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Alive [Live]
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Dishwalla
September 2002

radio.wazee spotlight band Dishwalla made a big splash in 1996 with their catchy pop single "Counting Blue Cars." With the gritty heart and soul of those who came before them, Dishwalla's hard rock sound was enough for fans to make "Counting Blue Cars" one of the most-requested songs of that year. The song also garnered the band a Billboard award for Rock Song of the Year and allowed their debut album, Pet Your Friends, to sell more than a million copies.

Recalls vocalist J.R. Richards, "After a slow start, things just happened all at once. I remember playing at the Billboard Music Awards and realizing how far we had come. The year before, we were still working day jobs or going to school, then there we are playing on this television show in front of millions of people with guys like L.L. Cool J and Rod Stewart sitting in the front row. It was completely surreal."

In 1998, the road-tightened quintet expanded on the promise of their first album with their second disc, And You Think You Know What Life's About. Unfortunately, in an industry where timing is crucial, the album was released in the midst of a much-publicized label merger. "It was a frustrating situation because everything involved with the album was beyond our control," says Richards. "We did the only thing we could: we stuck it out and moved on."

The band maintained momentum through touring--including a performance at Woodstock '98--and by contributing songs to a number of soundtracks including "The Avengers" ("Truth Serum"), "Stir of Echoes" ("Stay Awake") and "American Pie" ("Find Your Way Back Home"). In addition, they recorded a stunning rendition of "Policy of Truth" for 1998's Depeche Mode tribute disc, For The Masses. Explains Richards, "We learned to distance ourselves from the business and keep it separate from the creative aspect. Like the early days, it was all about playing and making music."

That brings us to the present, and the new album Opaline, DISHWALLA's first recording for new label immergent Records. "People are drawn to DISHWALLA's music because of the emotion and insight of their songs," says Mark Mazzetti, Immergent's Senior Vice President of A&R. "Like their first two records, this album is rich in its lyrical content, tone and melody. I believe the new songs will captivate DISHWALLA fans and appeal to an even broader audience."

Produced by Gregg Wattenberg (Five For Fighting, "The Sopranos" soundrack), Opaline reveals a band with renewed vitality and a range that's been broadened without compromise. "They've got so much more soul and depth than the average rock band," says Wattenberg. "There's some great piano parts on here, more acoustic guitars, and J.R.'s singing is intense. It's definitely their most mature record yet."

Opaline also marks DISHWALLA's first recording with drummer Pete Maloney (Tonic, Josh Clayton Felt), a former session player who joined the band during their last tour. "Pete is an amazing drummer who can play just about anything," says Cravens. "He adds a whole new dimension to our sound." Maloney recalls, "I remember seeing these guys live a few years ago and being blown away by J.R.'s singing and their strong sense of songwriting. I jumped at the chance to be a part of that."

Opaline is an album that gets everything right, combining sharp wordplay, sprawling sing-along melodies, lush textures and dynamic, gut-bucket backbeats to overwhelming effect. "We've definitely tried to grow with each record," says Richards. "Over the years, I've been through a lot both personally and professionally, and as I grow emotionally, I find it easier to tap into feelings that I didn't or couldn't before. 'Somewhere In he Middle,' for example, is written about a past relationship. I wanted it to end, but the other person was so damaged I was worried about how they'd handle the pain. I thought the torture of ending it would be worse than the day-to-day grief I was going through, so I stayed in it until I couldn't anymore."



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