Endway: Paving Their Own Way To Stardom
If you are a fan of MTV's series “The Real World Austin, The Real World Key West,” and the “Inferno II,” then you have probably heard some music from Boston's premier rock band, Endway, (www.endway.com) like "Acoustic Song" and "Ain'y No One." These songs can also be heard on the band's PureVolume.com site ( www.purevolume.com/endway ) and their MySpace site ( www.myspace.com/endway ), in addition to their music video for their first single from their self-titled debut album, “And We Live.”
The band reveals how their music was chosen to be featured on the MTV series. "We met one of the cast members and became close friends and now he's an Endway lifer. He gave our CD to the MTV music producer and [who] loved it so much that we've been on three total MTV slots – “The Real World Austin,” “The Real World Key West,” and the” Inferno II,” and hope to be on more shows in the future. We would love to have the opportunity to include our music in more TV series, among movies and movie soundtracks."
Endway, whose members Morgan Dorr (lead vocal/guitar), Kevin McHugh (guitar/backup vocals), Chris Burns (bass, backup vocals), and Scott James (drums), released their self-titled debut album in 2006 and have been gaining momentum with their live shows. Their mixtures of acoustic sets and hard rock propulsions have a melodic, sonorous reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World, Dredg, Three Doors Down, and Hinder. Endway is a band of friends as well as being rock musicians, which may explain why they chose to do this interview as a collaborative effort rather than as separate individuals. Their atmosphere is friendly, energetic, cheerful, and contagiously positive.
"Morgan, Kevin, and Burns all grew up in a small town right outside of Boston (called) Watertown, Massachusetts. Scott grew up in Prince Frederick, Maryland," the band relates. They describe how they met and began the band. "The band formed in 2001. After graduating from high school we all found ourselves in bands that were unfulfilling to our craft. So a couple of phone calls to old friends brought us all together. We were doing well for ourselves, but we knew that with our constant struggles with drummers, we hadn't formulated the final line-up. After we hired our 3rd drummer, we went on a 2-month tour of the US. On that tour, we came across a small town in Maryland where we found our missing link, a drummer extraordinaire Scott James. Morgan, Kevin, and Burns promptly praised him, “His arrival brought us much success and we haven't looked back."
Their name, Endway, was chosen after a collaborative discussion, which they all agreed fit them. "It was really our ultimate form of expression," they claim. "We all felt that the name wasn't just a name, it had a cool ring to it and an unimaginable amount of meaning. We are four guys destined to make our musical journey a true testament to ourselves as people. Endway is a way to the end. To live everyday to the fullest and the music we make will prove that by showing everyone our true selves."
Making music and being in a band has a deeper meaning for Endway than simply becoming famous. It is something they realized early when they each developed their musical skills. "Morgan, Kevin, and Burns all started playing music around the age of 11,” they share, “where they played with different friends throughout the town. We all took a couple of lessons to start off. Morgan's father was in a band when he was our age. You could say that he is the reason why all of us play music today. All of our families have musical talent in them and have in some way influenced us into making our musical journey." They also cite artists like Green Day, Lagwagon, Weezer, Bob Marley, and Queen as early musical influences.
Although it was their musical experiences through their adolescence which seemed to make them bond together when they narrate, "In their first band, Kevin and Morgan were in Tenor Giraph. They were elected to perform at the WBCN high school Battle Of The Bands. A year later, Burns' first band The Abnormals were elected to play the same show. We both lost," they frown glibly.
Not ready to accept defeat, Morgan, Kevin, Burns, and now along with Scott, left the past behind them and are giving Endway a chance to mean something more to them. “This Town Forever,” their first original song, "was a song that was written in our subconscious. We knew that the music itself gave us a good feeling and with that good feeling came a way out." They add, "Out of this town, forever."
It's not that they hated their hometowns, but they needed more than what a suburban life could offer them. They recognized that need when their audiences became progressively larger, and they wanted to make a positive impact on a large crowd.
"In the beginning, we were basically taking any shows we could get our hands on, from dive bars to birthday parties in someone's backyard. We've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people who offered us gigs. The shows just started getting better and better. I remember a conversation I had with Morgan concerning the fact that we knew nobody and couldn't fathom how we would ever be in a constant circuit of live performances. But today, we are really happy with the way things came together in that department."
