Southern Californian upstarts Letter Kills, who will visit D.C. Aug. 4, have come a long way in the past two years. Five members, each interested in different genres, began the band in 2002 in Temecula, Calif. Letter Kills quickly brought an original style of rock that blended the influences of everyone from Guns ‘N Roses to Bob Dylan. Letter Kills guitarist Dustin Lovelis’ high school friend and Finch guitarist Randy Strohmeyer enjoyed the band’s self-produced three-song EP so much that he showed it to some of his friends in the music industry. Soon, a bidding war began and Island Records came out victorious.
After the signing, the band played a small stage gig on 2003’s Vans Warped Tour. On the last day of the tour the band got into some trouble and was banned from Warped Tour.
“Things got worked out,” said singer Matt Shelton. “It was a fight. We got in a fight with some of the security guards, but things got worked out, and now we are back this year.”
Next the band went to record with producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Hoobastank) to create the band’s first full-length album, “The Bridge,” due out July 27 on Island. Guitarist Tim Cordova explained the difference between the new album and the previously recorded EP.
“‘The Bridge’ will be way better than the EP,” Cordova said. “We had three months for this album compared to one week for the EP, so it sounds a lot better. On the EP there were a variety of styles, but on the record there are even more, so there should be something for everyone.”
The band emerged from the studio in spring 2004 to tour with Story Of The Year. Despite a lack of materials available publicly, many fans sang along to Letter Kills’ entire set, possibly due to illegal downloading. To a young band like Letter Kills, illegal downloading is a double-edged sword, as Cordova explains.
“There is a positive side to it. It reaches out to more people,” Cordova said. “We have songs online that we put out ourselves, and that’s what they are for. But then people who just download the whole album and like it with no intention of buying it isn’t really cool. If people are sampling with the intention of buying it then I don’t have a problem. It’s cool to preview music that way.”
Currently the band is playing a more prominent stage on the entirety of this year’s Vans Warped Tour, which will hit D.C. on Wednesday, Aug. 4 at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Va. For more information on Letter Kills, visit http://www.letterkills.com.