Eric Knight
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"Eric Knight - Album Review"

Eric Knight - Fractured Fairy Tales
28 Records - TE10430

Miami's Eric Knight is a former hair metal purveyor, with perhaps the only ghost of that past on his solo debut being the intensity of his vocals. More rooted in grunge and modern alt sounds, the guitar heavy rock ranges from the hook fueled "The Obvious One" to the Creed like "Crux Of The Matter" and the alt folk fervor in "Silly Love Song." Eric's obvious versatility in both songwriting and vocal stylings make for very solid songs that at their core are just good, edgy rock.

URL: http://www.ericknightonline.com E-mail: rec28@aol.com - Music Morsels Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury


"Circle of Songs @ The Knitting Factory"

Eric Knight - Eric's latest CD Fractured Fairy Tales keeps his rock-based sound with such fuel charges numbers as "Flamenco" and "Crux of the Matter." Working again with longtime co-producer Keith Rose (Aerosmith, Soul Asylum), Knight takes this album sonically, lyrically and musically to a whole different place. - BMI Showcase


"I Am the Product By. Omar Perez"

"I guess you get to a point in your life when you start asking the big questions, like what does it all mean," says Eric Knight, sitting in a Kendall Barnes & Noble, reflecting on personal turns of events that have changed his priorities. Sure, the shelves of the corporate megastore are filled with books about enlightenment and discovery, but no chicken soup -- or overpriced Starbucks coffee for that matter -- helps answer The Question. Still Knight has found some clues in, of all places, death. "I had a lot of people, like ten or twelve, die during the past couple of years," he continues. "You start seeing your mortality, and you think 'Man, tomorrow I'll be dead and this all means nothing.'" (Among those Knight reflects on this evening is late local musician Delvis Machado, who died three years ago in a freak accident when a three-foot-thick tree trunk fell on his car.) "One day you're here and the next day you're gone."

While Knight isn't necessarily planning to leave this world just yet, he is looking to get out of South Florida -- an area some may call a world of its own. Knight has had enough of Miami and plans to relocate to Los Angeles next year after spending more than a decade trying to get the Big Break in South Florida. "I think it's a waste of time waiting for something to happen here," says Knight, who is not exactly the stuff that gets glow sticks waving or gets a what-what out of people. "Miami has never, and will never be a rock-music mecca. Everything that surrounds what I'm doing is [in California]. I've already done and accomplished everything I set out to do here. You can get signed anywhere, but I want to increase my chances as much as possible."

With the upcoming Fractured Fairy Tales, Knight, frontman and namesake of the Eric Knight Band (Knight, bassist David Poole, guitarist R.J. Ronquillo, and uni-named drummer Jwani), hopes to use the sophomore effort as a steppingstone to bigger and better things, whether here or in California. The opening "Crux of the Matter" injects straight-up riffs and flying guitar solos over a midtempo beat, moving on to speed up the momentum on "The Oblivious One" and incorporate a country twang on "It's All Good." Knight yields a distinctive baritone to songs like "One of the Abused" ("How long did it take you to leave this place/Full of shame, fear, and disgrace"), while tracks like "Silly Love Song" and "Let Me Go," with its string orchestrations and lamenting pianos, balance the effort with sincere ballads that either tug at one's heartstrings or raise a lighter.

Growing up in Hialeah, Knight (real last name Diaz) first encountered music when he was six years old after going to a Kiss concert. In his early teens he learned drums and guitar, and by the time he was thirteen, a friend asked Knight to sing for a band. "I had always wanted to be the guitar player. I just kind of stumbled into the singing thing," Knight reflects. After several short-lived tenures in other bands, Knight went to co-form late-Eighties/early-Nineties hair band Vandal, whose arena-rock-quality shows made it a popular act in South Florida. But internal friction, among other things, led to the band's 1995 breakup. (The day before September 11, Knight and his former bandmates were planning a one-show reunion at the Button South, but the terrorist attacks put an end to the idea.)

