Gone to Earth is Josh Rieger, Voley Martin, Marcus Klavan, Matt Litwin and Jon Maisel.
Being in a rock band and making it big is often a pipe dream. For the Long Island-based band Gone to Earth it is becoming reality. The group, which was formed in 2001 by Syosset resident Josh Rieger, may finally be getting their big break when they open for the group Incubus on Oct. 28.
Comprised of five members, including Rieger and fellow Syosset native Jon Maisel, along with Voley Martin of Hicksville, Matt Litwin of Jericho and Marcus Klavan of Maryland, the group has a new demo out and hopes to release their first full-length album by the summer of 2005.
After forming during the summer of 2001, the members of Gone to Earth began the difficult task of creating a unique sound that would blur the lines between various genres. The group experimented with many styles of music before finally finding their niche. On their website, the group describes the composition of their music as a "tempestuous collection of divergent styles. While the melodic guitar riffs resemble that of alternative rock, the programming and electronics add a completely new dynamic."
Martin, who plays the drums and writes songs for the group, describes the band's music as electronic rock with influences all over the spectrum. Although their songs originally did not possess vocals, Gone to Earth has since been working on that area specifically. In early 2004, after a grueling search for a singer, vocalist Marcus Klavan joined the band. "Music is all I ever dreamed of doing, and these guys offer the best opportunity to do what I love for the rest of my life," stated Klavan on the GonetoEarthMusic.com website.
As a result, the band incorporates elements of hard rock, metal and electronica to create their unique sound. Based on melodic vocal hooks, catchy instrumental lines and the desire to succeed, they have received spots performing at prestigious New York and Long Island venues including CBGB's, Lamours, The Dublin Pub, Continental and The Downtown, and opened for such national acts as former Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherinian.
Recently, after three years of struggling, Gone to Earth caught their big break when Incubus chose the band to perform as their opening act after consideration of countless applicants. "We are so excited and can't wait," said drummer and song writer Martin. "This is the biggest thing to happen to us yet, but hopefully not the biggest thing to happen."
A lifelong resident of Hicksville, 22-year-old Martin attended the Old Country Road School and Hicksville Middle and High School. Upon graduating in 2000, he attended Stetson University in Florida for about two years before moving back to New York and enrolling at SUNY Cortland where he is majoring in social philosophy and will graduate in May 2005.
"It was hard to find people to play with while I was down in Florida so I came up to change schools and start over," he said. "I got fed up one day with not having people to play with so I went out [on Long Island] one day and posted flyers at local music stores and venues, picked up numbers and just started calling people. Gone to Earth was the third number I called and it just sort of worked out."
According to Martin, juggling school and the band has been difficult. "Generally, our writing and recording time is done over the school year when we are apart because that's really the only thing we can do," he said. "When we get together for the summer we are still writing and recording but its more about practice because it's the only time we have. When we get together for long weekends or breaks we will get together and rehearse or try and do a show."
He added, "I love being in front of people, playing. The shows are a big release. You get to put everything that you have worked so hard for out in front of people. It's been really rewarding for us because people are enjoying it."
Litwin, who band mates call "DJ Skuba," added, "You put 100 percent into each one. You sacrifice other things sometimes, like going out, to take care of either your [school] work or to finish up a song. The two priorities are school and music and you give them both your full attention." A lifelong resident of Jericho, Litwin attended Jackson Elementary School and is a 2002 graduate of Jericho High School. He is currently majoring in accounting at Binghamton University.
When asked about the upcoming show, Litwin said he is confident the band will do just fine. "We've played these songs so many times, so we are just going to go out there and do what we do," he said, adding, however, that the band hopes opening for Incubus will make more people aware of Gone to Earth. "There will be 6,500 people so hopefully we will get some fans out of it and show everybody what we are all about," Litwin said.
Maisel, the group's guitarist who along with Rieger started the band back in 2001, said, "We are very excited that Incubus chose us to open up for them and we see it as a big opportunity to become more well known in the New York region." Maisel, a 2001 graduate of Syosset High School, added that fans of the group should check the band's website, www.GonetoEarthMusic.com for information on upcoming shows and new music.
Perhaps the best part about being in a band, said Martin, is "making music my friends will love to listen to. "That is what we aspire to do. So far, it's starting to work."
According to Rieger, a 2001 graduate of Syosset High School majoring in history at Binghamton, it all feels like a dream. "From where we started, if someone would have told us that we would be opening for Incubus, I would have told them they were crazy," he said. "I sit in my car and listen to them all the time and now we are going to get to open for them. It doesn't feel real."
Gone to Earth will open for Incubus on Thursday, Oct. 28 at the Binghamton Events Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $37.50 for adults; $21 for students and can be purchased by calling Tele-Charge at 800-594-TIXX (8499.) The Binghamton Events Center is located on the Binghamton University Campus, Binghamton, NY 13902. For more information, visit the Gone to Earth website at www.GoneToEarthmusic.com.