heavy metal

Downer Bio

Band members
John Scott - vocals
Aaron Silberman - guitar
Jed Hathaway - bass
Tracey Sledge - drums


"We called ourselves Downer - maybe we jinxed ourselves from the get-go," says guitarist and co-founder Aaron Silberman. The Orange County based four-piece's Roadrunner debut is an eleven song tangle of emotion and gigantic riffmongery huge rock ambitions infused with hardcore intensity. From the appropriately-titled introductory burn of "Flex" to the last gasp of "Curbed", Downer is a non-stop groove down a melodic and darkened drain.

"We get our work ethic from growing up in the Orange County hardcore/straight edge scene," say vocalist John Scott. It's always been a grassroots/do it yourself thing. I find that relying on someone else usually results in being let down." That feeling is core to the longstanding partnership between
Silberman and Scott, both veterans of the late 80's, early 90's Orange County Hardcore scene - Scott with Headfirst and Silberman with Mission Impossible. Both spent their musical adolescence side by side with bands like Inside Out (who gave the world Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach De La Rocha) and The Offspring. "Our first gig as Downer was with The Offspring in a pizza parlor in Norco in front of about four people!" Aaron laughs. "Our second show was at the Whiskey with Korn opening for us!" It never seemed the right time - til now, Downer struggled through the morass of trend and time, with two independent releases, a self-titled five song EP and a 1997 album, "Wrestling With Jesus", both on the tiny Ammunition label.

With influences ranging between U2, Jane's Addiction and Fugazi, Downer had to prove themselves regardless of who they played in front of. 1996 found the band traversing America with metal-core warlords, Earth Crisis. The following year Downer ripped it up in front of an Arizona Lollapalooza crowd. "Both of those experiences were amazing," states Scott. "They pushed us to be fierce. Our heads were shaved. We were playing music that didn't fit in and kids were getting into it. That's what makes this so worth it for us.." And that sheer will to overcome even the most indifferent crowd is what seems to drive Downer. "We could have walked away from this so many times," says the singer. "We can't."

Many bass players, drummers and gigs later, cut to producer Bob Marlette's (Black Sabbath, Sinistar, Tony Iommi) home studio during December 1999. With drummer Tracey Sledge , in tow, the 'record' button was pressed and Downer was delivering. Having struggled over the past few months writing the record, once production was in full swing, the results were staggering. "It took us maybe two weeks to get it down," states the frontman. "No wasted time. Working with Bob was awesome. He got performances out of all of us we never would have thought we were capable of." The end of recording saw the entrance of Jed Hathaway, originally a guitar player that stepped over to bass to join the Downer fold.

True to its name, Downer isn't exactly an easy or exceedingly pleasant trip. Take the disturbing cover artwork by cult hero and Metallica scribbler, Pushead as a warning, then go full-throttle with the energetic pound of the
first single "Last Time". Soaring and infectious from the first note, it's a high-energy bludgeon imbued with what Aaron sums up as "the reality of the situation." For frontman John Scott, Downer's lyrical viewpoint isn't anything but " honesty. What we all face in our lives. They may not be the happiest things...but I'm probably not the happiest person. ("Last Time"] is about how you're so sick and tired of letting people down, you're ready to climb up to the roof and end the dissapointment permanently."

The singer pauses for a moment. "It's about getting by day by day and not letting things keep you down. All that stuff comes and goes. Money woes. Job stress. Disappointment. Eventually, you'll get through it." So when you're on the ledge, looking down - "Jump!" the frontman laughs, correcting himself. "No, fight, get through it."

Click here to update bio