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State Of Shock Biography

Last updated: 11/29/2010 11:00:00 AM

Johnny Philippon Drums
Jesse Wainwright Guitar
Cam Melnyk Vocals
Simon Clow (Kadooh) Guitar
Alison Toews Bass

Johnny Philippon and Jesse Wainwright have gone through a few band names and group members since first hooking up in 1999. But now — eight years, a 2004 CFOX Seeds contest victory, one album and a 2005 Canadian Independent Music Award favourite new group nomination later — the new and improved State Of Shock has definitely got it right.

The Vancouver quintet’s new Cordova Bay Records release, Life, Love & Lies, sees it ready to take the next step and join similar west coast acts Nickelback, Theory Of A Deadman and Default as shining stars on the Canadian and international rock scenes.

“We definitely went from an immature heavy rock band to finding our comfort zone with the more pop-rock melodic music that we have today on this record,” says Philippon.

State Of Shock has honed its commercial sound as its members have spent more time together, spending weeks at a time in a van crossing back and forth across Canada and allowing everyone to have input into the songwriting process so that there are no ego problems to deal with. All five musicians have a stake in making the band as successful as possible, and they have people behind them who believe as much in Life, Love & Lies as they do.

“Our parents’ bank accounts are on it,” says Philippon. “We’ve begged, borrowed and pleaded with everybody we know. It’s not cheap to make a record with the professionals we’re using and the studios we went in.”

Those professionals include producer Jeff Dawson (Daniel Powter, Tal Bachman), who recorded the album in late 2006 at Vancouver’s Mushroom and Hipposonic Studios, and hard rock specialist Mike Fraser, who mixed the record at the city’s Warehouse Studios and added State Of Shock to a list of credits that already included AC/DC, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Metallica and Rush.

“Working with Jeff was great because he has a bit of a different background that was a little more pop-oriented, and we were one of the first bands that was a little heavier that he had worked with,” says Wainwright. “So he brought a bit of a different element in and things that we normally wouldn’t have thought of as far as little production things on the record.”

The shiny yet still powerful music on Life, Love & Lies caught the attention of Cordova Bay, the Frontside Promotions marketing and promotion firm and The Agency Group’s Ralph James, who landed State Of Shock a coveted opening spot on Nickelback’s Canadian tour that launches nine days after the album’s June 19 release.

“Once we do the full cross-Canada tour, it will start opening a lot of doors,” says Wainwright of the opportunity to show thousands of rock fans the energy and skillful musicianship that his band possesses.

“The more successful we become, the more accepting our peers are,” adds Philippon. “That’s what this business is all about for us.”

That success has initially come through the warm reception Canadian radio stations have given lead single Money Honey, which has shot up the rock chart and is set to cross over to Hot AC and CHR and become a multi-format smash.

“It starts off with a tongue in cheek reference in the hook line, ‘If I had more money honey, would you love me, love me, love me,’” explains Wainwright. “But it’s a relationship song looking at it from an outside opinion.

“Everybody always thinks that if you have more, it’s going to make everything better. In reality, it’s not going to make a difference.”

Wainwright and his bandmates may be able to put that theory to the test very soon. With an album full of potential singles, and a desire to hit the road and do whatever’s needed to promote them, it almost seems inevitable that State Of Shock will have more cash coming their way than they ever have before.

And even if money can’t buy happiness, Wainwright hopes that it can at least get them a tour bus.

—June 2007