It's often been said that work and friendship simply don't mix. But for members of Texas-based rock band Grey Holiday, their long-standing friendship and tight-knit sense of community makes musical collaboration all the sweeter. After all, the guys were friends first, and band mates second, a distinction that continues to be important as they recently signed with Essential Records and will be releasing a much-anticipated debut, The Glorious Revolution.
Unlike many aspiring artists, a record deal was never the ultimate goal for Grey Holiday's Matt Minor (vocals, keys, guitar), Steven Bedingfield (guitar, electronics, programming), R.T. Bodet (bass) and Josh Fenoglio (drums). In fact, all they really wanted to do was have some fun"playing music, that is. And if really lucky? Maybe they would head to a studio and record a few songs someday.
"We have always been willing to sacrifice for our music, but our friendship has, and always will, come first," says Matt. "When Steven and I knew we wanted to play full-on rock 'n' roll music and would need a band, we didn't want to have to go through the process of weeding out musicians that we didn't have a relationship with, so we asked our friends, R.T. and Josh, if they wanted to join us."
The only trouble with this scenario, however, was that R.T. hadn't played bass before, and Josh didn't know the first thing about drumming. But eventually, the countless hours of practicing paid off for the guys, who were also roommates at the time. "We were basically forced to learn our instruments, so we had to practice," R.T. recalls. "Then all of the sudden we had a show, so we had to pick things up very quickly. It was shaky at first, but we got better as time wore on."
As the band started to gel musically, it wasn't long before playing Dave Matthews Band and Jars of Clay covers at its local coffeehouse inevitably grew tiresome. Instead, they were eager to write songs that communicated a sense of urgency about making a difference in the world. And the pop/rock soundtrack that accompanied the message shared an equally dramatic flair, reflecting a myriad of influences from British acts like Muse and Bloc Party to Indie singer/songwriters like Ed Harcourt.
"There just comes a time when you have to find your own voice, and it's a process of trial and error," Matt says. "There's so much music that's available to people, so the opportunity to have a unique voice was exciting for us."
Keeping that spirit of creativity alive, the band also had a desire to craft memorable visuals for a few key tracks on The Glorious Revolution and has accomplished that by making a few of its own
A hands-on approach to its career is important to Grey Holiday. Even when it came to choosing a name that best reflected the band, the guys were equally deliberate. "We basically found two words that we thought sounded amazing together," Steven shares. "But the name takes on a different, symbolic meaning in light of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. The 'grey' reflects the death and pain that Christ endured, while 'holiday' represents the joyous and everlasting goodness that also came because of His resurrection."
In the same way, a message of living a life centered around God and the importance of community"as a band and to the world at large"is what makes The Glorious Revolution such a buzzworthy effort.
Produced by Jason Ingram (Rush of Fools, Bebo Norman), the album includes the catchy, energetic opener "Glorious," the emotionally charged ballad "You Belong to Me," and the band's first radio single, "Let Go," a timely reminder that following Jesus is never easy, especially when it's so easy to hold onto baggage of the past.
"There is a common struggle we all seem to share," Josh says. "We often hold on so tightly to our selfish desires and worldly pursuits that we miss out on what God has to offer"a life filled with joy and freedom. We're the first to admit that we aren't perfect, but we are doing everything we can to live like Jesus wants us to. But it's a journey."
Yet despite the obvious challenges, it's a journey that Grey Holiday is excited to be on as part of a community of like-minded believers.
"We're making music that is dramatic, emotional and frantic"a space for our struggles and victories to live," Matt shares. "We do hope, and have always hoped, that our lyrics speak true to our struggles, and we would love for people to gain comfort or encouragement from what we create and share along our journey."