Members: AJ Edmiston, Carmine DeGennaro, Ken Griffin, Justin Tripp, Matthew Werth
"This band exists to talk about the things you go through when you confront the big stuff: love, regret, fear," says Ken Griffin, the singer and principle songwriter of Favourite Sons. "Weve all been right to that edge, pushed through it and now we're back to show people the other side, as brutal as it might be."
As the creative force behind the hugely influential (and criminally overlooked) 90s art rock band, Rollerskate Skinny (Beggars UK/Sire US), Griffin certainly speaks from experience.
The same can be said for the four other Sons, who spent years cutting their chops with the Philly-based psych-pop group Aspera (Jagjaguwar Records) before relocating to New York in 2004 after parting ways with their singer.
Singer-less, but eager to start anew, bassist Matthew Werth and guitarist Justin Tripp tracked down Griffin in the summer of 2004, only to learn that he had spent the last four years crafting a new repertoire of songs focusing largely on his unique vocals and melodic sensibilities. Following a dark spell and thoughts of quitting music forever, Griffin demoed 14 of these songs in a two-day session in an attempt to capture a brutal, unsentimental type of songwriting" inspired by the likes of Lou Reed, David Bowie and Nina Simone. At that point, I had nothing to lose. It was create or perish, he says earnestly.
Werth soon passed along two of Griffins tracks to some record companies and received an amazing amount of interest before the band had ever played together.
At their first practice Griffin was shocked to find the band had already taken his songs and shaped them into the type of "thunderous, plain beauty" he had dreamt of. It was so moving. The band was already playing the songs with such confidence and commitment. All I had to do was pick up the microphone and sing," he remembers.
A few weeks later, the Sons decided to play some shows. I was terrified, admits Griffin. In the past, I could always hide behind my guitar and a wall of noise and samples. But at these shows, I just had to stand out there, close my eyes and sing."
Based on the intensity of their earliest performances (it was like watching a preacher of damaged love songs fronting the Stooges, said one reviewer), LAs Gold Standard Laboratories offered to put out a 7 single in early 2005. Shortly thereafter, the Sons were approached by James Oldham (son of the famous Andrew Loog Oldham and head of the UK indie Loog Records) to release a four-song single in Europe entitled the Treason EP. With less than ten official shows under the belts, the Sons headed off to Europe to tour in support of Treason.
Upon their return, Vice Recordings, who had expressed interest from the earliest demos, stepped forward and offered the band a long-term deal. The Sons recorded Down Beside Your Beauty in Brooklyn in January, with acclaimed studio wiz Victor Van Vugt (PJ Harvey, The Fall, The Pogues) coming in to handle mixing duties the following month.
Grounded by Griffins confessional lyrics and the bands thundering guitars and rhythm section, Down Beside Your Beauty has nothing to hide and a world of courageous conceits to offer. What you hear is what you get and what you get is nothing short of rock music stripped down to its most visceral elementsdelivered with power, conviction and complete honesty.
There are so many apologetic undertones hidden in the way bands play nowadays, says Werth. This is not that at all. This is something right from the battlefield.
KEN GRIFFIN - Vocals
MATTHEW WERTH - Bass Guitar
JUSTIN TRIPP - Guitar
CARMINE DEGENNARO - Guitar / Back Up Vocals
AJ EDMISTON - Drums