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The best kept secret in music


"CURRENT Reviewed #2"

Current (

Not since Trent Reznor declared that "This machine is obsolete" on 1999's slow-selling The Fragile has a rocker from Cleveland damned himself to the extent that Gatlin frontman Jon Drake does on his band's latest. "We're in the current of what just came around," he sings on the disc's title cut, a ham-fisted rap-rock workout that sounds a lot like the Xtreme Radio playlist in pureed form. Moreover, for a group that's struggling to escape such comparisons, matters aren't helped any by titling a song "Stained." But hey, unlike the platinum band of that name, at least Gatlin spells it right. In many cases, this group is also more musically proficient than Staind, given Drake's impressive range and forceful upper register; the garrulous, impenitent guitars of Don DeBiase and Patrick Ols; and the steady hand of drummer Mike Morrison. The problem is, Gatlin never really strikes an original pose on Current. When the band is at its most feral, on cuts like the bracing "Only I" and the chugging "Stained," it sounds a lot like Sevendust, with dense, cement-mixer guitars and barking vocals. When Gatlin leavens the aggression with touches of steely melody, it's reminiscent of an updated Candlebox. And when the group rhymes, well, it makes Biz Markie's slobbering, disjointed flow seem smooth by comparison. It's all done with professionalism and attention to detail, which means that, with some redirecting, this band could very well develop into a force, in line for a record deal of some sort. But until Gatlin learns to swim away from this Current, it will only be swept away to the margins of modern rock. | originally published: July 17, 2002
- Cleveland Scene Magazine July 2002

"CURRENT Reviewed #1"

It’s interesting to watch a band develop from a group of guys that have fun playing music into a group that has the potential and the desire to get signed, move forward and become a professional group. It has certainly been interesting to watch the development of Gatlin. They’ve grown from a band that I really didn’t want to cover because someone planted an idea in my head that they were d*cks to a collection of guys that I’ve gotten to become good friends with while at the same time rising to the top of the Cleveland music scene. With CURRENT, the band has taken things up a notch to get themselves out of Cleveland and onto the national scene.

There are many good things to say about CURRENT. Probably the best thing I can say about CURRENT is that the band maintained their musical integrity and direction on it, while simply improving what was already in place. Where albums like GATLINIZED STEEL and FORGET FOREVER had more of a dated, 80s metal sound to them, CURRENT is fresh and modern, yet sprinkled with enough of their past influences to not let you forget that it’s Gatlin. In short, they avoided becoming a trendy piece of crap sellout band here.

From a musical standpoint, CURRENT is a solid listen from start to finish. There are great songs, and there are a few unmemorable tracks, but no where on the CD are there tracks that make you want to pull your ears off your head so you don’t have to listen to them anymore. Songs like “Undivided” and “Endless” are very much ready for today’s commercial radio market, especially “Endless”. Vocalist Jon Drake has seen to it on this album to keep his vocals clean in delivery, which is one of the key strengths of this album. He’s very strong vocally, yet consistently resists the urge to go into more of a snarling wail on tracks like “Other Half.” Guitarists Don DiBiase and Patrick Ols rock on this CD, and clearly are the standout performers of the disc. Most impressive is the way they’ve “dirtied up” the sound to more closely match their live sound. Where FORGET FOREVER had mostly clean solos and riffs, there’s a raw, yet produced feeling to their playing. Drummer Steve Lockhart is extremely solid as well, keeping things in time on tracks like “Current”.

As far as the songs go, there’s a lot of good, and there’s a lot of places where the experimentation of the band left some average results. Looking at the CD, there are easily six, maybe seven tracks that are extremely solid, with two tracks that I could live without ever hearing again. Probably the best songs on the record are ones that the band hopes don’t draw initial attention from a label to them. “Only I” and “November” are both ballads, and they are as good as ballads get on any level. Musically solid, easily relatable lyrically, and a good pace to keep the listeners interested are the standout points that put these tracks above the rest. “Current”, with DiBiase barking out a Biohazard-like rap vocal, is also a fun track that will get a lot of play in my player. “Walk Away” was such a tremendous song on their two-song demo from last year, but is so overproduced that it’s just programmed out of my playback. And “One More Time” just comes off as a rehash track of other ideas that they’ve had, and used, in the past. Other than these two, and the sh*t studio effect that replaced Lockhart’s drumbashing just before the chorus of “Other Half”, the rest of the CD is a winner.
BOTTOM LINE – It will be very interesting to see how the labels respond to Gatlin this time around. It’s pretty clear that they are ready to take their music to the next level. Like any CD, CURRENT has a few missteps, but even with them, there’s not anything on here to scare away fans of hard rock with a modern twinge to it. Good stuff from the band.
- MBL Magazine June 2002

"THE EP Reviewed #1"

Hardcore Marketing, Inc.

