Hit by a Bus
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Hit by a Bus

Band Rock


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"Good For You, Albuquerque"

It can sometimes feel like Hit By A Bus' songs aren’t complete until they hit about the 35th distinct part. It’s never easy to tell what’s around the corner, but finding out is a pleasure. Rocking back and forth between distorted metal chords, hammering the beat with every instrument’s full force and growling like rabid pit bulls is all in a song’s work. The Optimist’s Handgun provides a heavy dose of condensed, highly evolved rock that plays your skull like a xylophone. (SM) - Alibi V.18 No.1 | January 1 - 7, 2009

"Outside The Van Door"

Hit by a Bus' debut reveals an impressive blend of hardcore rock and borderline techno beats, punk and metal guitar figures, and a whole host of juicy pop elements that, taken as a whole, offer multiple moments of sheer delight. --Michael Henningsen, The Alibi, V.13 No.37, September 9-September 15, 2004 - The Alibi

"Hit By A Bus CD Release"

Hit By A Bus has been in existence, with one lineup or another, since 1998. That's a lifetime in a local scene where projects dissolve and new ones form every few months.

During its decade of making metal with a squishy center, Hit By A Bus has parked in front of venues large and small. From bars to skateparks to major music festivals—the band says if there's an outlet, Hit By A Bus will plug in.

The day after it played a show at a lodge in Pocatello, Idaho, the group got some startling news. "We found out some crazy guy had sawed another guy's head off the night of our show," says guitarist Joe Christ. The incident happened in the lodge where the band was playing. "That was a good show, though," adds co-lead singer Skreech. "They really liked our music, and we sold a lot of merch."

Head-sawings aside, Hit By A Bus is all about the intimate concert, though its members don't mind opening for big-time rock outfits like Fly Leaf either. "We've played a lot of small towns, and we still talk to the people we played a show for three years ago," says the band's other lead singer, Gio. "We build these little friendships throughout the country."

Each one of Hit By A Bus' prog-ish neo-metal offerings bears the fingerprints of its contributors. The band agreed early on that it would try anything any member suggested at least once. Usually beginning with a riff or a short melody, the band slowly gets a picture of what a given song should sound like.

"Then we have to punch-fight with each other until we have something we all like," Skreech jokes. "It gets pretty out-there sometimes." The keyboard, bass, drums and two guitars can sometimes seem like trains on separate tracks. But eventually, they all meet in the same place. Metal growls come and go, but there's some softer, undistorted and close-to-sweet interludes that poke their heads out from time to time.

Hit By A Bus seems uncomfortable with the showboating, image-obsessed persona many of its genre-mates have adopted. Its members aren't shy, but you're more likely to see them acting silly, not sexy, on stage. “Standing in front of the mirror for hours deciding what we're gonna wear to the show is just not how we are," Skreech says. "What you see on stage is the same thing you'll see when we're walking around the mall."

Skreech says for a while some people thought Hit By A Bus was an emo band. "But I think that was just because I tend to wear too much black," he hypothesizes.

The band just completed its second LP, The Optimist's Handgun. Hit By A Bus scrimped and saved to get enough money to record at Radio Star Studios in Weed, Calif., under the watchful eye of producer Sylvia Massy Shivy, whose credits include work with Tool and System of a Down. It wasn't cheap, but for a band looking to take the next proverbial step, it was money well spent. "We're extremely happy with the way the record turned out," Hit By A Bus' drummer, "The Duke," says. "We were crunched for time because we didn't have a lot of money, but it all worked out."

Hit By A Bus has been on a ton of mini-tours throughout the country and also spent three months on the road last year on the Christian-oriented Extreme Tour. (Some of the members of the group are Christian, but they don't consider Hit By A Bus a "Christian band.") The only thing holding back one of the hardest-working outfits in the city is gas prices. Since it only gets about eight to 10 miles-per-gallon, the group's tour van won't be making any cross-country trips in the near future. But Hit By A Bus is nothing if not resilient, and its members are ready to take the plunge into full-time musicianship. "We just have to take the leap of faith," Skreech says. "We don't want to be rock stars. We just want to make this our jobs."

