Two of my best friends are brothers; one is a comic artist and the other a musician. We used to play in a band together. Bands, actually. The most successful was probably our high school band, a pop-punk/screamo outfit that consistently covered both Finch’s ‘Letters to You’ and the Limp Bizkit version of George Michael’s ‘Faith’ [cringe]. In later years, when our college band was in full swing, we were more purposeful (and more pretentious) in our efforts to make, you know, music. That particular band – which idolized groups like The Receiving End of Sirens, Thrice and Gatsbys American Dream – was an artistically rewarding project but also, rather predictably, unsuccessful in most tangible respects. But we loved it, and few things bring people together more than making music.
After college we scattered. I moved to the Oregon coast while the musician relocated to New York and the artist eventually settled in Detroit. We saw each other only on vacations and holidays and soon the time of our music-making receded into the past. But we stayed in touch and, all these years later, we’re still close.
A year or so after our diaspora, I saw an advertisement on Absolute Punk for a band recruiting a singer and I immediately felt pangs of longing for those days when I could swing a mic and scream my lungs out until I was empty and exhausted and satisfied. But I wasn’t a singer anymore, not really, and I was on the wrong coast anyway: the band was in New Jersey. With a little prodding I convinced the musician, newly of New York, to audition for the spot. He had never been a singer before but he had talent and passion and a better feel for songwriting than I had ever hoped to have. All of that was abundantly clear in the demo that he put together as his audition tape. He got the job.
And that’s how Kevin Dye joined Gates.