Saosin: ‘No silent moments’

Saosin guitarist Beau Burchell rocking the HOB, Nov. 18, 2008

It’s 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and two dozen kids are at the House of Blues Las Vegas inside the Mandalay Bay resort and casino waiting for the doors to open. Small groups of young music fans continue to arrive, turning the floor into a sea of black T-shirts with random smatterings of Fruit Loops colors – pinks, blues, yellows and purples flash when someone turns around or lifts an arm to wave to a friend.

In two hours, these kids will fill the House of Blues, but for now, the venue is almost empty as I walk to the backstage area to meet Saosin, the California-based band second-billed on a tour with headliner Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada and The Famine.

Saosin guitarist Beau Burchell relaxes in the band’s RV as bassist Chris Sorenson chops onions and peppers for pre-show guacamole. A fan gave Sorenson a cookbook a few days before but this recipe is one of his own creations.

“Some bands are scared to meet their fans. They’re kind of creepy sometimes,” Burchell said. “But ours aren’t that way.”

Before this tour, Saosin brought the fans into their work. In a deal with clothing brand Hurley, Saosin agreed to stream video of the recording process on the web.

“We’re kind of breaking the taboo about how a record gets made,” Burchell said.

Sorenson agreed, while still keeping his eyes on the project at hand.

“No one knows how much nothing goes on,” he said. “It is a process, but it isn’t always ‘finish one thing then on to the next thing.’ The cool thing is that we did everything ourselves. Fans got to see us move the mikes and get into a giant drum circle.”

Burchell smiles like he just found the best way to explain the situation.

“It’s like my own brother,” he continues, “Just because his brother is in a band, you’d think he might know more about what goes on. Unless you are in the band, you really don’t know.”

Letting fans into the studio was something designed for the few who are truly interested in the process and not much else.

“We’re making a record, not reality TV,” Sorenson said. “It’s not something we advertised a lot, but was mostly for the core fan base.”

“It’s not for every band,” Burchell said. “It can be easy to get caught up in things when you are in the creative state. You just need to stay focused.”

Most bands wouldn’t want their rock star lifestyles broadcast and viewed 100,000 times a week, but this was never a concern for Saosin.

“We can’t be the band that is getting drunk and being self-destructive,” Sorenson said. “It’s not really a problem for us. We’re not shitty people.”

For all the lack of pretension, the fans that have filled the House of Blues on this autumn evening accept Saosin as bona fide rock stars. They get applause almost equal to top-billed Underoath, and finding someone not singing along during Saosin’s set is difficult. Vocalist Cove Reber works the crowd as though he’s been doing this for two decades and not just five years. Burchell and Sorenson have the rock god posing down, but there is a humor in their eyes that lets fans in on the joke. Guitarist Justin Shekoski performs with an air of mystery around him, rarely looking up and seemingly engrossed in the music. Drummer Alex Rodriguez keeps everyone in time and up to speed.

And it could all be different.

“There’s an urge to go out and be the heaviest band we can be,” Sorenson said. “But that’d be too easy. Besides, we’d never be heavier than The Famine.”

Even without being as heavy as they can be, Saosin manages to keep up the energy level deep into the tour.

“It’s just the kids,” Burchell said. “If I know there are kids out there that waited to see us and are giving 110 percent to us, I feel bad if I can’t give 110 percent to them.”

The kids even get loud for two new songs: “Secrets” and “Lovemaker” are currently only available on Saosin’s tour exclusive EP The Grey.

“Whatever song gets the most from the crowd each night is our favorite song to play,” Burchell said.

Often, that song is “You’re Not Alone,” a ballad that could easily be the anthem for a new youth movement. Anything that can bring this many kids—and a few of their parents, thanks to the House of Blues’ rules stating that anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian—together can’t be a bad thing.

“It’s worth playing when you see the same guys who were just in the mosh pit beating each other up now arm in arm,” Sorenson said.

And that is exactly what happens. Pierced and tattooed tough guys calm down, start singing and get into the moment. A father and daughter wearing matching As I Lay Dying T-shirts hug each other.

Maybe this will become a prom night song and maybe Saosin will be the band with which these kids grow old. Right now, only one thing is for sure:

“There are no silent moments,” Sorenson said.


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