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by: jay 27 Apr 2002

Voluntary Conveyance

Based in Boston Massachusetts, Give is the result of an unlikely collaboration between a diverse group of musicians, who themselves hail from an equally diverse set of bands. From Honkeyball, Boston's premier heavy band in the late 1990's, come George Tsiaris (vocals/guitar) and Claude Yama (bass). From pop songsmiths Lazlo Bane comes Chris Link (guitar/vocals). And from the post-metal noise band Claymore comes Stephen Hart (drums/vocals). Strong vocals, loud guitars, and a killer rhythm section. I caught up with drummer Stephen Hart in a local Harvard dive for some Q & A on Give�s past, present, and promising future.

Tell me a little about the origins of the band.

Stephen Hart: The band has been together for about two years now. The band I was in before, Claymore, with a guy named Dave Link, who played bass, broke up in March of 2000. Claude was in Germany working, and Honkeyball had sort of fizzled out, though I guess Honkeyball has not "officially" broken up. At this point, we were now all available to jam together. Actually, at one point, Claymore, who were a trio, were trying to work George in. We got together and jammed out a couple of ideas, but it just wasn�t the same. It was just two different styles. But when the bands broke up, George, Dave, and I got together and hammered out some stuff. We had our first rehearsal April 1st of 2000. The first tune we wrote was a song called "Satisfaction." The next week, Dave invited his brother, Chris, down to rehearsal. Chris was the bass player in a band called Lazlo Bain, who were based in California, but they weren�t touring or doing anything at the time. Chris came in and threw just the perfect parts over �Satisfaction�, and we just knew that that was it, as far as the line-up was concerned.

How did Claude end up coming into the band?

SH: As for Claude coming into the band, Dave ended up getting an opportunity that he just couldn�t turn down to work in an animation studio in California, and basically live with his brother for free. It was a tough decision for him to make. I believe it was around November of 2000, and we had just finished up our record, things were going really well at the time. All of our shows had been very well attended, and there was a good buzz circulating about the band. A lot of college radio stations had been playing the hell out of the EP as well. I think it was hard on us all, but at the same time, I think we knew had a great opportunity out there. The job actually panned out for a while, but then eventually didn�t work out. Dave is actually now in a band with Alex Newport (ex-Fudge Tunnel) called Theory of Ruin.

So he�s out there doing that, but his playing and picture are on the EP. The first thing we put out is the five song EP, which is the only recording we have out to date. It came out in May of 2001. I mean, Dave was the writer on all of the songs on that EP, plus some of the tunes we still play live. So his impact is still there. But, we lucked out. I was dreading having to audition bass players. I mean, Dave and I had been playing together for three years in Claymore, and had been really good friends as well. Claude had come back from Germany, and it was just perfect. I got him a copy of some of the music, and of course George and Claude had a history together from Honkeyball. Claude�s bass playing style is definitely different from Dave�s, but it ended up fitting perfectly. There really was no question, we were pretty psyched.

How does the band go about writing material?

SH: It�s a real democracy. Other bands that I have been in there�s been one singer/songwriter who comes in with finished songs. In Give, it�s pretty much all equal parts. The band writes the music, in that by the time the song is finished everyone has had a part in getting it to that point. The great thing is that George has these notebooks filled with lyrics, he�s constantly writing them. He has a total gift for it. It�s funny, I�ll watch him, I mean maybe someone will come up with a riff and it will start taking shape, and George is already flipping through his lyrics with an idea of the right lyrics to fit whatever is going on musically. He�s just a machine when it comes to that, and the vocal melodies as well.

Chris brings in a lot of pop sensibility, mainly because he�s always been playing in just straight up pop bands. Then you have myself, and I�ve played in tons of bands with varying musical styles, though most of them have been centered in straight up rock. And lastly you have George and Claude, who have predominantly played in heavy bands. You put it all together, and it just ends up coming out that way it does.

