Days No Different
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"Better Days"

By Chris Schipper
This article was published on 06.28.07.

I found Days No Different the same way many of its fans have—surfing the music section of MySpace, checking out Reno bands. Their page is near the top of the list with over 43,000 plays.

"We've been able to build up a pretty good following pretty quickly," says John Gray, 24, the band's lead singer/guitarist. Last summer, Gray was writing and performing songs solo. He was a regular at Walden's open mic night, where he noticed 21-year-old Dan Johnson.

"He had this random, abstract way of playing guitar," says Gray.

The two started jamming together and "it just felt good." Brian Walden agreed to play drums for them until they could find a permanent replacement, but the creative chemistry has been so good that he's decided to stick around.

All three members bring distinctive influences and styles to a truly collaborative songwriting atmosphere. Gray started playing in cover bands at age 16 and is well-versed in classic rock. As he's made a transition into writing his own music, the old-school rock sound bleeds through. Days No Different is Johnson's first band.

"My musical experience has pretty much been confined to my room," he says.

Johnson has a guitar-geek approach, favoring complex structure and citing The Mars Volta as his biggest influence. Walden, 27, has played in numerous area bands, and his experience and influences are more of the metal persuasion.

They talk about "chemistry" a lot, and they're excited that they are able to inspire each other to crank out new ideas and build on old ones.

Johnson describes the sound as an "Incubus/Nickelback mixture." Bands like Matchbox 20 and The Goo Goo Dolls also come to mind. It's a pop-rock sound, heavy on the standard folk chords and sentimental lyrics but punctuated by Johnson's "abstract" finger picking. They're seeking a bass player and experimenting with a louder electric sound, but acoustic rock has been their bread and butter.

"The acoustic shows have done a lot for us, and we're not putting it to bed," says Walden. "But we are working on developing the electric sound."

One acoustic show in particular has done a lot for Days No Different. On June 13, they played 104.5's Backyard Bash #4 at Club Underground. Their music was aired on the station, and the phone lines lit up.

"We got tons of good feedback," says Gray. "It was kind of crazy."

There is talk of more airtime for the band in the future, and in the meantime, people are flocking to its MySpace page. Having been together less than a year, the members look at the band as a work in progress. But the early momentum is encouraging.

"We get people coming up to us all the time and telling us they're into our music, and it means something to them," says Gray. "It's happened too many times to not be something."

The group has a rich selection of songs in its repertoire. Four have been recorded for a self-titled EP that you can get at their gigs. Like most bands, the Days No Different is thinking of recording a full-length.

"Hopefully we can get a record done within a year or so," says Walden.
- Reno News and Review


"Days no different settle into their sound"

By Emily Katseanes

Twenty-seven-year-old bassist Tony Kasper, 21-year-old lead guitarist Dan Johnson and 25-year-old guitarist Jeff DePaoli are University of Nevada, Reno students.

The five members came together when lead guitarist Dan Johnson played an acoustic set at an open-mic night before Gray, DePaoli and 27-year-old drummer Brian Walden played.

“He played one song, when you usually play three,” Gray said of Johnson’s set. But Gray liked Johnson’s style enough to introduce himself after the show.

DND plays rock with catchy beats, heavy on the drums. DePaoli occasionally switches his guitar for a keyboard.

“We all have the same goal,” Walden said. “We don’t want to be a band that sounds like our favorite band. We want to make music that’s easy to listen to. That’s fun to dance to.”

The other members have played in other bands and done solo work before, but this is Johnson’s first band.

“I’m definitely digging it,” Johnson said.

The band laughed and teased Johnson about “the devil horns story.” Johnson, embarrassed, refused to tell the story.

Gray admitted he wasn’t there and then launched into it.

When Johnson was around 13, he was hanging out outside a grocery store with his skater friends when they saw James Hetfield of Metallica go into the store.
Johnson tore through the store, caught up to Hetfield and tried to throw him the iconic rock gesture – a fist with the pointer and pinkie finger out. Instead, he tucked in his pointer finger and put out his thumb.

Gray pauses to let the band laugh before finishing the story.

Hetfield then taught Johnson the proper way to throw up the devil horns.

“It would only be cooler if Dio had showed you,” DePaoli said. Dio is an ‘80s metal mega-star.

“I don’t know who Dio is,” Johnson said.

They shook their heads, but didn’t seem surprised.

They’re still trying to figure out their dynamics, but one of the things the band members equally agree on is the differences in their music tastes.

“If you caught us in our cars, we all have completely different stuff in our stereos,” Gray said.

Even the amount of music they own is across the board.

“Walden and I combined probably have more music than all of Reno,” DePaoli said.

Johnson only owns four CDs – Incubus, The Mars Volta, Voltroid and Circa Survive.

Gray quickly points out that Circa Survive sounds so similar to Mars Volta, it might as well be the same band.

As they cart their instruments in for practice, Gray and DePaoli discuss the merits of Justin Timberlake.

