Squad Five-0

Squad Five-0

BandRockPunk

our band is called squad five-o. i wouldn't pitch it in an elevator to anyone. if you see us or hear the music, you might like it. actually, i pretty much guarantee that you would have a good time. if you're not a cynical tight ass jaded prick. if you don't have a good time i'll buy you a drink.

Biography

5/13/04
"It doesn't get better than this," says Jeff Fortson, frontman for rockers Squad Five-0, as he takes in the sights at Memphis's venerable Stax Museum. "We couldn't hold a candle, but it's where we're coming from too," he says eyeing the artifacts at the soul/r&b hall of fame, "workingman's music with loads of heart."

And there, uttered off the cuff in the shadow of giants, is the perfect summation of Squad Five-0's music - ragged, heartfelt and soulful rock that draws from past masters, but is firmly squared in right now. It's an ethos that's remained a constant for the band, even as they've made waves in various scenes since their inception.

Twin brothers Jeff and John Fortson were raised in Savannah, Georgia and decided to be a band one night in their bedroom, channeling the music that was swimming in their heads. The brothers formed early bands forged from the fires of classic punk, but while their contemporaries were focused on velocity, the pair was lovingly incorporating melodies inspired by classic guitar bands from the Rolling Stones to U2.

As they picked up members and started logging miles on the tour circuit, Squad Five-0 quickly became a part of a grassroots punk revival that used boundless passion and scrappy charm to endear themselves to fans nationwide. Their sweaty, honest, and unabashedly positive vibe had clearly struck a chord.

During this time they released several popular indie records, including "Bombs Over Broadway" (2000).

As the band's sound started to evolve beyond punk's limitations and more towards expanding their songwriting, a music-obsessed guitarist from Philadelphia named Adam Garbinski came on board, having auditioned with a faithful version of Neil Young's "Ohio."

The new lineup continued to expand with another Philadelphia punk looking to expand his horizons - guitarist Kris Klein from frequent Squad Five-0 tourmates One:21. Dave Petersen, a drummer in a Ramones cover band with a notebook full of songs, joined soon thereafter. With the lineup solidified, they released the self-titled album "Squad Five-0" (2002) and headed back out on the road.

After logging more months on the tour circuit, winning legions of new fans and overflowing with ideas, the band started recording their Capitol Records debut, "Late News Breaking," with a new creative chemistry.

"Dave, our drummer, wrote like seven songs," says Jeff. "I wrote three, Adam wrote a couple -- it was really democratic. Because we were all contributing there were definitely some bumped elbows, but I think it forced a greater degree of creativity."

The album's title, borrowed from a Joe Strummer song, is the band's acknowledgement that current events play significantly in their music. While the tracks are united by their passion, and by an abiding love of guitar rock in all its forms, the subject matter is coming from the perspectives of five unique people. Petersen takes on the evils of apathy in "Always Talkin', Never on the Run" and unchecked gentrification in the snarling "Secret Society." But Jeff Forston's "Don't Hesitate" is completely raw in its romantic yearning, and Garbinski's "Lay it Down" and "Left Alone" are unflinchingly personal, and probably better unheard by their subjects.

The album was recorded in four weeks in L.A.'s Sound City. "It's the same studio where they recorded 'After the Gold Rush,' Johnny Cash's Def-American albums and 'Nevermind!' Adam gushes. Producer Matt Wallace was brought in to helm the record, who had worked with everyone from the Replacements to reggae greats Burning Spear.

"Matt got the songs right away and helped us play them in ways we hadn't considered," says Jeff. "He also made sure I stayed in key, so he definitely earned his money!"

Discography

squad five-o (2002)
late news breaking (2004)

you can listen to songs at
www.squadfive-o.com

Set List

usually about 35-40 minutes. maybe like 8 songs or something. sometimes we do a cover, like the replacements or the clash or the dead boys or something.