Travis Meeks

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Travis Meeks
Birth nameTravis Shane Meeks
Born (1979-04-27) April 27, 1979 (age 41)
Charlestown, Indiana, United States
GenresAlternative rock, acoustic rock, grunge, post-grunge, Heavy metal, World
Associated acts
Websitewww.travismeeks.com

Travis Shane Meeks (born April 27, 1979) is an American musician and the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for acoustic rock band Days of the New. Travis Meeks is widely considered in the Grunge subculture to be one of the greatest albeit most underrated acoustic guitarists and performers of all-time. Much of Meeks' work has been acclaimed for its unique quality, and he is considered an inspiration for his artistic, spiritual and creative take on songwriting. Despite his musical accomplishments, throughout his life as well as in recent years, he has been battling drug addiction - causing the break up of his 2014 reunion with the original line-up of Days of the New shortly after it began for the second time. Since then, he has been arrested several times for possession of narcotics and paraphernalia, serving jail time. As of 2020, it has been reported that Meeks is temporarily retired and focusing on his recovery.

Early life and career[edit]

Meeks was born on April 27, 1979 in Charlestown, Indiana. His parents divorced when he was 2, and he lived with his grandmother and father. His father was a musician. At a young age, he began playing guitar and wrote songs and performed covers by age 8. Between ages 11 to 15, he went to various rehabilitation centers and a year in special schooling. During that time, he formed an experimental rock band called Bad Dreemz which included Jesse Vest and Matt Taul. They then formed Dead Reckoning, which was a heavy metal band that sounded similar to Pantera. 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."

Days of the New[edit]

At the age of 17, 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 Mainstream Rock Tracks chart 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.[1]

Much misinformation has spread about Travis Meeks over the years regarding the matter of the debut incarnation of Days of the New. Meeks in fact did not fire his former bandmates. Boiling physical and verbal tension surrounding the stress of their current circumstances with opening for Metallica as teenagers as well as creative differences in their music resulted in a mutual parting of ways. As the hired hands of Meeks' first release (Jesse Vest, Todd Whitener and Matt Taul) later went on to form Tantric with vocalist Hugo Ferreira, misunderstandings as well as inaccuracies led into a general consensus being him firing his former friends. While Meeks was not a fan of their music nor appeal, he was proud of his former bandmates for achieving their success through Tantric. The incident had no influence on Meeks' drug use.

Since the Release of Days of the New (2001 album) Meeks has continued writing music and uploading it on websites such as MySpace with continued usage of the Days Of The New name. Notable fan favourite demos are to name a few; Story of a Friend, Where It Ends and Superhero (Latter two from the delayed Purple Album) Among many more.

Meeks has standing invitations to perform at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, as well as to front the Boston Pops.[2] He has referred to himself as a "maestro" due to his "self-taught mastery" of the acoustic guitar and incorporation of classical sounds into his music.[3]

Fan leaks of unreleased material took place from 2006 to 2020. Travis suffered a brief mental breakdown whilst discovering the demos for the Purple album were being downloaded and shared by fans, which likely lead into his short 2007 relapse, but exact reason for why is unknown. During these years however, the individuals responsible behind the maintaining of Days of the New's business practices were notably disrespectful towards anticipated fans, usually out of blind loyalty to Travis and his recovery - and deliberately outright hid material from wanting fans for decades. In 2020, dramatic antics on social media within the fanbase as well as rising fan anticipation resulted in a large leak of unreleased Days of the New material under a YouTube channel anonymously donning the pseudonym "Maestro Music". Leaks include a majority of the Days of the New Presents Tree Colors album under the color Rainbow, demo material from studio sessions in 2002 and 2003 (during Travis' initial methamphetamine addiction) making up the unreleased fourth 'Purple' album, all of the material from Travis' early metal band Dead Reckoning, an unreleased metal split from 2002 'Not Of This World' under the color Chrome which consisted of the Red lineup and local collaborating musician David "Sailor" Bryant of 16 Bones, and an EP from 2014 entitled "Aqua Marine Shuttle" under the color Blue. Critical reception was overwhelmingly positive, despite a violent vocal minority. Travis Meeks himself has went on record saying that he is abysmal to such leaks, yet hopes to hold onto his material and continue perfecting his craft. However, it is widely considered the closest instance to a Tree Colors release that will likely take place in current inception.

Personal life[edit]

Travis has Asperger syndrome, and considers this to be the ulterior reason behind most of his faults and shortcomings, while still being personally content.

