The Premiums

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The Premiums BIOGRAPHY

From the blistering opening salvo of "White Lightning" on their debut disc "Recognizer!" The Premiums make it clear that they're here to save Rock n' Roll. The album, states the group intentions to free rock radio from angst-ridden post-grunge doldrums.

"The two things that really bother me are that Rock is no longer fun, and Pop is no longer cool," states Chris Public, the lead singer. "I could draw a list a mile long of music that's both radio-friendly AND innovative," he says, clearly irked by this. Guitarist Stevie Vibrolux agrees. "You look at the greatest bands of music history, from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, from The Ramones and Phil Spector, from Dylan to Motown; they were creating music that was both accesible and challenging."

To their credit, the album lives up to their intention to merge cool garage-friendly noise with traditonal pop songcraft. All over the album you can hear echoes of great artists like Elvis Costello, The Cars, rubbing elbows with Lou Reed and Tommy James. "We set out to make a classic, trashy rock album, but all this new wave kept popping up" laughs Stevie. "At certain point the music starts telling you where it's going."

The two met a year ago when a friend brought Chris over to Stevie's jam space. "There was an instant connection. All I need is good riff to set me off, and Stevie is the Riffmaster General." They both crack up laughing at this point, and the interview is put on hold. It's hard to keep a straight face when these two get going, so I decide to ask a serious question. Aren't they worried about being lumped in all the other "The" Bands? Chris Public jumps at this one. "First of all, I love most of those bands. They totally inspire me, and give me hope. But what sets us apart from other 'definite article' bands is our commitment to songwriting. Every song on this album is a single," he says, banging his palm against the table to accentuate his point. "We don't have a uniform sound. There's range here. Our dream is to have songs playing on different radio stsations in the same market simultaneously."

And he's right about this. Although the album has a sonic consistency, there is a breadth of material. From trashy garage rock, to dreamy new-wave soundscapes, to whiskey-soaked ballads, they cover a lot of ground in 12 songs. and quickly too. Clocking in at 38 minutes, each song is a marvel of economy. "I looked at all the classic songs I loved, and rarely did they last longer than two-and-a-half minutes! If you can't make your point by then, go home," asserts Stevie Vibrolux. Chris nods his head in agreement. "We have one or two songs that make it over three minutes. Those are our epics."