This Vancouver, British Columbia based Canadian band has a bit of an unusual background, and carries positive proof that the negative image a lot of people have about Rock 'n' Roll music being connected to drugs and sex does not always hold! You see, lead singer Amy Arsenault went through several tough deals in life at a young age, which led to severe depressions and drugs and alcohol abuse. With the help of friends and family, Amy eventually found the positive outlet in music which liberated her from her substance abuses, leading to a better life altogether. Today, she uses her own past experiences in her work for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, helping youngsters to develop their talents by creating a sense for self-worth and self-confidence.
Things were not all rosey from the start though, because where during high school days in Victoria (Vancouver Island), Amy found herself singing in several bands playing at several local venues and music festivals, things became somewhat different after graduation (and return to Vancouver), as the dominantly male professional world of Rock music is somewhat hesitant in accepting a woman to sing for their band. It led to a new bout of insecurity and deep depressions. However, a chance conversation of her Dad's with a Los Angeles friend led to contact with record producer Rob Fraboni, whom suggested Amy to make contact with Motown legend Teenie Hodges (has been guitarist/ songwriter for Al Green, Ann Peebles and Syl Johnson, and his songs have been covered by the likes of Al Jarreau, Talking Heads, Levon Helm, and Living Colour) in Memphis. Then 18 years-old, Amy traveled to Memphis to work with Teenie, and this then led to songwriting sessions with Mary Unobsky (songwriter/ arranger for the likes of Rita Coolidge, Sharon Cash, The Carpenters, Bonnie Raitt, Sister Sledge), whom showed the young Canadian some true “Southern hospitality”. During evenings, Amy would roam the local venues, and absorbed the textures of Blues, Jazz and Country music from some of the world's most gifted artists. Eventually, a choice had to be made to either start a career in Blues music in Memphis, or return home in further search of a Rock band to front. Evidently, the facts being what they are, you'll understand that the latter choice still had Amy's preference, but it was with a heavy heart that she went back North!
By good fortune, producer (and guitarist/ keyboardist) Chris Dang was looking to start a female-fronted Rock band, and had put out an ad which came under Amy's attention. She auditioned, and promptly got the job...and controversially entered a period of her life which would find her in her deepest depressions yet. You see, the beginning of the band was a rather dire one. In order to really immerse herself in the band, Amy moved into the house that was owned by Dang's family. Containing a fully equipped studio, Amy found herself pushed constantly by co-writer Dang to work at creating new songs, putting in as many hours as possible at improving her vocal performance towards a unique style, and recording vocal tracks by herself. But all the while, she had to work as a waitress in bars and strip joints to make ends meet (you know, putting in her own five cents to pay for the housing costs), and with musicians being replaced regularly, the combined stress of the aforementioned, with organizing shows and playing gigs eventually grew to the point where Amy got to the brink of an emotional and mental breakdown. To fight off her feelings of helplessness and anxieties, she eventually sought relief in alcohol and drugs, which were so readily available in the seedier side of her nighttime jobs. But at a certain moment, family and friends noticed something was wrong, intervened, and with the encouragement of her manager Phil Lorito (whom is also co-producer of the album, with Dang), helped Amy found the strength to break the vicious circle of substance abuse which had entrapped her. Amy found a new force from her music, and set forth to writing off her old anxieties in the lyrics that typify the band's self-titled debut album.
Eventually, everything came out for the better, as the band itself had already began to stabilize with Chris Banting (a diverse veteran of the scene, having played with Death Metal act Beyond Possession, Carnival Divine, Jazz-Funk Fusion band Baked Potato, and Alternative Pop Folk act 21 Tandem Repeats) parking his butt on the drum stool as far back as early 2010, and with the recruitment of bassist Brent David Johnson (whom had honed his skills in several local bands prior to joining AutoViolet) things fell into place perfectly. I'm not sure what the situation of the guitarist is at the moment though, as Chris Dang IS credited on the album for having contributed guitar, keyboards & samples, but is otherwize excluded from the photos in the album's booklet.
I have a very good reason not to get into a detailed description of AutoViolet's Alternative Rock...I'll simply state that there's a nice Metal edge to many of the songs, some of which also get wacky keyboard additions. Amy has a truly great voice, and one can hear she worked at finding the correct deflections in her voice to make things interesting in the vocal department. Oh yeah, one song (“Pearl”) has a spoken word passage (with some effect on it) at beginning and end. Now for my reason of not goin' into details? You can actually listen to the complete album at the “Music & Lyrics” section of the band's own site (www.) autoviolet.net!