As promised, it's time for our ninth monthly installment of our Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile series! This month, we focus on two more heavier acts from outside of the Soo that just happen to feature a member who lived in the Sault Ste. Marie area in the past! One's a new solo project, while the other is a prominent band that you may recognize from some larger shows in the area in recent months! This should be another good one, but remember, if there's something incorrect, missing, or lacking info/details, please tell me! That being said, let's kick off this month's profile, and check out previews of this weekend's concerts in the post below! (UPDATED: November 26th, 2014)
Fifth Way (Detroit, Michigan)
Lineup: (Saultites in RED; ex-members in italics)
Tim Gossman (vocals)
Zak Stelmaszek (guitar)
Adam Trahan (guitar)
Anthony Palsgrove (bass)
Chris Castro (drums)
Terry Freers (bass)
Nicholas Cole-Klaes (bass)
Mike McMann (bass)
Victor Wooten (bass)
Dave Reingardt (drums)
Official website: http://www.fifth-way.com
Official MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/fifthway
Official Reverbnation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/fifthway
Official YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/fifthwayofficial
Official Facebook page (1): http://facebook.com/pages/fifth-way/14603256274
Official Facebook page (2): http://www.facebook.com/fifthway
Local Info: Fifth Way features just one member who claimed a local residence, that being lead guitarist Zak Stelmaszek. Originally from nearby Rudyard, Zak graduated from Rudyard High School in 1995, and would then enroll at Lake Superior State University in the electrical engineering program, living on campus in Sault Michigan in the process. Zak gratuated from LSSU in 2000, and later moved to the Detroit area (and later still to Milwaukee.) Aside from his ongoing work with Fifth Way, Zak has also stayed busy in cover bands, including current work in Milwaukee's King Kong, and prior stints with bands like Detroit's Cruizin' Jupiter & Milwaukee's Superfly.
Band Bio: Fifth Way launched in late 2007, and found a solid footing in the Detroit rock scene through frequent gigging in the area through 2008 and 2009, backing up acts like Saliva, Pop Evil, Alter Bridge, and 10 Years. Save for their numerous bassist switches, their lineup appears has generally been stable since their inception. In January 2010, Fifth Way released their debut album "No Boundaries", and have toured frequently ever since. Their name growing ever quicker, Fifth Way have slowly begun playing shows outside of the Detroit area, notably coming up to Sault Michigan numerous high profile shows since 2010, mainly at Kewadin Casino, where they've backed up such bands as Tesla, Three Doors Down, and The Gin Blossoms. Still frequently playing shows all over Michigan, Fifth Way's profile continues to grow with each passing day, so check them out and pick up their debut album at the above links!
Fifth Way employ a very catchy radio hard rock sound that'd be right at home on Rock 101, and it's a wonder we don't hear them more on the radio locally, especially with Zak's local connection! Their music doesn't have much surprises in terms of song structure, but what they do, they do well, with a gritty aggressive sensibility that does help set them apart from other bands! Tim Grossman's vocals are melodic, yet have a rough edge to them, and the guitar work from Zak and Adam is both catchy and heavy, making the most of their riffs! Honestly, Fifth Way are the kind of band I can picture driving down a highway to, it has that hard riding essence, while still being melodic and fun to listen to! I find they have a few too many softer songs, and the guitar solos need work, but Fifth Way are a very good hard rock band, and I'm sure we'd welcome them back to the Sault area with open arms!
Fifth Way's debut album "No Boundaries" has been available for purchase at Grooves Music in Sault Michigan, and songs from the album are streamable at the band's MySpace page! You can also purchase the album online for $12 through the band's website. Other sites presumably have the album for free download, but really, support the band and buy it. Fifth Way are also very prominently featured on YouTube via numerous live videos, along with their 2010 music video for their song "Stomping Ground" that you can check out below!
Mark Rand (Toronto, Ontario)
Lineup: (Saultites in RED)
Mark "Marky Lion" Rand (all instruments)
Official MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/markrand
Official YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/themarkylion
Local Info: If you've been around the local scene in the past few years, then Mark Rand should be very familiar to you! An established musician on varying instruments, Mark's arguably best known under his stage name Marky Lion as guitarist and studio bassist for the local punk/metal band Lion Ride, who've made some major noise in the local scene since their 2007 inception! But that's just the surface of his musical background, as Mark's been in numerous bands in both the Sault and Toronto areas, including Detroit, Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, The Merves, Fuller, hackthemodem, Pumpkinseed, Kidshit, The Lumbermen, Bondar, DDPBB, and his current role in the Peterborough hardcore punk trio Cross Dog, among others. Now living in Peterborough, Mark's never forgotten his local roots, and comes back home for concerts occasionally, including a Detroit reunion next month!
Band Bio: Though the most recent form of Mark's solo project didn't begin until 2010, he has dabbled into solo work in the past. In 2006, Mark launched an indie/electronic solo project under his own name after his move to Southern Ontario, which is decidedly unlike his typical punk and metal fare, though it is well played. In August 2010, Mark took another dive into solo work, initially under his Lion Ride stage name (thought later alternately referred to as M.R.B.), and playing music much closer to the majority of his past bands. Drawing influences from bands like Motorhead, Venom, Slayer, Black Flag, SNFU, and Propagandhi (among many others), Mark's recorded a number of original hardcore/punk songs that could eventually be a part of an album release, which he's alluded to on his pages in the past. He formed a local band made up of his Saultite friends to back him up at a December 29th, 2010 show at the old Coch's Corner, where "The Mark Rand Band" played his solo songs live. Though this solo project quietly went defunct the following year, Mark played similar material in his newer partly-local project Kidshit alongside former Fuller bandmate Jamie Vincent.
Of Mark's long list of local bands, one of the closest comparison bands to the Mark Rand projectwas Detroit. Safe comparison, because Mark's material is generally comprised of short relentless hardcore numbers, and they sound very cool for the most part! Mark shows off more of his aggressive vocals that we typically only heard in backing roles in his other bands, and his guitar work is similarly heavy and suitable for the material! Compared to some other solo projects I've heard, this project sounds very cohesive like a real band, even on the drums! This material straddles the punk and metal border, so diehard fans of both genres will find something to like here, and it all fits very well! None of the songs disappoint, and thankfully, Mark doesn't fall into the trap that Detroit had where the longer songs weren't as heavy or relentless, and I hope he keeps up with the same style we've seen so far, cause it works very well! Mark and his new local backing band had a successful debut in December 2011, but here's hoping he revisits this material down the road!
Mark has seven songs on his MySpace page to check out, which amount to a nice 10 minutes or so of hardcore mayhem! If you're interested in any of Mark's work with his other bands, there's plenty of pages for them online on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and other sites, so look for those too! One of Mark's best solo songs (and his shortest) is on YouTube to check out, and here it is, his song "Question"!
Hope you guys enjoyed this month's profile! As for next month, I've decided on two bands to profile once again, as we'll take a look at L'Anguisette, the progressive metal band from Philadelphia featuring Woods of Ypres' frontman David Gold on drums, and Ninth Day Sin, the Nashville death metal band featuring Lower S.E.S./Bludgeoned drummer Mikey Bishop! Stay tuned for that next month, between October 16th and 22nd! That's all for now, but be on the lookout for more local metal news and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!