Don't expect the Tails to follow the leader. The Buffalo-based rock quintet has a keen ear for intelligent, well-written progressive pop-rock music that won't conform to the record industry's "flavor of the month" philosophy.
'We're determined to do our music and not to change to fit the format," says guitarist Jeffrey Miers -- even if that means standing firm in the face of tempting record deals that would reshape the Tails' music to fit popular industry standards.
"In 1993, everyone wanted you to sound like Pearl Jam, then it was techno and Green Day. Those fads come and go," Miers says. "Bands that influenced us did what they did over long periods of time. They didn't fit into the fad of the moment."
Keeping within that philosophy results in ambitious endeavors like the band's full-length debut "Spiral World," a CD burgeoning with heavy, complex arrangements Miers understands aren't to everyone's taste. "We've come to terms with the fact that not everyone will love what we do," he says. "The up side is that when people like us, they really like us and stick with us. We do what we believe in and know our sincerity will come through."
The Tails began as a summer project in 1987 by vocalist-guitarist Nelson Starr, his brother Eric on drums, Kevin Boyle on guitar and bassist David Hill. In the fall, Nelson Starr would return to Fredonia State College and perform in the band Random Abstract with Miers. A Massachusetts native, Miers moved to Buffalo to formally join the Tails in 1990. Since then, the band has been highly lauded for songwriting that's inventive and forward-thinking. Proof is in the fact that tracks from "Spiral World" and the EP "Extended Play" have received airplay on more than 20 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada.
Miers is genuinely excited about the Tails' new music, recorded on the band's own studio equipment. "In a way, this feels like our first record. We are comfortable with it, we are comfortable with each other and so the music sounds comfortable."
Credit some of that comfort to the quintet's close friendship that Miers likens to a marriage dedicated to the music. "It's never been questioned. We find the music fulfilling. We've continued to grow and that's kept it interesting."
Performing is also its own reward for Miers. "I'm somewhere else when we're playing, and that's what it's all about," he says. "I'm honored to be making our music. It is its own success. It fulfills you."
LOCAL RECORD PICK
"On the Way," by Lyn Cala. The prolific songwriter has gathered 14 of her lovely, poetic pieces for her second CD. The music is presented in its purest form, using only a piano and Cala's voice. Captured naked, her music stands strong with the quiet beauty of "Dance Again," "Paris Beyond Beauty," "So Amazed" and"Braveheart." Even her "Rock 'n' Roll Sonata" carries a soft passion about the joy she finds in her own brand of rock 'n' roll created with a concert piano and classical stylings. The economic arrangements, however, don't hide the grand nature of her music. Add some strings to "Carnival of Faith," "Standing Face" and "Another Rhyme" and you've got songs ripe for a stage musical.
-- Toni Ruberto