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So, it should be no surprise to anyone that it’s time to announce another Division lineup change – it is Spring, after all, despite the wintry conditions. Some of you probably missed Mark Taylor’s tenure in the band, as we only did one show with him. Things just didn’t work out, despite the best wishes of all involved.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise to me that, once again, the circle of metal has encompassed us. After the return of Dan and Scott, I figured I was out of former members that would want to be involved. I was partially right…
Allow me to introduce Division’s new drummer, Marc Stauffer. Many (most) of you know Marc from his longtime tenure in Twisted Tower Dire, as well as his recent involvement in local bands like Hatred and Krass Judgement. Many of you don’t know (or might not remember) that Marc’s played with us before, for several rather blurry shows in 1999, including the Powermad 1999 festival.
Marc brings a similar musical background (translation: he’s old like the rest of us), bizarre sense of humor, and a whole lot of experience in the dank, dark underbelly of metal that isn’t mainstream to the band. We’re even willing to overlook his enjoyment of NASCAR.
Division is happy to have him on board for the forthcoming album and some summer festival shows to be announced soon. Now all we have to do is schedule shows with TTD so we can get him a real workout…
Must be someone playing the drums!
I figure I’ve put this off long enough – Division would like introduce Mark Taylor as our new drummer. Some of you will know Mark from his recent tenure in Almost Human. We’d like to thank Dan Roem from Cab Ride Home for providing the hookup (long before James left, actually).
Thus far, Mark is fitting in well, which has to say something pretty awful about his mental state. We’re bringing him up to speed on the material in the standard Division manner – which is to say we’re insulting him when something is wrong – and Dave’s happy to have a FNG to pick on that’s actually 1.) new, and 2.) playing his usual instrument. (Hi, Tim!)
Look for us to return in the fall, with some new material in addition to a selection of the old stuff.
As many of you may have heard by now, this Saturday’s gig with Fiakra sets the stage for what will be my last gig with DIVISION. In a sense, I’m lifting my anchor to the D.C.-Baltimore region and preparing for a move. This transition brings to an end what has been a most-rewarding ten-year musical experience. Of course a long history such as this would be filled with many memories and amusing stories; but if I may be a little forthcoming, on my own I’m not the best at recalling such things. In fact, the band likes to have a little fun with that small fault of mine – but we won’t get into that! However, with certainty I will never forget this – Division’s persistent and unflinching mantra of high expectations and hard work in the rehearsal room.
Like many bands, we may not be the biggest marketing machine, and the output of new releases may come to a slow crawl at times…. But as we all have other lives and important responsibilities, sometimes things have to give. However, that was all fine with me, because what mattered most to me was that we never compromised our expectations in that dank and sweaty rehearsal room. The members of Division both past and present have long stated that this is one hard working outfit in the rehearsal room. That was Nick Kelly’s first heads-up to me when he recruited me to audition for the band in the fall of 2003. Tim Regan spoke in detail of it when he left in early 2012. I swear we rehearse as hard – if not harder – as we gig…. and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Like most metal musicians, I love the struggle of maximizing and balancing what are often conflicting goals – aggression verses dynamics; power with speed and endurance; complexity verses support; showmanship with precision, etc. I’m far from the best at all of those – unless you consider dropping sticks or a painful facial expression to be showmanship! Regardless, for me the beauty of Division is not that all involved share a similar approach or understanding, but that the feedback, both positive and constructive, was always immediate and honest. Throw in some talent, a little forgiving patience, and plenty of humbling honesty and you have the balanced and hyper-functional team that has motivated me to stay in the D.C.-Baltimore region for this long. Looking forward, If I can find a group of pros like this who share this ultra-combination of musical taste, work ethic, professionalism, and band expectations at even half-power, I’ll consider myself lucky.
With that, just a few short words of gratitude. First and foremost, Mike Blevins. I remember vividly how much of a humbling struggle rehearsals and gigs were during my first three years with Division. It turns out that my hardcore fitness routines were the culprit, believe it or not, and it was only coincidence and circumstance that led to realize this over what was a long and gradual process of elimination. Anyway, If any of you know how critical and honest Mike’s ears are, you’ll understand how appreciative I am of the zero-pressure patience he granted me during this learning and adjustment phase. A lesson to you young drummers out there: if your legs aren’t doing what you want them to do for some reason, always showing up early to rehearsal and always knowing the material just might earn you some more time to figure things out!
Of course, thanks to all of the others I’ve shared the experience with – Division bandmates Matt, Dan, Nick, Ron, Dave, Tim, Scott; band friends and fans; my bros in Cab Ride Home, Iris Divine, Pharaoh, and any others we gig with; and Toby at “Monthly Metal” Balls Bluff Tavern and Jay at Jaxx (r.i.p.). Finally the most important thanks goes to my beautiful wife Melinda. Your support has been unbound, without obligation, and far beyond measure.
Please join me this Saturday, June 15, at Monthly Metal at “The Underground” at Balls Bluff Tavern. Cover is a cheap $5, the beer is good, and the MM crew is always a blast!