It's not like they've been hiding. To the contrary, singer Hagen Grohe, bass man Andrew "The Bullet" Lauer, drummer Alex Landenburg and guitarist Marco Wriedt have logged zillions of hours and miles on the road as members of acts like the Joe Perry Project, Rhapsody, Axxis and Paul Gilbert's band. But now the four have formed 21Octayne and are for the first time ever experiencing a situation where they can make exactly the kind of music that they want to make without someone else calling the shots. It gives special meaning to the name of their first album Into the Open, recently released on the AFM label.
"It's a great feeling," says Landenburg. "Especially this sense of freedom in terms of musical styles is awesome. Established bands too often have to stick to a certain style, and from a musician's point of view, this can become pretty boring. So to be able to create something completely new is really the greatest thing about it."
While 21Octayne plays in a variety of rock styles on Into the Open, there's an obvious common denominator: every song is hook-filled and radio ready. And some, like "She's Killing Me," a power rocker with a chorus that'll inspire sing-alongs, is a near-perfect gem. "Don't Turn Away" has a jazzy intro but quickly explodes into a Sammy Hagar-like scorcher and "My Teddy Bear," contrary to its mellow title, boogies along to guitar parts that grind one moment and overflow with melody the next. If you get the idea that these guys aren't fooling around, a look at their two videos will confirm your thoughts. The vids for the "why did you betray me?" message of "Dear Friend" and "The Heart (Save Me)" both show the guys rocking hard without any gimmickry or video tricks.
Germany is the home of 21Octayne and they're just about to go on a European tour with British classic rockers Uriah Heep and there are no dates scheduled for the U.S. at this time. That should change fairly quickly; with radio programmers and fans frothing at the mouth over Into the Open, 21Octayne will undoubtedly be making the rounds of American sheds any time now.
Watch "Dear Friend" here
Watch "The Heart (Save Me)" here
Purchase Into the Open here
Learn more about the band here.