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Days of the New

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Biography

By the late '90s, a whole new generation had missed out on experiencing the likes of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana first-hand (with some perhaps not even knowing of their existence at all), so a new crop of similarly styled bands picked up the slack, including Days of the New. Originally hailing from Charlestown, IN, before relocating to Louisville, KY, the group's leader from the get-go was singer/guitarist/songwriter Travis Meeks, who recruited friends Jesse Vest (bass), Matt Taul (drums), and Todd Whitener (guitar), who along with Meeks, were still teenagers at the time. The group's largely acoustic-based sound instantly brought to mind Alice in Chains' more tranquil releases (Sap, Jar of Flies, Unplugged), as Meeks' vocal delivery and lyrics were quite comparable to both Layne Staley and Jim Morrison. The quartet caught the ear of former R.E.M. producer Scott Litt, who signed the group to his newly formed label, Outpost, and oversaw the group's self-titled 1997 release. The album was an immediate hit with the MTV crowd on the strength of such singles as "Touch, Peel and Stand" and "The Down Town," and the group spent the summer of 1998 opening up for another one of their musical heroes, Metallica. But during the tour, tempers between the bandmembers began to flair and rumors of an impending breakup circulated. The rumors proved to be true shortly after the tour's completion, as Meeks fired everyone in the band (save for Taul). 1999 saw the release of Days of the New's sophomore release, again self-titled, which despite Meeks' attempts at creating a sprawling masterpiece (complete with choir, orchestra, and bombastic arrangements), failed to sell as well as its predecessor. 2000 saw Meeks cover the Doors classic "The End" with the surviving Doors members for a taping of VH1's Storytellers series (as well as recording a studio version that appeared on the Doors tribute disc Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors), as he continued writing for the third Days of the New album. The band's third album, again self-titled, saw the light of day in 2001, with their leader now letting elements of prog rock seep into the music. With Meeks the only original bandmember still in attendance by that point, it confirmed what many knew all along, that Days of the New is basically a Meeks solo project. ~ Greg Prato
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