Since it was founded in 1995 by vocalist Jon Drake and guitarist Don DeBiase, Gatlin become one of the biggest names in the Northeast Ohio hard rock scene with three CD releases and a packed performance schedule of gigs as far away as New York, Atlanta and Nashville. Since 2002's Current , the band produced two demos that it's distributed to fans and industry types; it's looking for a label to release its fourth CD. Meanwhile, it has collected the songs from the demos, along with some bonus tracks — a Browns booster song, a live track and a track recorded for an unreleased compilation — on this ten-track CD.

These tracks emphasize the melodic, almost pop nature of Gatlin today. There are chugging, metallic guitars, but they take a back seat to fluid vocal lines and harmony-drenched choruses. Only the Linkin Park-like, alternately snarling and dreamy “Broken Secret” and the Browns song, “Killer Kanines,” feature the band's nü-metal roots prominently. “Reflections” is a near-ballad with quiet guitars and prominent vocal harmonies. Drake calls this its “signature song,” suggesting it's aiming less for metal fans than a mainstream crowd that likes upfront vocals and singable melodies.

Flowing melodies dominate most tracks, including the midtempo rockers “Unreal,” “Undivided” and “Going Under,” the heavier “Disarray,” and the power ballad “Serenity,” with its juxtaposition of soft, reflective sections against big choruses. “Between the Lines,” is a straightforward, uptempo rocker, while the live track, “November,” is a ballad showcasing a mournful vocal accompanied by restrained guitars.

— Anastasia Pantsios
- Cleveland Free Times February 2004

"Gatlin Press Release"

Hardcore Marketing, Inc. Press Release - March 1st, 2003:

Unsigned Cleveland rockers Gatlin sold out (900+) Clear Channel's Odeon Concert Club last night for their 7th time in two years. This marks their 4th straight sellout show in Cleveland.

The band confirmed that they will be playing in New York City on Tuesday, March 25th at the Acme Underground and Wednesday, March 26th at Don Hill's for several A&R's.

The band is looking into chartering a 50-person bus and asking fans to make the trek to NYC w/ them. Fans will receive a limited edition Gatlin/NYC T-Shirt and a ticket to their next show in April at an as-of-yet undetermined venue.

The band also hit number one on Cleveland's after only two weeks of rotation w/ their new single "Reflection" from the new demo produced by Lawrence Gelburd (SXSW) and Ben Schigel (Switched).
- Hardcore Marketing, Inc. March 2003

"Rumors section"

Cleveland Scene Magazine
rumors section - December 1st, 2002:

"An A&R rep from Elektra Records reportedly attended Gatlin's show at the Odeon last Saturday. All signs point to this bunch as the next big signing out of Cleveland."
- Cleveland Scene Magazine December 2002

"Gatlin Write-up" write-up - December 16th, 2002:

"Gatlin – Cleveland, Ohio. Dynamic, energetic hard rock with nu-metal tendencies and pop flair. Imagine a cross between Hoobastank, Saliva, and From Zero with Linkin Park hooks. Info: Supporting three releases with Gatlinized Steel and Forget Forever, both of which are sold out, exceeding 5500 units. Most recent album, Current, moved over 500 units in first week of sale and was produced by Tony Gammalo (Spider Studios-Chimaira, Switched) and Ben Schigel of Switched. Have sold out the Odeon (900+) three times in 2002, six times in 2 years and set an Odeon annual attendance record with 3600 sales. Repeatedly draws 600+ to shows. Have opened for Megadeth, Testament, Blindside, Switched, & Vanilla Ice among others, headlined the Cleveland Music Festival in 2001 & 2002, and performed at the Support Our Troops Benefit and WTC Benefit. Online distribution through The Orchard. Retail distro through Harvest Media. Buzz: Recently signed with attorney Ed Kelman (ZZ Top). Is heading into the studio in January 2003 with producer Lawrence Gelburd (Integrated Entertainment, 8x speaker at SXSW) to record a new 3-song sampler. Thom Hazaert (Chimaira, Switched, Erase The Grey, Depswa) is pushing the band. Arista, Hollywood, Elektra, among several others have expressed interest. President of No Name is expected to attend the December 20 date at the Hi-Fi Club (Lakewood, Ohio). Showcases forthcoming…"
- write-up December 2002

"Gatlin Interview"

A band begins its journey to greatness with certain things in mind. Making good music, making music the band likes to play, and making music that the fans like to listen to. At some point, certain bands begin to lose that focus and start to put their attention on other things. Things like money, the number of CDs sold, the amount of attention they are getting from other sources other than their fans. And that journey to greatness turns into a job, and playing music transforms from something fun to something that is a trial. Luckily, the band Gatlin has not strayed from that original journey. At times they might have strayed off the path, but Gatlin was never that far off the path to greatness. And it is all paying off for them. But with all that popularity and good fortune, they have never lost sight of the original journey, to make good music, make music they like to play, and like music that the fans like to listen to. Jon, lead singer, Pat, guitar, and Steve, drummer, decided to have a seat and deal with some Punishment, and tell me about the journey, and the fun they have everyday.

