Submerse Yourself

Through strong work ethic, persistence and deep musical roots, Slowdrown has developed a sound that appeals to their loyal contingent of fans. This has lead them to being a dependable draw for almost any local venue.

Slowdrown works together to bring out their own styles and have developed a signature sound as a unit. Their adrenaline-filled songs are re-worked and crafted until each member of the band is satisfied. The musical mountain they climb has required faith, persistence and hard work. The look you see in their eyes is telling of what they deeply believe will be the climb's result: that mountain's peak.

Their full-throttle attack is evident to promoters off-stage and their sincerity in playing presents itself onstage to their fans. They have traveled a long path on the local club circuit by maintaining an attitude of not selling their audience short.

Their show at the Saint on December 14, the CD release party for their latest effort "Lessons," combined positive elements from an arena show and a bar gig. Lead singer Dan Caputo soared with his wireless microphone, touring the crowd, the bar top and even the outside of the club. He did this all while maintaining a solid vocal performance that fluttered from a metallic yell, to a funky rasp.

The band had a chemistry, which compelled the audience to stare at the stage until their necks got stiff. This Jersey shore-based metal act gave a true example of what live rock should look like, right down to the light show; one that many stand-still-and-look-at-the-camera mainstreamers should take note of.

Their latest compact disc represents darkness, brutality and melody. No one band member overshadows the others, but they all put in quality work. Lead guitarist Eddie Heedles dynamically charges the tracks, easing and startling the listener with melodic breezes and sucker punching them with some guitar thrashes. He plays with a signature voice that talks, screams and screeches.

Rhythm guitarist Adam Taylor provides a vocal and instrumental foundation for the band. He brings a bottom-heavy guitar sound that complements, instead of complicating, what Heedles plays. His backing vocals are as impressive as could be from a rock band. His ability at signing harmony behind Caputo on stage is right on. So much so that no other vocals are needed besides the two.

Caputo expounds his message with authority. His vocal and physical presence forces the listener to hear what he has to say. The confidence his singing exudes further reinforces his diary-like lyrics. Bassist George Pond thumps around, providing rhythm, feel and tone that complement the rhythm section, as well as the guitar lines. Drummer Chris O'Brien contributes creative and flowing beats, strategically laying back or pounding forward according to the needs of the song.

Slowdrown is currently unsigned and seeking representation," says the bio on their website, The question remains as to who will help them reach their peak.

How did you guys form and around what year?

George: We've been together for, like, a year and a half. Late in '99, Chris and I got together. That was supposed to be a side project for our band. So, what happened was our band went sour, which was Dan and Eddie and myself. We had a band called Backhand.

That band went south, so we kept a full-time thing for me and Chris. We were looking for guitar players and stuff like that. We had a couple of other drummers. It just so happened, you know, I knew Adam from a band called 12 Days that he was in, that I was thinking of joining maybe one time.

Adam: Yeah. I was auditioning him and now a year later ... a couple of years later ... he gave me a call. I came down and then we had to search for a singer.

George: Then we went through a whole bunch of people and, you know, I always had Dan in mind.

Dan: I was trying to figure out which half of my band to play with. I can't leave George's side, man. George is my buddy.

Backhand is still around, right?

George: No, it disbanded. It was put into actually three different bands. The three members from Backhand are in this band. That would be Dan, me and Eddie. And Chris use to be in a band called Mudbox that I used to go out and see all the time. We knew each other from the circuit.

I was going to go with it as Backhand, but it just turned out ... it turned out the band went south.

Chris: Then, me and George came to talking for a while. I left my band. I took a little break for a little while. I knew that I was going to get back into music and something. If I was going to do it, I wanted to do more of like what I had in mind. Like, I wanted to not only have the music part, but I wanted to have the show. I wanted to, you know, make sure that I could hook up with people that were going to really, really want it.Really want to make the efforts and do the extra stuff.

You know, me and George hooked up and we started jamming one night. And, we were jamming with this other guy. Me and George just hooked up, like immediately, in the studio, and we started jamming.

We auditioned so many knuckleheads. So many people came out and auditioned that it really was ridiculous. In the end, we ended up with, like ... Everybody that's in the band, when they came out and we all jammed, it just happened. It worked out. It worked out really good.

Everybody in this band compliments each other really, really well. It definitely worked out.

Do you guys have a lot of the same musical influences?

Dan: Well, there are some things. Like a slim band or two that probably we all really agree on in terms of how awesome we felt like they were. But, if you really want to break it down, we're all multi-influenced by a lot of different things. That's individually. So, like, I don't know if you want to hear all that. (Laughter.)

Does that help, though, being influenced by all those different musical groups?

Dan: It does! You have to a basis. You have to have a foundation for which to start anything off of. You always get it from what touched you prior. When you're thinking about making that career choice. Like, 'I'm gonna sing.' I decided I'm gonna sing like, dude, Ozzy Osbourne and Jim Morrison. To me, that's just me.You know, somebody in this band hates the fuckin' Doors.I forgot who.(Band laughs and points to each other). It's all good. Because I blow it off. (More laughter in the background as they find the real Doors hater) All right, that would be Ed. Ed does not like the Doors.

