Season To Risk is the luckiest band alive. Shortly after getting together at school in 1989, they won a 'Battle of the Bands' which brought them into the studio for the first time. The only copy of the resulting demo tape that was actually mailed out ended up at Red Decibel records in Minneapolis, MN, who as luck would have it, were starting to work in conjunction with Colombia records. Before they knew what hit them, the band was signed to Columbia records, recording more demos at Sony Studios in NYC, and then living in Chicago, IL to record their self-titled first album at Soundworks Studio.
The band spent years constantly touring throughout North America; returning briefly to their hometown of Kansas City, MO for a few days or weeks, sometimes on the road 8 - 10 months out of the year. Odds are high when you spend most of your time driving that vehicles will break down day after day, wheels will fall off or blow-out, drivers will fall asleep, engines (and people) will crack or burst into flames. The van once flipped over on a frozen highway in Minnesota. The 22-foot RV rolled backwards with no brakes down a hill in Seattle. They broke down all over the country, including on the Golden Gate bridge, and left a trail of dead vehicles in their wake.
They lived at Bisi Studios, NYC for the Summer of 1994 recording their second album In a Perfect World. The music was a darker, more complex collection of songs, and the album was received with rave reviews from fans, and puzzled looks from the people at Colombia records. There was no place on the radio for music like this yet, and exactly what category in the music store was this CD supposed to be displayed in? By chance, someone at Sony was looking for a band to play during a scene in the film 'Strange Days' and within days, the band was in Hollywood, playing the song 'Undone' over and over again... For the next year, the band was in a different city every night, which led to total exhaustion by the end of a summer 1995 arena tour with Corrosion of Conformity and Monster Magnet, resulting in the cancellation of their European tour scheduled with CIV for the Winter of 1996. The band was dropped from Columbia records. And bass player Paul Malinowski quit to join the Kansas City band Shiner.
The band quickly took on bass player Josh Newton and got busy writing music. Pooling their resources, they spent most of the next two years building Trainwreck Sound Studios in Kansas City, MO. As floors, walls and ceilings were built, new Season To Risk songs were written, members worked with their other bands, and recording started at Trainwreck, including work by Casket Lottery, The Farewell Bend, Dirtnap, Iron Rite Mangle, Gunfighter and the Pornhuskers. They built their dream studio from the ground up: a 15 x 20 control room, equipped with a 1974 24-channel Auditronics (quadrophonic!) console and a 2-inch tape machine, a 30 x 50 foot tracking room with antique oak floors, and a huge apartment/rehearsal studio upstairs on the second floor. In October 1998, shortly after the studio officially opened to the public, a sudden flash flood of the Missouri river totalled everything in the neighborhood in 15 minutes, destroying the building, their tour RV in the parking lot, their bank account and almost everything else. They're lucky noone was killed. Luck never gives, it only lends. And the river takes. And then Josh Newton was also lost to Shiner.
Fortunately, the third album was finished prior to the flood, and the band was able to wade through the five-foot deep, freezing, flood waters in total darkness out of the building to safety. Unfortunately, they discovered that the album Men Are Monkeys, Robots Win (Thick Records) was printed 'out-of-phase', making the songs sound hollowed-out. The label never re-released the printed CD, but the corrected mix is available on iTunes.
Legendary punk rock drummer/producer Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Decendents) has always been a friend to Season To Risk, and has brought the band on tour with ALL several times. This led to the recording of the album The Shattering in 2000 with Jason Livermore and Bill Stevenson at the Blasting Room in Ft. Collins, CO, and its release on Owned & Operated records in 2001. The addition of the third and final bass player of S2R, Billy Smith of the band Dirtnap, brought the band full circle. The Shattering album is more diverse than ever, fusing elements from all of the band's previous work and some new experimentation into twelve heavy, melodic songs.
Several tours followed after The Shattering CD release, and the band spent a few years resting, recouping, and regrouping - working on many other projects, musical and otherwise. 1989 - 2009, 20-Year Anniversary.
Luck comes to those who look after it. Watch the BLOG for news, updates and tour dates.
Live photos: JD Nilknarf