California band returns to TC for album release
By Kelsey Lauer 9/7/09
Although their families have known each other for years, Traverse City natives Marty Sage and Blake OBrien had no idea they would end up starting a band out in California together two years ago.
When I first met (Blake), I thought he was kind of obnoxious and ridiculous, Sage says with a laugh. Its kind of crazy that now we are friends -- Im just joking.
Our moms and sisters were good friends, so thats kind of how the whole thing started, OBrien adds. We joined the Young Americans and (there) we met two other guys in the group who wanted to start a band. It started out as a fun thing and turned into now what we do for a living.
With Sage as bassist, OBrien as rhythm guitarist, Brett Maline on lead guitar and John Humphries on drums -- all four sing -- the pop-rock band Rally For One took off like a shot.
Now, the members of Rally for One are headed back to Traverse City for two separate shows on Sept. 12 at Union Street Station and Sept. 13 at InsideOut Gallery, respectively, to kick off their fourth national tour and celebrate the release of their new album, Four Sides to Everything.
The end of August through the end of October, so two months straight, we will be touring and doing a little under 30 shows all around the States, OBrien says. Were doing the East Coast, the South; well be all the way up in Rhode Island. New York City, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Orlando.
FOUR SIDES OF EVERYTHING
The title of the album is what it is because all four members collaborated on every single song, even if one member came up with the initial idea, according to OBrien.
One of them Marty wrote a couple of years ago and hid from us. We ended up finding it on his iPod and were like, Dude, we need to fully write this song, he says. He came up with the basic idea and knew in his head what he wanted, but we helped to come up with harmony, different ideas and different variations that we could do.
The music itself is straight pop-rock.
Hopefully people will want to sing along with it. Its upbeat for the most part, Sage says. We used to be more conservative, but on this album, we literally just wanted to experiment with sounding different with guitars and keyboards.
For the first album, we were mainly just two guitar parts, a bass and a drummer. It was pretty basic. For this album, the influences of what we like you can hopefully hear that now.
OBrien adds that the variety of songs on the album and its simplicity are two of the things he expects that will most appeal to listeners.
Theres like the epic-type songs that make you want to dig into the music and then theres the fun ones and the love songs and all that, he says. Its pretty to-the-point and we love to have it all make sense. You can see in the writing that theres structure to it. Pop-rock is what we are.
And what they have to say for their music in the future?
I think our sound will keep evolving, but I dont think well stray away from what were good at, OBrien says. That is harmonies and writing a good song, trying to write a song thats simple. Simple songs are the ones you hear on the radio and that you can sing along to and are easiest to listen to and dont make you feel sad.
ADVENTURES IN TOURING
Rally for One tried to tour internationally for the first time in July -- and had a two-week tour booked at venues around England -- but a cranky customs official interfered with their plans.
We had everything that we needed to have and needed to show; we had a very grouchy guy who was just about to be done with his shift and he wasnt letting us in that day, OBrien says. Every other customs person was like, If you had just went in our line, we would have been fine. We got detained for 14 hours, and then they said we were being removed from the country and they sent us home on the first flight to LA. So, pretty wild.
Then there was the time when OBrien was hit in the mouth with a microphone.
The things that you never thought would happen actually do happen; people really are that ridiculous, he says. We were doing a show in southern California and this guy was so into our music that he jumped on stage to try to come and sing with us, and he drilled the microphone that I had and it hit my tooth. I felt like I didnt have any front teeth; he just rocked my face. It was funny because he was a little on the drunk side, but he was a fun guy.
Both OBrien and Sage think touring is the best way to promote Rally for Ones name -- and its one of their favorite parts of the band -- so they plan to do it regularly for the foreseeable future.
After all, theyve had a positive audience response so far.
I think when we play with other bands that are more artistic or whatever, we seem to do pretty well because we interact with the crowd, Sage says. Im not trying to brag or anything, but there is a little something for everyone. We dont belt it out; we dont swear. Its good, clean family fun.
Rally for One performs Sept. 12 at Union Street Station and Sept. 13 at the InsideOut Gallery. Info: www.rallyforone.com or www.myspace.com/rallyfor1.