Eddie: No. I like the Doors.

Chris: Put that on the record, it was me. (Laughter.) It was me.

Dan: They were such idols. And they were so huge in the music world that they really touched me to a point where I was like: You know, maybe I can be myself and just go ahead and do that. Just try. Maybe I could touch someone, you know, and then that cool thing is me, man.

Adam: What's funny about the influences in the background is, these guys came from Backhand, which was probably as heavy a band out of New Jersey as there's ever been. Like ultra-death heavy. Super heavy. I came from a band, 12 Days, which was much more power pop, you know, like almost a Foo Fighters kind of sound. And Chris is probably somewhere a little bit in the middle, maybe like a little more rappy. His old band ...

Chris: Definitely not rappy. My influences wouldn't be, but the band was into that.

Adam: Well, in any case, definitely completely different sounds. And, ah, the fact that we all came together and that it works is kind of, like, it's a mystery. Because these guys like stuff that's way, way heavier than what I like. I like stuff that's way, way poppier and melodic than what they like. And, somehow, we just pick the best of all sides and then it comes together in what we're doing now. Like, you could take out, extract, what's best about all these different genres and put them together and that's kind of they way our influences all seem to mix pretty well.

Dan: You saw us at the last show, right? [CD release party for their latest release "Lessons" at the Saint on December 14, 2001.]


Dan: Can you label us?

I would put in you, like, a thrash category, but I wouldn't say you were thrash totally. You've got a lot underneath, too, you know.

Dan: You can't pinpoint it right?

Not really, no.

Dan: That's all I wanted to know. Because I've tried to find people who I've talked to and am like: 'How did you feel about it?' 'What does the music do to you?''What would you consider it to be in terms of genres?' And most people don't have an exact answer. They're like: 'Well it's kind of like this, but I wouldn't have thought that.' We get a lot of that.

What I like about it is: it's not like a lot of the other contemporary bands who are coming out today, where you could say, 'oh, this is thrash, rap.' It's not really like that.

Chris: It's a little bit of everything for everybody. I mean, if you ask people what they think about the CD or if you ask anybody that has the CD, 'what's your favorite song?' Everybody has a different favorite song. It's cool, it's not like ...You know, and the people that have come out to see us that I've talked to, you know, and I've asked. Because I talk to everybody. Everybody ... they really ... they're amped on it.

It's not like, they kind of like this song or they kind of like that song. They're amped on what they're hearing. Which is cool. You know, it's really cool.

Adam: We've got the one song, "No Love," is the first song on the disc and that's, that's as poppy of a song as we got. It's still got heavy roots behind it, but it's very sing-a-long and melodic.

And then we have other songs that are really deep down and dirty heavy. And both songs appeal to the same number of people. It's not like there's only one song we have that most people like. It's like everybody likes something for some other reason. We try to cover all the bases a little bit.

Yeah. You guys put three instrumentals on the CD. Why did you guys decide to do that?

Dan: You know, that started out actually ... it started out as pretty much just we wanted to put segueways into our set.

Right ...

Dan: We noticed how, when we go to see shows, a lot of bands in between their songs, they're not doing nothin'. People get bored quick. That's their chance to say, 'oh, let me go get a beer.' But we're like, fuck that. Fuck that. You're not going to get a beer, you're staying here until we're done. Then, we're gonna make sure that it's interesting enough for you to stay there. And it started out as just pretty much segue ways between a couple of songs. Just a couple fillers. Some nice stuff, these guys put some feeling into. Whatever. We did it at practice. You know what? They came out so cool, that they were almost intros to certain songs. We just figured, you know what, fuck it, why not just go ahead and put them on? People that come to see us deserve it.

Adam: And ask for it, too. They ask for it. We were thinking about leaving some of them out and people said, 'nah, nah, you've got to leave those on there. I want to hear those.' So, our friends and fans pretty much told us that's what they wanted to hear.

Chris: It also goes back to, you know, when the band originally started. I've really... I've wanted to do stuff like that because I've been in bands where, like Dan was saying, you play a song, you stop. You play a song, you stop. No, it ruins that vibe, you know. We just said, 'Hey look, man. If it's gonna be a show, let's make it a show. Let's keep it grooving the whole time. Let's hit 'em hard. Let's keep hitting 'em hard and then let's get the hell off the stage.

George: We just don't want to loose people's interest. If we just keep going, hopefully people will react.

Dan: People are easily distracted.

Adam: We don't give them a chance to be distracted.

Eddie:I hear that! (Laughter.)

Does that keep you guys going, too? You have, like, little sequeways.You know, does it keep your chops going and stuff.

Dan: That helps me keep my mood going. Because I've gotta breathe, you know.

George: You know, everybody's gotta breathe. So if we all do different things at different times, it just gives you breathing room.

Dan: It keeps the momentum fresh for us, if anything.

George: At the same time, you don't want to stop. You wanna keep it going, so nobody looses interest.

Adam: Hopefully, we convey that.

The band usually writes the music and you [Dan] usually write the lyrics?

Dan: For the most part.

