Brothers Jeff and John and drummer Jason Anderson have seen a lot of pavement in the past nine months. Their band, Squad Five-O has gone from relative obscurity to hm magazine reader's choice for Favorite New Artist of 1997. They've crossed the country several times from coast to coast now, experienced lean times, times of plenty, and the theft of their earnings from several weeks. They've played for weeks as an opening band on a tour and have headlined tours themselves. They've hired a manager, had auto wrecks, played music festivals, and stirred up a controversy or two. In short, they've been Squad Five-O the band, all day every day for nine months now.
Squad Five-O's newest release might then be expected to exhibit qualities of a world-weary band, disenfranchised with the Christian market and its often contradictory intricacies. They might, but they shouldn't be. Instead Squad Five-O's sophomore release, Fight the System, features the same rallying optimism found on their debut, What I Believe. Squad Five-O's new songs again hammer home the band's undying enthusiasm for righteousness and unity within the church, deviating only occasionally for introspection or social comment.
Musically, the band has honed its performance to razor-sharp accuracy through seemingly endless live shows together, and in doing so has allowed for a more involved creation in the studio, replete with additional instruments, including horn players and organists, and allowing for a more "produced," polished record. The band's new release, Fight the System, is demonstrative of the fact that while Squad Five-O may have been brought to the attention of fans due to the surging popularity of ska and punk music, what has put them on top and what will keep them there is that the band is essentially a modern rock band consistently knocking out audiences and critics with their high-energy live shows and unique approach to their instruments.
And as the band enters into 1998 with a more solid album under their belts, they are again calling on the fires of youth to propel them across the globe with their message of righteous unity through Christ, dispelling musical stereotypes and lyrical conventions along the way. Squad Five-O has embarked on their first major tour as headliner, has cover stories booked on national magazines, and prime slots at this summer's music festivals. And what does all of this brinkmanship with the next level of stardom do to the band's perspective?
Lead singer/guitarist, Jeff answers, "Well, we can see how far we've come in a short time, and where we need to go too. But the truth is, if this didn't seem to be what God was having us to do, then we'd rather not play music than do so for the wrong reasons. We still feel priveleged to be used to encourage kids to get strong and stand strong in their faith, and that's why we're out doing it night after night."
Supertones, Suicide Machines, MxPx, Five Iron Frenzy, Skavoovie and the Epitones, Less Than Jake, The Toasters, The Scofflaws, Rancid