heavy metal

Relative Ash Bio

Relative Ash
Band members
Marcus Harrington - vocals
Carlos Salazar - guitar
Junior Antunez - guitar
Chuck Ford - bass
John Salazar - drums


Far more than just another debut by just another new band, Our Time With You... the stunning first album from Chicago heavy rock quintet Relative Ash, is an emotion-packed collection that celebrates life, mourns death, and deftly considers nearly everything else in between.

Beginning with pre-production in early December, 1999,the five members of Relative Ash spent two months at Longview Farms Studio in suburban Massachusetts working on Our Time With You.... The band teamed with renowned producer Steve Thompson (KoRn, Metallica, Guns 'N Roses) and the combination proved magical, a true labor of love for all involved.

"We had a choice between Steve and a bunch of other producers," says singer Marcus Harrington. "But we went with him because it was clear he was the one who would get us down on tape the right way. It was a great experience; he brought the best of all of us out. We all really came together with Steve. We all put our heart and soul into it. We didn't settle for a 9, we went for 10 or 11 every time."

"Steve knows so well how to capture emotions and tones," adds guitarist Carlos Salazar. "Both being very important to this band. We tried a lot of different things in the studio and at the end of the day it was always our best work that naturally rose to the top."

The eleven heart-stopping songs found on Our Time With You... explore with disarming honesty such topics (all usually avoided by most hard rock bands) as the worsening AIDS crisis; both the death and birth of loved ones, and being a socially conscious human being in a time that's more generally associated in pop music with man's inhumanity to man.

"We usually would have music first, then the lyrics would come later," says Marcus. "While the other guys were rehearsing the songs and putting them together, I'd sit there for a couple days and just listen to them, and think of lyric ideas as they were doing the songs. Then I'd take it all home in my head and write the lyrics. Some were taken from personal poems that I had written. I want every word I sing to have some thought behind it, just like Kurt Cobain did. I tend to get up and down, good news-bad news a lot. A lot of this is heavy and personal, but it also has a lot of positive energy behind it."

Musical inspiration came to Marcus following the passing of his father, a tragic event that nonetheless had the effect of bringing the young man's previously unknown artistic gifts to the surface.

"My dad had died when I was 19," recalls Marcus. "And that's what made me start writing my thoughts on paper, and getting it out that way. Then I started putting it to music when I was almost 21. Different people deal with loss in different ways, and writing these songs is my way."

But he and the band take it much farther than just writing and recording the songs, as anyone lucky enough to catch one of the Relative Ash's amazing live shows will attest.

"I wrote a song about the AIDS walk in Chicago that I walk in every year," says Marcus. "It's called "6 Miles To Learn." We start talking about it on stage to the people when we play that song, actually ask people in the crowd if they've lost anybody or know anybody who's suffering from AIDS, and actually ask them to raise their hands. That's hard for people to do but they do it. They raise their hands and we play it for them."

Relative Ash formed on Chicago's South Side in the late 1990's when five young friends discovered they had much more in common than their mutual hometown.

"I was writing songs, and I ran into this guitar player Carlos...him and his brother John and myself just crossed paths," recalls Marcus. "And we decided to put a band together. Chuck our bass player came along; he's a friend. And then my buddy Junior, who lives down the street from me all my life, was in another band and he decided to come with us. This was late 1996, early '97. That's when we started putting our songs together and playing shows, playing anywhere and everywhere we could."

Relative Ash quickly developed a reputation for their brutally honest style of modern rock, and within two years of forming was headlining a sold-out Metro club in Chicago, almost unheard of for a local unsigned band. A 3-song cassette ("5:30," "Bounce," "Charmed") was recorded in one day and given to friends. The band then gained their first National exposure, and subsequently came to the attention of Island Records, when they were added to the 1999 X Games tour, a first big test for the band.

"We went on at 12 noon everyday, we always opened up, the first band," remembers Marcus. "So when we played we had to throw down so hard that people actually turned around and paid attention. There was so much else going on, and here's this band no one has ever heard before. We really had to throw down."

Relative Ash has already shared the stage with such acts as Kittie, Sevendust, Coal Chamber, Ultraspank and Chevelle, and will spend the Summer of 2000 as part of the inaugural "Tattoo the Earth" tour with Slipknot, Slayer, Sepultura, Coal Chamber, Hed(pe) and more - not too bad for young band promoting its debut album.

"Our Time With You... is our first album, and it represents our whole life up to now," says Marcus. "The people that are gone now, and the people that are still with us; our fans, our family that supported us, and the people yet to come. It's about our time with those people who influenced this album."

"When a loved one passes on, where does their soul roam?

Their love, passion, strength and sensitivity - where will they rest?

We all want to think that these emotions shine bright at the birth of our son or daughter...

But sometimes one must suffer great loss, and truly, truly miss...

Questions kill the romance, so just remember how beautiful that person is the last time you held them...

And live knowing now that they are all Relative Ash..."

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