Glenn "Chico" Dunning-guitar/vocals
Forging a bold path with their energetic punk-based debut album, 2002's Maybe One Day, Ajax, Ontario quartet Not By Choice has made an indelible stamp on the world of rock with the instant classics "Standing All Alone" and "Now That You Are Leaving." Honing their captivating songwriting, the band is becoming renowned as one of Canada's seminal punk rock outfits.
Welcome to Secondhand Opinions, Not By Choice's sophomore release and first with MapleMusic Recordings. Expanding on the solid foundation forged by Maybe One Day, Secondhand Opinions finds Not By Choice realizing their adoration of punk rock with deeper ties to fundamental rock 'n' roll roots.
Wait…sophomore? Isn't that the point some musicians find to be an awkward period of soul-searching vulnerability and nakedness?
In the case of Secondhand Opinions, this is nothing less than the opportunity for Not By Choice to polish their craft, to deliver confident songs that boldly explore yet are comfortably familiar.
Progressing past the standards set on their debut without alienating their core audience, Secondhand Opinions finds the music and the band revealing a truer, stronger essence. From the quiet albeit upbeat desperation of "Home" to the driven pace of "Days Go By" and mellow introspection that haunts epic track "Echoes," one instantly sees an expanded power and profundity to Not By Choice. "We're better musicians after this long," notes Chico. "We have more experiences to draw from and now we can incorporate those elements into our songs. Your style is inevitably going to change when you become better at what you love to do. You're not afraid to try new things because you know you can pull it off."
"I suppose this album is a bit darker, but it's just the space I was in," shrugs principle writer Mike Bilcox. "You can't control much…not even the music you make, so if (the lyrics) came out with a bit more mood, that's just where my mind was. I don't think I'm writing about anything out of the ordinary. I tried to stray away from songs about girls, but they're the inevitable rock 'n' roll subject," he laughs.
Producer Murray Daigle (Cauterize, Emerald Rain) - a long time friend who produced early demos for the band - brought a "no-nonsense" straightforward approach to the recording process. "The momentum really started to hit when we fully realized the breadth of Murray's ability. We stopped worrying about every detail," admits Bilcox. "He really brought out what we were looking for."
"This record isn't about how we look or what bridge we're jumping on," shrugs Chico. "It's about our love to play music, so if nothing else, we'll be proud about the work we put into this album. But now that we're moving beyond an image, hopefully our fans have grown with us to care more about what these songs mean than what clothes we're wearing."
Maybe One Day certainly earned Not By Choice their early share of prestigious acclaim with a Much Music Video Award for Best Independent Video ("Now That You Are Leaving"), a CASBY award for Best Independent Album, and inclusion on two Big Shiny Tunes compilations ("Now That You Are Leaving and "Standing All Alone"). Maybe One Day's release in Japan in September 2003 has had amazing success, selling over 25,000 records.
Not By Choice blasts out of the confines of punk rock by incorporating their sundry catalogue of inspirations to enhance their own high-octane style, leaving them poised to dispel hoary old notions of the sophomore jinx with the release of Secondhand Opinions.