Passion and dedication are what seem to set bands that “make it” apart from the ones still struggling to get a few people to watch their shows. Michael Shepard of the band Lovedrug channeled his passion and love for music into a band that puts a twist on the modern perception of what pop-rock truly should sound like.
Starting off his love of music with an up-and-coming band named Kerith Ravine, Shepard’s dreams were cut short due to the fall out of all of his fellow band members.
“I was in a previous band (Kerith Ravine) and all the members quit on me. So out of anger and frustration I decided to move to New York to get away from the music industry,” Shepard said.
Moving to New York to rid himself of the music industry all together, Shepard soon realized that no matter how far away he moved from music the yearning in him to play music still strongly existed; Forcing him to ultimately form the band Lovedrug.
“When I was in New York I realized that I couldn’t get away from playing music. I moved back and got together with my friend Adam Ladd and we formed Lovedrug,” Shepard said.
With the love of music dragging him back, the project of Lovedrug soon began. Comprised of Michael Shepard (vocalist, pianist, guitarist), David Owens (guitarist, vocalist), Matthew Depper (vocalist, bassist, and guitarist), and drummer Matthew Putman, Lovedrug’s final lineup came about during Shepard’s last gig with his old band (Kerith Ravine).
“It’s funny how things worked out, on my last show with the old band we played with a guy who had a solo act. His name was Matt Depper and he had a Jeff Buckley thing going on. I thought that guy would be great for joining the band. So we asked him and that went on for a few months. Then he came and jammed with us and it just worked.
Then through mutual friends of ours we found this drummer and we got together and started writing songs.”
With a solid lineup and a rack of songs that were constructed before that band formed, jam sessions soon ensued as the band began to fill in the gaps of songs that would soon become “Pretend You’re Alive.” But before the album could even be complete, many versions of the album where becoming a household favorite among music industry insiders and reps.
A&R representatives from major and indie labels soon began to appear at every Lovedrug show for a live taste of the band, eventually leading industry reps from every notable record label to attend the bands sold-out CMJ show at Don’s Hill in 2003.
With a sold-out show at CMJ under their belts, record labels soon came looking to sign the band. Weighing out all of their options, Lovedrug chose to go with indie label The Militia Group; choosing a great growing ground that gave the band great control over their own music.
In late 2004, The Militia Group released Lovedrug’s “Pretend You’re Alive.” An album filled with intricate guitar and keyboard, while doused with introspective but open storytelling lyrics attainable to any listener.
Debuting at No. four on Billboard’s Internet Chart and becoming the fastest selling debut record on The Militia Group, Lovedrug showed they are a heavy contender in the world on alternative music.
But it is more than record sales and record label supremacy that makes Lovedrug a great act. The intensity of their live shows tends to turn every concert-goer into an immediate fan. Rushing through sets of emotional sadness and happiness, Lovedrug takes the average audience into a ride of deep emotion.
“It’s really easy to get bored with music if there isn’t any heart in it. I put a lot of my heart and soul into these songs. When I revisit them it’s like going to see a old friend. It opens up again and it makes it okay to play it for the 250th time.”
Those “250” times have gained Lovedrug a strong and growing fan base, a record label, and headlining and supporting tours with the likes of Armor For Sleep, Matchbook Romance, Mae, Eisley, The Juliana Theory and Copeland.
The future of Lovedrug seems to be that of any growing indie band, which means touring and publicity.
But before you know it, the faces in Lovedrug will be all over your radio airwaves.
Lovedrug is currently on tour with Matchbook Romance, Armor for Sleep and Gatsby’s American Dream.
Solomon Sofolawe can be reached at email@example.com.