Fly in the Ointment
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Fly in the Ointment

Band Alternative Rock


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"Making a buzz"

University of North Alabama's official newspaper THE FLOR-ALA.

Making a buzz
Fly in the Ointment to play at The Smokehouse Friday
By Jennifer Hill Published: Thursday, March 10, 2005

Fly in the Ointment has recently come back into the public eye with a new crew expecting to become a societal influence. F.I.T.O. will be performing their "politically fueled, punk-influenced barrage of sound" at The Smokehouse on Friday, March 11 starting at 9 p.m.

F.I.T.O. is the brainchild of Tom Stone, who started the studio Red Room Productions back in 1997 as a part of Living Reef Records. Stone was in and out of various bands while working on the studio project that later became F.I.T.O.

In 2003, F.I.T.O. released its first album under the publishing company Paranormal Parachute Flight Gear, called Gravatation, Pulleys, and Puppet Strings. The original members of the group were Stone, Daniel Hodge, Kevin Sledge, Chris James, Kevin Reed and special guest Wallace Schulte.

"F.I.T.O., you notice, was started when G.W. (President George W. Bush) got into office. I just felt as a musician-I felt that we as musicians-should be giving it to the people," said Stone. "We should give them an objective look at what our particular opinions are on situations, and see if they agree. So I started writing this album.

"We have songs like 'Bland Matter,' that talk about how we're all just nothing but numbers. That's what Bland Matter is-we're like binary code," said Stone. "And it goes back to spiritually, too, because we have songs like 'The Compromise' that sometimes talk about certain things, not only politics, but also perverse sexual activity in the church.

"That's what 'The Compromise' is about-you're bringing your faith to your church and yet the preacher is reaching out and grabbing you in a way that you feel ... broken. Not only can you apply that to your perverse missionaries of the faith, but you can also apply that to the actual government.

" Now, the group has a new member lineup. Along with Stone, F.I.T.O. added Jesse Mardis on back-up vocals and guitar, Scott DeFreese on drums, percussion and back-up vocals, Zach Thomas on bass guitar, Brent Romine on traditional percussion and vocal instrument and Kevin White on percussion and sampler.

F.I.T.O. has a wide collection of influences.

"The first band that I was just severely hardcore about was Metallica," Mardis said. "And I happen to know how to play every Metallica song that there ever was...and then I started really getting into Pantera.

But there's been a million bands through out like Prong, Kings X, Iron Maiden, Helmet, Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Deicide, Dillinger Escape Plan, Morbid Angel, Death, Cannibal Corpse, Pig Destroyer ... Faith No More ... Acid Bath ... Frank Zappa ... and some hair metal-but that's just me because they always had just radical guitar players and I love anything where someone just completely rocks out."

According to Stone, his earliest influences were, "Fantomous, Boy Sets Fire, Minor Threat, Agent Orange, Shellac, Steal Pole Bath Tub. Also, R.E.M. definitely for me, because they we're one of my earliest influences of my early days and my early music, because I thought that they were the best ever as far as songwriting goes."

Their music seems to draw an audience of all ages. Fans young and old, anywhere from ages 14 to 40, make up the wide range of the fan base.

"We have stuff for everybody," said Mardis. "We have stuff you can dance to, stuff you can bang your head to, stuff you can sit next to your woman and cry or whatever. I mean you know what I'm saying, not necessarily sit next to your woman and cry, but stuff for everybody"

"There's just so much different stuff going on that it really does show a diverse amalgam of music and a dexterity that you don't find in other bands because we all come from different corners of the music spectrum...I've got my whole punk rock background," said Stone.

"I'm metal as sh*t," says Mardis. "But that's what's beautiful about us, that's what we always say it's like a huge head-on collision, a big train wreck of all this pretty stuff."

F.I.T.O.'s music writing process may seem different from other bands' techniques as well. Stone says he developed a lot of their mixing and vocal techniques from the inspiration of Bob Mould of the '80s band, Husker Du.

