by Dr Fever
The musical landscape that is the Hardcore scene has witnessed the rise and fall of many bands. For every sucessful band (bands like Converge, Most Precious Blood and even bands like Sick Of It All and Minor Threat) there are a thousand bands that generated a little local buzz, but quickly fell by the wayside (hey, i'm a bastard, but not a big enough bastard to sit here and name drop the unlucky bands that didn't make it.) Every once in a while, however, a band comes along and gets a little buzz generated then gets knocked down (sometimes, multiple times..as is the case in this instance) but always seems to drag it self back up off the mat and come out swinging. Holden Caulfield is one of those bands.
The odds were stacked against Holden Caulfield from the get-go. First there's the fact they're from West Virginia. SOME people in the Hardcore scene have this completely b.s. idea (or stereotype if you prefer) about "hardcore kids" in West Virginia. The second obstacle was a glaring problem with keeping members around (which continues to this day..but, more on that later.) Now, in the Hardcore scene, this isn't to uncommon of an occurence. But, with Holden Caulfield it seemed as if they were changing members (literally) every week. Two constants have remained, however, through the lifespan of Holden Caulfield: Vocalist Dana White and Guitar player Josh McClure.
White ( former vocalist for defunct West Virginia hardcore heavyweights Down To None and Malicious Intent and founder of Cornzine-a webzine focusing on the hardcore/punk/and metal underground scenes) had originally teamed up with McClure (who cut his teeth playing guitar for the highly underrated hardcore/metal outfit Ballpeen) to start a band that might shake up a borderline dead local hardcore scene, which had started to come unglued after numerous bands broke up or left the area (bands like Down To None, Malicious Intent and Dirt Bear) and the main venue for shows, The Common Grounds, closed down. The band was helped by White's Cornzine.com Productions, the show booking arm of Cornzine, which White uses to book numerous shows throughout any given year.
After getting what seemed like a set lineup (for the record; the previous members didn't leave because they hated the music or because of some kind of internal problems..they left because of Personal reasons..be it school, work, or some other problem) Holden Caulfield went into the studio to record what would become their self produced and self funded debut album; "The Beginning Of Forever And Ever" Ten tracks that blended the usual trappings of hardcore and punk rock, the album (well, ok, demo) was met with a warm response locally. Sharing the stage with some of Hardcore's more recognzieable bands (Stretch Arm Strong, Most Precious Blood and Bloodjinn to name just a few) helped spread the word outside the barriers of the Mountain State. Just as things were starting to look postivie for the band the Lineup Change Demon struck again, this time taking guitarist Ryan MacCollough and bass player Eric Brookes (both of whom left the band to persue college degrees.) But, luckily, the band filled the void quickly. That's when things got intersting.
Instead of replacing both members, Holden Caulfield decided to just replace Brookes and run as a 4 piece with only one guitar player. The new bass player, Jason Hanshaw, seemed to bring a new element to the band and something clicked. After playing what seemed like an uncountable number of shows, the band headed into the studio again to record their new material. After recording 5 tracks (4 new songs and a cover of an old Down To None song), White began to put feelers out with some of his connections (years of booking shows and running a zine will afford you those kind of connections.) and struck gold when he chatted with his friend EMS.
EMS used to play bass for the influential Hardcore band Brothers Keeper (whom, if you'll remember, were fronted by Mike Ski. Vocalist for last months Artist Of The Month: The AKA's) and he also dabbled in running a record label: Surprise Attack Records. Based out of Erie, Surprise Attack gained prominence for releasing albums by bands like Brothers Keeper and some of the other so called 'Lake Effect Hardcore' band of the area years ago, but hadn't been heard from in quite awhile. EMS had decided he was reviving the dormant label and after hearing 2 of the recently recorded songs he decided he HAD to get Holden Caulfield on the label. And, he did. The result of which, "The Art Of Burning Bridges," has been drawing both great reviews and serious buzz throughout the hardcore scene. But, of course, things went haywire. Drummer Jeff Wright, who serves in the West Virginia National Guard, was 'called up' to active duty, and had to leave the band to go over to Iraq and serve his country.
So, now, Holden Caulfield sits at that proverbial cross-roads. With a kick ass new EP just aching to be promoted, yet the whole no drummer thing hangs over their heads. The band is currently trying to find a drummer to replace the departed Wright so they can carry on a music vision that, even though blinded by a few metaphorical body blows, hasn't wavered since day one. If you're smart and you want to check out an original and refreshing band, you will definatly want to check out the new EP (which you can purchase online through the Surprise Attack Records webstore), or at the very least go to the bands website and check out some mp3's. Get in on the ground floor now, kids. Because when this band FINALLY gets a set lineup and is able to avoid the problems that have plagued their development over the last few years they will do more than just generate a buzz. They may just take over the damn world.