|By Katelyn Gendron|
Reminder Assistant Editor
WEST SPRINGFIELD Last week, a relatively obscure band from West Springfield was teetering on the verge of their big break: an opportunity to open for Coldplay at the TD Banknorth Garden on Aug. 4.
A last minute change in the rules on July 21 put the band back into the final round of the competition. Fendline was one of 15 bands to make it into the semifinal round and originally only the top three vote getters on Coldplay's Web site would advance to the finals fans were asked to log on and vote for their favorite band's music video. However, due to the tightness of the race within the top five spots, Fendline, finishing fifth, was given a birth into the final round.
The new life was short-lived, however, as Coldplay themselves made the announcement the following day that a group called The Luxury had taken the top honor.
Chris Lomma, guitarist and lead singer of Fendline, told Reminder Publications that as clich as it might sound, he feels as though he's already won.
"It meant a lot that Coldplay got to watch our video because Coldplay is arguably one of the biggest bands out there right now," he said. "It's amazing that thousands of people liked our song ['Break Me Slowly'] and chose our song and wanted us to open for Coldplay. Up to a few weeks ago I didn't know where we stood. I didn't realize that we were considered a legit band and now that we have the respect of others, I'm pretty confident."
The band, originally called Carpe Diem, was formed by three West Springfield High School students, Lomma, Dan Barkyoumb, bass guitarist and backup vocalist and Kevin Lang, drummer, in 2002. The fourth member of the group, Kevin Douthwright, lead guitarist and vocalist, was asked to join the band two years later.
Each of the band members said that while they would have loved to open for Coldplay, the competition gave the band a renewed drive to break into the music industry.
"When I dropped out of college [at the Art Institute of New England in 2006] I had a bundle of negative energy around me and felt I was letting everyone down," Lomma explained. "Since I dropped out two years ago this has been the biggest turnaround point that I've had and its boosted my self-esteem and put a lot of hope back in my mind."
Lomma is the only one of the band members not to graduate from college, however, he works fulltime in the banking field in Watertown, Mass.
When asked what the competition meant to him, Barkyoumb said, "The competition gave us a sense of determination because we're not just some no-name Western Mass. band anymore."
Douthwright explained that the band is currently looking into recording their first studio album as well as producing a new music video to be played on their Web site, www.myspace.com/fendline. He noted that the band has released one album, "Live from Lasell College."
Douthwright said the overwhelming outpouring of support from family, friends and fans has prompted the band to consider entering more competitions because "we have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
"It [the competition] was a wild ride," Lang said. "It had to have been the most unproductive two weeks at work because I was so distracted and unfocused [due to the competition]."
Lomma said that the band has come a long way over the past six years not only through the music itself, which they categorize as "roots rock," but also as performers. He noted that they will be playing their 100th show on Aug. 9 at 9 p.m. at Boston Billiards.
"I've been playing with these guys for six years and it's a local milestone," he said. "It's nothing huge [to play our 100th show] but to us it means a lot."
Fendline is also scheduled to play at the Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 28 at 6 p.m.