What makes a record classic? Killer chops? Huge hooks? If it were that simple the corporate creeps in Record Town would already have the recipe down and we wouldn't really need an "underground". But when all's said and done, the reason why most bands never really stick in anyone's CD collection is that they were missing that intangible pinch of desperation that comes from sleeping in the backs of stank vans with the dream of stepping out from the grime and owning it. To be memorable a band must live the fight, believing that their record-front to back, first song to last-could be it, their one chance to truly move people and make a connection.
Enter THE LOVED ONES. Born on the streets of Philadelphia in late 2003 as the brainchild of singer/guitarist Dave Hause, bassist Michael "Spider" Cotterman and drummer Mike Sneeringer. The threesome were longtime friends deeply steeped in their hometown lineage, each having initially offered up their talents as the players in Kid Dynamite, The Curse, and for a time, Paint It Black. And while the still relatively new band is definitely a departure from the individuals' past endeavors, the punk sensibilities and organic approach to playing still remain paramount.
Hause had his first taste of punk community selling t-shirts with the ever-explosive Kid Dynamite, spending his weekends working as a proxy tour manager for the Philly locals eventually lead to more serious and long term gigs stage managing for Sick Of It All, The Explosion, and New Jersey's Bouncing Souls. Hause muses, "I was in awe of these bands. They worked so hard and I just wanted to facilitate that. I think they all saw my passion and really pushed me to pursue playing music." But for those around him it was only a matter of time, Hause's knack for writing was apparent right out the gate. Jade Tree label manager and former Paint It Black bandmate David Wagenschutz notes, "[Hause] has always had big dreams and the natural talent to make them come true."
So after many days spent slugging it out slinging merch and advancing shows, Hause and crew finally had their own full-time band and in the blink of an eye they went from zero-to-record, releasing their self-titled EP on Delaware based Jade Tree. Mass touring followed and the band quickly transitioned from a behind the scene side-stage to prime slots opening for Against Me!, NOFX, Bad Religion, The Bouncing Souls, and The Explosion before inking a deal with punk giants Fat Wreck Chords to put out the follow up release.
Says Cotterman, "I think playing with groups like Bouncing Souls and Lifetime forced us to sink or swim. We had to give it everything we had, or else we had no business sharing a stage with those bands. A lot of our new record was written and fine tuned on the road. It was important to play all the new songs live before recording them. I don't think our songs become whole until we play them at shows. There is some intangible component to any song that isn't there until we get confident playing it for people."
Sneeringer notes, "I truly believe that this is a band in which all its members are in fact fans of each other's playing and, therefore, the band overallÉI'm not afraid to admit that I love listening to Keep Your Heart, I'm very proud of the record. It's what we needed and what we wanted musically and lyrically. And I think that is important. We can worry all day about what the next person is going to think about it, but we know that when all is said and done this is from the bottom of our hearts."