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February 29, 1996 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-29

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5 4B - The Michigan Daily -Wceeko, U. - Thursday, February 29, 1996

Alternative rockers Seven Mary Three have a 'handle' on success

By Cofn Bartos
Daily Arts Witer
Itseems like the music industry's success
stories are currently riding the wave ofgood
old grassroots straightforward rock'n'roll.
First came Hootie and the Blowfish, who
turned their little bar band into a 14-million-

recordseller. Nowgetready for Seven Mary
Three, who, with a No. I single "Cumber-
some" on the alternative charts, are starting
to be noticed.
Seven Mary Three includes Jason Ross,
Jason Pollock,Casey Daniel and Giti Khalsa.
Ross and Pollock started fooling around

with the notion of forming a band in 1992,
and the notion was realized when they met
drummer Khalsa at the College of William
and Mary. Ross' poems and short storiesfor
English class quickly turned into songs as
leadguitaristPollockprovidedmusical ideas.
Ross invited his friend Daniel from the

University ofFloridato play bass, and Seven
Mary Three was born.
The name "Seven Mary Three" comes
from the TV show "Chips," a topic Khalsa
waseagertotalkabout. "Seven
Mary Three was the
handle of(Chips char- SEVEN M1
acter) John Baker,"
Khalsasaid."Johnwas THREE WI
always savingPonch's Where: St. Andr
ass,youknow. Hewas When: Tonight
always sort of the un- Tickets: Sold o
derdog but he always
came through in the
end. ... Now (Ponch) is doing infomercials
with Sally Struthers."
In 1992 Seven Mary Three recorded and
producedtheirown CD"Chum,"and toured
on weekends when they weren't attending
classes. Khalsa talked about the whole
struggle of doing everything for themselves
from the beginning. "I think it gave us a
really good perspective on how important
the grassroots level of things is. If you want
toestablishyourselves as along-term project
andas aband with integrity, it's very helpful.
"For us, just recording an album on our
own, withlimited means, was a very fulfill-
ing experience, and traumatic at the same
time. We just learned a lot about the record-
ing process and how things get done, and
how the industry works. Taking ("Chum")
toMom and Pop stores... I think we learned
the value of networking with a product,"
Khalsa said.
"A lot of bands are a little intimidated by
the record compani es,"he said. "New bands
are constantly getting ripped off. Most ofthe
time, when that happens,it's because they let

themselves get ripped off. Going through
that whole process for us was very much an
education."
"Chum" attracted a lot of attention and

S
AS
TI
rew
ut

Seven Mary Three eventually signed
with Mammoth
RY Records, distributed
but not owned by
H POE Atlantic Records.
Khalsa said Mam-
moth is perfect be-
cause"we'vegotthe
total indie label sup-
port, we've got a
group of people we're very close to, and
we'vegotthebigmachinebehindus."Mam-
moth released Seven Mary Three's new
album "American Standard" in September
1995.
Khalsa described the songs on "Ameri-
can Standard" as "a document of our own
lives and people we've known - people
we'vereadabout."They listentoeverything
from Miles Davis to Motley Cue, which
accounts forthe wide variety ofsongs on the
album. "We definitely lookup to Tom Petty
and Neil Young... Pearl Jam," Khalsa said.
"(Our music) is an impassioned, intense
rock'n'roll sound.It's definitely got an edge
to it, but at heart we're a rock'n'roll band."
The firstsingle,"Cumbersome,"hasbeen
all the over the radio and MTV in the past
couple of months or so, to the amazement of
the band "I think we're all a little surprised
athow well thatsonghasdone,"Khalsasaid.
"Wehadafeelingit woulddopretty well;we
never expected it to become a No. 1 single.
It's great that people are excited about the
song and are playing the heck out of it. But

... we're ready to move on."
- Khalsa explained, "'Cumbersome' is a
great song, but none of us feel it's our best.
We feel that there's stronger material on the
record. 'Water's Edge' (the next single)i
little more representative of what we
about and what we're doing."
When asked about the chance that
"Water's Edge" might become as big as
"Cumbersome," Khalsa did not shy away
from the prospect of success. "It'd be great.
We're definitely in the rock'n'roll business
andwe're proud ofit... we have no qualms
with it. I don't think any band can be pre-
pared for that catapult. The most important
thing to us is our music and having our fans
enjoy our music."
The band has drawn criticism for sound-
ing like many of the bands already out onthe
circuit today, such as Hootie and the Blow-
fish and Stone Temple Pilots. Khalsa said
they donotgetdiscouraged; just"roll withit.
It's soearlythatmostofthetimethecriticism
is based on people's impression of one song
('Cumbersome'),"Khalsaexplained."What
sets us apart from a lot of bands today... is
our work ethic and how that relates to our
liveperformance. Wetrytorelatetoasm ny)
people as we can."
Seven Mary Three is now playing more
intimate clubs. Ifthe time comes forthe band
to play biggervenues, Khalsasaidthey'll be
ready. "Ithink there are bands out there that
are successful atkeepingalevel of intimacy,
even with 30,000 people. Ifyou can connect
with the guy who's in the nosebleed seats
and make him feel like he's part ofthe show,
thenyou'vedoneyourjob. I hope we can rise
to the challenge."
Seven Mary Three does love to play lit
"We pretty much live for being on the road
right now... it's definitely one ofour favor-
ite aspects ofthewholething. It's something
I think we've always enjoyed." The band
continues on the second leg of what Khalsa
refers to astheir"neverendingtour~'untiI the
end of March, when they will travel to
Europe to play into early summer.
After a couple weeks off, Seven Mary
Three was thinking of switching it up a li
bit. "We're probably going to do some kin~
of shed tour where we play small amphithe-
aters and things like that. It'll open the doors
to the younger crowd," Khalsa said. "I re-
memberasakidin the summertime wanting
to go to concerts when I was little and I
couldn't."
Seven MaryThreeplaysaheartfelt,genu-
ine brand ofrock'n'roll that has been lost in
a lot of the distorted power chords that
saturatemusictoday.Theirliveperformis
is very tight and impassioned, and definitT
one that any rock fan should not miss. -

"Breaker, breaker, this is Seven Mary Three. We've got a band here hanging on a pole. I'm bringing them In for questioning."

#001
VI
expires: 4/30/96
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