The name Frantic Endeavor started as a homage to one of my favorite bands, Coheed and Cambria, but I didn’t know at the time how appropriate that name would become, based on the perils we’ve endured in our adventure of building the perfect lineup. We’ve been to hell and back again, starting over from the ground up many times. At our first peak we were getting big show offers, culminating in a battle of the bands where the prize was a performance on The Vans Warped Tour, the largest and longest running music festival tour in North America.
The first pillars of our base were formed over a few years of stumbling through social groups and scavenging the internet for other musicians who were interested in creating something unique and interesting. I was playing music with my lifelong friend Cheeze while attending a community college in my hometown of Plymouth, MA. We always connected over playing music, it was something we loved to do together in between games of Call of Duty and long days of working full-time. We wanted to start taking our music more seriously but had no connection to the music scene.
We found Wesley while looking for a permanent practice space. He was part of another band renting a room in a rehearsal studio in Taunton, MA, called Band Stand Live. They were looking for a few more musicians to finish out their roster. Wes was spending grueling days working at a restaurant and wondering what he was going to do with his life, and playing music with us at Band Stand was his escape from reality. Our bond grew stronger as we had to leave some band members behind, including our drummer at the time…
Our friend Troy was a common guest at the rehearsal studio. When he heard that we were looking for a new drummer he hit me up right away. He told me that he had a friend who was looking for a band, and that they had gone to Berklee the College of Music in Boston. I almost didn’t believe him; it seemed too good to be true.
This friend turned out to be Ethan. He had just been kicked out of his last band after 2 years for personal differences, which hurt especially because he considered them to be his best friends at the time. Disheartened, he almost considered taking a break from playing music all together. It’s almost as if fate intervened because it happened right as we were starting to search for a drummer.
Together we experimented with any song or sound ideas that came to us. We all shared the vision of creating an original sound that still felt accessible and retained our personality. We had just parted ways with our singer however and started looking for the next one.
We put out an open call for auditions on Facebook for vocalists, and that’s when we found Sierra. At the time she was down on her luck; she had just dropped out of college and was in a rut of self-destructive tendencies. She was going to local shows at the time as an outlet for dealing with her stress and it was there that she heard there was a band looking for a singer. She showed up as a vocal audition, and did really well, we were definitely impressed- but the real magic of her audition was when she told us that she also played the violin. She grabbed it out of her car and proceeded to play for us, using a youtube video as a backing track. As soon as she was done we looked at each other and knew instantly that we needed her. The violin was the unique element that we had been searching for and just didn’t know it.
That’s when we got the message. Our application had been accepted to join a battle of the bands, grand prize being a spot on stage for the Boston stop of The Vans Warped Tour. We were beyond excited. We had written enough songs to play a full set, we had our unique twist with Sierra’s violin, and we had the talent to win.
We showed up early that day to the venue; I remember sitting in the direct sunlight on the venue steps with the loud sounds of city life bustling around us. The set times were determined by how many tickets you could sell, and we were set to play second to last (which was almost ideal). We heard through gossip at the show that the top band had purchased extra tickets themselves, to appear as if they had sold more- which meant that in reality we had sold the most tickets. We also heard that the winners are heavily determined by ticket sales, and the show was pretty much just to prove that you were tight. We were a shoe-in for victory. They picked two winners and we sold the most tickets.
Turns out, our vocalist was unable to perform because of prior personal actions at the venue that we were unaware of. Our whole world came crashing down. Everything that we had worked for, all the effort we put in writing and practicing the songs, getting out there and talking to people to sell the tickets, was all wasted. I’ll never forget sitting alone in the office with the entire management team and promoter there explaining to me what had happened. Impressed by our professionalism they offered to let the rest of the band perform an instrumental set, but we declined. They told me that they never ever do this, and then wrote us a check refunding all the tickets that we had sold for the event. I’ll never forget the venue’s generosity during this time. I could feel the weight of the room within me. They felt just as bad as we did.
This was our lowest low. We had gone through 5 different band members- three of them vocalists. I feel like at this point most people would just give up and go home. But we knew that we had something special; the band and our music meant so much that we refused to give up.
We thought that an Open Mic Night would be perfect place to “audition” a new potential vocalist. You’re going to find musicians who are confident, as they’ve taken it upon themselves to perform, and you get to judge their abilities before you even talk to them. A professor from my college happened to host a regular open mic night at a pub right next to the school. CDs in hand, we ventured out to find a singer.
Enter Lexie; she had only recently moved to the area from North Carolina and was a frequent performer at these Open Mics. She lived the dream that so many of us have dreamed: dropping everything that you know and moving away to get a fresh start. We had actually seen her perform previously so we hoped that she would be there for us to consider and to gift her an instrumental CD. She was there and she played an original piano song that she had written on her keyboard.
I approached her afterwards and told her that we were really impressed and looking for a singer before giving her the CD. The rest is history as we were finally able to book the studio dates to finish recording our debut EP. We never got a chance for redemption from the battle of the bands incident, as they stopped doing them when the Warped Tour stopped being a summer-long festival. But armed with everything we had learned, and the rock solid foundation that we had built up, we were ready for the next challenge.
And please consider picking up a copy – it really helps us to grow our audience and create even more music =)
Thanks again for reading, and for being a part of this journey with us. It’s because of your support that we’re able to continue to do what we love. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you feel like chatting with us. We’ll be sure to reply.
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