MUSIC’S BOTTOM LINE (MBL) - When I hear Gatlin, I get the feel of a guitar based hard rock band, with a heavy bass line and melodic singing. Is that what you see in your band?
PAT OLS (PO) - Yes! We all really like to play our instruments, and we want people to see that we can write a 2:40 melodic song and still have a lot of playing parts evident. Gatlin is definitely a band that wants to make all of our parts known to the listener.
JON DRAKE (JD) - I think so, yeah. I have always seen us as a band that's basically just a hard rock band blended with some metal here and there, but mostly I would say that that assessment is fairly accurate. I think that one thing that also describes us very well would be to say that we try to put a hook in everywhere that we can - we always try to put a big hook SOMEWHERE in the song, so that every Gatlin tune you hear has something to where you go "damn, yeah, alright!", and will be singing it later.
STEVE LOCKHART (SL) - We all love heavy music, and I think people can see that come through in the music and live show. If you take out the vocals in a few songs and just hear the music, it's some damn heavy material! Great singing on top of crushing music, I think that's a better way to describe it.

MBL - Now you say we, is that to mean that every member of that band plays a role in the music that comes from Gatlin?
JD - Totally, and that's something that we've never had before. In the past, it was just Don and I relegated to doing all the songwriting, until Mikey came in, at which point he contributed a little, and then Pat came in and he was finally an equal member to Don and myself. But it wasn't until Steve and Kenny came in that we ever really had that cohesive, all-inclusive writing style that we use now. Everyone contributes, everyone has a say, and the best part is that none of us has any ego to sit there and say "well, I think more of my stuff should be used" or "I don't like that you changed what I wrote. I liked it fine the other way". We all have the same identical creative vision to create what's best for the song and for the band, and it makes for a really positive, free-flowing writing process for us.
SL - 100%. Everyone brings their ideas to the table and every one of them, even if they sound stupid, are tried out. Back when we were writing "Broken Secret", Pat had an idea that everyone just laughed at him for, but we tried it anyway - it turned out to be one of the most emotional parts, and my favorite part of the song! So we all give each other room to try new things. And that's why I think we come together the way we do, and why when we're writing and something comes together, it's just sick!
PO - We all have a role in the song writing process. It starts off with a few riffs, and before we know it, everyone has jumped in and made it their own. That is what makes the band special, because we all have each other's back and things just get done.

MBL - So you guys never get into the realm of the "Metallica Problem" with certain members feeling under used or their talents not being shown enough?
PO - We definitely don't have the "Metallica Problem". We all just know that everyone will put their special touch to each song. We don't have the pressure of somebody sitting behind us telling us what to play, which usually seems to be the case with bands out there. It’s like it’s one or 2 guys and the rest just play the puppet role.
JD - Even in the past when only a few of us would be doing all the writing, and could be accused of having guys filling that “puppet role” Pat talked about, we were lucky to never have that problem. We've never been a band with egos, even though I had that public perception at one time. We all realize what's important in the long run, and that sometimes one of us will simply just write something crappy. We're very fortunate to be able to all be very objective with ourselves and our music.
SL - I agree with Jon. Every musician has a dry spell when they just can't come up with something, and I think we can see when that happens to each other. And everyone's so honest with each other. If someone is playing something and it blows, that person will be told so. And we all know it's for the good of the song, so there isn't any ... animosity .

MBL - Now that "hook" that you spoke of, does that ever hurt any of the members feelings of "metal credibility" with the band?
JD - No, not at all. Even if we were worried about that, let's be honest... we lost that metal credibility as soon as we started writing the songs that ended up making up Current. The crazy thing is that even though we're moderately successful here in town now, our crowd now is almost 90% different people from what it was back in the "Forget Forever" and "Gatinized Steel" days. We don't really look for credibility in any specific circles, really - if anything, we just want to be credible musicians and songwriters.
PO - When we write a song we always look forward to writing the hook the most. When you actually have mastered the "hook", it’s so much fun jamming to it over and over, just knowing it’s going to sound killer live and on disc. Don't get me wrong though, we still seek out the metal/rock riffs, but we like what the "hook" has to offer better.
SL - The kind of music we are playing now doesn’t really even fall into the "metal" category. Every one of us is so into the music we're playing, even if one of us were to get discouraged because it’s not "metal", we're so in love with the songs it doesn’t matter. Most of my favorite bands are bands like Nothingface and Otep, but that doesn’t mean I won’t play any other kind of music.

