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Local Band Column: Crash Everest

This story was published March 17, 2005 in The Cavalier Daily, U.Va.’s student newspaper.

Hi. My name is Molly. I interview bands.

I interview bands so that you, the plebeian, can get an inside look at Charlottesville’s musical offerings. Every other Thursday, tableau will run a column penned by yours truly — and it’s going to be all about local music.

I’m talking about the cream of the crop here: music that relaxes, music that inspires, music that makes you want to headbang and music that leaves your ear drums numb and buzzing. I love that feeling.

For the premiere column, I decided to interview a group that’s been maturing on the U.Va. scene for awhile. Crash Everest is a U.Va.-based five-man band with influences that include Saves the Day, Joy Division and Iron Maiden. In general, they’re on the heavy side of rock, but each song has enough catchy tunes to keep the melody-minded listener happy.

As I was prepping for the interview, I told my father that I was going to “chill with a band.” I did not receive the yip of excitement I expected. Instead, I got, “What does Crash Everest mean? Is that a computer virus?”

“No, Daddy. It’s the name of the band.”

“Well, what does it mean?”

“It’s just a name.”

“Why can’t your generation communicate properly?!”

My father’s cultural ignorance brought up an important issue; I didn’t know what their name meant either. So I swallowed my pride and prayed “Crash Everest” wasn’t some music reference I should have recognized.

“Basically we thought it sounded cool,” lead vocalist Mark Richardson explained. “It’s a verb and a recognizable symbol, so it’s easy to remember. After we used it a few times, it just stuck with everyone.”

This laidback, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may attitude is a big part of the Crash Everest dynamic; no one in the group set out to “be in a band.” In fact, it took a little time to get things rolling.

“We had talked about getting together for awhile, but nobody pushed it and it never really happened until one night, when [some bandmates] came and dragged me out of my house to go jam,” drummer Justin Earley said.

Once things picked up, the guys realized that the life of a rock band is a little less glitzy than most people think.

“You spend a lot of time in small rooms, quite literally,” Richardson explained.

The band has humble beginnings — their first recordings were made by placing guitarist John Baird’s laptop in the middle of a room while the band played around it.

In the same swanky vein, Crash Everest has been known to use the Chemistry auditorium as a practice area. They have also performed at the Third Year Dinner, which, as they recall, was “not an atmosphere conducive to rocking.”

“Being in school actually holds us back a lot,” Richardson laughed — he and three other band members are University students.

He manages to stay awake in class by writing songs. “I write lyrics during class all the time,” he said. “Sometimes it just takes a few words that bring something to mind. So I jot them down and then before I know it, I’m not paying attention anymore.”

Richardson doesn’t daydream the day away, however. He’s an English and Drama double major who also holds down a job at the Bookstore’s Java City. Luckily, he has Earley, an English major, as his co-worker.

I had an adventure tracking bassist Chris Jones down for the interview. With quite possibly the most generic name ever, I had visions of the U.Va. People Search returning 59 different versions of the name Chris. To my great surprise, there were only two entries — a Chris Jones in the College and a Chris Jones in the Commerce School. Rolling my eyes at the idea of a musician in the Comm School, I emailed the one in the College.

(By the way, I offer my most heartfelt regrets to the College’s Chris, but it was an honest mistake. Who ever heard of a rock kid in the Comm School?)

Another member who’s hard to peg is guitarist Mike Raab. His name might sound familiar to you, and it should because he’s a prominent member of U.Va.’s swim team: the one that just won the ACCs. Again.

Baird, the band’s “tech guy,” is the only member not currently enrolled at U.Va. A former Art History major, he does most of the electronic work and touch-ups on the band’s recordings.

After the interview, I planned to review some of the band’s songs, but Crash Everest is updating its official band site, so I found myself at www.purevolume.com.

For those of you who are not music-site savvy, PureVolume is a place where artists and listeners can go to connect with each other. Bands upload their songs and regular Joes like you and me can rock out for free. Think of it as thefacebook for music geeks.

The band’s PureVolume profile says (among other things) that they enjoy “needlepoint, avent-garde French cinema, Cabernet by candlelight, nude badminton and anything involving Anthony Michael Hall.”

I might catch some flack for printing it (Jones called their profile “lame”), but I think the sense of fun and creativity shown here is exactly what the guys have to offer as a live act.

The big news for Crash Everest is the production of their brand new EP. Friday they’ll perform in Maury Hall with Races to April, Forever in a Day and Four Year Strong in a Tyrannosaurus Rock benefit show. This show is the CD’s official release gig, so get there early to pick up your copy.

Crash Everest is a great college band that I hope to see performing on a regular basis for the rest of its time at U.Va. I can promise that the fast-paced style and shredding guitars will make your ears numb for hours after you leave the show. But then again, I like that feeling.

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