By Mariah Secrest
It only takes about two seconds to like the band members from 7eventh Time Down. These Kentucky boys will welcome you at once with their good-natured banter and laid-back persona. But dont let them fool you. On stage, they mean business.
Straight up rock n rollers, they blend classic rock tactics to make their sound aggressive with enough melodic hooks to lodge their choruses into the mind long after the show is over. They pull from the best of timeless bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Doors, AC/DC and even Johnny Cash, infusing a raucous yet carefully-crafted musical landscape with lyrics that shoot straight-from-the-hip.
Whether on stage or off, the four guys that make up 7eventh Time Down have a solid grasp of who they are as a band. They grew up together in a small town and have been through enough together to prove that theyre in it for the long haul.
Completely unpretentious, they seem to be undeterred by the rigors of road life and the footwork of navigating label interest. Maybe its this quiet resolve and loyalty to their craft and to their fans that consistently draw a crowd of several hundred to their small hometown of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, when theyre not out touring with the likes of Disciple, Skillet, Decyfer Down, Jars of Clay, and KJ-52.
Were a very personable kind of band, says bass player Cliff, Were not the kind of band that will go sit in our dressing room all day long and not come out until we play. We like mingling with our friends and the people who come out to support us. I think thats meant a lot to a lot of people, too, because were very tangible and easy to get to.
I can vouch for that, after catching a live showcase and sitting down to connect with them later. Heres a glimpse of that conversation, little more than a writer and a band wondering aloud and figuring out together whether there might be some purpose behind the art that we make:
WRECKED: Road life can be hard, and trying to make it in music can be even harder. What keeps you going when you realize that youre not living a typical life and you might see your peers settling down and maybe not having to work quite as hard for what they get? How do you deal with that?
7eventh Time Down: (Cliff) I see a lot of my friends at home have houses and jobs and careers. One thing that helps me is (realizing) were in this huge battle. Its like this epic front. Its things like at shows when someone comes up and needs prayer, its like a life-changing thing. We know thats eternal, and to be a part of that, its not a big deal that Im still living at home and Im 24.
(Mikey) This band has been the best thing in my life. Its brought me to a place spiritually, mentally, that I never could have gotten to without this band. Its been unreal.
(Austin) [There was] one thing my dad said. It was awhile back, and someone was asking him how he felt that I didnt have a full-time job, that I did music and all this other stuff. He told them, you know, that America was founded on dreams and visions. And if you think about that, all the really big things that ever took off like electricity or anything for that matter, you know those people spent their whole lives trying to do stuff like that. People probably thought they were idiots because they werent falling into conformity with normal. But they did things that changed everything about the way people live. I think thats kind of the same thing, you know. What were doing isnt normal. But it could change the way a lot of people live. Thats been our driving force.
WRECKED: Something that weve been exploring is how to reconcile the arts with a needy world. We get a lot of stories from people who are living among the poorest of the poor, who are opening our eyes to this tremendous need out there. Sometimes it seems hard to justify spending time and resources on things like music and writing. But yet over the past month or two as weve been exploring different organizations that link up the arts with social justice I think were maybe starting to get a fuller picture of the role that the arts play. Do you guys have anything to say about that?
7eventh Time Down: (Eric) I think the main thing is that on a worldwide level, you kind of have to take the music out of it. Everyone understands love. Everyone understands when one person sincerely cares for another. If music is the avenue that you take to put that out there, then you have a tool for that. Thats universal. Music is universal, but love is even more so.
(Mikey) Music is just the vehicle to get what were about out to the world. I think when you make music about that, thats when you bridge the gap and it stops becoming entertainment and starts becoming more of a cause and something thats bigger than a note or a chord or a melody.
7eventh Time Down is definitely bigger than the lights and drums and blaring speakers of their riveting live show, or the accelerated fusion of melody and effects on their album. They are a group of friends with laser-sharp focus towards the important things in life: God, love, people, and okay, maybe rock n roll.
Watch their video below, and be sure to check them out on MySpace at www.myspace.com/seventhtimedown to get their album or to look at the lineup for their For Love or Money tour with NINEBALL.
Mariah has currently landed herself in Tucson, Arizona, where she just finished a philosophy degree. She enjoys writing almost as much as she enjoys making music. Almost. You can visit her on Myspace at www.myspace.com/mariahsecrestmusic.