Remember the group that sang “Everything You Want,” one of the most-played songs at radio in 2000? RCA is counting on it.
On Sept. 23, Vertical Horizon returned after a lengthy absence with “Go,” a solid collection of catchy, guitar-driven tunes about transitions. The album of the same name builds on the pop-rock foundation set by “Everything You Want,” which has sold 1.5 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. “Go” debuted at No. 61 on The Billboard 200 with sales of 21,000 copies.
The delay between albums — “Everything You Want” was released in June 1999 — came about because the group needed a break after seven years of non-stop touring. Vertical Horizon had built a considerable following, especially along the Eastern seaboard, through touring and releasing indie albums after forming at Georgetown University in 1991. It also endured major upheaval at the band’s label.
“We started making the record after the break, and when we were done, some big changes had started at RCA,” lead singer/primary songwriter Matt Scannell says. “And to their credit, both RCA and our team kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Does this make sense for the record to come out now?'”
With that answer a resounding, “No,” Scannell continued writing music, and, as is often the case, he wrote a song that became the first single, “I’m Still Here.”
Ultimately, Vertical Horizon found itself in the odd situation of being on the same label in name only — virtually no one who worked on “Everything You Want” was still there.
Starting over — with the label and the public — is fine with Scannell. “To be honest, every single band nowadays has to start over. The memory of the public is quite fickle. So we are starting over on some levels, but we spent so many years [prior to signing with RCA] forming a grassroots following. They haven’t gone anywhere, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”
The band’s current U.S. tour dates end in mid-November. The band next goes to Southeast Asia before returning stateside to play radio station-sponsored holiday shows.
During the week of release, Vertical Horizon appeared on “CBS Weekend,” CNN, Fox News and WGN. The band also taped a performance at Experience Music Project in Seattle that began airing Oct. 7 on VH1.
Excerpted from the Oct. 11, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.
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