Travis Meeks

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Travis Meeks
Born (1979-04-27) April 27, 1979 (age 34)
Origin Charlestown, Indiana, United States
Genres Rock, acoustic rock, post grunge
Occupations Lead Singer, songwriter, Guitarist
Website www.myspace.com/travismeeker

Travis Shane Meeks (born April 27, 1979 in Charlestown, Indiana), is an American musician, and is the lead singer, guitarist and song writer for acoustic rock band Days of the New.

Early life and career[edit]

Travis Meeks was born in Charlestown, Indiana into a musical family. His maternal grandfather was a conductor and composer whose sons were a leader of a church choir and a lounge singer. Meeks's father, Gary, played with Elvis Presley's brother-in-law and, at the age of 16, recorded with The Box Tops. When he relocated to Fort Worth, Texas due to alcoholism, Travis moved in with him. Regarding his son's childhood, Gary said, "Travis was a real introvert. I always knew he was... The music was kind of his saving grace. It was his therapy and his way of communicating."

As a child, Meeks worked at Mom's Music in Louisville, Kentucky. Like his father, he began his music career at a very young age, learning how to play guitar at the age of nine. He soon started playing at clubs, and before long he received a recording contract. In 1994, Meeks started a groove metal band, Dead Reckoning, with fellow Indiana teenagers Matt Taul and Jesse Vest, which played heavy, Pantera-like music. In 1995, Meeks moved to Louisville and Dead Reckoning changed its name to Days of the New as well as its genre to an acoustic rock, post-grunge style. Regarding that era, Meeks stated, "I went through paranoia and acid trips, separation from the mind and body... That’s where my spiritual journey begins." Meeks has also been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.[1]

Days of the New[edit]

At the age of 17, Travis Meeks and fellow teenage band members Matt Taul, Todd Whitener and Jesse Vest were signed to a major record label. In 1997, they released their widely successful self-titled Yellow album that included the single, "Touch, Peel and Stand." The song rose to #1 on the Billboard charts and became the group's signature piece. Opening slots on tour with Jerry Cantrell and Metallica further exposed the band to fans around the country. Days of the New then set out on a headlining tour that lasted until a stop in Dallas, Texas when Meeks' father finally drove him home and canceled the remainder of the tour's shows.[2] Shortly afterward, Matt, Todd, and Jesse parted ways with Meeks over creative differences, and the latter transformed Days of the New into a solo project with accompaniment from several backup musicians. Upon the news of their breakup, it was widely reported and believed that Meeks had in fact fired his bandmates. This account was later contested by Meeks, citing jealousy over the fact that he wrote all of the songs and received all royalty checks. However, Meeks has claimed to empathize with their actions and not hold resentment. The three former members went on to form Tantric.

In 1999, Meeks released a second self-titled Days of the New album, Green. This effort deemphasized the post-grunge feel of the previous effort and instead focused on world music. That same year, Meeks developed a kidney stone and became addicted to pain killers. During this time, Outpost was dismantled which caused unfavorable personnel changes for Days of the New. Meeks reentered the studio in 2000 to record a third self-titled release, Red, which met with less success than previous efforts. Meeks continued abusing painkillers and alcohol during the making of the third album. The original version of the album was completed in 2000. At the record label's request, the album was retooled with producer Ron Aniello enlisted to remix tracks and record several new songs. During the 2001 recording sessions, Meeks' drug use escalated to cocaine. After the album's release in September 2001, Meeks also started using methamphetamine and lost an extreme amount of weight. Meeks continued abusing alcohol and meth while touring for the album.

Meeks performed a solo tour of small venues during the later half of 2003. Still battling addiction in 2005, he appeared on A&E's Intervention, Season 1; Episode #6 entitled "Matt and Travis". He entered rehab, and eventually became sober. On this episode of Intervention, which was filmed in early 2005, Meeks revealed that he had been addicted to methamphetamine for three years. This places the beginning of his addiction around the end of 2001 or the beginning of 2002. Meeks began recording a fourth Days of the New record in October 2007 with drummer Ray Rizzo and bassist Malcolm Gold. Reportedly named Tree Colors, the new record will incorporate classical and ethnic arrangements, in addition to the band's traditional acoustic sound. Meeks is currently looking for a distributor for the new record and touring with a five piece line-up, including a cellist.

