Tantric Tries to Recreate Platinum Success
by: Mike Farley (e-mail)
Following up Platinum success, especially on a debut record, can be extremely challenging. But if you’re the hard-rocking alternative band Tantric, whose self-titled debut did just that in 2002, you keep writing and welcome that very challenge. Jessie Vest, the band’s bass player, feels that Tantric’s latest,
After We Go, is more than worthy of the critical acclaim the band garnered two years ago.
Hailing from Louisville, KY, Tantric formed a few years when Days of the New replaced its lead singer with Detroit native Hugo Ferreira, who was in a local Detroit band that had impressed several of the members when they opened for Days of the New. After changing their name, recording their debut in Los Angeles and touring extensively, the band took a different approach this time around.
After We Go was recorded in Nashville with Toby Wright, who also produced the band’s first album. Recording in Nashville allowed Tantric to commute from Louisville and spend time with their families. “You’re supposed to record ‘rock’ albums in L.A.,” says Vest. “But there were too many distractions there last time, and recording in Nashville helped us stay focused.” Plus, Vest admits that the band members are “country boys” anyway.
The result is a polished collection of songs that resembles bands such as 3 Doors Down and a harder-edged Creed, bands they are currently touring with and have toured with, respectively. Tantric has also toured with Kid Rock, who Vest says is very down-to-earth and most of the time walked around backstage in “shorts and flip-flops.”
But back to After We Go. “Chasing After” and the title track are smoking tunes out of the gate, and the more melodic “Falling Away” and “Alright” are also standouts. The biggest surprise is a very cool rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.” Whether or not this record can match the band’s early success remains to be seen, but it’s definitely the same musical formula that worked before. And though Vest admits to liking country music and even John Denver, his influences as a player are Geddy Lee of Rush and Steve Harris of Iron Maiden.
Upon closer inspection, Tantric is a no-frills rock band that goes about their business like someone might approach a typical day job. Vest describes a day on the road as “hectic” and says it usually goes like this: “Look for a clean shower, do some radio promo interviews, sound check and then try to eat something before hitting the stage.” He also said that while he is married and guitarist Todd Whitener has a girlfriend, the inevitable groupies present themselves at shows. “It’s not like what people think,” he says. “But it’s definitely there if you want it. But nowadays, you can’t go sticking your willy anywhere.” He also says the band’s rider doesn’t call for anything unusual, just beer, bottled water, bread and peanut butter.
Finally, I asked Vest who the band liked in the upcoming Super Bowl. “We’re torn,” he admitted. “Being near the Indiana border, we’re Colts fans, but since they lost I have to root for Carolina. A lot of our crew likes the Patriots, though.” Then he added, “We’re off that day, so by the time the game is over we’ll all be so drunk it won’t matter.” They also won’t worry about how the new record does, as Tantric prepares for its release and continues to tour in businesslike fashion.
Tantric’s After We Go will be officially released on February 24. For more information, please visit
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