- Alibi

"Locals Hit By A Bus hitting the road hard"

On a hot Monday afternoon, when most of us if we had a day off would be taking a dip in the pool, Skreech and Gio Alexis of the band Hit by a Bus are out hustling.
The pair were out this week meeting with managers from Hastings and other retailers who carry local CDs, hoping to get a spot on the shelves for their new disc, “The Optimist's Handgun.”
Sweating the drive all over Albuquerque, Alexis and Screech have managed to find some shelf for the new record — and they're expecting big things from it.
The record, the second full-length CD for the band, was produced by Sylvia Masey-Shivy, who worked on records for System of a Down and Tool.
The band is fronted by a woman, and Alexis takes the spot in stride.
Sure, Joan Jett and Grace Slick rocked hard, but now bands like Paramore, Flyleaf and Lacuna Coil all are rocking bands fronted by women. It's taken a while, but heavier groups with women at the front are becoming as mainstream in the rock world as they are in pop.
“You just can't be a girlie girl and go on tour,” Alexis said. “You can't do it and shave your legs and be somewhere else every day. Touring does take a lot out of you.”
But she's managed just fine, she said, as the singer for Hit by a Bus. The band has gone from here to Milwaukee, and back to San Diego on tours. It is staying on the road as much as the five members can handle.
“We've been trying to keep the local shows down a bit,” Alexis said.
The band has been playing El Paso, Phoenix and Amarillo quite a bit, trying to reach a broader audience.
“We're reaching a different crowd,” said singer/guitarist Skreech.
The band, many say, has a Flyleaflike sound, but that's only because of the female-vocalist thing, Alexis and Screech said. Regardless, that's not a bad group to be compared to as Flyleaf has become one of the hottest-selling bands of the last several years.
Hit by a Bus, too, has become one of Albuquerque's hottest bands. The group has opened for, ironically, Flyleaf and Alien Ant Farm, and played the Vans Warped Tour.
But the new record has gone in a harder direction than the group's first full-length CD, “Outside the Van Door.” The band took the new record's cues from the song “Babylon,” off the last record, Alexis said. - The Albuquerque Journal

"Small town band gives hope to all"

I know that pride is a sin — one of the deadly ones, in fact.
Still, sometimes I just can't help myself when it comes to touting the accomplishments of people I know. I don't even have to know them that well.
So my pride is worn on my sleeve when I talk about Gio Urbina and Jonathan Anderson. To fans of their band, Hit By A Bus, they are known as simply Gio and Skreech. To folks in Moriarty, they might be known as “neighbor.”
I first met Gio eight years ago when she was a high school senior and Skreech I only met through a phone conversation a couple of days ago.
Gio was a member of the Honor Civics class at Moriarty High School in 2000 that went to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national “We The People” Constitution contest. I was fortunate enough to report on the class' efforts to raise money for the trip, the state contest and, finally, the students' trip to Washington.
My first impression of Gio was that she was a rocker chick who really didn't fit in.
“Yeah, that's about how I felt,” she confirmed for me last week.
But she is smart and deserved to be on that trip as much as anyone. She was nice, and I'm sure we chatted on the trip, although I can't really remember what those conversations were about.
“A good kid,” was the lasting impression I got from her and the rest of the students on the trip.
It's eight years on now, and I still consider Gio, and now Skreech, to be good kids, although I don't know if calling them kids is really fair.
While still at Moriarty High School, Skreech helped start Hit By A Bus. After the pair graduated in 2000 and went off to the University of New Mexico, Gio joined the band and they began to get more gigs. Somewhere along the way, they made the decision that maybe they had a shot at making a career, and they threw themselves into it.
That kind of commitment to something that may never pan out took courage, and I imagine the support of a lot of people. In the past couple of years, the band has got some attention, eventually playing a couple of dates on the Vans Warped Tour and playing lots of gigs wherever people would listen, and even some places where they wouldn't.
“Our weirdest show was probably when we played at a homeless shelter in Compton,” Skreech said. “They really weren't into us.”
Some people might think that rock and roll is about sex and drugs, but the reality is a lot different.
“It's a lot of hard work with long hours in a van with a bunch of smelly people,” Skreech says. “Our hope is to just be able to make a living by playing music.”
Recently, Hit By A Bus released a new CD, and both Gio and Skreech have been making the rounds to music stores, begging for shelf space. They've been hitting up reporters and radio station program directors. They've made a big marketing push online through the band's Web site. Copies of the new CD, “The Optimist's Handgun,” are available through their Web site, www.hitbyabus.net, or at any area Hastings store.
So even though I've had literally nothing to do with their increasing success, I still feel pride for Gio and Skreech. They give hope to anyone from a small town and are willing to work hard.
That's something we can all be proud of. - Mountain View Telegraph

"Hit By a Bus embarks on a three-month tour"

The band members of Hit By a Bus slept on the floor of a church in Fernley, Nev., on Sunday night. Ah, the glamorous life of rock stars on tour.