Travis Meeks has standing invitations to perform at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, as well as to front the Boston Pops.[3] Recently, he has begun referring to himself as a maestro due to his self-taught mastery of the acoustic guitar and incorporation of classical sounds into his music.[4]

Collaborations[edit]

In 2000, Travis Meeks collaborated with The Doors on the tribute album Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors, contributing vocals to "L.A. Woman" and "The End." In 2002, Meeks collaborated with Lennon Murphy on the track "My Beautiful." In 2003, Velvet Revolver was searching for a vocalist. Along with several other singers, Meeks was asked to audition. He reluctantly recorded some songs for the group, but reportedly never had any intention of joining the group if asked. Scott Weiland was chosen for the role.

In other media[edit]

Days of the New performed their hit single "Touch, Peel and Stand" live on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1998.

Meeks performed The Doors' "The End" on VH1 Storytellers: The Doors to a standing ovation.

In April 2005, Meeks was showcased in an episode of A&E's hit TV series Intervention,[5] which was filmed in February that year. Meeks' addiction to methamphetamines was one of the two subjects for this episode. He decided to go to rehab at Cirque Lodge in Provo, Utah, but the episode ends with Meeks checking out early after 73 days. After a period of relapsing, he remained sober since September 19, 2005 until a brief relapse in September 2007. According to a follow-up interview with Intervention,[5] Meeks has since remained sober.

On April 25, 2008, an interview with Meeks was featured on the podcast series, Uncensored Net Noise.[6] In it, he tells of his new project entitled Days of the New presents Tree Colors and reveals that he is autistic.

Travis also has 2 daughters from previous relationships. His first daughter was born ca.1994 from his relationship with his then girlfriend Amy.[7][8] His second daughter Emma was born ca. 2004 from his relationship with his girlfriend at the time, Karen Rambat.[9]

Personality and musical style[edit]

Aside from past problems with drug addiction, Travis Meeks is known for his past antisocial and unpredictable behavior as a young adult.[citation needed] In April 1997, after Days of the New missed a Florida show, they appeared the following day black-eyed and bruised - one of whom also had a broken jaw - after what sources claim was a band brawl. In the early years of Days of the New, fellow band members would often meet with fans post-concert while Meeks was reclusive. Unbeknownst to most, the reality was that he battled with anxiety with communicating with groups of people he is unfamiliar with. However, in later years, he has become more sociable and outwardly appreciative of fans.

Contrary stories also exist regarding the breakup of the original Days of the New. While it was widely reported and still believed that Meeks fired his fellow band members, he now claims that it was their choice due to jealousy and the fact that Meeks was the principal song writer and receiver of all royalty checks. Several months before Outpost made the official announcement, or the band even finished touring, Meeks was telling interviewers and posting on fan message boards that he was dropping the band. He described them as holding him back and that Days of the New was never actually a band project to begin with. Meeks has since said that their departure was mutual and that he understands their supposed decision.

Travis Meeks has claimed to pay very little attention to other current bands, not even knowing some of the bands he plays with on tour. He has, however, cited Dead Can Dance as a favorite group. Meeks plays Taylor guitars for their rich sound but has also used Tacomas. Much of his catalog is performed in various open tunings. He also favors acoustic guitar over electric, once citing:

"Acoustic guitars are more musical. They're not all covered up by different sounds and distortions and stuff. Of course we put distortion on our guitars, but I like to go make campfires and sit out by the water, and you can't do that with an electric guitar. Each acoustic guitar has its own soul; it seems way more natural to play than electric."[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://leoweekly.com/music/%E2%80%98you%E2%80%99re-talking-a-miracle%E2%80%99
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2] 'You're talking to a miracle - Travis Meeks heals one piece at a time'
  4. ^ Meeks has also declared himself to be a reincarnation of 18th century Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, going so far as to wear powdered wigs while performing.[3] 'Travis Meeks's Biography'
  5. ^ a b http://www.aetv.com/intervention/int_episode_guide.jsp?episode=113223
  6. ^ http://podcast.morningshowcentral.com/?p=84
  7. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/md/dotn/artfell.html
  8. ^ http://www.louisvillemusicnews.net/lmn/issues/2003/2003October/travismeeks.php
  9. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x22JNEHiWg
  10. ^ Parker, Lyndsey Exclusive LAUNCH Artist Chat - Days of the New Yahoo! Music (November 8, 2008). Retrieved on August 28, 2008.

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