Frustrated with the way things were going, and facing a breakup with a then-girlfriend, Knight dropped out of the music scene for two years. "I was so disgusted by everything that happened," Knight says. "Having put so much work and time and effort into one thing to have the rug pulled, I didn't want to have to go through that again."

But the itch to write and record slowly returned. One day he went to buy music equipment at a store where to-be (and former) Eric Knight Band guitarist Rick Valero worked, and the two began tossing around the idea of forming a group. Through Valero, Poole followed suit, and several drummers later, Jwani joined the band. "I was always a fan of Eric, going back to the Vandal days, and I was intrigued by his voice," says Poole. "He was a combination of talent and perseverance." Ronquillo joined one and a half years ago after Valero and the others parted ways. The band released 1998's Near Life Experience, whose "Play on Words," a catchy pop-rock anthem, landed the group regional air and video play, and helped it secure opening slots for high-profile acts including the Dave Matthews Band and Kiss. "One of the high points of my career is being able to say that I opened for Kiss, with makeup, on their farewell tour, even if the farewell tour [probably wasn't final] and they replaced Peter Criss with some guy that dressed like him," Knight says. The band recorded a song for the Tributized Def Leppard tribute album, and besides playing bars and venues, performed at twenty area high schools, where Knight talked to students about the music business -- and likely pissed off parents by encouraging their sons and daughters to become musicians.

Around 2000, eager for a followup, Knight entered the studio to start work on what would become Fractured Fairy Tales, although as Murphy's Law dictates, everything that can go wrong probably will. Earlier this year, for example, a wealthy investor-turned-fan offered to fund Knight's endeavors. Attorneys from both parties spent six months discussing the finer details, but the would-be investor backed out the day before final arrangements were to be made. "This guy just loved music; he was looking at it as 'You have potential, and I have money,'" Knight says. "In that respect it's a cool thing. We told him it's a risky proposition. I think that may have freaked him out.

"After this whole thing fell through with the investor I just said 'Screw it.' You try to depend on people and people just don't wind up coming through." To offset that reality, Knight created his own 28 Records to release his own material, although the plan is to have the label picked up by a major. That would allow Knight to keep the rights with financial backing and the ability to sign bands, as well as perhaps score music for films.

For a while Knight floated the idea of playing as a stripped-down solo artist while continuing the band thing separately. (Knight did perform a few solo dates in New York City and Los Angeles.) As a result, Soundsystem, the name of the collective, surfaced momentarily, although it didn't last very long. "Everybody wanted to feel like a part of the band, and I guess they didn't feel like they were a part of it under my name," Knight says. "People might take it the wrong way but it's not that. I don't want things to be half-assed. People might call it ego, but it's my name and my product, and I am my product."


THE LOWDOWN
Who / What:
The Eric Knight Band opens for Aerosmith, Kid Rock, and Run-D.M.C.
Details:
Saturday, October 19, Tickets cost $35 to $79.50. Call 561-793-0445.
Where:
The Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach
- Miami New Times


"Eric Knight - Street Magazine"

If persistence has a poster child, it's local singer / songwriter Eric Knight. E-mails, faxes, streamer planes -- if you're on this guy's database (or anywhere under the Miami sky, for that matter), you know what he's doing.

Getting his start in the mid-'80s as the frontman for popular local hair-metal outfit Vandal, Knight has been working on a solo career for the past five years. Next week (the week of Oct. 21) he releases his second full-length album, Fractured Fairy Tales. It was recorded at Elysian Recording Studios in Boca Raton with engineer and coproducer Keith Rose (Aerosmith, R.E.M.) at the helm. The result is a grungy, Bon Jovi-esque album, smartly produced and with influences ranging from U2 to Extreme.

Underbelly interrogates Knight about his music, KISS, media blitzing and mental disorders.

Underbelly: Describe the difference between Vandal and the new Eric Knight music.

