Patrick Vassel | Thursday, February 19, 2004
Just a few years ago, MTV and a variety of rock critics hailed the return of “garage rock” bands. With little studio assistance and relying mainly on scratchy voices and crunching guitars, bands such as The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Hives found their niche and fame. The Detroit-based genre was quickly spun into a popular phenomenon allowing hundreds of bands to come out of the garages and onto radio stations. The Singles is a band from the suburbs of Detroit that has managed to rise above the hype and emerge as a group with a distinct sound and catchy songs. Formed in 2001 behind lead vocalist and guitarist Vince Frederick, the band is comprised of Will Yates on lead guitar, Dave Lawson on bass and Dave Knepp on drums. Frederick, who doubles as the lead singer and songwriter, describes the band’s sound as “Just straightforward rock ‘n’ roll, obviously with the influence of the old school bands but with the energy of today.” Frederick became lost in the music of the ‘1950s and ’60s in high school after being introduced to his parents’ Beatles and Chuck Berry records at an early age. The influence is obvious listening to any track off their debut album, “Better than Before.” Songs such as the single “He Can Go, You Can’t Stay” open with catchy riffs and a driving sound reminiscent of the early days of rock, but The Singles blend their energy perfectly with this sound to create songs that are both pop and powerful. This sound is so different from any other band out there that it is difficult to draw comparisons. Though often grouped with bands like The White Stripes, The Singles are almost in a genre by themselves.The Singles hold high expectations for Saturday’s show at Legends. “Touring has gone just as good or better than we expected,” Frederick said. “This is our first album and we didn’t really know what to expect, but we’ve had some amazing turnouts at these shows. We’re young, not road-weary or anything, and still ready to go.” Following this current tour around the country, the band is looking forward to heading to Germany in May.With a song currently sitting at No. four on the German college charts, The Singles are eager to play for their growing European fan base. Frederick said the band, after playing in Germany, hopes to do a sweep through Europe, starting in Holland and France and finishing up in the United Kingdom and Spain.Later this year, after the European tour, the band is planning to work on its second album. The band will collaborate with producer Tony Hoffer, whose credits include a Beck album, and most recently the new Supergrass disc. The Singles are a young band with a new sound and explosive energy, and they aren’t wasting any time. Frederick said one of the band’s most important goals is to make sure their sound doesn’t ever become stale. Their album “Better than Before” has received solid reviews and still sounds great after a few listens, but The Singles want to keep moving and keep progressing as a band.”Right now, success is being able to keep making records, and just to have people listen to it,” Frederick said. “You know, there’s a lot of acts out there, but everyone wouldn’t be able to do it if people didn’t listen. When we’re all done, we want to be able to look back and see a natural progression of our music. We don’t want to just keep putting the same record out there.”And The Singles are already progressing toward success beyond Detroit – and beyond the garage.The Singles perform Saturday at Legends at 8:45 p.m.