Flickerstick

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Flickerstick
Origin Denton, Texas, USA
Genres Indie rock
Alternative rock
Years active 1997–2009
Labels Idol Records
Epic Records
What Are Records
Website Official site
Past members Brandin Lea
Fletcher Lea
Rex Ewing
Cory Kreig
Dominic Weir
Jeff Lowe
Todd Harwell
Tim Locke

Flickerstick was a Denton, Texas rock band who gained national attention after winning VH1's talent/reality show Bands on the Run.

Band history[edit]

Band formation and early years[edit]

Flickerstick was formed in Denton, Texas by high school friends Brandin Lea (lead singer, guitarist) and Cory Kreig (guitarist, keyboardist). The two, who were guitarists in another local band, decided to put a band together and picked some friends to join them, including Brandin's brother, Fletcher (bassist). The band started doing local gigs.

They graduated to larger clubs in Dallas, adding Dallas-based drummer Dominic Weir, and started headlining shows.[1] The band put together $10,000 and self-financed their first album titled Welcoming Home the Astronauts. The album sold well in the Dallas area and at shows, and the band received local airplay. It was then that Billboard picked the band to be on a CD sampler of Best Unsigned Bands in the Country.

VH1's Bands on the Run[edit]

During this time, VH1 invited them to audition for the Bands on the Run television show, after initial interest in them for a show about bands that include relatives.[2] After auditioning among over 2,000 bands, Flickerstick was chosen to be one of the four in the series. The winner was to be the band that made the most money, with a "battle of the bands" before each elimination of the lowest-earning band, with the winner (chosen by audience vote) protected from elimination. Flickerstick won the first two "battle of the bands" to avoid elimination, and was lagging in sales by $3,000.00 in the final episode, when it was announced that Guitar Center was offering a purse of $5,000.00 for the winner of the final "battle."[2] Flickerstick won that final "battle" and the grand prize for the series.[2]

Post-show fame[edit]

After six months of shows across the country, the band was signed by Epic Records. In November 2001, Epic re-released the band's debut album which received moderate reviews in Rolling Stone (3 out of 5 stars) and Billboard, and anywhere from excellent to poor reviews in other music publications. The album was re-worked with the help of veteran producer Rick Beato and was remixed by Tom Lord-Alge. The reissued album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #150 on the Billboard Top 200.[3] Despite being released in the fourth quarter, sales were considered disappointing.

Flickerstick was in New York, for a show in Asbury Park, NJ the following night, on September 11, 2001. In an interview, with Rock Eyez, a local New Jersey music blog, Brandin Lea stated that being in New York on 9/11 was "horrific" and that would be the one thing he would change from the bands career.[4] In other interviews, members of the band have cited the change in the record industry and economy in general (resulting in Epic's lackluster promotion of the album) after the 9/11 terrorist attacks as reasons for their departure with Epic.[citation needed]

A year later, they chose to have their Epic contract bought out for an undisclosed amount rather than record their follow-up with the label. They immediately signed with What Are Records and released a live album titled Causing a Catastrophe that same year. After the album's release drummer Dominic Weir was fired from the band for personality conflicts and continual physical aggression.[citation needed] After his dismissal he continued to play with another project Mermaid Purse before eventually joining Smile Empty Soul. He was replaced in Flickerstick by ex-Doosu drummer Todd Harwell.

On October 14, 2003 Flickerstick self-released an EP/DVD combo entitled To Madagascar and Back.

Final years and breakup[edit]

Flickerstick continued to tour and perform, and had a fanbase in their home state of Texas as well as the concert location areas featured in Bands on the Run.

On October 5, 2004, Flickerstick released their second album Tarantula on the Dallas-based indie label Idol Records. The band had toured across the country in support of the record. Founding guitarist Cory Kreig left the band in April 2005 for personal reasons. Tim Locke, who also handles lead vocals and guitar for Dallas-based alternative band Coma Rally and alt-country band Calhoun filled Cory's place in the band.

On April 3, 2007, the band released Live from Atlanta: Two Nights at Sound Tree Studios which was named as a result of a two-day, fan-invite recording weekend back in September 2006 at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta. 150 fans joined the band each night in a live recording room at the studio, and celebrated being part of the band’s live, special taping sessions. Flickerstick didn’t want to rehash all of their "greatest hits”, so the album featured six new songs that had not been recorded before. The album also featured a special studio track called "Helicopter," along with three, enhanced videos from the recording shows in September. The record was engineered by industry veteran Shawn Grove.

Rumors of breakup gained momentum after the band's website was taken offline in July 2008, and then confirmed by the band several months later with the following statement: "After a decade’s worth of touring, rocking, partying, more touring, more rocking, then even more touring, the time has come for us to pack it up and say goodbye," the band wrote to its fans in a MySpace message in January. "Throughout these years, our greatest reward has been the dedication and support of our fans across the nation. We simply could not have lasted this long without you, Flickerstick fans.  . . . We’ve had some very good times together, and we will miss all of you." [5]

After a hiatus of more than a year, the band resurfaced to perform a series of farewell shows:[citation needed]

  • January 23, 2009 at Lola's in Fort Worth (secret warm up show, billed as "The Obsolete Queers")
  • January 24, 2009 at the House of Blues in Dallas
  • February 27, 2009 at The Aardvark in Fort Worth
  • February 28, 2009 at The Aardvark in Fort Worth

Discography[edit]

References[edit]