"We start everything backwards. Instead of having the guitar part first, we start the drums up. We start out with beats and emotions. It's totally like art. We start with the background first and work up towards the foreground. So it's layering. It's a technical process, but it does give us the results we want, which is diversity."

Right now, the band is in the process of completing their sophomore album entitled Walking Backwards, which should be released mid-summer. They say it's, "nothing to do with trends or market surveys, and everything to do with a group of guys, preference and commitment to follow where their hearts take them, be it somewhere angry, manic, seductive or frightening."

Fly in the Ointment is usually a phrase that signifies a difficulty that causes anxiety, an inconvenience that detracts from the usefulness of something, a small problem or troublesome detail-and this is just what the band wants people to think about them.

"We're trying to put forth a bigger message perhaps to get people to look at a bigger picture to not suffer from tunnel vision and not just think about you and your life and what you're doing right now, but think about the bigger picture to what your life is affecting outside your actual little terrain of habitat," said Stone.

"All of us have an impact on the earth, and animals, harmony, the whole thing, that's what we're all about."

For information about booking, Russell Quinn can be contacted at For the latest Fly In The Ointment songs and updates, visit - THE FLOR-ALA.


Gravitations Pulleys and Puppet Strings



C. Thomas Chandler began playing guitar and writing songs in his early teens, as well as performing with a variety of local bands in the famed Muscle Shoals area of Alabama. Now an accomplished singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, he juggles four diametrically opposed projects, his project studio and record label. His diverse talent and musical interests seem to be constantly leading in several different directions simultaneously, with Chandler himself as a main creative force and producer of each of the resulting bodies of work.

Stegosaurus (formerly Spineless) is Chandler’s current moniker while writing, recording and performing acoustically. He says, “Just a guy with a guitar. This includes the plethora of acoustic stuff I've done since the 90's with additional unreleased material.” He describes the sound as “Bob Mould, Grant McClennan, and Dave Grohl on sedatives in a blender underneath a wash of Takamine tone”. Others have compared Chandler’s vocal style to Maynard James Keenan of A Perfect Circle and Glenn Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket. During the course of this decades-spanning project, Chandler has opened for acts including The Secret Handshake, Bob Mould, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and the Gamble Brothers Band.

Fly in the Ointment started out as a side project in 2001 with the band drawing a line in the sand between the crumbling walls of the alternative/rock genres and injecting a healthy dose of psychedelia. FITO is a politically fueled, punk influenced arsenal influenced by At the Drive-In, Rise Against, and the Dillinger Escape Plan and is designed to enlighten its audience to the social and environmental issues facing the world today. Chandler demonstrates his seemingly effortless ability to maneuver between light, haunting melodies and gravelly, soul-piercing screams. FITO released the full length Gravitation, Pulleys and Puppet Strings in 2003 on Chandler’s label, Living Reef Records. Their sophomore effort, Walking Backwards, is currently in production.

Leaving the heavy residue of FITO behind and forming a new ambient noise, Chandler formed the AntiKythera Mechanism in 2006 . The sound veers off the beaten path for a different shade of gray. Electronic beats underneath acoustic rhythms, pianos and nuances of multiple genres lull the listener into a daydream of sorts. Here you definitely see a more mellow side of Chandler, reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Shins, Silversun Pickups and Death Cab for Cutie.

Jesus Crisis showcases the “less is more” agenda of Chandler and Matt Hoagland of Sacramento, CA. Hoagland approached Chandler in 2006 about writing together for this project, and the result has been a return to no holds barred rock but with an industrial slant. Intelligent and invigorating, their influences include Tool, Deftones, Fugazi and Mudvayne. Not surprisingly, Chandler’s voice has been compared to the vocalists for those respective bands, among others. The duo is presently writing, recording and mixing with plans to release an EP in early 2008.