Eastern Conference Champions
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Eastern Conference Champions

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"The Southamption Collection EP";
"Ameritown" Suretone/Interscope Records.



In an age overrun with label created metrosexual rock bands, it’s pretty refreshing to see a group of guys walk on stage looking like they might just as easily be heading to work at a gas station. Perhaps it’s because Josh Ostrander (vocals/guitar/keys) and Greg Lyons (drums/synth) spent a summer doing landscaping work that the band lacks the pretension that seems to come hand in hand with a lot of groups today. It probably has just as much to do with Vern Zaborowski’s (bass/sampler) no bullshit attitude and sense of humor. Regardless, they know they’re lucky to be playing music for a living, and their sheer delight shows in their stubble faced smiles every time they plant themselves in front of an audience.

Eastern Conference Champions hail from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It was there that all three members grew up in the town of Southampton (hence the namesake of their debut EP The Southampton Collection). Longtime friends Greg and Josh had already worked together recording with the band Laguardia. Their full length Welcome To The Middle (2003) was a critical success, but big label politics kept the record on ice and left the band hanging high and dry. It was a frustrating experience for Greg and Josh, who had bent over backwards to please the execs only to receive little in return. Enough was enough, and the two left their friends and band mates to go back to work on their own terms. Unfortunately that meant getting “real” jobs.

The summer of 2004 was a character building experience for the two. Just a few months earlier they’d been a nationally touring major label act, and now they found themselves digging holes and planting saplings under the glaring sun. Not a couple of guys to bitch and moan about the hand they’d been dealt, the friends jumped right back on the horse and used their free time at night to write and record what would become the material for The Southampton Collection. The result was a wonderful set of songs reeking of liberation and lost love, fashioned under the influence of 7 a.m. Camel Light and coffee blue-collar wake up calls. Rough hints of The Who, Rufus Wainwright, and The Police can all be detected in the mix.

After 4 months of mowing lawns and putting down tracks, the two decided they were ready to take their music to the people. They’d showered off the grass stains and stench of weed whacker gasoline, but Josh and Greg had one more hurdle to face. They needed another member to round out the group. Enter Vern, the equally disheveled and disgruntled ex-bassist of the band CKY. He’d heard what Greg and Josh were working on, and was interested in the idea of playing with them. As the other two recall, it was one evening while the three were chasing whisky with cold beer that Vern happily declared, “alright, I’ll play with you fuckers.” Six words and the deal was done; with no frills or funny business the Eastern Conference Champions came to be. As Josh explains, the name is the result of “making decisions that we thought were cool, and not having to answer to an idiot A&R guy. We wanted something original.”

They began playing shows in Philly and NYC, catching attention with an unabashed approach to their live performances. With their music the band stray away from lofty goals like chart domination, settling for “forming some kind of connection with the crowd.” Publications like Blender took notice, remarking that they found it “refreshing to see a band who actually looked like they enjoyed playing their songs.” There’s nothing more disheartening than to watch a band play like they wish they weren’t there, and that’s never the case with Eastern Conference Champions.

The band just finished recording its debut full length cd with famed producer Owen Morris (Oasis, Ash) to be released in July 2007 on Suretone/Interscope Records.