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Origin Burlington, Vermont
Genres Metalcore, post-hardcore, mathcore, hardcore punk
Years active 1995–2002
Labels Hydra Head Records
Revelation Records
Equal Vision Records
ReIgnition Recordings
Thorp Records
Past members Simon Brody
Denny Donovan
Javin Leonard
Dave Barnett
Todd Tomlinson
Matt Roy
Joe Villemaire
Zach Martin
Josh Parent
Frank Smecker
Andrew Abromowitz
Dave Joyal
Brian Curry
Hans Olson
Jamie Durivage
Dan Bushey
Mikey Lemieux
Daryl Rabidoux
Eric Burdo

Drowningman was a hardcore punk band from Burlington, Vermont, which was active from 1995 to 2005. Formed in the fall of 1995 by Simon Brody, Denny Donovan, Javin Leonard, Dave Barnett and Todd Tomlinson, the band was heavily influenced by a variety of bands including Deadguy, Unbroken, Shotmaker, Unwound, Sunny Day Real Estate and Promise Ring. This musical amalgamation helped to pioneer the modern metalcore and mathcore musical subgenres. The band was known for revolving membership and frequent record label changes.


Drowingman was formed in Burlington, Vermont[1] and played its first show in a basement at Hungerford Terrace on New Year's Eve of 1996. A first demo recording from early 1996 is included on the Learn to Let It Go retrospective released by ReIgnition Recordings in 2004. Hungerford Terrace is famous for its involvement in the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tumbman in the slavery days.[2]

Hydra Head Records era[edit]

By 1997 the band had begun playing throughout the Northeast. Frequently sharing bills with bands on the Boston-based Hydra Head Records (Converge, Cave In, Cable and Piebald), Drowningman soon joined the roster and their debut 7" EP Weighted and Weighed Down was released in 1997,[1] and was followed by the LP Busy Signal at the Suicide Hotline in 1998 and a split EP with frequent tour-mates The Dillinger Escape Plan on the same label.[1]

How They Light Cigarettes In Prison (2000)[edit]

By early 1999 the band was being courted by Revelation Records and was also talking to friends at Equal Vision Records. The band returned to the studio soon after the addition of Joe Villemaire, Matt Roy and Zach Martin.[3] Hydra Head had become concerned with the revolving door policy and when the EP How They Light Cigarettes In Prison was presented to them, the reaction was underwhelming. Revelation Records expressed enthusiasm for the record and went on to release it in early 2000,[4] initially shipping more copies than any previous Revelation EP.

Simon Brody described the emerging band on the Revelation Records website in the following fashion:

Rock And Roll Killing Machine (2000)[edit]

A first full US tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan was embarked on to support the release.[6] Soon after returning, production of the Rock And Roll Killing Machine record began in Washington, D.C. at the Salad Days Studio. A great deal of technical difficulty was encountered; Simon Brody had claimed in interviews the stressed work environment caused the tempo of many of the songs to rush and that record lost some of the previous efforts melodic counterpoint. Still, it was well received, earning a 10/10 in respected extreme music magazine Terrorizer and finding its way into many publications' top ten lists for 2001.[6]

Aside from making regular appearances at Hellfest, Krazy Fest, Monster Fest and The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, Drowningman began touring extensively in support of this latest record. They toured with hardcore and metal bands as varied as Earth Crisis, Glassjaw, Shadows Fall, Darkest Hour and Twelve Tribes. However, projected gigs for early 2001 were curtailed when the group lost its drummer. By May 2001 road action was resumed with regular partners Darkest Hour on the "Bro-Down 2001" tour.

Drowningman Still Loves You (2002)[edit]

The band then recorded an EP for Equal Vision Records which was released in 2002 entitled Drowningman Still Loves You. To be sure the band had not gone soft the spine of the CD release read "even if no one else ever will."[1]

Several tours followed, first with Thursday and Waterdown, later with Atreyu and Vaux. By September the group announced they were to hook up with Converge and Playing Enemy for East Coast and Midwest gigs, but backed out to prioritise songwriting.

Embroiled in contract disputes with Revelation Records the band went into God City Studios in early 2002 and recorded a series of improvised tracks for a final Revelation release tentatively and sarcastically entitled Best Record Ever. The instrumental tracks briefly circulated minus a 20-minute "meditation on a single riff" (a homage to the emerging and burgeoning stoner rock trend) and according to band members was never actually intended to be released.

Break up[edit]

Shortly after a particularly rowdy final performance at Krazy Fest in Louisville, the members of Drowningman parted ways.

Brief revival[edit]

Denny Donovan and Simon Brody revived Drowningman briefly, beginning with a 2005 trek with The Dillinger Escape Plan, Misery Signals, Every Time I Die and Zao.[6]

Don't Push Us When We're Hot (2005)[edit]

Drowningman announced a Summer 2005 nationwide US trek partnered with The Number Twelve Looks Like You and The Minor Times to promote the album Don't Push Us When We're Hot released on Thorp Records.[7] A promotional video for the track White People Are Stupid was directed by Joseph Patisall. Simon Brody had lost all interest in the band and MTV airing the video with the abbreviated title WPAS was the beginning of the actual end.

In early October 2005 Drowningman re-inducted former members guitarist Frank Smecker and drummer Dave Joyal, the later having prior involvement during the Still Loves You EP. The band broke up permanently after recording a version of Black Flag's Loose Nut for the Reignition Records re-issue of the tribute album Black On Black.


  • 1997: Weighted and Weighed Down (7" single)
  • 1998: Busy Signal at the Suicide Hotline
  • 2000: How They Light Cigarettes In Prison (EP)
  • 2000: Rock and Roll Killing Machine
  • 2002: Drowningman Still Loves You (EP)
  • 2004: Learn to Let It Go: The Demos
  • 2005: Don't Push Us When We're Hot


External links[edit]