Indie rock band GOLDEN STATE has garnered much critical acclaim with their passionate and deeply emotive rock music -- the likes of which have been compared to U2 by more than one critic of their music. Many of their original songs have been licensed to several popular TV shows, films and commercials. The Los Angeles-based band is gearing up to self-release their debut full-length album DIVISION on Tuesday, July 19.
Recently featured in 944 Magazine’s annual music issue this past April, writer Juliana Appenrodt described the music as “riveting and eloquent” and further says, “The guys of Golden State have been quietly revolutionizing the world of modern rock 'n' roll for quite some time, but this year they've decided to turn up the volume.”
GOLDEN STATE was formed from the ashes of James Grundler’s prior band, American Recordings’ PALOALTO. After two Rick Rubin-produced albums, the plethora of changes in the industry took hold and false promises, lies and excuses quickly became the norm. Scarred and defeated, it would take another four years for the quartet to come together with all the right players. Current band members include James Grundler (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Marc Boggio (Lead Guitar), Fernando (Fern) Sanchez (Drums), and Alex Parnell (Bass).
Of the road taken to get here, Grundler says, “It’s that journey you have to take to redefine yourself. You go back to your roots and find that place you were before you started making music that was so exciting and organic. I lost my way and started believing what everyone else was telling me rather than just trusting what I do. I feel so much more confident in the music that I’m writing and the place we are because we’re making our own timeline and making the process happen. This time it is all sparked by the inspiration.”
LA Weekly’s Paul Rogers praised the “robustly melodic, shamelessly cinematic rock songs” and went on to describe the tracks as “gorgeously melodramatic electric/acoustic mini epics” with the ability to “paint pictures unimaginable to lesser talents” in an issue May 13th, 2011.
One simply cannot ignore the fact that GOLDEN STATE has impressively racked up some amazing credentials, all without the help of a major label. Could this be a sign that the music industry is becoming less and less dependent on record labels to define a band’s success? All indications are pointing to the affirmative on this one.
Listed here are just a few of these credentials: ABC’s Private Practice, The Gates and Castle, CBS’s Flashpoint, MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, Cribs, Teen Mom, and If You Really Knew Me, and most notably an Emmy-nominated episode of the Discovery Channel’s hit show Deadliest Catch featured their hit song “All Roads Lead Home.” This song is also featured in the trailer for the new Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr. film Dolphin Tale.
In addition, the song also generated 4,000 digital sales in just four weeks and was selected as the title track for Luke Wilson's 2008 film Henry Poole Is Here, prompting over 145,000 views of the video on YouTube. The ballad, per Grundler, is about remembering. “When you’re out in the world and things get shifted and scattered, just remember that you can find your way back to that place it all began.”
Other successes for the band include the international attention they garnered with a B-side tune entitled “Till The End” for the BBC’s promos of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. They were also at SXSW this year and made a tour diary. And, their track “Let It Touch You” was used for a viral iPad ad campaign.
Dana Feldman - How did it come about that your song "All Roads Lead Home" was chosen to be used on the trailer for the new Morgan Freeman film Dolphin Tale?
James Grundler - Word of mouth!
DF -This particular song has been a huge success for the band. What is it exactly about this particular track that you feel has resonated so deeply with people?
JG – It’s a soulful song, reminiscent of childhood emotions and hopefulness. I think people respond to things that are embedded in truth.
DF- Same question in regards to being chosen to provide a B-side tune called “Till The End” for the BBC’s promos of the Royal Wedding?
JG - I’m sure you can see a pattern with GOLDEN STATE. I like to write huge anthems and they work so well with TV and film.
DF - What does the title of your new album DIVISION mean to you guys?
JG – It’s about dividing yourself from the mass and creating a voice to be heard!
DF - As a band that is not currently signed to a major label, how have you managed to get your music onto such hit shows as ABC's Private Practice, The Gates, and CBS's Flashpoint as well as the many MTV shows including Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, and If You Really Knew Me?
JG -Thank God we have people out there who believe in what we do. We work with an amazing licensing girl named Staci Slater over at The Talent House. Without her a lot of this would be very difficult as I’m sure you can imagine.
DF - How did you all come together as a band?
JG - The band came together in the last couple years over the same love for great music. Alex and I have known each other the longest and were in a previous band called PALOALTO. Fern and I met from mutual friends. He has been such a force. When we started playing it was pure magic. I met Marc while I was on tour supporting SUPERGRASS at a place called The Metro in Chicago. We hit it off right away and he always told me he wanted to be in a band together. Obviously, this is the abridged version, ha! What a blessing to be part of something with 3 other amazing people!
Grundler talks about a few of the tracks on the new album DIVISION. He describes the song “Light Speed” as a huge love anthem full of galactic imagery; “The Outsiders” as a bombastic rallying call for society’s misfits and alternative thinkers; and of the first single, “World On Fire” he says it is “Almost biblical. There’s a stained glass window that is part of Fabian socialist society. It depicts two men with hammers over their heads ready to swing down at this globe, this round ball that just came out of the furnace--this world on fire--and they’re going to shape it the way they want. When the world’s on fire, will we be able to believe in each other?”
Per Grundler, “The sky’s the limit. This time around I don’t think we’re biting off more than we can chew. We’ve seen how it works and how to put it together to be at that arena level.” All the band asks of you is that you keep your mind open and your heart unbound.
Track listing for DIVISION out July 19:
1. World On Fire
2. High Noon
3. Light Speed
5. All Roads Lead Home
6. The Outsiders
7. Sink Or Swim
8. Save Me
9. Setting Sun
11. Splinters Out
Two Upcoming LA Shows: Wednesday, May 18 at The Viper Room and Tuesday, May 24 at The Silverlake Lounge.