MBL - So you guys don't feel that you are in any way "Chick Rock", or too soft?
SL - Not at all. To be honest at times our material seems heavier than SOME material on the radio. Reflection is getting the most radio play - that doesn’t mean it’s the best or heaviest song we have, it’s just the one getting attention. But I’m sure we’ll hear things like we're too mellow now, and the music has no balls, all that stuff. Ok, come to the next show, you’ll see what we mean!
PO - Gatlin is whatever the people want to feel we are! "Chick Rock" can really mean anything these days - look at Kid Rock or Puddle of Mudd; the chicks love them! So sure Gatlin has a little bit of Chick Rock in them, it's only natural.
JD - I’m not so sure I agree with Pat about us having “Chick Rock” in us! (laughing) To be too soft would be to say that we would never fit on a 92.3 or 100.7 type of a station, and that's not the case at all. I mean, sure we have ballads, but we're a melodic band, and as long as we have the ability to write some really cool mellow material, why not do it? Every band does it at some point in the genre that we're in, it's just that I don't think that we've hit on that modern ballad yet - although "Serenity" is pretty damn close.

MBL - So, do you feel that what I like to call the "pinch of pop" only adds to your musical talent as a band and doesn't hinder any of the execution of the hard rock genre?
JD - That's exactly how I feel. I mean, in the genre that we're in, hooks and melodies sell, so why not run with it if you can? I'm sure that there's lots of fans of heavy music out there who love to hear things that cave your skull in, so to speak, but a good hook is universal. Name one song in the history of rock that is regarded as a "classic" that is all screaming and has no melody - it's not possible, because it doesn't exist. I think that having that pop edge as well as the heavy parts is something that makes us stand out. People can listen to us to rock out like crazy and sing along at the same time... that's a very rare combination.
PO - Myself, I think it totally adds to the band and it shows our diversity as players. When I go to write a song I always hit on the "pop feel" first. Then I bring it to the rest of the guys, and they naturally add the rock to the sound. So, when you put my pop riffs with their rock riffs, it just works. I believe that is one of the things that separates us from other bands. We write poppy riffs, put a set of nuts on it, and BOOM - you have the next Gatlin song.

MBL - First question - answer first - are you happy musically? Second question - with CURRENT, your third and by far most well known CD, you are coming off with unprecedented popularity. Tell me what Gatlin was about before CURRENT.
JD - The first question is a two-pronged answer. I am 100% happy with the music we've done, and are continuing to write, and I think that I get happier and happier as time goes on, because I honestly believe that we're really honing in on our own sound and style now. I am not saying that we're blazing any trails, but I am saying that as time goes on, our songs stand out more and more on their own to where you can hear us in the crowd and go "that's Gatlin." On the second tip though, I am NEVER happy musically because no matter how great a song is that we put out, I am always thinking "man, I could have done that better." To answer your second question, before Current came out, we were basically an old-school metal band... long songs, lots of solos, tons of intricate guitar work. That's what we all grew up on, that's what made us into musicians in the first place. I would say that the most basic description I could give of what we were was four guys who got together to just rock as hard as they could on songs they made from the heart in our drummer's garage. And in that respect, the band is still the same... only the music itself has evolved.
SL - Musically, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. What’s cooler than hanging out with great friends, writing music, and rocking out? Gatlin before Current….. some crappy band. Just kidding! (laughing) I’ve always been honest with Don and Jon, I wasn’t really into the older material. I’ll never seriously knock it, because that’s what got us where we are today, so I have total respect for it - but it wasn’t my thing. Current came along and once I saw what Gatlin was turning into, I saw the kinda music I’ve always wanted to play.
PO - Yes, this is exactly were I want to be in my music career! Current was the CD that finally separated us from the straightforward heavy metal band that we once were. It showcased songs that had a more poppy, commercially-written feel than what Gatlin had never done before. We decided as a band that we had already shown people that we could play with the best of them - we showed people we could shred like Megadeth and solo in every key, all that technical stuff that was done on Forget Forever, and what I had done with my previous band, Delusive Dream. We just naturally evolved - like any good band does - into what we wanted to be doing musically as we grew as musicians. Then it was time to start hitting other markets, such as modern rock with pop sensibility, and move forward with the music. We will always have metal in us, we just produce it differently than we used to.

MBL - Speaking of what you grew up on, who in the blazing blue hell is responsible for the choreography?
SL - Pat and Don all the way.
JD - Ha ha! That would be Pat and Don! I have honestly never been involved in one of our "we should do this kind of move in this song!" discussions, although in their defense, I do think that that stuff is cool. Is it cheesy? Hell yes it's cheesy! But when you think about it, that's what made rock concerts so cool back in the day, so if we can combine modern music with some of the old stuff that people just go "yeah! that was cool!" to, then why not?
PO - That is definitely Don and myself. We want to put on a show, period. We want to add life to the live show that so many bands just will not do. We like to show people that we are having fun, and at the same time, invite them to dance right along with us! We like to be unpredictable.