In the last year, the members of Endway have gone from being spectators at music festivals to performing at festivals. "Ya, we've played some festivals," they note with pride, "One at the Pepsi Arena in New York with Dashboard Confessionals and New Found Glory. One or all of us usually attend the Warped Tour which is always a lot of fun."
Working a large crowd demands songs that not only keep the public's interest but actually gets them excited, and Endway went into the recording studio with that mission in mind. About their self-titled debut album, “It was recorded at a few places. We tracked all the basics - guitar, bass, and drums at Mad Oak Studios in Allston/Brighton. The rest - vocals, lead guitar, and mixing were done at Briggs Brother Studios in Framingham. We self-produced the record, but would have our friends - musical and non-musical come by and give their opinion on what they thought. For the overall sound, we knew we wanted something big, so when someone puts it in their stereo, their eyebrows blow off."
Endway made an album that people would enjoy and want to buy as well as one that expressed their own personal reflections. It's an album not only made for their families or for a record label to mass market, but it has mass appeal simply by being upbeat and relevant to life that is happening now.
"Our songs come from a variety of different inspirations," they relate. "Whether it be a piece of literature, a movie, a drunken guitar lick, or any life experiences. The reason why we write these songs is the same reason a chef might take years to develop his own menu. Everyone has a personal taste. These songs make us feel great when we play live and can hopefully attach people to them, giving us a bond found no where else except lying in the majesty of song."
Something very unique about songs is that their greatness is only measured by the number of people who resonate with it. Queens’ "We Are The Champions" will outlive the band because it continues to resonate with burgeoning generations of music fans, and oddly, no band is ever able to foretell if they have a song that will do that to people, including Queen when they composed that song. It is what Endway is aiming for, but found that their greatest challenge is finding a common ground where everyone agrees.
"The toughest thing," they agree, "is to get four guys together in the same room day after day and work on the same songs. Having everyone feel the same about each note, chord or melody being played is no easy feat. So, we've learned a lot about each other as people, and have been together long enough that most of the time we're on the same page and have the same goals in mind. It's important to really listen to one another. Communication is one of the most vital lessons we harbor."
Since the release of their self-produced debut album and a succession of live performances and tracks featured on several MTV series, Endway have additionally experienced the anxiousness that comes with showcasing for record labels. “We have played in front of a number of major labels as well as some Indies. Sometimes you don't get a warm fuzzy feeling," they muse, wishfully. "One label that stuck out to us the most is Black Heart Records in Manhattan. They feel like friends and ride on the same wave length."
Black Heart Records ( www.blackheart.com ) is the record label formed by Joan Jett and her long time producer, Kenny Laguna. Though the band cannot confirm that they have signed with anyone, they have continued to work on tracks for their next record. Their plans for 2007 are to "make a really different record, half of which is already written," they admit. "Play the Warped Tour, develop even further as individual musicians, and get more people to join us through communication and our open hearts."
They are adamant about "staying the course, keeping everybody motivated even when there is little or no money/rewards. Being a musician is the only job that doesn't have Christmas bonuses, benefits or anyone putting you on their back as often as you need it. The only thing we look forward to is people singing along and MySpace comments," they chuckle.
Endway is also looking forward to making more music videos. "We have actually made a video for the first song on the record 'And We Live.” Video is something we have a lot of fun with. The only thing is coming up with a fun idea that translates a message of a song." They wonder, "Does MTV even play videos anymore?"
Luckily, Endway does not need to only depend on MTV to bring their music to audiences. They list PureVolume, MySpace, and iTunes as additional means where their music and videos are played. "The Internet is what it's all about," they rave, "We've never been that good at making our Internet presence shiny and polished but it still makes you accessible to everyone in the world, which is a tool that everyone is utilizing now."
Endway are beginning to explore whatever means are available to them that will bring their music to audiences. For bands who are just starting out, Endway recommends, "Do it with your friends, make sure you believe in it and always remember that money may come and go, whereas the times and memories that you make will last forever. Be smart with your choices and find a way to stay motivated towards your goals."
It's advice that Endway has followed and seem pleased with the outcome from their choices.
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