Pass of Aggression
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Pass of Aggression

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Band Rock Hip Hop

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t goes without saying that the Grand Rapids rap-rock band Pass of Aggression are angry. Their name speaks for itself. But for the four-piece, formerly known as Vintage since starting out in 2004, their anger comes from their frustration with a local music scene they find "low in strength" and a music culture that has widely turned its back on their style of music.

"Every fucking band in West Michigan thinks they are the hardest, most metal or 'brutal,'" Pass of Aggression frontman John Lee told Recoil. "You all try to play 'metal' music and most, not all of you, play it badly. Where's the originality? Who can't machinegun guitar, and blast beat for 2.8 minutes straight while regurgitating cookie cutter death metal lyrics in a shaky unconfident growl/scream/mumble. Cookie monsters, I call them. There are some diamonds in the rough here in G Rap and the surrounding areas and they know who they are, and take no offense to what I just said because they feel the same way."

Citing that they are one of, if not the only, rap-rock band in Grand Rapids, the group feels like their genre has taken a huge hit since one of their biggest influences, Rage Against The Machine, broke up, with critics crucifying anyone attempting to reignite the eclectic combination of styles for the pop-radio sins of bands like Limp Bizkit.

"I grew up on hip-hop and rock," Lee said. "I never said, 'I want to start a rap-rock band.' I took my musical influences and just did the damn thing. Pass of Aggression is what came out. We do what inspires us. Many people relate better to you when you speak from the heart and come with something real."

That need for something real spread over into the decision to drop the name Vintage and come up with a new band name for the group, now consisting of founding Vintage members Lee and lead guitarist "R.O.B." joining with rhythm guitarist "Sir" Matthew Nelson, drummer Marc Courtright and bassist Mark "Ace" Bliss.

"We decided to change the name for a few reasons," R.O.B. said. "First of all, only two of the original members of Vintage are left in the band. Secondly, when most
people hear the name Vintage, the first thing that comes to mind is classic rock music. We just grew out of the name and needed a new identity."

"Too many people assumed we played Bob Dylan and Lynyrd Skynyrd covers all night," Lee added. "We had a great run as Vintage and it suited us well, but we've got three new members since Vintage's last album. We've grown a lot since then and found our voice, if you will. When we were Vintage it was always about doing many different things and being very diverse. With Pass, it's about making a living doing what we love."

Moving away from their anger and onto a recent happy coincidence of events for the band, Pass of Aggression will release their new six-song EP "Disorder" March 12 as part of the Carnival of Chaos-organized "Shamrocks & Shenanigans Ball" at The Orbit Room. The disc will be the their first under the Pass of Aggression name and follow their two previous releases as Vintage, the demo disc "America Incorporated" and the full-length album, Efxor.

Writing for the "Disorder" EP took the band one and a half years, resulting in 12 tracks, but they decided to cut that in half.

"We thought about doing a full-length but in the days of digital downloads, less is more if it's all quality product," Lee explained.

The band tracked the EP themselves at their recording studio in Dorr last summer. Courtright, who has a Bachelor's degree in Audio Visual Production from Grand Valley State University, ran setup and mic placements for the recording and R.O.B. served as engineer. They then worked with Lance Eichler at Eastown Recording Company for the final mix, and sent the disc out of state for mastering.

"Most of what was on Efxor was new musicians trying to find an identity," Lee said, about how the new disc differs from Vintage. "'Disorder' is like the amazing chaos that fills your mind when you reach the breaking point in a fight. When you've just been dazed and are about to fall but you have too much fight in your soul to go down. That second wind...that's 'Disorder.' We came out quite a bit more angry sounding than we intended to be, but it definitely portrays where we've been these last two years in our lives."

Drawing comparisons to a fight fits the band, who as Vintage placed second at the 2009 Heavyweights Championships of Rock competition at the Intersection. While they don't feel battle of the bands competitions do much for the music scene, or for a band like theirs, they did express how their most memorable show remains their first ever show at the Intersection back in 2007. They've since gone on to headline over national acts and open for some of their influences, including (hed) p.e. and co-headlined last summer's Carnival of Chaos with Taproot.

"Energy on top of energy, stacked up against a brick wall made out of bone and mortar," Lee said, describing Pass of Aggression's live show. "Or maybe a scorching hot summer day in Bolivia. It's always intense. Every second onstage is another second I add to my life as 'actually alive.' We give the audience everything we can onstage. Everything!"

Pass of Aggression will release the "Disorder" EP at the "Shamrocks & Shenanigans Ball" at The Orbit Room March 12. Look for Midwest and other regional tours to come later this year, and keep tabs on when the band will release its next EP, which they've already started writing, by checking out myspace.com/passofaggression. - Recoil Magazine


want all you bitches to hate me! The more that you talk, the bigger legend you make me! Pass of Aggression s John Lee screams at the end of Aether, the second song on this rapid-fire six-song EP where the intentionally controversial MC welcomes all haters. Before getting there they ll have to barrel through 1000X, a runaway freight train of an opener that, short of derailing from its awesome accelerating and alternating rhythms, throttles listeners up to sped on the confrontational, but inarguably original, rap-rock sound of the band formerly known as Vintage. The EP then tears through its tight 18 minutes in what feels like less, ending with a growl-heavy cover of Cypress Hill s classic Insane In The Brain. -- Eric Mitts --Recoil Magazine, April 1, 2010 - Recoil Magazine


Discography

As Vintage (prior to the name change to Pass of Aggression) POA has self-produced two albums: a Demo entitled "America Incorporated", and a full length album entitled "Efxor".

Pass of Aggression releases: "Disorder EP" - Released March 2010

Pass of Aggression released: "Attempts to Hide the Pain" - August 2014

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Bio

Pass of Aggression is a touring Alternative Rap/Hard-Rock group. The creation of: Vocalist John Lee, Lead Guitarist "R.O.B.", Rhythm Guitarist "Sir" Matthew Nelson & Drummer Marc Courtright. Pass of Aggression has been touring and building a fan base since early 2004.

The Music:
Pass of Aggression has built a unique sound by: interlacing hip-hop rhymes and rock vocals, over alternative rock riffs, sharpened with a "nu-metal" edge. They're led by a vocalist with intense energy on stage and a strong alto rock voice with force, feeling and authority. His vocals are backed by a band with an skills and influences from many genres including: Metal, Punk, Funk, Blues, Rap, Grunge, R&B and more. A cohesive mixture of true eclectics.

Live Shows & Touring:
POA live performances are captivating, energetic and interactive. Pass is very intense on stage and always deliver an entertaining performance. The fans are the 1 priority. Pass of Aggression has made it's mark with professionalism and hard work. They are known by many venues, as a band that delivers on their word and easy to work with. Pass works with the venues, promoters, agents and/or bands to ensure each performance is a success for everyone.

Band Members