers on the record are characteristic of a few different genres. So, if you had to, you could give them a really long and overly verbose classification: fast raw melodic punk with a hardcore influence. And when you think you’re set, you’re wrong. That’s because the first aspect of the CD that stands out is the implementation of acoustic guitars, which is another unusual characteristic. The greater portion of the songs on the album feature an acoustic intro, outro, or interlude. The electric versus acoustic gives the CD as well as each song that much more depth and shows the band’s versatility. It’s a different twist that works out quite well.
The inclusion of a purely acoustic song is another nice part of this record. Track 5, “So This Is How It Feels” is a raw emotionally driven song with good guitars and nice harmonies. The track is well done and is placed right in the perfect spot in the track list. Bonus points for that. Also notable song-wise is the remake of the band’s old track called “Envy You.” The original track was stripped down to the bare bones and reconfigured to make track 12 on this album. Though the original of the song is already great, the new version even far outshines that. It’s a solid closing track and a nice new surprise for older Before I Go fans that are familliar with the Split CD, too.
Technically, the production on the CD is also great. All the tracks sound clean and crisp, even with all of the switches between acoustic and electric guitar riffs. The intro and outro tracks are also a nice addition to the eleven other tracks on the album. “Save Your Breath” as a whole is an awesome release worth every penny
- Meredith Turits


Before I Go is one of these bands I wish I'd known about several years ago when I went through my Propaghandi/Alkaline Trio phase. In my last review, the band’s record label made praise: "impeccable precision and startling tightness..." and it seems that band should take lessons from Before I Go, because this record sounds like musical Morse code. One thing I've always loved about the pop-punk genre is the fact that the members of these bands are probably the tightest musicians around, executing their simple song structures with unbelievable speed and accuracy. This genre also invariably finds ways to redefine itself, a feature very evident on Save Your Breath.

For a record that was only six days in the making, it's clear that the record has been several years in the writing. I get the feeling these guys from Michigan have been playing, touring, practicing these songs for quite some time, and then just waltzed into the studio and threw down for three days straight, amped up on Red Bull and determination.

Right out of the gate, At The End kicks things off with what appears to be the band's warning to the listener of their perfection, although not fully demonstrated until the second half of the album. The lyrics kick in with the second track, Papillon, and I was somewhat taken aback by the vocalist’s straight-forward honesty and maturity in both the lyrics themselves and the delivery: “A collective built on trust / our ambitions take flight.” He speaks not just of an imaginary vision or some made-up screenplay, but of the record itself, taking flight.

The next few tracks take me through chambers of my own memories, my own emotions about life, love, prospects of my own insanity, and back again, clipping along steadily through time. So This Is How It Feels poses: “Should I have to pay for my mistakes later / It hurts the most when I hear your voice at night in my dreams.” Like all good punk (whether pop-punk or otherwise), the lyrics find ways to touch everybody, free of the fashionable loft and arrogance of most popular or shamelessly underground music.

Choke The Light fills the seventh slot, and it is clearly the best song on the disc. It does justice to everything already said about this band and its record. Deftly executed acoustic guitar keynotes the rest of the song, a fine array of chord structures that fit together like Legos, the drummer’s hummingbird-like style, and the vocalist’s usual gusto. I never understood why they call emo as such when this record, clearly not emo, contains more emotion than any emo record I’ve ever heard, with lyrics like, “The sins I’ve committed / I’m facing with forgiveness / Still at hand as dawn approaches / The sand runs thin.”

Lastly, the record ends as my last review ended with an electronic version of Before I Go, seemingly a growing trend (hell, even I’m doing a remix...), but like each and every offering on the record, the unlisted track is quite an aural display and sums the entire record nicely. Overall, I think Before I Go proves that sometimes an old style can be revised and relived through new eyes. It’s one thing to play the same old crap over and over again, but it’s quite another to rejuvenate something of an old standard, making it shiny and new all over again. - Indie Workshop


I had the pleasure of catching Before I Go at the IMC when they came around, and I really thought their energy and enthusiasm made them stand out. I jumped at the chance to review their newest cd, “Save Your Breath.”

If I had to classify Before I Go, they are somewhat of a cross between pop punk and hardcore, a genre being made popular by bands such as The Used and Finch. However, I use that category very loosely, because they definitely don’t sound like they are ripping anyone off, and anyone who is into hardcore would most likely be very offended that I even attempted to use that word to describe this band.

The first thing that struck me about this album was the amazing production. It was clear a lot of time and money went into making this album, and the production is right up there with any major label release. The album opens with an instrumental, with guitar work that impressed me right from the beginning. The second track of the album, “Papillon,” kind of made me think the album was going to take a harder turn. Songs like this one along with several others show strong metal influence with the intricate guitar riffs and rough vocals. The third track, “Its been so long,” showed a little bit of a different side. It is a little bit poppier than the other songs, and is very catchy. I think if they were going to have a hit single, this would be the one.

The album takes another turn with an acoustic fifth track, “So This Is How It Feels.” They definitely pull off the acoustic sound for one song. This one is very well done, and is one of my favorites on the album. They get back to business with the 6th track, “Spill the Paint,” which is one of the faster songs on the album. The rest of the songs are along the same lines, and the album remains strong through the end. The songs are all similar enough to fit on an album together, yet different enough to all stand out on their own. They vary just enough to keep you interested.