Knight: No more Vandal! (Laughs) I wouldn't compare it to Vandal. First off, the band [which included Derek Cintron and Tony Medina, now of DC3] broke up over seven years ago. I even sing differently from those days. It's different in the sense of songwriting styles and the approaches to the songwriting and production.

Underbelly: You've been working with engineer Keith Rose for a long time. What makes him so important to your sound?

Knight: Keith is just an incredible human being for starters. He's funny. He hates all recorded music, except Rush, and still makes you feel comfortable with what you're doing. He really kicked my ass on this record as far as getting the best vocal performances possible, cutting out the excess B.S. He has just an incredible sense of where it is you want to go sonically, and has really believed in me. I guess that's what makes him so special. I know Keith will say to me ''your gay,'' but I do love him. He's a great friend.

Underbelly: Why did you call the album Fractured Fairy Tales?

Knight: Because I think on the surface, most of us do live in a fairy-tale world. We have these preconceived notions of how things are suppose to be. The white picket fence, things of this nature, when really that is not the reality of our situation and that's where my whole ''everything is not what it seems'' view comes from.

I'm at the point in my life where I'm questioning everything about myself and everyone around me, especially after 9/11. I feel religion is at the root of all this evil around us. I know I sound bleak, but I'm as hopeful as everyone else that things change for the better. That's why I decided on music as a career, because I think it's more universal and brings more people together in a positive way than anything else. More than any religion could.

Underbelly: There's a lot of ''me against the powers that be'' on the new album. You even named your publishing company One vs. the World. Is this a rational take on your situation, or is it paranoia?

Knight: No Howard Hughes here. It just illustrates and references the things that I have gone through to get to this point in my life musically. I feel like it's been ''one vs. the world.'' I've busted my ass to get here. I am a long way from where I want to be as a songwriter, although I feel this album is moving in the right direction. Without change there is no progress, they say. I'm constantly trying to change and challenge myself.

Underbelly: You got to open up for KISS on their farewell tour. Is Gene Simmons' tongue really that long, or is it a clever prosthesis? Were you a member of the KISS Army? Did you hang with the legends?

Knight: The KISS show was awesome, a dream come true. That's what got me into music and singing in the first place. Although I'd met KISS several other times at other events, I did not get to meet them at that show. But Gene's tongue is no prosthesis -- I can tell you it's the real deal. I was a member of the KISS Army, and I still have all my stuff. I am one of those freaks with a lot of KISS memorabilia in storage at a top-secret location.

As far as interacting with KISS, I really only got to see them from afar at the show. I met them at several other functions and that night it was just the whole heavy security thing. It was fun, though me and R.J. [Ronquillo, Knight's guitarist] just stood there at the front singing every song. I felt like a wee lad again.

Underbelly: You have extravagant promotional techniques, going as far as hiring a plane to fly over Zeta Fest with a banner advertising for your first solo album, Near Life Experience. What's up with that? Does it really work?

Knight: I think it does work. It's all in the way you present yourself. I have always tried doing things differently than the norm, but that's just me. I want to present the most total, professional package that I can. But in the music industry you must try and be above the pack in every way you can to stand out. If not, what's the sense in doing it? Of course, the bottom line is you have to have great songs to accompany this. I would like to make this a long career. Some people think it's silly -- hell, I do sometimes -- but if it's going to keep me and the band in people's minds I'll do it. I owe it all to the original whores, KISS.

• • •

Eric Knight performs Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury Way, West Palm Beach, 561-795-8883) when he opens for Aerosmith and Kid Rock. Tickets are $35 and up, the show starts at 5 p.m., and it's all-ages. No date yet for an official release show. For more info, surf to www.EricKnightOnline.com.
- Knight Cap: By. Rene Alvarez


Discography

Near Life Experience - 1998
Fractured Fairy Tales - 2002
Delusions Of Grandeur - (Early 2010)

Photos

Bio

The story begins a vision to conquer the world, well the musical world that is. Eric Knight began singing and performing at the age of 6 and writing since age 13. Since that time one of his ultimate goals has always been to write great songs period. "I've always believed in if it’s a great song, it’s a great song no matter what group or person sings it.”

