One often hears the story of how a band forms; yet most often, it is a story of members who have known each other since they were teenagers, or musicians who knew each other from playing in bands within their local music scene. You don’t often hear of a band that started writing songs together via email, in two different states, and met in person for only three days before one member decided to relocate miles away for the sake of the band. This is the story of New Hampshire-based band Gone For Days.
Guitarist Jesse Hatch moved from the frozen tundra of Minnesota to the sunny beaches of Florida in 2000, in search of a thriving music scene. Ironically, he ended up playing in a band that was signed by the same man who had signed the band Semisonic; natives of his hometown in Minnesota. By 2008, Hatch had moved to Nashville. Having parted ways with a singer he had worked with for a good length of time, he was left with a handful of tracks he had written but no vocalist.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Chris Taylor was playing in a band called Vegas Temper. Erik Baker, current manager of Gone For Days and manager of Hatch’s band at the time, was also speaking with Vegas Temper. Hatch says, “This led to a phone call to Baker to ask if Taylor was up for singing on some tracks I had for the project. Taylor was impressed by the tracks and sat with them for a couple of weeks. What he sent back was stellar. So I sent more, and they were stellar.” Taylor and Hatch met up in Springfield, MO to do some recordings at the studio of Tom Whitlock, Oscar-winning songwriter of 1980s mega-hits Take My Breath Away and Danger Zone. It was during this meeting that the band happened upon their name, says Hatch, “While there, we threw some ideas around for a band name and Chris said ‘ I told my wife I’ll be gone 4 days!’ Gone 4 Days! I loved the named right away but insisted there not be a number in the band name as that has been WELL over done. I wanted a name that wasn’t cliche, and there are a hundred bands out there with a number in the name. No offense of course as many of my favorite bands are these bands with numbers! So I proposed Gone FOR days, and we had our name.”
Soon thereafter, Hatch relocated himself to Manchester, New Hampshire so the band could begin to record and tour. Now to find a bass player. The somewhat unlikely candidate was actually vocalist Chris Dickman who Hatch had worked with on a project while in Nashville. “ But before we could get in the studio,” states Hatch, “ I made the decision to move to Manchester. Six months later I needed a bass player and I knew two things: Chris had played bass on his record he did before I met him, and if he put his mind to it, could be the bass player Gone For Days was looking for. He flew up and nailed it! And here we are. Long story short, of course.”
Add original drummer Justin Pacy, and soon the guys were heading to Portland, ME to work with Jonathan Wyman on their debut EP. For Hatch, it was an amazing, yet intense time: “For me the recording process for our EP was a little more emotional as I had lost a former drummer friend and roommate as well as my godfather in the two weeks we were recording so, to put a positive spin on the bad parts of life that we cannot control, I at least got to light a candle, and think of them while I was cutting my guitars. The song Falling Awake is dedicated to Josh Gibes.”
Taylor and Hatch have been the songwriting team thus far. Hatch discussed the band’s songwriting process. “ I write the music and he sings on it. It seems to work the best this way. It’s how you get the GFD sound. Taylor and I come from different musical influences all together. GFD is probably the heaviest brand of music Taylor has been a part of. Its been fun watching him break into new territory with his writing. Chris’ lyrics always reflect what the world is from his perspective. I’ve always been a fan of his lyrics.”
Guilty Pleasure, the first single, was quickly picked up by Sirius XM Octane radio, which helped launch the band and the song to national status. Soon after the song was added to the rotation in April of 2012, it was getting upwards of 8 spins a day. The song was number one at Octane for 16 weeks and was voted into the stations list of the 50 biggest songs of the year. Hatch says this the song that he is personally most proud of. “Every musician dreams of writing that one song that changes your life, no matter the size of the impact. Guilty Pleasure far exceeded our expectations.”
Gone For Days spent 2012 playing with many national bands including Stone Temple Pilots, Fuel, Filter, Soil, Godsmack and many more. The band ended their year as part of the Winter Riot Tour with Taproot, 12 Stones, Digital Summer, Dorydrive, 3 Pill Morning and Prospect Hill. According to Hatch, “If you ask any band on that tour, they will tell you that out of practically any tour the bands had done, the sense of family and brotherhood on that tour was second to none. Never had anyone seen seven bands, members and crew, getting along so well on a tour that stretched from Louisiana to the Midwest over nineteen cities.”
Hatch has also had the unique experience of working on the other side of the music business, which has influenced his life as a performing musician as well. “ I did radio promotion for some really big artists for Universal Records in Nashville, Tennessee,” he says, “ as well as songwriting and artist development. Being on the other side of the spectrum is crucial to knowing how labels, management companies, booking agents and all the other ins and outs work.This can save your life out in the industry. What not to do is just as important than what to do. So working and writing with artists and bands on a major label status has really been key to my personal career decisions. And of course the industry is all about relationships.”
Gone For Days is currently in the process of trying out new drummers, but Hatch has nothing but glowing words when asked about his other band mates. Speaking of Chris Dickman, Hatch says, “Dickman has a vocal performance Degree from the Chicago School Of Arts. Thus the awesome back up vocals you hear live. He was new in the industry and asked me to listen to his material. I knew he had talent and I wanted to make some things happen for him.” And that he did when he asked Dickman to join the band in New Hampshire as their bass player. According to Hatch, a band’s songs revolve around the singer. With a laugh, he says “That’s right, millions of singers heads just inflated a bit bigger, but its true. I think it’s where we have our originality. Chris has a very distinctive voice and has very different musical influences than I do. The thing I value most, to be honest, is who they are as people. I surround myself with honest, moral standing people. They are dedicated, loyal, and good friends. That’s more important than how talented they are.”
Obviously, the band is extremely talents as well, and they have recently been honored with a nomination for Best Rock Act of the Year in the New England Music Awards, and Hatch is thankful to be included in the list: “That’s always a cool thing to be nominated for something like that.We have worked the area for a couple of years now and are just happy to be apart of the New England scene. Lots of great talent from here to Boston for sure.”
The band will be releasing another single soon, as they are also working on new material to add to their EP, making it a full length album. Though they are still on the hunt for a drummer, the band is not letting that slow them down. According to Hatch, “I will be cutting some drums for new pre-production demos. Other than that we are trying to line up the next tour for spring and summer as well as trying to branch out into areas we have not hit yet.”
The band that started out as a long distance writing partnership is here to stay and ready to rock the crowds nationwide . Says Hatch, “It’s a long road, sometimes to nowhere, so all we can do is stick around as long as we can and press on as far as our will takes us.”
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