The veteran Albuquerque band loaded up a van and a trailer a week ago and set out on a three-month odyssey as part of the Extreme Tour that is trekking all over the West this summer.

The tour will hit a lot of church venues and skate parks. While the Extreme folks help with food, laundry, lodging and gas, it's not necessarily four-star accommodations.

Keyboardist/singer Gio Urbina said the first two nights on the road were spent in motels, but then it was to the sleeping bags and air mattresses for the Spartan church accommodations.

But the band did get a home-cooked spaghetti dinner that night, she said. And band members brought care packages along, courtesy of family and friends back in Albuquerque.

Nonetheless, Urbina said, "We're getting used to being hungry in the morning."

And then there is one of the most important guidelines for this road trip she'll share in close quarters with her four male bandmates:

"Rule No. 1 is we're going to all have Ziploc bags," she said. "And all dirty socks go in the Ziploc bags."

Hit By a Bus has been together in some configuration for nearly 10 years. It was founded by guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Anderson, who said he and two high school pals got together to play for a talent show.

Anderson figures 23 people have passed through the band. Nate Allen, for instance, is the eighth bass player. Others in the lineup now: drummer Joshua Salinas and guitarist Joe Felts, the youngest member of the band.

And all five of them quit their jobs to commit to this tour. Urbina worked a year-and-a-half for PNM, and Anderson handed in his notice at a delivery service. The other three had jobs in the food service industry.

They figured it was time to see whether they could make it full time as a band.

"Our goal is to play music," Salinas said. "We don't have to be big, famous rock stars. . . . Basically, if we have enough to pay our phone bills and food and rent, that's pretty much it."

The band has done tours before, as far east as Milwaukee, where they opened for Trapt at Summerfest. (For that gig, Urbina said, they drove 22 hours straight from Las Cruces; last week they drove 19 hours without pause to get to Nevada.)

Hit By a Bus is getting airplay, locally on hard-rock outlet KTEG-FM (104.7) and on college radio stations elsewhere. Songs from the latest disc, the "Detonator" EP, have gotten spins.

"It's kind of cool when you turn on the radio and hear a couple of songs and then your song comes on," Anderson said.

Their sound is, for lack of a better term, hard rock. Maybe nouveau hardcore. Felts, the guitar player, likes "energy rock."

At the Hyperactive Music Festival last month, Anderson said, they submitted their music for a critique, and the SubPop rep flagged it as metal. But that doesn't work, he said.

"Metal bands would make fun of us," Anderson said, "because we're not metal enough for the metal people."

"Our goal is to be different," Salinas said. "We don't want to stick to one genre."

Anderson and Urbina write most of the lyrics, but the others collaborate in the studio and during rehearsals.

"By the time we're done, it's a completely different song; it's changed so much," Salinas said. "Hopefully for the better."

"It's a slow process," Anderson added.

Anderson and Urbina are Christians, which informs their songwriting. The others add contrast.

For instance, Anderson's mostly positive, uplifting lyrics for "Greatest Generation," the ballad of a soldier, were tweaked during rehearsals. Felts, like Lennon would do to McCartney, brought a dark edge to the song with the line, "You're a waste of time, a waste of space."

And they do have songs called "Charcoal and Razorblades" (with Urbina shouting quite devilishly) and "Ann Taylor Must Die."

The band doesn't bill itself as Christian, and Urbina said the others in the band are cool with the mix and with the theme of the summer tour.

"It's kind of a statement, too," Urbina said, "that the five of us get along, considering our differences."

When Hit By a Bus returns in the fall, the band plans to return to the studio to flesh out "Detonator" into a full-length disc.

The band's first LP, "Outside the Van Door," was recorded at Stepford Studios in Santa Fe. "Detonator" was produced by Sylvia Massy, who has recorded such superstars as Tool and System of a Down at her studio in Weed, Calif.

Anderson was proud of the fact that the mixing console they used with Massy was the same one used for Led Zeppelin's "Coda" album. Those classic rock gods are the common denominator when the band's influences are listed. But more modern bands come up, too.