Gray is a closet Timberlake fan. DePaoli is out. The rest of the band members aren’t entirely convinced.

The band practices in a refurbished storage shed in Sparks. There’s carpet, sound proofing and white boards that display set lists, chords and doodles.

When someone mentions Heart is playing in Reno, they launch into the opening riffs of “Barracuda.”

They laugh, then get down to business.

“I love it,” Walden said. “It’s really tough, but that’s the only way you’re going to do it, is if you like it.”
- The Nevada Sagebrush


"Days will be different for local band"

Even as the hot Nevada sun scorches the asphalt outside, the temperature is fairly comfortable inside the small storage unit that has become a practice pad for local band Days No Different.

As members wander in from the afternoon heat, conversation between band mates is pure business. Lead singer John Gray hands a wad of Grand Sierra Resort tickets to guitar and keyboard player Jeff DePaoli. Dry-erase white boards with scribbled handwriting line the eggshell-white walls, which blend into the dirty cream-colored carpet.

The Reno band has been playing in its current five-member form since October 2007, which along with Gray and DePaoli includes guitarist and vocalist Dan Johnson, bassist Matt Andrew and drummer Brian James — who Gray dubs “The best drummer in the world.”

Gray said he has been playing with Johnson and James since July 2006. Although the group has only been playing less than 10 months, band members have a clear path sketched out, which is clear from the scribbles on the white boards that track the band’s progress. Song writing progress. Album recording progress. Trying to stay sane progress.

Days No Different can check “record stellar album” off the list. The band will play its first CD release party for the album “Surrender The Mystery” on Friday at the Grand Sierra Resort in the Grand Theater.

“To have a good time is really the point,” James said. “We want to make it an event to showcase the CD. It means a lot to us.”

Recording an album came as an afterthought. Spurred by a solid line-up and the urge to play music that would bring a buzz to Reno, the band chose to take a break from playing shows.

“We said, ‘Let’s take a break for a moment, practice our songs, come back and play a great show,’ ” Gray said.

“We wanted to take a breath and play a show worthy of the people coming out to our shows,” James said. “It just seemed like a good thing to do.”

In February, Days No Different re-entered the music scene with a performance at The Little Waldorf Saloon on Virginia Street. The break proved that the band could bring in the crowds the members had hoped for.

“It was an awesomely big show,” James said. “It was packed.”

Packing shows seems to be a trend for Days No Different. The band was the May winner of radio station KRZQ’s “Spring Forward By Paying It Forward” concert series. Days No Different was able to raise the most money out of competing bands for the Nevada Humane Society. The reward for the band was having the single “Some Days” put into regular rotation on the station.

“Some Days” is one of the nine songs on the “Surrender The Mystery” album, which the band explains was recorded with picky precision with Tom Gordon at Imirage Sound Lab Studio in Sparks.

“It took two weeks to record,” Gray said. “But it took four months of work to prepare for it.”

Part of that preparation is the creative process the band goes through to come up with new songs.

“A lot of it will start with Dan or myself bringing something to the practice space,” Gray said. “Whether it be a guitar part or a song.”

With five members, Gray admits that making music that meshes isn’t always easy but that all the band members have well-rounded musical inspiration.

“As a band, as a whole, there is not a whole lot we agree on but we all have our own backgrounds and styles,” Gray said. “We all have a very large span of music that we like.”

The span includes music from Circa Survive to Foo Fighters, from Sevendust to Paramore and from Aerosmith to Heart.

“I am an old rock kid,” Gray said. “It’s just straightforward and good.”

Whatever the band’s influences might be, it’s working. And as the band members try to define the sound they seem to have effortlessly captured onto a shiny piece of plastic, DePaoli interjects, “Future Top 40,” and smiles at the description.

“The best I can say is mainstream rock,” Andrew said to describe the sound. “It’s difficult to classify.”

“I think that’s the thing that’s helped a lot,” DePaoli said. “We do that kind of music that we can just go play. In that respect it’s mainstream.”

“Surrender The Mystery” covers a span on genres, which slams the listener against the wall with opening songs “Lock Down” and “Vulnerable.” Both songs show a harder, somewhat tougher side to the band’s diverse sound. “Some Days” is slow and melodic, and while band members chose it to be the single played on KRZQ, it is not the strongest song on the CD.

“If we could record every song we have, we would. But you have to choose what represents you best and sounds good,” James said. “The nine songs show the diverse style of who we are and what we play.

“The album is the time capsule of where the band is at, at that moment,” James said.

“Eightthroughfive” would have been a good single with a deeper and quick beat and less depressing lyrics, but “Credits At A Standstill” would give “Eightthroughfive” a run for its money with a catchy melody and smooth vocals, reminiscent of Incubus, and moody lyrics that are easy to remember and sing along with.

Either way, the five band members have come together to record an album that complements each member’s mastery of their individual instrument and, most importantly, Gray’s voice, which is strong and well suited to rock music: gritty and raspy, melodic and smooth.

As a whole, “Surrender The Mystery” is well produced, even though it wasn’t necessarily easy, or cheap, to get there.

