Stretch Arm Strong
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Stretch Arm Strong

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"Reviews"

Stretch Arm Strong: 4
Melodic posicore from the state that started the Civil War.

On their fifth album Engage, the two former school teachers in South Carolina's Stretch Arm Strong come to class as public speakers educating the masses about staying true, believing in yourself and striving for something better. Vocalist Chris McLane pushes his scream/sing dynamic to its uplifting limits on songs like "Miles Apart" and "Raise Your Fist," as Stretch's guitars collide with a fluid sensibility the hardcore scene hasn't heard since Dag Nasty's heyday. Provided it gets the right exposure, this collection of honest dance-floor anthems-Stretch's last for Solid State-should position them band to accomplish big things.
-Ryan J. Downey - Alternative Press


"Otober 6, 2003"

Stretch Arm Strong will be shooting a video for “Black Clouds,” a track lifted from its new album, Engage, during the band’s Oct. 18 show at the Cricket Club in Irvington, New Jersey. If you’re a hardcore fan in the NYC/NJ metro area, haul ass to the club, so that SAS can have familiar faces singing along in the crowd during the video. Never been to a SAS gig? Tsk, tsk. The South Carolina posi-core band puts on a show almost as fun as Andrew W.K. We can guarantee that good times will be had by all. - CMJ


"News & Notes Hardcore"

STRETCH ARM STRONG They’re teaching kids… To Rock!

South Carolina’s Stretch Arm Strong- singer Chris McLane, guitarists Scott Dempsey and David Sease, bassist Jeremy Jeffers, and drummer John Barry-proclaim the spirit of old-school hardcore, with superfast riffs and robust sing-alongs. McLane, a self-confessed Mr. Mom, took a few from washing the car and watering the plants with his daughter to talk about his band’s latest release, Engage (Solid State), and the next phase of his band’s career.
Stretch Arm Strong tour on weekends and during the summer. Is this because several members are schoolteachers? We were. We all quit our jobs to rock and roll full time. I taught English for eight years at a military-style reform school. David taught U.S. history for five years at a public high school.
Why did you quit and decide to dedicate your lives to rock? We’d fly to California and do four shows. We’d go to Europe for two weeks. We’d do three shows in a weekend, two of them on a Saturday. We’d get invited on Hatebreed tours but couldn’t do them. We were losing a lot of potential opportunities because of our schedules so we decided to try it full time.
Your 2001 record, A Revolution Transmission, had emo-like melodic parts. How is Engage different? It’s a stripped-down, straight-ahead, raw hardcore record. We also incorporated singing parts and melodies. Geoff [Rickly] from Thursday also sings on the record.
Hardcore bands always stand for something. What do you stand for? As far as shows and our lyrics, we like to have fun; that’s not a bad thing. But you will be educated by things in our lyrics- about the equality of women or issues like sexuality. Our shows are not all-white, all-male sporting events.
- Revolver


"August 25, 2003"

Stretch Arm Strong’s latest release continues the band’s run of patented, anthemic posi-core with upbeat singalongs, traditional hardcore song structures and an all around feel-good vibe seeping from every pore. While 2001’s A Revolution Transmission found this South Carolina crew expanding into more melodic emo territory, Engage is more reminiscent of 1999’s Rituals of Life; sure, there are still melodic moments here, such as “Miles Apart”—there just aren’t as many as there were on its predecessor. “Rising Again” has a real Poison The Well feel to it, while “Devil Shoots Devil” will leave you longing to be up front, finger-pointing and moshing away at the next SAS show to blow through your town. Engage is another solid offering from Stretch Arm Strong, whose members just recently made the decision to leave their day jobs and commit themselves full-time to the band. Wise choice, guys. Your music deserves to be heard. - CMJ


"Rising Hot bands you have to hear…"

