Before finding bassist Jay Foster, Greenville rockers Secondtonone endured an epically disastrous audition.
Things got off on the wrong foot with “Mike” when he said it would take him 30 minutes to tune his bass to Drop-D, an alternate tuning which simply requires the low E string by two notes.
It soon got worse, says Secondtonone singer Barry Lee Soltes.
“(Mike) went into the bathroom and came back out and was really messed up. His buddy who was with him was already passed out on the couch. And then he passed out. We’re with two passed out people.”
Soltes says Secondtonone, which includes drummer Jonathan Hardwick and guitarist Ryan Lara, picked Foster because he was “down to earth” and “as dedicated to music as we are.”
Material on Secondtonone’s 2010 album “Struggle,” such as the echo-guitar-powered “Release Me,” wouldn’t sound out of place on 93.3 The Planet’s playlist. “Last Breath” offers retro grunge. The vocals, fuzz-riffs and sleazy lyrics on “Dirty Girl” sound like Stone Temple Pilots covering a Buckcherry song. Soltes’ older brother Bill inspired the lyrics to the angst-y “Second Best.”
“He got into the drugs and all that stuff,” Soltes says. “With my father he was never good enough, and then he tried to be good but never straightened out. He was only going to be second best. That’s the way he felt.”
Secondtonone is playing the Halloween Bash at Gumby’s Food & Spirits. Got any costume plans?
We’re just going to dress up as zombies.
What’s the biggest crowd Secondtonone has played for and what’s the smallest?
I would say Medusa’s that was the least. It was maybe 50 people, and it was just regulars. It was out of the blue and we didn’t have much time to tell our friends, and then they didn’t even pay us or give us a bar tab. The most was probably at The Handlebar at a battle of the bands we actually won, about eight months ago.
Since you’re a frontman with the middle name Lee, I was wondering what you thought of the most famous frontman ever with the middle name Lee, David Lee Roth?
(Laughs.) In that time and that era it was “the now,” you know? Things change, but David Lee Roth did his thing and I still have his CDs. It’s a great name.
In each state I’ve lived in there are bands that are, for some reason, just a little bigger there. You grew up in Michigan. What was a band that was particularly big there?
Phish. That was really huge. People used to talk about it all the time when I was at Michigan State University. I thought they were talking about seafood. (Laughs.) “You going to see Phish?” “I guess. Are we going to the aquarium?”
Secondtonone’s Facebook page lists the band’s influences as Alice in Chains, Tool, Staind, Three Doors Down and Three Days Grace. If all five of those bands are playing in Greenville on the same night, which would you go see?
I would have to say Three Days Grace. Love the music. Love the frontman. I would love to open up for those guys one day, and that’s one of our goals.