Photo credit: Michael Maxxis
Travis Nesbitt — vocals
Logan Jacobs — bass
Morgan Gies — guitar
Ben Shillabeer — drums
In this day and age, you’ve gotta have pretty big balls to call one of your songs, let alone an entire album, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. And if you do, well, you damn well better deliver. With their first full-length U.S. release, veteran Edmonton quartet Social Code have done just that, dropping 11 tracks inspired by the masters of rock, dripping with the blood, sweat and tears of almost a decade in the trenches and driven by one simple mantra. Is it rock ‘n’ roll?
“We would ask everybody, we would say it in the studio, we still say it now,” says vocalist Travis Nesbitt, noting that the question was asked about everything to do with the recording including the album artwork and photo shoots. “We knew what we wanted to do and we knew what path we were on and if we felt ourselves straying from that path then we knew that it wasn’t right for this record. “ Bassist Logan Jacobs agrees. “We knew exactly what we were doing this time,” he says. “It’s never been more collective — we knew we were making a rock record, we knew it was a departure from how people had heard us before and it was easy to make a lot of decisions.”
Since forming several years ago, many people have become familiar with the work of Social Code, be it through their tours with Theory of a Deadman, Buckcherry, Finger Eleven, Rev Theory and Three Days Grace, or from a pair of albums — 2004’s A YEAR AT THE MOVIES and the sophomore self-titled release through Universal Canada two years later — that spawned major radio airplay for songs such as “Bomb Hands,” “Everyday (Late November)” and “He Said, She Said.” That latter song earned Social Code nominations at the Western Canadian Music Awards for “Songwriter of the Year” and “Outstanding Rock Recording of the Year.”
Still, despite that success, as 2008 was coming to a close, the band found themselves at a crossroads. Independent once more, and unsure of the future, the quartet took time out to rethink what it was they were doing and whether or not they even wanted to continue on. To ask themselves what it was about music, and making music, that made them a band in the first place. It was a gut-check that produced some honest answers and a whole new approach to songwriting and recording.
“We were chasing trends instead of just stopping,” Logan says, “getting off the train and saying, ‘OK what are we going to do? What are we going to do that’s distinctly us?’ We were always looking at groups that were doing what it is we were doing at the same time, and we decided that just wasn’t for us. So we went back to the roots.” And those roots can be heard in all their ragged glory on ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.
The disc was recorded quickly, painlessly and live off the floor during the “freezing cold of an Edmonton winter” with producer John Travis (Kid Rock, Buckcherry and Sugar Ray). From the gloriously grinding and noisy first single, “Satisfied” and the catchy “Buy Buy Baby,” to the heavy, boogie rocker “Fight For Love,” and the surefire heartbreak, rock anthems “I’m Not OK” and “Perfect Grave,” the 11 tracks draw on influences as seminal as Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Cheap Trick and The Black Crowes while being entirely true to the band’s own sound.
“They set the path for all of this,” says Travis of the legends he and the rest of the band were drawing on for the sparks of the new material. “So why wouldn’t you go back there, why wouldn’t you go back to the roots and then try and take that and say ‘How can we do it? How can we take that vibe and make it ours?’”
Now, with that question firmly answered, the four friends are ready to begin a new chapter in the story of Social Code. They’re looking at the path ahead as a new beginning and a fresh start on the way to something bigger, better and more exciting than anything they’ve done in the last decade. They’re ready to hit radio and the road with songs and an outlook that have infused a whole new passion for making music into the four-piece. “I was just saying to Logan the other day, I can just feel an energy about what’s going on with this band that I haven’t felt before,” Travis says. “It’s something we’ve been doing for years, and then something happens, it changes and it now feels new. It’s the same band, but we’re brand new. It’s an exciting time to be in Social Code.”
On that note, and with the future looking bright, we’ll let Social Code have the final say with these prescient words from the slow-burning title track:
“Now is not the time for talking
Give me what I want or I’m walkin’
I just wanna hear some rock ‘n’ roll”
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