The Future of the Free World Is Riding On This One - In Stores April 15th
In a music industry that heightens bands to super-stardom in the blink of an eye and forgotten just as easily, Driving East has the hooks to sink in to listeners’ minds and keep them singing along for years to come. Crafting a pop song is something that Barrett Mullins, Driving East’s vocalist and principle songwriter, has come to master over the past four years at the helm of the band. There’s something undeniably catchy about each chorus, a skill that many have tried to cultivate, but few have made their own. Breakdowns and eyeliner may be seductive to some, but a chorus that won’t leave your head is the quickest way to keep fans coming back for more.
The four DE boys—Barrett Mullins, Nate Taylor, Aaron Hubbard and Jon Jester—created Driving East in Fairfax, Virginia. Mullins and Taylor had spent time in local punk rock bands (Big Meanie, Flip Riot, and The Courage Badge) while Hubbard was busy in California earning a Master’s Degree in music and Jester was touring as a drum tech for Just Jinger. After meeting at various shows, Mullins and Taylor began writing songs together and playing shows with some of their friends. They went through their fair share of band members before deciding they needed some permanent additions. Luckily, they knew just where to look. Jester and Hubbard grew up a few blocks apart from each other in Northern Virginia, reconnecting when they both moved to Southern California. After they learned about Driving East from Mullins and Taylor, they were both eager to move back home and commit to the band fulltime. Varying experiences in tow, the foursome recorded a demo that they passed out to all of their friends and anyone else who would listen. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Armed with the confidence instilled in them by their initial listeners, they set out to share their music with as many people as they possibly could.
“There’s nothing quite like looking down into the crowd and seeing dozens of kids in places like Kansas singing back the lyrics I wrote in my bedroom in Virginia. When things get tough on the road, it’s those memories that help me know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing right now,” says Mullins.
Driving East has spent months on the road perfecting a live show that has won fans over across the country, sharing the stage with bands such as Sugarcult, Fall Out Boy, Midtown, and even Maroon 5. Their first EP, produced by Matt Squire (Panic! At the Disco, The Receiving End of Sirens), sold enough copies to keep them on the road—including a stint on Warped Tour—and eventually caught the eye of The Militia Group. In December of 2006, TMG released Driving East’s digital EP, which was produced by Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount (Cartel’s Chroma). The EP sold over 10,000 tracks on iTunes, prompting them to return to Atlanta and record a full-length with Odom and Mount, tentatively scheduled for a November 2007 release.
They’ve paid their dues, and gone through everything a band has to experience in order to win fans over. Broken down on the New Jersey Turnpike at 3 A.M. in the middle of a tour? Check. Slept on a pee-stained floor in some sketchy guy’s basement? Check. Gone through six guitar players, usually at the most inconvenient time possible? Yep, they’ve done that too. What hasn’t killed them has pissed them off. Oh yeah, and made them stronger, too.
“We’re more of a tight knit group than we’ve ever been before,” says drummer Jon Jester. “When I look at the guys in the band, I know that I can count on them for anything, and I hope that it shows in the way we play and interact with our fans.”
Driving East has garnered comparisons to many of today’s biggest names—from The Militia Group’s own alum, Cartel, to the multi-platinum Fall Out Boy. Though the comparisons ring true, there is a quality to DE’s simply stated lyrics that belie their sugary-sweet exterior and set them apart from many of their peers. This facet, mixed with double entendres and tongue-in-cheek flair, make Driving East’s first full-length release something to write home about.