MBL - I mean honestly Jon, don't you get to the point of nausea seeing that constant head bob and that synchronized guitar strut?
JD - Nah, not really. I mean, I love seeing that crap when I go to shows, so seeing it within my own band is pretty funny. And besides... it just would not be one of our shows without at least SOMETHING cheesy as all hell!! (laughing)

MBL - Should I be looking for you to be coming out with big hair and far too much makeup anytime soon?
JD - Never! Although that has been tossed around for a Halloween show idea...
PO - Hell no!! (laughing)

MBL - Now CURRENT, the CD you have out right now, is that the best the band can do?
SL - Not at all. From my point of view, Current has some amazing songs on it and shows the talents of a great band. But in some ways, it’s a new band now. Jon gets to put 100% of his time into vocals now, and with Kenny, the bass lines are more complex. And after working with the producer, it’s amazing to see Pat and Don shoot riffs and changes back and forth. In the next slew of songs, I think people will be able to see how much this band has grown and matured from just a year ago.
PO - No it is not! That was Gatlin a year ago, and this is Gatlin now. We will always feel like we can do better. The recording process of Current was not the best experience because of time and money restraints - we originally had like 12 songs to be recorded, but things just did not pan out at the time. It was a big deal and we had a lot of pressure on our backs to deliver a brand new Gatlin full length to the fans that were expecting to hear the updated direction. I think if we did the CD next month it would be a different story. I do love it though, because it is still Gatlin, no matter what.
JD - It's a great CD, don't get me wrong, but I think that after the past several months, with all the things that we've learned about songwriting, hookwriting, and especially about ourselves as musicians and as a unit, I think that "Current" is just a teaser of what we really can be. The hooks are there, the power in the music is there - although not in the production, admittedly - and our own stamp is there. So basically, no - it's not the best we can do. That has yet to be done!

MBL - When you spoke about the previous Gatlin, you mentioned four members. Now there are five. After CURRENT, Gatlin went though a bit of a facelift. What did the additions of Steve on drums and Kenny on bass do for the band?
JD - It brought us back to what we always were, and also took us to a whole new level. When I say that they brought us back to where we were, I mean that for the last several months of Mikey's tenure with the band, there was mostly negative energy surrounding us, which everyone picked up on. When we decided to make the change and get Steve into the band, all that washed away and we went back to being what we had always been - a happy, fun, positive band. Then when Kenny came in, he just added to that by giving us so many things we'd never had before. And in saying that they took us to a whole new level, I mean that they made us more creative and more powerful than we've ever been. It truly is a band of five equal members now, with everyone contributing equally at all times. We all get along great, and there literally is NO negativity within the band anymore. It makes being in the band... well,... fun again! I can't say enough about those guys and their contributions.
PO - It was like getting a brand new heart. Things were very dark right around the time we replaced Mike - we knew we needed a change, because we were suffering and a lot of the fans knew we were, and it showed at the live shows. Sometimes people just hit a brick wall and go “oh shit, what should we do now?” That’s what happened with us, too, but instead of saying ‘what should we do now’, we went out and did something about it. When they joined it was a major kick in the ass that we definitely needed. I never have to worry about a thing onstage, because I know they will just get it done, and I didn't have that feeling before. We are 5 guys that make 1 now, and before it was 2 or 3 guys and the missing link.

MBL - Now Jon, you say a happy, fun, positive band. But many of your songs seem to be about surviving pain, dealing with pain, and surmounting pain and going on. To what do you attribute these lyrics?
JD - Honestly? I know this is going to get me a lot of hell, but most of my songs are about women. They always say that you should write about what you know, and I never had one of those typical horrible childhoods, I was never abused in any way, nothing like that - but I have had some pretty shitty luck with girls, so I write about them! I hide it well though, because who wants to hear direct references in music like ours? I write it from my perspective, but try my best to make it something where the listener can put someone else's name in the blank spaces of the song and make it their own. As for surmounting... that's another common thread, because I have never been one of those people to just lie down when something bad happens... I get pissed, I fight back, I deal with it, however you want to put... but I believe very strongly in personal strength as a person, and I try to convey that in there as well.

MBL - I can't get you to hand out any "BITCH SLAPS"?
JD - Well, all of my ex's have songs about them! That's my release, so when girls screw with me, they get a song about them - it's very therapeutic knowing that someone can dis you, and they can tell their friends, but you can tell hundreds or thousands about what THEY did! (laughing) But seriously... there is one ex that has a lot of songs about her, up until the point I figured out everything inside of me that was attached to my experiences with her. Her name was Kris, and she's a great girl, but things just didn't work out, to say the least.

