They chose Las Vegas so they wouldn’t have to actually live in LA (if you’ve ever spent some time in the San Fernando Valley and Las Vegas you’ll know why). Raised on the music of Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest, they weren’t really sure what kind of music they wanted to make, except that it had to be LOUD and something you’d remember when the show or disc was over. As music changed, they assimilated all of the stuff they came across, bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and some other indie bands like Failure and Chavez, all loud and memorable. They picked up the other half of the band in Las Vegas.
Drummer Charlie Smaldino was recommended by Robbie Allen, Mike’s practically brother in law, as he had tried out for Robbie’s band, and although not the right fit for them (the 90’s act Candlebox), he was definitely the drummer for Magna-Fi. Loud and aggressive, and a veritable pit bull when it comes to accomplishing things, he drives the band musically as well as in all other aspects of getting the job done. Bassist and vocalist Rob Kley had played off and on with Charlie in Las Vegas. Being in bands his whole life, he showed the same type of drive and love for music as the rest of the guys and was a no brainer to complete the lineup. Their first big break came in the form of a recording deal with indie label Gold Circle Records (famed for also making the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding), a deal engineered with the help of Las Vegas radio station Xtreme Radio.
Gold Circle ultimately was better at promoting Hollywood Movies than Rock Music, and the week before Magna-Fi’s debut was to be released they folded their record label (insert mental picture of band drinking A LOT). The album the band made at that time was called Burn Out The Stars and was produced and mixed by producer Paul Lani, who worked with acts such as Megadeth and Enuff Z Nuff. They took this album and released it independently, continuing to perform in support of it all over the U.S., and with considerable help from former Gold Circle A&R man Mike Sikkas (who became the bands impromptu manager the moment the label disintegrated) managed to land another indie label deal with Phoenix based Aezra Records. Aezra signed the band and nationally released Burn Out The Stars in 2003, putting the band on the road for almost two years in support of the album (once again, insert mental picture of band drinking A LOT, but this time with smiles on their faces).
For that two year period, the band cris-crossed the United States at least 5 times, starting out in a van in support of Fuel and Breaking Benjamin, then graduating to an RV when they scored a slot on the second stage of Ozzfest 2004, ultimately ending up in a tour bus in support of Sevendust early 2005. The bands they got to perform with along the way is a long list, covering a wide range of musical styles and they were all very loud and very memorable. During this time they got to hear themselves on the radio for the first time, having two singles chart in the #30s, the songs Where Did We Go Wrong and Down In It. They also got to be on the same bill as their long time favorites Cheap Trick and Judas Priest. At the end of the road so to speak, they sat down with Aezra to plan the recording of the next album.
Due to a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo they can’t disclose the ultimate reasons, but this conversation ended with the band and the label parting ways, and the band deciding to record their next album on their own. This also marked the exit of Mikes’ brother C.J. and the entrance of Magna-Fi guitarist and vocalist Chris Brady, another Las Vegas native and long time friend of the band. VerseChorusKillMe is the title of the new album, a record produced, recorded and mixed entirely by the band itself.
It is all of the things they ever thought an album should be, and of course it is the two things they always thought an album should be, LOUD and MEMORABLE. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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