Whether or not Injected's rendezvous with fame will be a fifteen-minute fling or an LTR remains to be seen. But if staying power is a vital ingredient to a healthy relationship, the Atlanta quartet thinks it's off to a good start. "When you first meet a girl at the bar you don't really want to tell her your life story," says Injected singer/guitarist Danny Grady. "You want to keep it light and maybe tell her a couple of jokes. That's how it is for us at this point in the game now. You can get to the deeper stuff later."
On its Burn It Black debut, Injected steers clear of any of the angst that modern radio sadly embraces and turns to a combination of airy melodies and heavy riffs, satisfying the delicate ears of commercial rock fans while twitching the air-guitar-strumming hand of listeners who prefer cock-rock whose bulge is neither sock-enhanced nor circumcised for FM cleanliness. The arena-rock riffs on "Lights Are Low" and the raw-throated screams on "Dawn" contrast pop-tinged choruses and cascading vocals on "Only Hurts Awhile," which touches on alcoholism ("Once upon a time I'd take a drink and I'd feel fine/ But now it hurts me everywhere, sick secrets I can't share"). Moonshine-strength doses of southern grit open the album on "When She Comes" while six-string sludge propels the Columbine-themed "Bullet," whose inspiration came to Grady as he drove past his old high school ("You're just a screwed-up kid who doesn't know who he is/Fights the words in his head/Screams he's better off dead").
"Song-writing is a huge mystery to me," Grady says. "If you're not a spiritual person, writing a song will definitively make you a spiritual person. I have no idea where the fuck my songs come from. They must come from God. The creative element is so mysterious and it all comes from nothing."
While the songs may appear from thin air, the origins of the hard-hitting quartet lie in Atlanta. Injected (Grady, guitarist Jack Lemons, bassist Steve Slovisky, and drummer Chris Wojtal) started out as a trio when Grady asked high school chums Slovisky and Wojtal to help him lay down some demo tracks. While practicing and recording during the ensuing months, the band moonlighted in cover band Airbrush Johnson, in which they took Prince and Duran Duran songs and metalized them. "Most of the kids that hung out at the clubs were rock fans anyway. But there wasn't a whole lot of rock around 1996, and rock wasn't much fun back then," Grady remembers. A three-piece at first, the band added Lemons shortly afterward and scraped money together (Lemons, for example, sold his collectible 1964 Lincoln Continental) to record their first of three demos, which they gave away at their performances. The band built a local buzz its first year, and by the second, had its sights set on inking a deal. "We'd already built a pretty good fan base by that point," Grady remembers. "We'd have fifteen-to sixteen-year-old kids plus we'd have forty-year-olds coming out to our shows. It was a lot more fun that way. And we had all different types."
Deciding they had honed their sound enough to take things to the next level, the band began showcasing for labels, although their first experiences were less than stellar. At one of their first, Injected performed in Los Angeles where at least eight record-label hawks waited for their prey with open contracts. "I remember our manager went up to me and said 'Man, every label in town is here,'" Grady remembers. "And by the time we were done playing, they'd left. Everybody had taken off. We were really demoralized by that."
In a local bar, Grady befriended Atlanta rocker/former Marvelous 3 frontman Butch Walker, who asked Grady to sing on his album. Grady then asked Walker to produce a four-song demo the band would use to market itself. Although Island Records eventually signed the band, several labels came a-courting, and Grady realized the frustrations of deal dating. "There were times when I felt like ripping my hair out," he says. "The months before we got signed, I was ready to quit. I was like 'Fuck this business. It's so confusing.' But it's a lot like women: There are so many you'll never understand, but you gotta deal with it the best you can.
"A year later, those same labels were offering to sign us," Grady fast forwards. "That was the whole ironic thing. It's almost like women: You can't get a girlfriend unless eight different girls want you at once."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.