Tell me a little about the new recordings you just did with Paul Kolderie�

SH: Those tracks were recorded in the beginning of February. Paul�s been a guy who has been around locally for a long time, produced a lot of big records, most notably the Radiohead "Bends" record, also the new Cave In EP. Chris new Paul from the old Fort Apache. Initially, we had approached him a while back about recording our stuff. We sent him a tape of us at rehearsal before the first EP came out, and the first song he heard was a tune called "When It Breaks", which is one of the heavier tunes on our EP. It didn�t really seem like it was his bag at the time. So at the beginning of this year, I mentioned to him about maybe doing a few songs with us again. He came down to a few of our rehearsals and we though the perfect songs for him to do were "How I Feel Tonight" and "What Makes Us Tick." Both of those have some clean guitars and some mellow type stuff, which is really his forte. He didn�t have really many ideas as far as arrangements went, they were pretty solid at that point. He was thinking more about different sounds.

I got a really great deal from a guy at the Outpost in Staughton, MA, he gave us a really great deal for the weekend, and we got Paul at a very good price as well. We just went in and did it, and it came out totally awesome. It was great to watch Paul work, his wheels are always spinning. He tends to spend a lot of time on ambience type things One thing that he did that was interesting, that a lot of engineers don�t do these days, was spend a lot of time making sure that the initial guitar, bass, and drum sounds were great, in that we could use these in the finished product right when were tracking the basics.

I think it�s important to always continue recording. Even if it�s not getting put on a release right away, it�s always good for a band to be in the studio recording new ideas. Plus, I think it�s just such a fun experience. I mean, all of us in Give have played a ton of shows over the years with our other bands, crashed on a million couches, toured Europe, all that stuff. Right now, it�s such a great experience to take our tunes from the rehearsal space into the studio and put them on tape. That feeling never really gets old or goes away.

How long have you been playing the drums for?

SH: Let�s see, about eighteen years now. Been playing for quite some time. I started when I was a teenager, and took some instruction from a guy named Mike Mangini., we�re both from Waltham, MA. I almost kind of shadowed him, as far as bands go. He was in a band called Diver Down, a big Van Halen tribute band, and I was in there right after him. He really took me under his wing. I hadn�t really taken much instruction from a teacher, and I started taking some lessons from him. This was back when I was playing a big double bass drum set, with cymbals all over the place, you know? I listened to a lot of Terri Bozzio. Mike helped me a lot with how I approach things, and I just kind of took it from there.

It�s funny, Kevin from Scissorfight and I have known each other since about 1986. He�s one of my favorite drummers in town, and we both had been playing in some bands around then. He was in a band called Cheating Ace, and I was in band called Freewill. They were from Newton, MA, and we were from Waltham, and we would play a ton shows together. Kevin and I have stuck together since. We got a rehearsal space together about eight or ten years ago. It�s the type of thing where we would check in with each other periodically, and we would show each other what we had been working on at the time. He�s just awesome.

Actually, there was time when Kevin�s talents were needed elsewhere, and he did me the honor of asking if I would fill in for a few shows with Scissorfight. I�ll tell ya, it was so enjoyable to learn Kevin�s parts. I did my best Kevin impersonation, you know, without cutting all my hair off and growing about a foot! (laughs) I ended up doing about ten or fifteen shows with Scissorfight. It was around the time Guaranteed Kill and Balls Deep were out.

So is the focus now putting out small EP�s, or a to concentrate on a full length?

SH: The only official release we have out is the five song self titled EP. Since then we�ve done a two song demo of "Satisfaction" and "Feeling Good", which are songs we play a lot (see link below for free downloads). Then we made the new three song demo in February. We�re just continuing to play more shows, make more demos, to give to people who�s ear we have, or record industry people, in hope of securing a record deal. Our goal, or what we would love, is to record a full length Give record on someone else�s dime. In a sense, that�s every bands goal I suppose.

For more information on Give, email:

For two free Give MP3�s, visit:

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