Driven by the kids
T.J. Rowland has a hard time staying on his feet when he’s “working.” The crush of bodies sometimes knocks the mic from his hands. There’s also the chance that he might lose his voice. But those are concessions he’s willing to make “for the kids” as the front man for one of Reno’s newer hardcore bands, Reason One. He avoids the stage lights, preferring to growl and scream at the audience from pit level. He might take a hit or two, but that’s what it’s all about, right?
“Sometimes this band is the one thing that keeps us going,” Rowland says, “but when I’m out at a show, it’s all for the kids that come out to support the scene.”
Onstage, he is supported by Kris Ackenback on guitars, Chuck Rand on bass, Rob Hayes on drums and Jerad Mochel on guitar and extra screaming. Reason One has been consistently coming through at all-ages shows throughout the Truckee Meadows for just over a year, ever since Mochel answered an e-classified that Rowland had posted on the Internet. Mochel, Hayes and Rand had all been writing and rehearsing together for some time before they brought Rowland in. Ackenback, the most recent addition to the band, started out as a fan and friend before coming on-board five months ago.
As you may have noticed, hardcore and metal bands have never needed a comeback in Reno, last bastion of butt-rock. Hardcore has persisted, and even prevailed in some cases, during these sad days of ballad rock and mall punk. And Reason One is not about to be left out of the head-banging havoc. Carrying on the grand tradition of grind and crust, the band plans to enter the studio this fall to work on its first full-length CD.
“We’ve worked hard, and this is just the first lap,” Rand says. “Now it’s time to take all that and make something that we can give to people.”
Reason One has kept its dance card full over the past year, pursuing shows as aggressively as the band plays. How aggressive is that? Let’s just say that they’ve probably produced enough sweat to end the drought. They’ve performed with most of the hardcore/metal/punk bands in a 100-mile radius. They’ve tried to hit up every battle-of-the-band, every rock festival and every bar and all-ages venue they could find. Their busy schedule leaves little time for anything else.
However, in addition to recording, they’re all ready to take a step back and do a little songwriting during the next few months. While they’re not exactly unhappy with knowing the songs they have, tightening their sound, or the crowded clubs, part of the fun of being a close-knit band is writing new songs and screwing around with new sounds.
Hayes jokes, “Write songs? Between jobs and shows, we don’t have time for that anymore.”
Although they are diverse in experience and influence, Reason One’s band members are single-minded in their pursuit of life through music. Determined to shake things up, Reason One is rarely satisfied with what they did today. A show might have been good, but it’s nothing compared to the next one. If 20 kids showed up with their hoodies and angst, why can’t they get 50 next time? Music may be fun, but to Reason One, this is the business, and only the beginning.