Meeks has two daughters from previous relationships. His first daughter, Suvanna Dawn Meeks, (who was later put up for adoption) was born in 1994 from his relationship with his then girlfriend Amy. His second daughter, Emma Rambat, was born November 11, 2004 with his then girlfriend Karen.[4][5]

In 2008, Meeks was maintaining sobriety and promoting his upcoming comeback album titled "Days of the New Presents Tree Colors" produced under his independent label, Days of the New Productions. However, lack of distribution and finances as a result of the IRS seizing his royalties continually delayed the albums' official release. After finding the body of his friend Mike Starr - the former bassist of Alice In Chains - in 2011, later resulting in a divorce in 2012 prompting a one-year hiatus, followed by the passing of Meeks' father, Gary Lee Meeks, on November 15, 2013 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Indianapolis, IN at the age of 57; and the incidents surrounding the Full Circle reunion tour in 2014 including the original band breaking up for a second time and being arrested in Portland, Maine for failing to appear in court after being charged with possession of a hypodermic needle.[6] - prompted him to relapse on methamphetamine in 2015 and spend a year in prison during 2016. After being released, Meeks made appearances on social media voicing his philosophy, only to later then be arrested in 2017 for charges of burglary, fleeing or evading police on foot, public intoxication charges, and possession of a controlled substance.[7][8][9] In 2020 he was arrested for disorderly conduct, failure to obey a police officer, and resisting arrest.[10][11] However, it has been reported that Meeks is currently as of 2020 focusing on self improvement outside of the spotlight, and aims to reach sobriety and recovery.

In other media[edit]

In September 2000, Meeks performed with The Doors on VH1 Storytellers - The Doors: A Celebration, and covered their magnum opus - The End. His cover was considered by many to be exceptionally amazing, as The Doors would not allow anyone else to cover the song. Travis also was enthusiastically offered an audition by then ex-members of Guns N' Roses to be the vocalist and frontman of Velvet Revolver in 2001, however his creative differences as well as his predicament with addiction resulted in them declining Travis - only for the late Scott Weiland to then be given the frontman role.

In April 2005, Meeks was showcased in an episode of A&E's hit TV series Intervention,[12] which was filmed in February that year. Meeks' addiction to methamphetamine 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, Meeks has since remained sober.[12]

In an online interview with Meeks, licensed clinical counselor and blogger Stephen Borgman described Meeks' Asperger syndrome and included many descriptions by Meeks himself. In this way, Meeks stated that he had "lived with intense shame and the feeling of extreme inadequacy. Everything I felt I did was wrong and that I could do nothing right. I wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome until 2005. […] Thanks to my father Gary Meeks, he knew I was different and tried to protect me from the vultures of punishment. I felt severely punished anyway by the way I felt when I was removed from my comfort zones such as putting me in school."[13]

On April 25, 2008, an interview with Meeks was featured on the podcast series, Uncensored Net Noise.[14]

Musical style & influences[edit]

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."[15]

Travis Meeks considers Dead Can Dance - more specifically their 1996 album Spiritchaser which he discovered whilst recording his debut, The Doors - more specifically their epic hit "The End", Pantera, Tool, Guns 'N Roses - more specifically their debut album Appetite for Destruction, early Metallica - more specifically their album ...And Justice for All which he considers to be one of the greatest albums in heavy metal music, Aerosmith - more specifically their 1987 album Permanent Vacation, Alice In Chains - more specifically their widely acclaimed 1994 acoustic EP Jar of Flies, Soundgarden, Pink Floyd - more specifically their famous 1973 magnum opus The Dark Side of the Moon which he considered comparable to his concept album Days Of The New Presents Tree Colors, Iron Maiden and lastly Slayer - more specifically their 2006 album Christ Illusion which he considers to be an exceptionally true and angry record. He also has went on record considering Peter Gabriel - whom he professed interests collaborating with - as well as Basil Poledouris, Philip Glass, The Crystal Method, and The Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman key favorites of his. He also looked up to Kurt Cobain and Trent Reznor as cautionary tales to his own career.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Days of the New Cancel Tour".
  2. ^ [1] 'You're talking to a miracle - Travis Meeks heals one piece at a time'
  3. ^ 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."Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 29, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 'Travis Meeks's Biography'
  4. ^ "Fell on Black Days".
  5. ^ http://www.louisvillemusicnews.net/lmn/issues/2003/2003October/travismeeks.php
  6. ^ "You are being redirected".
  7. ^ http://subscriber.thenewsenterprise.com/content/hardin-county-jail-log-june-18-2017
  8. ^ "Mugshot of TRAVIS MEEKS arrested on 06/16/2017 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky".
  9. ^ "Travis Meeks Mugshot | 06/16/17 Kentucky Arrest".
  10. ^ https://www.maricopapublicrecords.com/full-record-display.php?id=203188
  11. ^ http://jailed.info/travis-shane-meeks/maricopa-county-az/369010/
  12. ^ a b "A+E Networks UK". Archived from the original on May 23, 2006. Retrieved June 4, 2006.
  13. ^ Borgman, Stephen. "Famous People With Aspergers: Travis Meeks". Thrive With Aspergers. Stephen Borgman. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  14. ^ http://podcast.morningshowcentral.com/?p=84[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Parker, Lyndsey Exclusive LAUNCH Artist Chat - Days of the New Yahoo! Music (November 8, 2008). Retrieved on August 28, 2008.

External links[edit]