Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One Up - Demo 2002

Story by Greg Polard, singer for One Up.
You can find the complete Demo 2002 vinyl pressing info here.

The first One Up practice occurred on February 7, 2002. Ten years ago. Ten years. Despite that being a long time ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.

Without going into too much back story, I had known Donny for about two years at this point and we were hell-bent on doing a straight up, no frills, straight edge hardcore band. He and I had talked about how awesome it would be to have a band that combined the music of Chain Of Strength and Floorpunch, so Don went to work and wrote the music that made up the 2002 Demo tape. I had met Jude, Fidge and Brian the summer before at the Equal Vision Records showcase at the Rotunda in Philadelphia because they were handing out demos for their band Straight To The Point. They were a few years younger than I was, but they were straight edge and psyched on hardcore, and that was good enough for me.

I was so excited, but also nervous as this would be the first time I’d ever be “singing” in a band setting. For a few weeks before, Don would come over to my parents' house and we’d work on the songs and vocal patterns. When the day finally came, I felt like I was gonna bounce off the walls with excitement. Since it was our first time going there, Don and I decided to car pool and make the trek to Jude’s parents' house in Sicklerville, NJ.

As we pull up to the house, some random guys came out and said something like, “I hope you guys aren’t planning on playing those instruments in the basement because you can’t.” It turns out they had some work done last minute that day down in the basement and we were unable to rehearse down there. My heart sank as we’d just driven an hour to get there. But of course, at this point, I did not realize that Jude Miller has two of the coolest parents ever who were more than happy to let us haul the guitar amps into their living room and practice there.

I could be wrong, but I feel pretty confident in remembering that the first thing we all tried to play together just to warm up was “True Til Death” by Chain of Strength since both Go Time and Straight To The Point had covered it prior. The first piece of original material we worked on was either “Rally The Troops” or “One Up,” but I can’t really remember. We also practiced “To Lose” by Turning Point that night so that we had a cover song to play live.

After that night, I had a feeling we had something special going on. A little over a month later, we played our first show with, which made it official: we were a real band. About a month after that first show we made the trip to Basement Screams in DC to record our demo with Mike Stankovich of Striking Distance.  This got the ball rolling for more recordings, shows and eventually a couple of tours of the full U.S.

This band was my life for over three years. When it all ended in September of 2005, it took a while to get used to the fact that I no longer had to make the drive to South Jersey on a Thursday to practice, or write lyrics at the last minute so that Don didn’t yell at me, or pack my bags for a week on the road. Yet, like the record said, ”The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

I’m writing this piece for Don’s blog, whom I’ve now been friends with for over a decade. I have a five-year-old son now named Jude and believe me, this is no coincidence (“Uncle Jude” is also his godfather). I still text message Fidge every time I listen to 7 Seconds. I think of Brian anytime I see someone wearing a cast on their foot. I got to do all sorts of things because of this band that sometimes I feel I took for granted and I owe it all to that day in February of 2002. Thanks guys. XXX

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