Matt Moseman, vocals
Micah Creel, guitar, backing vocals
Justin Middleton, guitar
Ricky Wolking, bass
Jeremy “Worm” Rees, drums
When an executive at its previous record company told Edgewater it needed to change its sound because “rock is dead,” the band walked away. “We will be what we want to be,” says a steadfast Matt Moseman. “We’re a rock band! We’re not circus monkeys on a chain. Fame and glory isn’t what we’re after. This is our life. We have to be able to say ‘yes’ to ‘Is this going to make me feel proud of what I do?’”
Rock lives once more on the aptly titled WE’RE NOT ROBOTS… (Forevergreen Records), released June 2006. From the innovative “Caught In The Moment” with its cheerleader refrain to the anthemic “Get It Right” and in-your-face “Rock Is Dead,” WE’RE NOT ROBOTS… is a powerful statement of defiance for a band that refuses to compromise.
“Wind-Up Records gave us an opportunity, fueled the fire and taught us a lot,” says Moseman. “We just ended up on different pages. Now I can’t wait to see what our future holds. We’re going to keep creating, changing and hopefully gaining fans. We’re going to make a difference with our music, but also have fun with what we do. When it’s not fun, it’s just another job. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you can sell 20 million albums and still not be happy.”
Dallas-based Edgewater had gained national notice with 2004’s SOUTH OF SIDEWAYS, whose “Eyes Wired Shut” was also a lead single from the Gold-certified soundtrack album to “The Punisher.” The band then toured the country with Gold/Platinum-selling artists Three Days Grace, Finger Eleven, Seether, and Default, winning new fans wherever it played. Micah Creel describes the band’s music as “modern melodic rock. Like water in a river it can have depth and be calm, but it also can get rough.” Switching musical gears on the follow-up album to become more “alternative” was not an alternative for Edgewater. In 2005, citing creative differences, the band agreed to part ways with Wind-Up.
“If we had stayed, they would’ve told us to calm down and we didn’t want to,” says Moseman. “It’s not a ‘fuck you’ record--there’s a lot that’s positive--but that anger is there. It feels good to get our emotions out. You have to do this for the right reasons.” Notes Jeremy “Worm” Rees: “Kids think this is about getting girls and cars, but that’s not it. We keep doing this because this is what we love to do.”
In 1997, singer-songwriter Moseman formed Edgewater, named for a street he lived on, as a four-piece. A year later, guitarist Creel and drummer Rees, who had played together in high school, joined. Guitarist Justin Middleton came on board in 1999, creating a dual guitar attack. That summer, the band locally released its debut disc, SELF-TITLED, and began headlining in the Dallas area. 2001’s LIFTERbrought wider regional touring as the band opened for artists drawing several hundred fans to venues and won local radio support.
In 2003, Ricky Wolking, formerly of the acclaimed band The Nixons, replaced the original bassist. Later that year, with an assist from Creed’s Marc Tremonti, Edgewater signed to Wind-Up, best known for acts such as Creed, Evanescence, and Drowning Pool. Edgewater joined a growing list of Dallas rock heroes stretching from Pantera and The Toadies to Drowning Pool. “We’ve earned respect,” says Middleton. “It’s cool and weird, but there are bands here who do Edgewater covers.”
SOUTH OF SIDEWAYS represented a musical scrapbook of the band’s experiences over the years. WE’RE NOT ROBOTS… marks the first album the members wrote as an album and the first with all five members from start to finish. Perhaps surprising for a truly indie album, WE’RE NOT ROBOTS… was constructed with patience. Along with extensive pre-production, the album was eight months in the recording. “We spent time with each song,” says Moseman, “did two or three at a time and mixed them before moving on to the next songs. There was no manager telling us what to do, no outside influences. We had complete freedom, no holds barred. The album is less diverse than SOUTH OF SIDEWAYS, but it’s also tighter. You can feel where this band is today.”
Why Edgewater is still here after several years is because of where its largely blue-collar, hard-working, Midwest-raised members have been. Moseman was born in West Point, Nebraska into a family of farmers. When he was in the third grade he told his mother he wanted to be a singer and songwriter. At 12, they moved to Dallas, where he continued to play the trumpet he had picked up in the second grade. He started guitar in the seventh grade. Studying music and radio-television at the University of Texas at Austin and then at North Texas State, he later played in an acoustic duo. Driven, business-oriented and imaginative, he says whatever is on his mind at any time. “Sometimes that’s good,” he admits, “and sometimes that’s bad.”
Creel, the group’s quiet, eccentric genius, was born in Hereford, Texas, where his dad was a welder on a ranch. When his father became a missionary, Creel spent four years as a grade schooler living in Mexico, including a year in a village without running water or electricity. Around the same time, he was given a Casio keyboard and also started to play accordion in Mexico. For the sixth grade, his family moved to Dallas and he began French horn. While playing in the high school marching band, which performed annually at the Cotton Bowl, he took up the guitar. “Worm and I would go to the band hall and play Rage Against The Machine songs,” he recalls.
The easy-going Middleton says he’s inspired just playing with Creel. Though born in Salt Lake City, Middleton’s family--dad computer programmer, mom nurse--moved to Dallas when he was a baby. His musical desires blossomed after he heard Metallica’s eponymous black album, which prompted him to play guitar. Coincidentally and sadly, that band had suffered a fatal bus crash and Middleton would experience a similar personal tragedy after joining Edgewater when his girlfriend died in a 2000 car wreck: “I was bad off for awhile; I even stopped playing. But this band embraced me and supported me and became family. We’ve been through some shit together, but we’ve stayed together.”
Rees hails from Quincy, Illinois, born two blocks from the Mississippi River. His truck driver father moved the family to Dallas when he was five years old. After growing up listening to country music, his life changed when he heard Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle.” Still, he wasn’t sure what instrument he would play, though drummers always got his attention: “There are bad-ass guitar players, but I always loved hitting things and making noise.” Then came Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee. “Him playing the drums while upside down did it,” he says. “The drummer didn’t have to just sit in back. You could put on a show and kick ass.” Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul was another inspiration, with Rees even writing a high school paper about him. Years later, Dallas native Paul would come to Edgewater shows and become a fan and supporter.
Missouri-born, North Carolina-raised Wolking, whose dad was long in the Army, made his musical reputation before arriving in Dallas. A stint in Los Angeles included recording for the cutting edge instrumental label Shrapnel. He later joined The Nixons, which moved him to Dallas several years ago. Hyperactive, funny, and yet savvy, Wolking quickly became one of the most admired players on the local scene.
Says Rees: “Ricky’s been on the other side of the wall--he’s been signed and dropped, gone through the tour bus breaking down episodes. It’s helped us to have him here.” Wolking repays the compliment. “Even before I joined, Edgewater was something special because the band was willing to try new things. I bring something different too--dysfunctional funk and weird music. We’re not afraid to be different.”
From crazy time signatures and aggressive vocals on top of rock melodies, from thinking outside the box and searching for notes that are more than simply straightforward to lyrics that pack more than a punch, Edgewater is indeed different.
“We’re just trying to find that something new we can be proud of,” says Moseman. “We are not robots--and rock is not dead.”
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