COURTESY JUSTIN BORUCKI / VIRGIN RECORDS
Starting Line is finally getting their due
The band debuts in Hawaii at Pipeline under a new label to promote its latest album
The emo band the Starting Line is taking advantage of its second career start, and is off in the right "Direction." The title of the band's latest album is an apt reminder of the rather rocky start Kenny Vasoli and company got off to when they became a national act, with their previous major label trying to make them something they were not.
The Starting Line
With All Time Low
In concert: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Place: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
Call: (877) 750-4400 or visit ticketmaster.com
"We're in a much better place now mentally," guitarist Matt Watts said by phone last week during a break in touring. (The band makes its island debut Tuesday at Pipeline Cafe, with Vans Warped Tour mates and best buds from Baltimore All Time Low opening.) "Ever since we signed with Virgin Records, we did the record we wanted, now that we're in unison and fighting for the same thing."
Released at the end of July last year, "Direction" shows off the earnest, exuberant sound and songwriting of Vasoli's, with showcase songs "Something Left to Give," "Way With Words," the downright poppy "I Could Be Wrong," the optimistic rant of "What You Want" and the breakout track "Island," complete with, of all things, congas.
Vasoli's wide-eyed fantasy of being alone in a tropical setting with his girl is somewhat grounded in reality. "Kenny wrote that while on a vacation with his girlfriend in Hawaii, so it's not a coincidence that we're coming out to play there," Watts said.
The Starting Line has been around for around nine years now and is originally from a suburb just outside of Philadelphia. "Where we came from was not exactly a thriving scene," Watts said. In fact, it was he that got the ball rolling when he sent a then-14-year-old Vasoli an e-mail after seeing his future bandmate's AOL profile online. Then called Sunday Drive, they joined emo powerhouse Drive-Thru Records, and it was a perfect fit. The same couldn't be said when major label distributor Geffen Records took over, where the band's sophomore release, "Based on a True Story," didn't get any marketing support.
But that was then, and this is now. "We're personally getting our due," Watts said. "Our focus right now is on writing songs and getting the kids to hear the new record. ... We'd love to be a top-level band, and reach the masses on a huge level. We're not just scene kids anymore. We're starting to break out."
Considering the band's aspirations, it's no surprise that they're "huge Police fans," Watts said. "If anybody knows of any way we can go to their concerts while we're there, we could use the help. To see them in Hawaii would be ridiculous!"