Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

When the members of Audiovent (originally known as Vent) -- lead singer Jason Boyd, guitarist Benjamin Einziger, bassist Paul Fried, and drummer Jamin Wilcox -- first gathered in the early '90s to explore their mutual interest in music, they spent serious time absorbing music from bands they mutually admired. By listening to acts as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Nirvana, the group aimed to capture, with its own emerging sound, how these acts excited their respective audiences with equally effective brands of rock.

"We look at acts like Led Zeppelin and the Who, and we are inspired," Boyd explains. "We never try and directly take from them, but we want to bring that feeling back."

The Calabasas, Calif.-based act worked on that philosophy throughout high school, continually playing local gigs and sharpening songs that also drew from the spectrum of soul, funk, and jazz. After self-recording 1999's "Papa's Dojo," the band won the attention of Atlantic and eventually entered the studio with producer Gavin Mackillop to record "Dirty Sexy Knights in Paris," released earlier this month.

"Dirty Sexy Knights in Paris" is striking in its deep lyrics and electric musical energy, most notably captured on the opening track and first single, "The Energy." That song, and the cut "Underwater Silence," are inspired by a difficult breakup of Boyd's.

"Performing these [two] songs lets me move past it," he says. "I don't know why we exactly broke up. I talk about that in 'The Energy.' Part of the reason is expressed in 'Underwater Silence,' which is about watching someone drown themselves in drugs."

The album is full of other notable cuts that run the gamut from acoustic-type ballads to hardcore rock numbers. The beautiful guitar strummings of "Sweet Frustration" express the sometimes "one step forward, one step back" reality of life. The notion that one decision can change everything is explored in "One Small Choice," while the lyrically haunting "Looking Down" discusses the unfettered freedoms that true independence can bring.

Audiovent has been relentlessly touring the U.S. in anticipation of the set's release, opening for such bands as Bush and Adema. It will also take part in this summer's Locobazooka tour.

While the group has been striving to make a name for itself through the strength of its music and live shows, it has also had to confront inevitable comparisons to fellow Calabasas act Incubus. Boyd is the younger brother of Incubus' lead singer Brandon Boyd, while guitarist Einziger is the younger brother of Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger. Audiovent's Fried is also the stepbrother of the Einzigers.

"We love our brothers and vice versa," Boyd says. "But when people say, 'You're just like your brother,' they think that's a compliment. It's kind of like hitting me in the face and then petting me. It's kind of weird. They don't know that that's not a nice thing to say to someone."

Here are Audiovent's upcoming tour dates:

June 14: Santa Barbara, Calif. (Coach House North)
June 15: Bakersfield, Calif. (Kern County Fairgrounds)
June 27: Milwaukee (Summerfest; Locobazooka)
June 28: Fort Wayne, Ind. (Hilgers Farm; Locobazooka)
June 29: Green Bay, Wis. (Humboldt Haus; Locobazooka)
June 30: La Crosse, Wis. (Rockin' the Ridge Amphitheatre; Locobazooka)
July 3: Biloxi, Miss. (Mississippi Coast Coliseum; Locobazooka)
July 5: Hardeeville, S.C. (Motor Speedway; Locobazooka)
July 6: Augusta, Ga. (Exchange Club Fairgrounds; Locobazooka)
July 7: Jacksonville, N.C. (Coastal Plains Raceway; Locobazooka)
July 10: Altamont, N.Y. (Altamont Fairgrounds; Locobazooka)
July 12: Portland, Me. (Cumberland Civic Center; Locobazooka)
July 13: Manchester, N.H. (Singer Family Park; Locobazooka)
July 14: Oswego, N.Y. (Oswego Speedway; Locobazooka)
July 17: Huntington, W.Va. (Harris Riverfront Park; Locobazooka)
July 20: Pecatonica, Ill. (Winnebago County Fairgrounds; Locobazooka)
July 21: Council Bluffs, Iowa (Westfair Amphitheatre; Locobazooka)

Additional reporting by Margo Whitmire.





Excerpted from the June 15, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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