STRETCH ARMSTRONG

“WE’VE BEEN a band for 10 years now,” smiles Stretch Armstrong vocalist Chris McLane. “We’re either really committed or really stupid.”
At home in Columbia, South Carolina, the English teacher-turned-hardcore frontman is in the midst of trying to build a tree house for his three-year-old daughter, before he and his bandmates embark on a European tour that will take them to the UK for the first time, and see them filling a much coveted support slot for Rancid. The quintet quit their day-jobs just two months ago and are hoping that this jaunt, along with their powerful latest full-length ‘Engage’, will finally garner them the wider attention they deserve.
“I hope it will expose us to a more diverse audience,” Chris says. “We wanted to write a record that a lot of different people could relate to.”
‘Engage’ is certainly diverse- an intense combination of fist-in-the-air anthems, melodic punk rock a la Avail, a couple of poppy moments, rounded off with a healthy dose of politicized vehemence.
“I’ve been motivated by what’s going in our country,” Chris states. “We’re in some bad shape. Our Commander In Chief is going to great lengths to get our feet in a lot of people’s pools, and a lot of things that America holds as ideals and priorities I find myself not in keeping with.”
As a straight-edge vegan, Chris practices what he preaches, and hopes Stretch Arm Strong can help others do the same.
“There’s a lot of crooked things that we see and a lot of injustices in the world,” he sighs. “ Hopefully we can change people’s minds and a few opinions.”
- KERRANG!


"Old School"

Old School

Straight Up – Featuring CHRIS MCLANE of STRETCH ARM STRONG
LIFESPAN: in Columbia, SC
AUDIO ASSAULT: “We tried like hell to sound like Verbal Assault meets Aggression,” says McLane, “but I think we ended up sounding more like a bad punk/hardcore band.”
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: “We put out a demo tape and sold it at school. We photocopied them and then hand-colored each one with pink and yellow highlighters. We thought we had created a ‘look.’”
COVER YOUR ASS: “We always wanted to impress the guys in a local band called Unherd. They later went to on to become Ass Factor 4. We thought they were so cool and so ahead of their time.”
- Alternative Press


Discography

Engage (Tooth & Nail Records 2003)
A Revolution Transmission (Tooth & Nail Records 2001)
Rituals Of Life (Tooth & Nail Records 1999)

Photos

Bio

Every band that’s ever thrown together an album in hopes of making it has faced a common enemy in longevity. If you’re just starting out, you have to work about touring in a van with a faulty engine, putting up with the know-it-all hecklers and so on, all for the sake of making a name for yourself. And if you somehow do make a name for yourself, you have to worry about creative stagnation along with the stress of keeping your band relevant and marketable. With three albums already under their belt and their new album Engage set to be released, Stretch Arm Strong have succeeded in making a name for themselves in a genre already overpopulated with hardcore doppelgangers. And with each release, they’ve remained creatively progressive and relevant.

Since first coming to Solid State Records with their label debut The Rituals of Life, the band has pioneered an infectious brand of tightly executed posi-core. Rising above the trappings of a genre known for pigeon-holing bands as “one-theme-wonders,” Stretch Arm Strong have expanded their music and lyrics to adopt multiple themes and styles on Engage, once again taking them several steps beyond their peers.

“I think the new record is more to the point and a lot less pretense,” said Chris McLane, the bands frontman and vocalist. “It’s very stripped down and in your face. We took more time crafting and finishing the songs prior to entering the studio and I think it shows.”

The result is a collection of tem blistering tracks featuring several classic Stretch Arm Strong pit-inducing anthems and a few new surprises to their sound. In a bold step, the band has incorporated a more melodic base to the album, resulting in a synthesis of their classically ferocious sound with the artistry of seasoned veterans – both beauty and the beast.

The band’s tour schedule in support of Engage is equally punishing. Having already played several dates with Good Charlotte and New Found Glory in May and a US tour with labelmates Norma Jean that will run through the end of August, their next step will be a European tour with punk legends Rancid. Past tours have included many prominent bands such as Hatebreed, Glasseater, Boy Sets Fire and Sick of It All.

Engage is a devastating album, a testament to the band’s immense talent and skill, which shows no signs of diminishing. If anything, the band has once again earned their rightful place as leaders by consistently bringing an intense passion and honesty to their music.

Keep your eyes peeled for a new record set to be released in fall of 2005 on We Put Out Records.