MBL - I guess that is the best I am gonna get. Tell me how Gatlin is feeling with everything going on, sold out show, headlining, the 92.3 cage match victories. How does it feel?
JD - It feels amazing. I have a different view on this question that Pat or Steve might, since I have been in the band for 8 or more years, but it really is an amazing feeling. It's definitely been an uphill struggle since Cleveland has always been dominated much more by the "screamer bands", so for us to be where we're at is really something that we're very proud of. It all goes back to our fans... without them, none of what we've accomplished would be possible. We really do have the best fans on the planet, and we pimp them out any chance we get, because without them, there's no Gatlin.
PO - We are extremely happy! We’re so pumped at all the amazing things going on with us at the moment. For a local band to achieve what we have is such a wonderful feeling, man, and I completely agree with Jon - we seriously owe it all to the fans. They are such a driving force for this band in SO many ways.
SL - At my first Odeon show with Gatlin, Jon and I were standing in the crowd watching another band. I was looking at all the people in that place and I told him that it must feel amazing for him and Don to see what their garage band has turned into over 8 plus years - I can’t imagine how those two feel about Gatlin today. Personally, I’m stoked. Every show it’s something new. At Peabody's, it was cool to see how many people came out because they heard us on the Cage Match. And I have to say it’s the strangest thing to see a Gatlin shirt on someone in the mall, or to hear one of our songs being played at a stoplight.

MBL - Is it possible for a band to be too fan dependent? I mean who would you guys be without your fans? And is there too much dependence?
PO - Hell no! Without the fans, what else is there? We make our music for them, we play shows for them, and they are the ones that fuel the fire that makes us drive harder every day.
SL - Fans mean more to us than anything. We're always writing parts saying "yeah, this will be a great part for the crowd to get into this here!", and stuff like that. If someone at a show pays good money to see your band play, you talk to them, hang with them, you give them a freaking ride home if they need it, because they are the reason you are where you are. Some people say they don’t care what people/fans think - OK, cool. We care, though, because they're the reason we’re up there! I mean, damn, I’ve met some of the coolest people just by talking to people that come to our shows.
JD - I don't think it's possible at all to be too fan dependent, and I am going on record as saying that anyone who thinks so is an asshole. I mean, looking at it realistically, without the fans no one buys your CD's, no one comes to your shows, no one requests you on radio, so basically - the fans control your destiny. And any band who doesn't understand, respect, and acknowledge that is just insane. There will never come a time where I will not tell people how great our fans are, or have a fan that I talk to leave the conversation not knowing just how much we appreciate them. I mean, we've even set up a free fan appreciation show and bonfire at our new jam spot for Saturday, June 14th, so they can all just come and hang with us in a more relaxed and personal atmosphere. That's how much they mean to us - so no, I don't think it's in any way, shape or form, possible to be too fan dependent.

MBL - Speaking of radio, the 92.3 Cage Match. Beating bands like the Used, CKY, and Anthrax. Those are some heavy hitters. Had to make you feel pretty good.
JD - Yeah, it definitely did. Being up against The Used on the first night was scary as hell, because we thought that we would get killed... but it didn't happen that way, so we were just thrilled with that. Then to win all five nights and be only the fourth band to ever be retired to what 92.3 calls their "Hall of Champions" - that just justified our faith in "Reflection" as a hit song, and what we're doing in general.
PO - It felt great! It was such a rush to hear ourselves on primetime radio going up against Anthrax. They were one of the first bands that I listened to, and they are one of the main reasons I play guitar in a band. We owe much respect to 92.3 for giving us this great opportunity to showcase our music all through northeast Ohio. It shows us that as a local band, when you work hard and set goals - they can be achieved!

MBL - Anthrax had to be a bitter sweet win though, huh?
JD - Hell yeah it was. That's been a band that Pat and I have been HUGE fans of for our entire musical lives, as he was saying, and to hear that we needed to beat them to go five for five was pretty awful. I even went so far as to call Rachel Steele and ask her to put us up against anything else BUT that song! (laughing)
PO - It was sweet to know we beat our idols. It was great to hear them back on the radio and getting the props they so deserve.
JD - “It was sweet”… speak for yourself! (laughing)

MBL - Tell me, Don and Scotty Ian in a cage match, who's coming out champion?
PO - Don, because he is a few feet taller and he weighs more than Scott!
JD - Don by far. Don is a brown belt in karate, is WAY stronger than people know, and can generally kick way more ass than anyone would ever guess. Plus Scott Ian is like 5'6" and 150 pounds, whereas Don is 6'2" and about 250 pounds, so on sheer size... it'd be Don all the way.

MBL - But Ian does have those high kicks that we have come to love over the years.
JD - Good point! I didn't think about that... but I think in that situation, Don would be like Mungo in Blazing Saddles! And anyone who gets that reference can have a free ticket to the next show! (laughing)

MBL - Now with CURRENT, I felt it lacked the energy, intensity and rage that one would see at a Gatlin concert. Do I have any reason to feel that way?
JD - Completely - we felt that way too, a lot of which was our own faults. We let the producer have most of the say in how everything was going to sound during recording, and it was well within our power to veto things like that, but we wussed out and went with it, and as a result we really didn't think that the power was there as we had hoped it would be. I mean, the core elements of what we are and what we do are there, totally, but the overall power that people associate with our live show just isn't present.
PO - I agree. It does lack the edge and intensity of our live show. Live, it’s straight out, balls-to-the-wall, loud rock with 800 screaming fans. The CD was very washed down compared to the live show – but it still rocks very hard, though.