1998: Enter Near Life Experience. Debuting in the fall of 1998 this 10-song debut effort features Eric singing songs about life, love and hope hence the title. "I wanted a title that was profound in many ways, and that was a direct reflection of what has been going on in my life the past couple of years. The title also represents a continual search to find myself in this life, and what this life means. Musically speaking this is only the beginning of where I'm going." Eric not only wrote and arranged all of the tracks on Near Life Experience; he also co-produced the album with the recording talents of Keith Rose (Aerosmith, R.E.M., Soul Asylum). The album went on to spawn the first single and video for Play On Words which received substantial airplay on such video networks as MTV2, MTV Latino, the Box & IMNTV, while also garnering favorable press and reviews in such publications as: Billboard, Album Network and the New Times.
1999: Finds Eric touring heavily in support of Near Life Experience mixing it up with T.V. Appearances, record in-store appearances and culminating with an opening slot for the Dave Matthews Band. Eric was also involved on an educational tour playing for over 20 high schools in South Florida. Billed as Music Business 101 Eric performed and spoke on the music industry and the different types of careers for students interested in pursuing a career in the music industry, it was a tremendous success. “I’ve always wanted to do something like that for so long, and it finally became a reality,” says the singer. “It’s great to be able to encourage and talk to students about their career goals, especially if it’s about the music industry.”
2000: A new millennium. Eric again would enter the studio to record a track for an upcoming Def Leppard tribute album entitled Tributized. Released in April of that year, the album ended up being officially endorsed by Def Leppard themselves. Also in the month of April one of Eric’s biggest personal accomplishments to date, opening up for childhood heroes KISS on their Farewell Tour. “It was an incredible experience, something that I’ve always dreamed of since I could remember, and to happen like this on their last tour ever was the best.” In August Eric would yet again enter the studio to begin recording the follow up to Near Life Experience. Working again with long time co-producer Keith Rose would prove to be his best effort to date, Fractured Fairy Tales. The album would be plagued with many delays and setbacks. During all this turmoil, Eric packed his bags and guitar for the solo acoustic show circuit doing many singer songwriter showcases as well as hosting his own nights in L.A. and New York City.

2001: Continued on the same path that 2000 left off on, playing more acoustic dates while putting the finishing touches on Fractured Fairy Tales. In this year Eric would undergo even more changes and setbacks both personally and professionally.

2002: The tone has been set for what has become the anticipated follow-up to 1998's Near Life Experience. With 12 stunning new tracks Eric is ready to take his music to the next level. “I’ve learned that in life everything is not what it seems. People have these beliefs and pre-conceived notions; fairy tales of how certain things are and should be, including myself. We all of a sudden realize that that’s not the reality of our situation.” Some of Fractured Fairy Tales subject matter deals with such topics whether in a funny or sad way, nevertheless getting their points across. The albums delves into different sonic territories this time around, while still keeping its rock based sound. The fuel charged Flamenco & Crux of the Matter are the aggressive sides to the album while Silly Love Song attests to the funny side of trying to find love. Then there are the poignant Let Me Go and One of the Abused the latter dealing with a story of a woman’s years of struggle with abuse and trying to break free. Working again with longtime co-producer and engineer Keith Rose (Aerosmith, R.E.M., Soul Asylum) this album is taken sonically, lyrically and musically to a whole different place. “This album is a quantum leap from the first one in every aspect,” says Knight. “Everything about it is much more cohesive. I’m extremely proud of this work and I’m curious to see the public’s reaction to it.” On the eve of the album’s release Eric opened a coveted slot for Aerosmith & Kid Rock on their summer tour. The year was capped off with an endorsement deal with Lace Guitars home to Korn, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Kid Rock and more...

2003-2004: Began with Eric’s quest for a new