March 13, 2005 - Magic City Music Hall - Johnson City, NY

Hometown Heroes Hit The Road with Motörhead

Just when you thought you've heard it all, BRAND NEW SIN returns with an aggressive, blue-collar American Hard Rock album sure to create a buzz that will transcend genres.
Syracuse, New York is my home town. It is a blue collar working town. The people aren't glitzy and "Hollywood." They are hard working people that take two week vacations with their families.
And if you have ever been in Syracuse in the winter, you know that the city gets an average yearly snowfall that rivals Anchorage, Alaska. (The joke in Syracuse is that summer is three months of bad sledding.) This combination of hard-working sensibility and overcoming harsh conditions is the driving force behind Syracuse's diverse music scene.
When rock fans think of Syracuse, New York they often think of Hardcore Punk and the Straight-Edge movement. Bands like Earth Crisis used hardcore to promote drug- & alcohol-free living, veganism, and spirituality. Despite Syracuse's reputation as a Punk/Straight-Edge town, not every band has a Straight-Edge connection.
Syracuse Hard Rock band Brand New Sin has nothing at all to do with Straight-Edge; if anything, these rowdy, long-haired, tattooed, decadent, hell-raising Head Bangers sound like they are rebelling against everything that Syracuse's Straight-Edge scene has stood for. They drink their beer from bottles, eat baked potatoes with their steak, and love wearing their leather jackets.

In the '90s, some of Brand New Sin's members belonged to a Syracuse band called Godbelow, which favored a Metal/Punk blend. In my Born Again Savages days, I had the pleasure of playing a few shows with Godbelow. They were a great band and had a large following. But when they wanted to do something different - something with more bluesy, with a bit of a southern influence - Brand New Sin was born in 2001.
While other Metal bands had four or five members, Brand New Sin had six thanks in their original lineup that consisted of lead singer Joe Altier, bassist Chuck Kahl, drummer Mike Rafferty, and count 'em… THREE guitarists: Slider (who also provided background vocals), Kris Wiechmann, and Ken "Knock 'em Down" Dunham.
Heavy, yet consistently melodic, Brand New Sin has been influenced by a variety of metal and hard rock bands, and those influences range from Motörhead, Black Sabbath, and Guns N' Roses to Pantera and Metallica. There are also traces of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Southern Rock in the band's material. Although Brand New Sin has plenty of '70s and '80s influences, the band has enough of a Corrosion of Conformity/Down influence to avoid sounding flat-out retro and be relevant to the current alternative metal scene.
In June of 2002, Brand New Sin's self-titled debut album was released by Now or Never Records. The album garnered acclaim from such mainstream outlets as Billboard and Guitar One. CMJ New Music Monthly stated: "BRAND NEW SIN is the finest rock act to emerge from the underground in recent memory."
The group went on to earn a devoted legion of fans through relentless touring with a wide array of artists, from Motörhead to Zakk Wilde's Black Label Society and Slayer to Breaking Benjamin and Saliva. They have also performed at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
The band's blue collar image and tough as nails sound also earned them a place in the Jack Black movie "School of Rock." The band was on set for three days and ended up with a very brief appearance in the film and one of their songs plays during the credits.
Since the release of the first album, Brand New Sin has gone through a line-up change. Slider is no longer with the band, bringing the band down to only two guitars, and drummer Mike Rafferty was replaced by Kevin Dean.
In 2004, Brand New Sin signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. The group recently completed work on their highly anticipated sophomore effort, tentatively titled "Recipe For Disaster". The album's summer release will be preceded by a series of performances alongside rock legends Motörhead and Corrosion of Conformity. In conjunction with the Motörhead/C.O.C. tour, the band will release a four-track EP titled Black and Blue. The title track "Black and Blue" will serve as the first single from Recipe for Disaster; the other three songs will be exclusive to the EP.
It's the stunning blend of Joe Altier's captivating roar and melodic overtones mixed with the band's gritty, rock-solid rhythm section, blistering dual guitar solos and pummeling hooks that help this group appeal to a diverse audience. And from what I could see, the Motörhead crowd definitely liked it.
Being from Syracuse, which is only about an hour's drive from Binghamton, the BNS boys had a substantial crowd and when they took the stage, the crowd was nearly as loud and rowdy as they would be later in the show for Motörhead. Talk about hometown advantage... The crews from Syracuse were all there and being friends with the band, they went totally apeshit. Fists pumping, hair whipping, and bodies slamming together, the crowd danced and had a blast as the band rocked through songs such as "My World" off of their first album and "Black and Blue" from their upcoming cd. The crowd's attitude reflected the mood of the band as Joe Altier and company fed off the riotous nature of the crowd and pummeled them with their heavy sounds. It was a vicious cycle that continued until the band played their final notes and said good-night.
Afterwards, I caught up with Joe, Ken, Chuck, Kris, and Kevin and told them the show sounded great. We looked through the photos on my digital camera and drank a beer. The guys were all hanging out in the club as Zeke, Corrosion of Conformity, and Motörhead each played their sets.While I was shooting photos of the other bands, Joe Altier was sitting down between the barrier and the stage watching the show.We agreed that all the bands were playing great.
After the whole show was over, and I had done the Meet & Greet with Motörhead, Chuckie Love, the tour manager for BNS, came and got me to take me back stage again. Lemmy was gone by that point, but we hung out with the guys from Syracuse and Brand New Sin for a while and had a few drinks. While we were hanging out, Mikkey Dee of Motörhead came through and I asked him to get a quick snapshot. I had met him years before when he was playing in King Diamond and it was cool to get a photo.
Finally, it was time to head home, but not before seeing one of the grossest things I have ever seen in my life. I will NOT write about it here, but if you ask me in person, I will give you the whole sordid tale. (Though I am sure the more astute observers of this site will figure out what it was from looking at the photos. That was NASTY!
Jeddy, You Are Sick!) One of the girls that was hanging out and eating pizza puked instantly when she saw it. After that, it was time to head home. I gathered up my stuff. Then, Trinity and I thanked the guys from Brand New Sin one more time, said our good-byes and hit the highway.
Before the show, I sat down with Joe Altier in the band's van and talked to him about Brand New Sin's rise to fame, the current tour with Motörhead, their upcoming album, and much more. Joe is a friend of mine and a genuinely nice guy. And for all the power he projects on stage, he is surprisingly soft spoken in conversation. We had a great talk and laughed a lot. (The entire interview mp3 clocks in at 20:37 and sounds great. Download it and check it out.)

Brand New Sin

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