“We had my family members help out a lot,” Johnson said. “They were really supportive, especially my uncle, who said it was a donation.”

Johnson’s uncle can consider that a donation to his nephew’s future. Along with Andrew, Johnson attends the University of Nevada, Reno but isn’t sure of his future at the college.

“This will be my job,” Johnson said with certainty. “I won’t have a desk job for anything.”

Johnson’s band members echo his sentiment and with the hard work they have put in to promote the band and the performance on Friday, there is no doubt Days No Different will be in the future Top 40 on the Billboard charts.

“We see ourselves doing this instead of our day jobs,” James said. “Just selling records and playing shows.”

Friday’s performance at the Grand Sierra Resort is $5 and starts at 8 p.m. Days No Different will play along with local bands Wayward and Promises Promises. For audience members 21 and up, the ticket to the show will waive the cover charge at Nikki Beach for the after party. - Cortney Maddock


"Days no Different go Grand for CD release"

Things have moved quickly for Reno rock band Days no Different. Less than a year ago the group was an acoustic duo -- singer-guitarist John Gray and drummer Brian James.

Now the band has filled out to a five-piece, has recorded the nine-song album "Surrender the Mystery," and will play a CD-release show June 27 in the Grand Sierra Resort showroom.

And Days no Different (think Nickelback) will make the rounds on radio in the week before the show as well. On Friday the band has a DJ shift on KRZQ, 100.9 FM, after it won a round of fund-raising for KRZQ's "Pay it Forward" campaign. From 7 p.m. to midnight the band gets to call the playlist and play through its new album on the air. On Sunday the band will be live on competing station KDOT, 104.5 FM. And an appearance is tentative for Thursday on 96.5 FM Alice; three stations with three largely different audiences.

"We're very proud that we can be good for everybody," drummer James said of the band's crossover sound.

For the Grand Sierra show, it was all about perseverance.

"We wanted to shoot big and make it an event," James said. "Turn some heads and make it fun for us. We didn't have to beg (the Grand Sierra), we just had to keep at it. Grand Sierra has been really awesome, and then it was EJ (the DJ's) idea to do an afterparty at Nikki Beach."

So that night, the $5 cover to get into the show at 8 p.m. also gets you into Nikki Beach later that night. Reno bands Wayward and Promises Promises open the show.

While Days No Different has played to crowds of about 200 without what James called full-force promotion, the Grand Sierra Showroom will be a big place to fill. But the band hopes for at least 500-600 people, which they'd consider a success.

"We've gone after this thing with all guns," James said.

After the Grand Sierra show, the band hits the road for a month-long tour of the West, and returns to Reno for KRZQ's Pay it Forward grand finale concert on July 26. James said he hopes the band's 1980s-vintage Suburban won't eat up all its earnings in gas.

"It's kept a few of us up at night wondering how we're going to do it (he hinted at trying anything from hawking T-shirts by day to other dubious acts by night). But there's other bands doing it, so there's a way. As an unsigned band, touring is a matter of will.

"Surrender the Mystery" is available at Days shows, through its MySpace page and on iTunes.

Labels: local artists - Jason Kellner


Discography

Self Title EP: 4 tracks. Single "Some Days" placed in regular rotation on 104.5 KDOT. All tracks played 1700AM Wolf Pack Radio.

Full Length "Surrender the Mystery" on sale now.
KRZQ supported CD release party.
"Somedays" placed in regular rotation on KRZQ.

Photos

Bio

Days No Different is a young group that formed to exceed expectations, live their ambitions, and take the stage where bands like Incubus, Aerosmith, Collective Soul, Nickelback, Matchbox Twenty, and The Police left off.

'Days' started as an acoustic trio packing coffee houses in their hometown of Reno, NV. Unsatisfied and hungry, they evolved into an energetic and accomplished five-piece powerhouse with rows of girls fronting crowds of fans that dance and fill everywhere they play.

Days No Different has already had their hit song 'Some Days' placed in regular rotation on the local rock station. Along with that single, other popular tracks have also played on college radio. Each new song is another potential hit, and offers relief for an ailing rock and roll culture.

The band is inspired by John Gray's passion, and completed by Brian James' experience, Danny Johnson's creativity, Matt Andrew's energy, and Jeff DePaoli's wisdom. Days No Different is set to surprise all those who think popular music is boring, shallow, and has nothing left to offer.

Days has competed in heavy-music competitions on the road that were decided by the audience, and still won. They have played billionaire Christmas parties, fraternity get-togethers, charity showcases, and shared the stage with many national acts. While touring, the boys have tested their gas gauge in the middle of the desert while passing perfectly accessible gas stations (just to see if they could do it). They enjoyed the company of hitchhikers. They impressed first-time audiences. All while supporting their first four song EP. Which has sold-out and been pressed four times.

With all of this behind them and the world in front of them they are set to release their first full-length album in June and hit the road to support their music, meet new friends, and leave new fans wanting more.