Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
It's not surprising that American Hi-Fi's sophomore release, "The Art of Losing," due Feb. 25 via Island Def Jam, was written and tested on the road. "We played one show before we recorded the first album," says lead singer/guitarist Stacy Jones of his band's 2001 eponymous debut, "and we played almost 300 shows before we recorded this one. Having the time on the road really helped us develop into the band that we really wanted to be."
The band is already making headway with the new album's title track and first single at modern rock radio stations. Although the Boston-based act had scored at several radio formats with "Flavor of the Weak," the first single from "American Hi-Fi," Jones describes the early success as "very surprising."
"We wanted to keep that live element in the studio," says Jones, who wrote material for the record "in the back of the bus," allowing the band to introduce many of the new songs during last summer's Van's Warped Tour. "The foundation of this record is the four of us playing live.
Helping American Hi-Fi retain what Jones calls "good mistakes" was producer Nick Launay, whom the band had-long admired. "Nick's style really works with where we are at right now," Jones says, noting, "We didn't use any studio trickery."
Through Liquid Audio, Island Def Jam began offering the single as a 99-cent download through numerous online retailers. The single will be available Feb. 25 through traditional retail outlets, but the downloads "allow people to buy it legitimately" as soon as they hear it at radio, according to Island Def Jam executive VP Stu Bergen.
One of the real charms of "The Art of Losing" for music fans -- aside from a start-to-finish array of infectious choruses and crunchy guitar riffs -- is the heavy dose of cleverly placed references to other artists and songs.
"Stuff like that comes out all the time just because it's in my blood," says Jones, who possesses an impressive collection of concert T-shirts. "There are a lot of little hidden things. Part of that is we want to turn people on to the bands that inspire us."
Following some downtime, American Hi-Fi will hit the road this month, playing club-sized venues with several hand-picked opening acts. Its next gig comes tonight (Feb. 18) at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto; the band has dated scheduled through a March 22 show at X-Scape (formerly DV8) in Salt Lake City.
Excerpted from the Feb. 22, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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