Thursday, May 28, 2009

Parachute has yet to land...

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 12:07 PM

About three years ago, I remember getting an e-mail from the kid brother of a good friend from college. His name was Alex and he played bass in a band with some buddies in Charlottesville, and I had known his older sister, Dori, quite well following an infamous egg-throwing incident my junior year.

Back in school, Dori would often gush about young Alex’s work on a new recording, or the latest gig his band, Sparky’s Flaw, had booked to play in the local scene. Even then, she portrayed the role of the proud big sister quite well, always eager to share the latest news on her brother’s project. But honestly, I didn’t pay too much attention.

I myself had a few friends and family members in bands and my thoughts were along the lines of "good for Alex." Strum a few chords for the University of Virginia sorority chicks. Have some fun, make a few bucks. Maybe they’ll blow up. And by ‘blow up’ I was thinking, "tour the mid-Atlantic college circuit."

I saw Dori at a cookout in 2006 and mentioned to her that I’d been contributing reviews for Southeast Performer magazine. She asked if her brother could send along his demo and I promised that I’d see what I could do. A few days later, I received two burned CDs in the mail, the scribbled Sharpie ink barely legible.

Removing the contents from the package, I sighed. Ironically, I had just drafted my quit note to the magazine’s editor. With an increasingly busy schedule, it was tough to find the time to write and review music, so I decided to stop.

The aforementioned email arrived a few weeks later. Alex was looking for an update on the review. For whatever reason – and not a single good one – I didn’t have the heart to tell the kid that it probably wasn’t going to happen, and that whatever pull I had with Southeast Performer had likely fizzled. Days went by and the correspondence quickly became buried under scores of Viagra junk mail.

Now, let’s flash forward three years and one band name change later.


It was announced during the week of May 10 that Alex Hargrave’s band, now called Parachute, had landed the No.1 Album slot on iTunes, largely on the strength of its new hit single “She Is Love.” The record, Losing Sleep, hit stores this week and debuted at #40 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

What?! Wow.

Apparently – and believe me, now my interest is peaked – the big break came when the band’s dreamy love songs caught the attention of Island/Mercury Records, as well as Nivea’s marketing execs (“She Is Love” was featured in a buzz-building lotion ad). One thing led to another and now the band is scheduled to perform live on the CBS Early Show this Saturday.

The music itself is mainstream. Catchy, pop rock somewhere in the vein of Maroon 5, Jason Mraz and O.A.R., the headliners at a few Parachute shows this spring. There’s definitely an audience for the band, who played the Casbah on May 20, and all signs point to a bright future, especially on the heels of such an aggressive promotional campaign.

Dori is now sending emails asking friends to vote for her bro’s band in MTV and VH1 music video contests. I’m guessing I won’t receive another one from Alex.

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