MBL - So how are you going to alleviate that problem? Is it possible to capture all that Gatlin is on a CD?
JD - Never. I know that sounds negative, but it's something that I think that NO band can ever capture. When you're live, you're feeding off that circle of energy given off by the band and audience, and there's tons of people screaming, singing, going nuts, you name it, and in the studio, you're just sitting there with your guitar - two completely different vibes. And to be honest, I would never WANT to hear a record that was as powerful as the live show, because that would just kill what's special about a live show. You want to go and be blown away by something you could never hear on disc, and who wants to take that away?
SL - There isn’t really a way to get rid of that problem. Some bands make great albums and sell millions but live you can’t stand to watch them. I think we're more of a band that records great songs and then destroys people with them live. You can’t capture the energy and life of a live performance on a CD.
PO - I don't think we can ever capture the "live" sound on a CD. We learned a lot of what not to do while recording CURRENT, and we will not make the same mistakes and mishaps on our new material. You can bet you’ll hear edge, rage, intensity, and of course, let’s not forget the pop sensibility! Plus, we have more time to nitpick all the little things. We feel that if it’s not good enough to sound national, then it’s not good period.

MBL - That all being said, how is Gatlin going to improve the next time they go into a studio?
JD - Who's to say? I don't think it's something where you can say "OK, we're going to mike this differently, we're going to add this effect..." - I think we'll just go in there with more balls, and if we hear something we don't like, we'll say "we don't like that tone, change it" - and go from there. As time goes on, you just learn to be more direct and really go after what you want, even in the faces of people who know a LOT more than you do - but at the end of the day, it's YOUR name on that CD, not theirs.
PO - You can expect edgier guitars, thicker bass, more defined drumming, and more powerful vocals! We are going to actually take the blanket off the guitar sound! (laughing) We want the fans to hear the new music and go “THAT’S the Gatlin we know! This f***ing ROCKS...”

MBL - Now you guys have a big show coming up on June 20th, a 92.3 show with you as the headliners. That has to make you feel pretty good. Can you guys mentally handle that kind of pressure?
PO - This is what we have been working so hard for! Having it sponsored by 92.3 just makes the intensity 10 times stronger. We’ll put out all the stops and make this our best show to date. 92.3 trusts us to not disappoint, and we will NOT let them down. We need to raise the bar, and this is the time to do it.
JD - Oh yeah, totally. Pressure is about the easiest thing for us at this point!! (laughing) We have this weird karma about us that when something really tough or stressful comes down on us, we've always come through stronger than before, and usually exceeding all expectations. We're just lucky that way, and it's really helped us out over the course of our "career" - we've never stumbled on anything. We've just pushed forward and succeeded, no matter what it took to do so.
SL - I agree with Jon 100%. But if anything, that show will relieve pressure! When we're at shows, everything else around us shuts down, so problems we might have kinda get forgotten and stress gets released. Well, except for Pat - for him, stress just gets added! (laughing) I think I can speak for a lot of bands in saying that no matter what you have going on in your life, playing live is almost like a drug that gets rid of everything.

MBL - Now is this show going to give you guys the exposure you need in order to get where you want to be?
JD - I don't think that the show so much will - I mean, a show is a show, and people will either come or they won't - but I think what will give us some bigtime exposure is the press and promotion we're putting into this June 20th show. We want to do radio ads, our Street Team is really going to be busting ass, and 92.3 will be pushing the hell out of it for us... and we really hope that by starting regular rotation on June 10th, which we confirmed today, we'll reach a LOT of new fans who would not have otherwise ever heard about or seen the band.
PO - I think it will break us more into the 92.3 crowd that has never got to experience Gatlin. When we did a concert with Blindside, it showed us that there is a whole other crowd of kids that really enjoyed seeing us live and hearing our music. We were approached by so many of them after our set, and they actually thought we were on tour with Blindside – they could not believe we lived right down the street from them. So we feel very confident that this will open a huge door that has been closed till now.

