Lose Control in the South Bay
In a twist of fate and a turn of luck I once found myself gazing out from the northernmost point of New Zealand’s North Island, at the awe-inspiring sight of the convergence of the mighty Pacific Ocean and the majestic Tasman Sea. The two bodies were locked in such fierce courtship that it looked as though an aircraft carrier would sink for just dipping in a toe. It looked as though the forces of nature had lost control.
Here in the South Bay music scene there’s a similar convergence which might not sink any ships but its power is undeniable and perhaps strong enough to at least snap a few bra straps. They’re a collaborative side-project comprised of musicians from local groups Sand Section, AllurA and Fallen Riviera; out of this swirling pool of talent comes a new band called Lose Control.
They are Jeff Nisen (guitar, lead vocal), A.J. Bartholomew (guitar, backup vocal), Mike Sutherland (drums), and Mitch Davis (bass, backup vocal). Concurrently Nisen belongs to Sand Section and Bartholomew to AllurA. Sutherland’s formerly of Fallen Riviera but also drummed as a formal member of Sand Section for their last EP “The Gun,” and recently played on and performed with Kevin Sousa’s “Soul Seeking: A Crossing” project and album, which incidentally also included Tony Gonella of Sand Section. Davis did a good five years in a band with Bartholomew called SBNC. I told you, it’s definitely a whirlpool in here (maybe strong enough to sink ships after all), and if your head isn’t spinning too rapidly, let’s move on to the outcome.
“It’s hard rock, is what we’ve been calling it,” says Nisen. “A blend of Black Sabbath and Guns N’ Roses. It’s just fun, hard-rockin’ music…”
Honestly, I was expecting something along the lines of deep and fat guitar chops overlaid by screaming. Instead I was jolted back to the early-90s of my MTV-heyday childhood, an era when a grade schooler’s wristwatch revolved around timing out blocks of music videos to seize that one opportunity of the day to catch G N’ R’s “Paradise City.”
“To me, I get a kinda Ozzy [Osbourne] feel sort of thing,” says Bartholomew, “dual lead solos and such… very guitar-based rock n’ roll, ‘80s style… Every song me and Jeff [Nisen] are going back and forth on leads and solos.”
Nisen continues, “It’s kinda both our ways to let loose; there’s a ridiculous amount of shredding guitar on the EP, there’s no shortage of it.”
Yep, this new band comes equipped with a 4-track EP, which drops June 22 in conjunction with an album release party at Saint Rocke. Sutherland recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered the whole shebang at his rehearsal/studio space in Redondo Beach. Before Davis joined the lineup, most of the bass guitar duties for the EP were covered by Andre Davis of Tomorrows Bad Seeds and Bret Bollinger of Pepper; the latter plays bass on Lose Control’s single “Cheap Thrills,” for which there is a professional music video on Youtube starring local resident Alex Curry (who recently became the host of Angels Weekly on Fox Sports West).
As for how the whole thing came together, how a brand new band just pops up on the scene with a solid lineup and professionally done EP and music video, Nisen says, “We started what would eventually become Lose Control about two and a half years ago with A.J. [Bartholomew] and I jamming and writing a few songs.” But it goes back much further than that for these two childhood friends who attended K-8 grade school together at American Martyrs. Nisen continues, “I got busy with Sand Section and him with AllurA, we had trouble getting a steady practice schedule, just because our schedules were so crazy.”
“We were so busy with our other bands… that we didn’t really have time to do anything about it,” Bartholomew agrees. “To be honest, I’m probably even busier with AllurA now than before, but we’re just trying to make more of an effort to get things going.”
Nisen continues. “It was in the fall of last year that Sand Section took a bit of a breather, so I got into the studio with Mike Sutherland and started recording the songs… with A.J.’s involvement too… I had some songs saved up that were much too heavy and totally different from Sand Section, so this was like my opportunity to just let those loose. I mean, I’ve always been a metalhead at heart.”
While regarding the band as a side project, Nisen clarifies, “It’s a serious side project – we’re definitely looking for more shows and some tours if we can.”
So far, Lose Control has only played a couple of gigs, during My Beating heART shows at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach – which were more like live practices sessions for a band tightening down the loose screws. Their album release party will be the first big show to unveil this new project. Their other projects, as in their other bands, are still cranking away: Sand Section with a new LP due out late summer, and AllurA having just finished a top secret studio endeavor I’m not at liberty to divulge.
Lose Control plays Saint Rocke on Friday, June 22 for their EP album release party during The Darlings’ Warped Tour kickoff show. Also opening is Tall Cans and Teenage Sex, Angels Landing, and AllurA – for which Bartholomew will be performing double-duty. Show starts at 9 p.m., Kevin Sousa performs happy hour at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. For continuous coverage of the independent music community and free streaming tunes, visit DirtyHippieRadio.com.