heavy metal

Still Remains Bio

Still Remains
Band members
T.J. Miller - vocals Jordan Whelan - guitars Evan Willey - bass Zach Roth - keyboards A.J. Barrette - drums


Getting out of the shadow of an older sibling is never an easy task - it takes perseverance, strength and an almost indomitable spirit to strike out on one's own and create an identity independent of those who came before. Hailing from Grand Rapids, MI - a compact burg that stands in the shadows of Detroit Rock City and its hallowed rock n' roll lineage - Still Remains have set out to make music that accepts what has preceded them but is determined to take it in fresh, new directions. Still Remains create music that is multi-textured - full of depth, passion and hope. Combining biting guitars, atmospheric keyboards and rhythmic drumming, this quintet from middle America has more in common with Euro-metallers In Flames and Soilwork than they do with anything that has ever come out of the Motor City.

Before Still Remains, frontman T.J. Miller, guitarist Jordan Whelan and keyboardist Zach Roth played in a metalcore-oriented band called Shades of Amber, while bassist Evan Willey was part of Unition. Both groups eventually broke up, and when Miller and Whelan asked Willey to join their new band, with Roth following soon after, the core of Still Remains was born. Drummer A.J. Barrette was brought into the fold shortly thereafter, solidifying the band's line-up. The band played anywhere and everywhere around Grand Rapids and immediately made an impression with their sound, which cut a wide swath across the musical spectrum and offered an intelligent alternative to Grand Rapids' often least common denominator-based metal scene. Working the younger crowd, Still Remains channeled a fresh exuberance and an atmosphere where the music was the focus rather than the background noise. Willey explains, "we like shows where people are interactive, where their budgets are more for T-shirts and CDs as opposed to pitchers. I think it was a pretty smart choice."

That it was. Still Remains had a legion of ready fans for its homemade EPs, and its first album, 2004's independently released If Love Was Born to Die, sold a respectable 5,000 copies. The fledgling group moved to bigger rooms as well, opening for groups such as Poison the Well, As I Lay Dying, Every Time I Die and others.

It was with this impetus that they caught Roadrunner's attention, signed with the label and shortly thereafter entered the studio with producer GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Kittie), "We knew him before we worked with him, because some of our favorite albums are ones he produced," Willey notes. "He was easy to work with, but at the same time challenging. It was comfortable, but he really pushed us, which was great." The result is Of Love and Lunacy, an album that is not so much concerned with traveling the heavily-treaded metal path of 'faster-faster, more-more' but rather the kind of music that makes you stand up a little straighter and feel like you can take on the world on your own terms. "White Walls" is driven by an unrelenting rhythm section and scorching riffs, barreling along until it takes flight, with vocals switching from hellion growl to soaring croon. "The Worst Is Yet To Come" is anthemically-charged, switching gears mid-song from full-on hardcore assault to a searing chorus, with Roth's lush keyboards adding depth and atmosphere to the proceedings. No two songs on Of Love And Lunacy sound alike - each one taking a different musical path to reach its creative destination.

While not a concept album, it was important for the group to maintain a cohesive theme between the cover art/booklet and songs on the record. Explains Miller, "When I was writing this album I was going through phases of happiness and severe hurting. I wrote what I was feeling and the words love and lunacy best represents those emotions. The colors in the two lines of people on the cover reflect "love" and "lunacy, hence the name of the album."

Already having established themselves in the Midwest through extensive touring, Still Remains plan on using Of Love and Lunacy as a springboard to reach a much wider audience. "We love being on the road. We love playing shows and we miss it so much. We've been here [home] way too long already and we're getting roadsick . . . kinda like homesick but the other way around." Look for plenty of tire rubber to be burned as the quintet takes its tireless work ethic around the country, even around the world.

"This band is the thing we're really passionate about," Miller says. "This is our chance. I think everything we've done before this was to be Still Remains. We want to really take it out there and show it to everyone." It is that focus that has thrust Still Remains out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Not content with being the red-headed stepchild of Detroit Rock City's various progeny, Still Remains have combined talent and ambition to deliver a sonic wallop that will make the listener straighten up and pay attention from the first note.

Click here to update bio