MBL - That all being said, is Cleveland the rest stop or the last stop for Gatlin? Is Gatlin a band destined to be at the Odeon and Peabody's for the rest of your career, or is your world a bit bigger than that?
SL - Let's hope not, because as great as my gas station job is, it's growing thin! But seriously, no. After our trips to NY, I think we all saw how serious we need to be about this band. It’s a full time job at this point! We got to NY and played our asses off, like we would in Cleveland, and it paid off. We all have been getting emails from people asking us when we're coming back, and clubs asking us to play again. What we're doing in Cleveland hit NY hard!
JD - Our world is definitely a lot bigger than that. This is a delicate question, because I don't want to sit here and say "man, Gatlin is the best band ever", or crap like that, but I do honestly feel in my heart that we're really starting to hit on something that's much bigger than where we're at locally. We're really starting to come into our own in that we're really starting to develop our own sound, to where our songs stand out to people to where they can hear a song and say "that's Gatlin!", and it really seems like people are really identifying and relating to the band on a level that very few bands seem to achieve. So for that reason, I know that personally, I really believe in my heart that we can turn this into something huge.

MBL - So the guitar based hard rock, with a heavy bass line, and melodic singing, with choreographed head bobs and guitar struts is going to venture into that great unknown?
JD - Let's hope so! If we have anything to say about it, it sure as hell will!

MBL - And you think you have the juice?
JD - Yes, I really do. People can call me pompous or whatever, but I honestly believe that we have what it takes to not only get signed, but to do well on a national level, given the right amount of push.
PO - About 100 million gallons worth! Drink up!!!!

MBL - I think an "OOOOOOOOOHHHH HELLL YEAH" ala Stone Cold would have sufficed.
JD - Yeah, that's true! I didn't think of that!! Hell, at the last show, we ripped off Booker T, so why not Stone Cold too?

MBL - Can you think of anything that I missed?
JD - Let's see... we have our headlining gig at the Odeon on Friday, June 20th, we have our fan appreciation show on Saturday, June 14th - EVERYONE is welcome! - and we'll be starting into regular rotation on 92.3 as of Tuesday, June 10th, so for anyone who enjoys what we do, please call and e-mail your requests for us to help us out - we'd really appreciate all the help we can get! I’d also like to thank 92.3 themselves for the opportunity and support they have shown us – they’ve really given us a big vote of confidence, and we appreciate it more than we can say! And of course, to all our fans checking this out... you guys kick ass, and we'll see you all VERY soon!!
PO - I just want to send a huge thank you to all the fans we have. They blow us away at every show, and it makes what we are doing that much sweeter. Thank you all!!!!

Story by The Punisher

- MBL Magazine - June 2003


THE EP - 2004 EP


Feeling a bit camera shy


In today's cookie cutter world of active rock bands, every band that comes out tries to mimic both the sound and the success of those that came immediately before them. While this can turn into a successful venture for many acts, it generally results in either short-lived attention or a band that ends up being considered a "never was". The rare diamonds in the rough are those that take chances, go their own way and develop into a mainstream powerhouse on the strength of music integrity, skill and the power to buck the system and create something new and fresh. The next precious gem in the active rock community is now in your hands. That jewel is Gatlin.

Formed in 1995, the partnership of vocalist Jon Drake and guitarist Don DeBiase quickly worked to write songs that didn't comply to any musical trend, yet appealed across the board to fans of many different musical genres. They quickly went from opening uninspiring rock shows to headlining larger and larger venues. 1999 saw drastic development from the band, as their second release saw the band begin to creep into the playlists of both college and commercial radio stations throughout the Cleveland and Akron, OH radio markets. Through diligent playing and a never-ending passion to grow and develop into their own unique entity, several musician changes surrounded the team of DeBiase and Drake, until they closed in on what was, in the mind of their fans, the press and Cleveland Radio, their pinnacle achievement - 2002's CURRENT. Following the release of this opus, the band - Drake, DeBiase, guitarist Pat Ols, drummer Steve Lockhart and bassist Ken Irizarry hired professional management and sought to move to the next level. Several professionally recorded demos found their way again to commercial radio and became some of the most requested music in the Cleveland area.

Their song "Reflection" was the champion of 92.3FM WXTM's EXTREME CAGE MATCH competition; defeating 9 national recording acts on its way to the top spot on the station's charts. They also went from being a popular local band in Cleveland to being the single biggest unsigned draw in the market; selling out a 900 seat auditorium every time they ventured into it! Clearly, Gatlin's time has arrived.

Gatlin is currently entertaining recording options, but doesn't want you to simply read the words on this paper and be impressed. Instead, set this bio on the top of your inbox and put the enclosed CD in your player, turn it up a bit, and judge for yourself. Just as you wouldn't throw away a perfectly cut gemstone, we're confident that you will do the same with this group of ambitious musicians on the rise. You'll hear it in the tunes. You'll see it in the image. You'll feel it in the grooves. You have the chance to let this gem shine throughout the world, or you have the choice to let someone else take this opportunity from you. Do you want to be the renowned jeweler, or the guy that lost the brass ring in the pawn shop! The decision is yours.

Gatlin is managed by Hardcore Marketing, Inc. and represented by Attorney Barry Jay Reiss of Serling, Rooks and Ferrara and Adam Kaplan of Kaplan & Gamble. For more information or to further discuss Gatlin, contact Neil Sheehan at 440-915-7165.