Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Day Of Fire

presspassPerception and reality are seldom identical, but in the case of Josh Brown the contrast was particularly distinct.

Back in the late 1990s Brown and his band Full Devil Jacket were on the upswing. Channeling the energy and angst that put Nirvana, Soundgarden and some of Seattle’s biggest bands on the map, Brown was leaving his mark as well. A record deal with Island/Def Jam Records, tours with Creed and Nickelback, life was seemingly very good indeed.

 

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Day Of Fire (Photo: Kristin Barlowe)

 

Perception and reality are seldom identical, but in the case of Josh Brown the contrast was particularly distinct.

Back in the late 1990s Brown and his band Full Devil Jacket were on the upswing. Channeling the energy and angst that put Nirvana, Soundgarden and some of Seattle’s biggest bands on the map, Brown was leaving his mark as well. A record deal with Island/Def Jam Records, tours with Creed and Nickelback, life was seemingly very good indeed.

But as the band’s career took off, Brown’s life was spiraling down, as the singer battled a heroin addiction. In an Orlando bathroom, Brown overdosed. His life was saved, but the incident ultimately forced him away from the band and music in order to get treatment.

As Brown continued to rehabilitate his life, he continued to pursue his love for music and formed another outfit, Day of Fire. The band released its self-titled album in 2004, but it’s the band’s latest release, Losing All, that could take Brown and his bandmates — Zach Simms and brothers Joe and Chris Pangallo — back into the limelight.

Losing All, the latest and best LP from the Nashville-based foursome flaunts the same bottled-adrenaline energy as their previous efforts and couples that with a pull-no-punches honesty that lets the lyrics linger for hours after listening. Growling, grunge-laden “Lately,” speaks of shedding all of life’s weights that keep pulling you down, putting aside pain and the like and moving on with your life.

With “Dark Hills,” Brown writes “Sittin in the dark shakin in a cold wind dyin to get well keep trying but I’m broken / A kiss on my lips that use to thrill me, if I go another day it’s gonna kill me / Slipped into a dream woke up in a nightmare scars on my skin don’t know how they got there.” The track wanders on in power-ballad fashion, as Brown wonders if he’s too far gone to be saved or if Jesus experienced similar struggles during his time on Earth.

Safe to say the one thing Christ never had to face that Brown and his bandmates did was a busted record deal. In 2007, one year after releasing their second album, Cut and Move, Day of Fire parted ways with Essential Records. During that same span, Brown’s marriage hit the rocks, nearly ending. On the band’s website, Brown says that the time period was another instance in which he felt he had lost everything.

But fate has a funny way of intervening. In the years leading up to 2006, Day of Fire shared the stage with a little-known opening act named Absent Element. The frontman for said band: Chris Daughtry.

Flashforward to today and Daughtry is an “American Idol”-made superstar, whose record deal with RCA has made him a nationwide, post-grunge sensation. But he also never forgot those he met along the way.

Daughtry invited Day of Fire on tour with him, and co-wrote three of the tracks on Losing All with the band. The album was picked up by Razor and Tie and now the stage is set for a lengthy tour with Sevendust to promote the album. The tour hits locally at Jaxx in West Springfield on May 4, then carries on through mid-May.

Not a bad boost from an artist (Daughtry) that some regard with “made-by-the-machine” skepticism due to his “American Idol” success. But you know what they say about perception and reality, right?

Besides, according to Brown, there are nothing but good things to say about him.

“He’s the real frickin’ deal,” Brown boasts on Day of Fire’s website.

And with the tell-it-like-it-is tunes on Losing All, it’s clear that Day of Fire is likewise the real frickin’ deal.

• Day of Fire performs with Sevendust Tuesday, May 4 at Jaxx in Springfield. For more information on the band, visit www.dayoffire.com.

 

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