Overall, I was very impressed by “Save Your Breath.” The guitar work and arrangements are very intricate and thought out, and the production is top notch. The vocals remain melodic with a little bit of a rough edge to them. The lyrics are mostly about heartache and relationships gone wrong. That may sound kind of generic, but the lyrics aren’t boring or cliché by any means. They manage to remain smart and passionate. It’s clear that a lot of time, effort, and energy went into writing and producing this album, and all that hard work definitely comes across when listening to it. I very much enjoyed listening to this album, and I recommend it for anyone who likes pop punk that is a little on the harder side.
- Adam Henrichs


Following on from 2002’s “And Now The Laughter’s Gone” which was wrapped with power and potential, then 2003’s “Save Your Breath”, which was a leap forward for Before I Go and a blast of refreshing brutally punchy hardcore influenced punk comes 2004’s hit the nail on the head record “The City Skyline EP”.

Bursting out of Detroit, MI the five piece have only replaced the drummer since the initial Before I Go CD release, and as an effect of this have grown together as a solid unit. With a powerful sound that comes across as extremely thought out and fresh Before I Go has been an exciting prospect for some time now.

Brad Gilboe’s vocals are extraordinarily proficient and unique that help Before I Go rise amongst the masses of bands hoping to jump the gravy train to the top. “Return On Investment” has piercing guitars, thick chugging bass, gruelling crashing drums and of course the sincere and empowered vocals I’ve come to expect from this surging band.

Proving they’re not a one trick pony they follow on with “Cigarette Burns”, which is a more guitar based song, with noodling creating a feel of something masterful. This song roars at a healthy pace with interesting drumming keeping your attention whilst the change in song structure keeps you on your toes. A delight to the ears and combats anything their contemporaries such as Thrice, Days Like These, My Hotel Year and Northstar can come up with.

“An If I Wake Before I Die” featuring a drum breakdown, vocal build ups and enough musical flair to keep your engines burning for a very long time indeed. Whilst “The Business Of Indifference” slows things down to add another notch to the already impressive Before I Go belt before slicing back in with a killer riff and breakneck drumming. The production of “The City Skyline EP” is absolutely spot on, with everything sounding crisp and fresh yet still maintaining the raw passion that Before I Go are eager to express.

“Papillon” wraps things up, which is my personal favourite from last album “Save Your Breath” and is now re-recorded for the new EP. With more variants added into the mix this time around the catchiness is now solicited with a dark evil edge and gruff vocals chop changed with melody to create one heck of a brilliant song. Before I Go are made to rock and with superb instrumental widdling such as at the end of this EP they are set to raise the goblet to rock for a long time in the future.

I hope these guys get the respect and admiration they deserve, as this new EP raises the bar once more. - James Davison


The City Skyline EP (5-song EP) (2004)
Save Your Breath (12-song LP) (2003)
...And Now The Laughter's Gone (6-song EP) (2002)

Multiple tracks available for download and streaming at


Feeling a bit camera shy


Hailing from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, the five-piece outfit, Before I Go, continue to spread their infectious blend of punk rock. Before I Go has a true knack for song writing, complete with captivating riffs, thoughtful lyrics and a stage show that is not easily matched.

In a nutshell, Before I Go was born out of Jesse Klebba and Jeff Kessler’s desire to play guitar. Both were bassists in bands at the time when they decided to form a band together- one that would allow them both to show off their guitar skills. They teamed up with Brad Gilboe who took on the duties of Bass and all three shared the mic. A few minor shuffles here and there and Brad had moved to vocals and Matt Moy and Nick Herdzik were enlisted to play drums and bass respectively.

To throw this band into a single category would be unfair as they draw from many diverse rock and punk influences, citing Rancid and Alkaline Trio among their favorites. Their sound is a hybrid of addictive hooks and haunting emotions. Aggressive guitars, driving breakdowns and an overall bluntness grace each song. Brad Gilboe‘s powerful vocals coupled with his meaningful lyrics resonate through each song leaving a lasting impression. Before I Go barrel though tracks such as “Cigarette Burns” and “Between You And Us” with a sense of urgency, drawing the listener in with a rabid intensity. Tracks such as “So This Is How It Feels” and “The Business of Indifference” invite fans to fall into a serene consciousness.

Tirelessly playing gig after gig they had soon become the local favorite. Having played with the likes of Yellowcard, Something Corporate, The Starting Line and Matchbook Romance, Before I Go are already seasoned veterans of the punk rock scene and have learned a thing or two about life on the road and “doing it yourself” all the while looking for label support. And for the record, the boys of Before I Go have “done it themselves”, with one full length and two EPs already under their belts. And through it all, the guys have managed to keep a sense of humor.

Before I Go has always been a band that really likes to reach out and touch their fans. While most of the time they’re reaching their fans by way of catchy hooks and insightful lyrics, there was a time where “reaching out and touching someone” could have meant clocking an adoring fan right in the face. The latter was the case at some of the band’s earliest shows, where they would work out “special deals” with certain fans when they couldn’t afford to purchase the band’s merchandise while out on tour. Although the band takes credit for this ever so inventive idea, it seems as if it was destined to play out this way. The plan actually got set in motion years ago by the band’s guitarist, Jeff Kessler, who boasts a set of some unusually large hands. That’s right ladies, large hands. Ok, mind out of the gutter. After getting the usual barrage of, “Hey, can I get a shirt….for free???” from fans at their shows, the band decided to put Jeff’s hands to good use. The deal? Sure, you can have a free shirt, but it’ll cost you a shot to the face from a set of the biggest hands in Detroit. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before kids stopped begging, and started buying.

Those same kids who started buying up all the merchandise, also bought any Before I Go music they could get their little hands on. The band independently sold their first EP, followed by a debut full length and in July of 2004, they released a second EP that has sold over 2,500 copies to date.

That’s the story so far. Much more to come in the near future. Look for the boys of Before I Go on tour in 2005. And for all of those Detroit Pistons fans out there, remember to keep an eye out for Jeff’s hands during the season, you never know what might be lurking under those big “We’re #1” foam hands.