How do you come up with the music part? Does one of you guys bring in a riff or do you just kind of meld together?

Eddie: It's usually an accident.

George: It's a process of elimination. I'd say the majority.

Chris: It's an accident, and then we argue for, like, a month and a half. And then we have a song done.

Adam: It goes back to what we were saying before, about everybody coming from different backgrounds. We all come in with different ideas that sound completely off-the-wall, different from everybody else. And we just sort of ... in a given week we'll have 100 riffs to go through and we'll start throwing out the ones that immediately don't hit us the right way. And then, little by little, we narrow it down to the ones we like. Just get familiar with it and make sure that part flows to the next. And, ah, it just kind of all kind of bumps together.

Which one of you guys does most of the music writing or does it all even out pretty much?

Dan: Well, if a riff sucks I'll come in and say, 'dude, that's horrible.' I don't want to sing over that.

George: The music writing's basically done by Adam, Eddie and myself. With input from these guys [Dan and Chris]. Obviously, they're away from musical instruments as far as guitar and stuff. So, the whole song is a group effort.

Dan: No doubt.

George: If you look on the CD, it's gonna say: by Slowdrown.

(The interview, which took place in the second bar at the Sawmill in Seaside Heights, NJ, is interrupted by a female voice, one of the club's bartenders.)

Bartender: If you want some dirt, I can get you the dirt on Adam. I worked with him for 12 years.

Adam (quickly): Don't pay attention to that. (Laughter.)

Eddie: Pay no attention to behind the curtain.

Dan: Oh my God.

Bartender: I heard a lot of things in the middle of the night!

Eddie: Oh, shit!

Adam: She's killing me.

Chris: Midgets. He likes ...

Dan: It's all about love, man.

Adam (abruptly, changing the subject): A lot of the times, Eddie will come up with a riff and it will sound good. And I'll say, 'how about we try it like this?' And George will come up with a riff and Eddie will say, 'why don't we try it like this?' Everybody's got different ideas. If something grabs us we say that's pretty good. Let's fine tune it and make sure it works and it will build from there into another part. It just kind of builds up like that.

Chris: At that point, that's where I come in and tell everybody, I hate everything. And, ah ...

Then they have to re-do it all.

Chris: Yeah. (Laughter.)

Adam: But actually, not-for-nothing, Chris, the fact that he doesn't play a guitar or a bass, is actually pretty helpful sometimes. Because we'll get so deep into the riffs that we're playing, that sometimes we'll just loose track of the fact that: well, maybe this riff just plain old sucks. And maybe we can't even see that, because we're deliberating so much about the single notes ...

George: And the notes. And he comes from a different perspective where it's ...

Adam: 'How does it sound?'

George: You know, to the listener: How does it sound? Because what we come up with may not come across to somebody else. You know, like fusion bands like Mr. Bungle and stuff like that. Musicians love that stuff, but the common person won't get it. They don't get it. You need that common person to tell you whether that's good or not. They're the people that are buying the records.

Chris (sarcastically): Like, they're saying: I'm dumb and I don't really know anything, you know. They ask me every once and a while and I just tell them: GOOD, BAD. Yeah, BEAT DRUMS.

[To Dan] Do you play any musical instruments?

Dan: I play the vocals. (Laughter.) And I play the pen and the paper. And I play the, 'Chris, are you sure that riff is really not good?' (Laughter.) 'Because it might be ok, if you put that little thing in there.'

I like to be very objective. I think it's very important. It's really important to what we're doing.

Because, we need it. It's needed. You know, I wish every band thought that way. There's a couple of bands that already do. You know that comes in small bands like us that will continue to do it.

As a band, when you break it down to technical shit, it's very important. It's very important. You've gotta be critical. You gotta be objective. You've gotta look at what the prospective buyer wants to hear. And how they want to feel when they put it on.

It's all gotta be there. You gotta tip toe around it, man. Some of the bands, they take it lightly. They're making a song and it's like, 'oh let's slap this punk riff down. And say whatever the fuck you want. Just get that fuckin' ...' No, dude. It's not. You know, it shouldn't be that way.

Chris: It's for us. It is, definitely, without a doubt.

Dan: It's complex.

Chris: It's an aim full thing. We're feelin' what we're doing. That's what, in the end, that's what it all comes down to. If we all start playing a song and we're not feeling it, then we usually end up trashing it. Or, not even trashing it ... we'll put it on the shelf, so to speak, and we'll go back to it later. Everything that we've written and played out, up to this point, is stuff that when we start playing it, we're feeling it. Like I'm feeling emotion.

You know, I'm a pretty shot guy. I don't remember a lot of things. The way I go, the way is basically, I remember it because of what I feel when certain parts come up. Our music and the words as a whole, I think, is just very emotional. If you ask people that come to the show, or if you look at these kids' faces, they're feeling what we're playing.

And as soon as we start writing, like Dan's saying, and it's bullshit stuff, we're just throwing some riffs together, throwing some vocals and no big deal, they're going to know. Because you cannot fool with people like that, you know. Emotion is emotion. If you're just throwing shit together, they're gonna know it's shit.

George: The bottom line is: we don't like it, we don't play it.

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.