"There's always a band that sparks something in your head when you're a kid," Urbina said. "For me it was Smashing Pumpkins." And you can hear that in the song "Pumpkin."

Other influences cited by band members: Radiohead, Bjork, Tool, System of a Down, Mudvayne, Blindside, Muse and Metallica.

Anderson said an Epic Records A&R guy once chastised them during a critique for hopping from genre to genre, often from minute to minute to minute in the same song.

"He said, `You're going to be eaten alive!' " Anderson recalled.

The Extreme Tour passes through New Mexico - Albuquerque, Glorietta, Espa¤ola, Santa Fe and Madrid - in late July and early August.

We'll check in with them along the way to see how they're surviving on the road. - Albuquerque Tribune

"review of Socyermom Records Sampler"

...Hit By a Bus finishes up the collection with “Fil.” This group conjures up visions of Fuel but with a female lead voice that could have slight resemblance to Amy Lee of Evanescence, but with less of a range and not quite as darkly melodic. The guitars are solid, the mood is dark and her voice lends itself to some great harmonies; however, her voice is a little too pretty and I’d love to hear her let go a little more. In the last 30 seconds of the song she lets it all out and her voice gets downright demonic which is quite impressive. - www.adequacy.net


The Optimist's Handgun-2008
1:Hungry Kids Eating Kids
4:Convert to Greyscale
5:The Last of the Greatest Generation
7:Tentatively Titled...
8:Anne Taylor Must Die
9:Charcoal and Razorblades
10:Through the Eyes of the White Rabbit

New Mexico Rocks! Pin-Up Calendar Companion - 2006
Fil, track 1
Boy, track 2

Detonator EP - 2006
1. Detonator
2. Boy
3. Fil
4. Charcoal & Razorblades
5. Anne Taylor Must Die

Outside the Van Door - 2004
1. Sound Check
2. Shootin Dice
3. Pumpkin
4. Tarot's Tale
5. Less Clouded
6. Babylon
7. Unfazed
8. Moon
9. Speed Limit 42
10. Suffer
11. 4 A.D.

Rock Outside the Box, vol. 1 - 2004
Less Clouded, track 2



After touring for four months in the summer of 2007 Hit by a Bus went right into the studio with the now grammy-nominated producer Sylvia Massy-Shivy (System of a Down, Tool) to record new songs which would be combined with the Detonator EP for a full-length album. The Optimist's Handgun, released in June of 2008, is an amalgamation of hard rock prowess and indie rock sensibility, complete with metal guitar figures and drum beats and competent lyricism. One of the more fierce tracks, "Detonator", will be featured on the After After Party Compilation, which will be played and distributed at participating McDonalds in 50 cities. That same track has gotten radio play on college stations and internet radio all over the country.

Right now the band is gearing up to tour in the summer and beyond. The band is also looking for a label to provide support for distribution of The Optimist's Handgun. This group is dedicated to the road. Guitarist and vocalist Skreech has often said, "we'll play anywhere with four walls and an electrical outlet." On their last tour, Hit by a Bus would sometimes find themselves playing in people's backyards, church parking lots, dive bars with only one electrical circuit, and skate parks. But for the band, the location doesn't matter. "Playing for hundreds like at Summerfest was great and we sold lots of merch, but playing at the smaller places, I feel like we've made some lasting friendships and met people that will support you every time you visit their town again," says Gio, vocalist and keyboardist.

With their refined sound providing a solid foundation, Hit by a Bus has found their niche. Appearing nationwide, Hit by a Bus played festivals, tours, and took opening slots for household-name bands. The year 2006 had the band traversing the festival circuit--The Vans Warped Tour, SXSW, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Tulsa’s DFest, and Albuquerque’s Hyperactive Festival. That same year, Hit by a Bus toured with Greyscale and shared the stage with Alien Ant Farm, Trapt, and Authority Zero. In the first half of 2007, the band opened for Flyleaf and Dropping Daylight and performed at SXSW, Hyperactive Festival as well as the San Diego Indie Music Festival. The rest of that year was spent on the road and in the studio.

Looking back, the band has learned a lot of lessons on how to keep afloat in a business that seems to be saturated with DIY musicians. One lesson has been to just stay true to what you want to do. The music that Hit by a Bus writes is the way it is, period. It is complex, but accessible. It is personal, but identifiable. It is as good--if not better--live as it is recorded. There is no posturing, no matching outfits, no personas. It's all about the music.