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Losses & Gains with
Love the Hate
Formed in 2015, Love The Hate is a Hard Rock band based out of Mobile, Alabama. When you listen to their songs, you can hear the influences of bands like Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, 10 Years and Deftones. In April of 2019, a tragedy struck the band with the death of vocalist Butch Howell. After some contemplation, Doc Saint Andrie was brought in as the new vocalist. The rest of the band is Frank Killian on Guitar, Leon Craft on Bass, Marshall Mears on Guitar, and Troy Dearmon on Drums.
By Kreig Marks, March 2021
TRR: Hi Doc. First-off, congratulations on the soon to be released new single, “Solid Ground.” This must be a proud moment for you and the band.
Doc: Thank you. We are so proud of “Solid Ground” and we can’t wait for everyone to have the chance to hear it! This is definitely a huge moment for Love the Hate.
TRR: When will the single be released to the whole world to experience first-hand?
Doc: As of now, we are aiming to release the single in April with an EP to follow later this year.
TRR: I want to know about the writing process for Solid Ground, and the rest of the songs in the mix, but let's touch on that in a few minutes. Right now, tell me about how you joined the band. They have been together now for 6 years. You joined the band after Butch Howell, the former lead vocalist, passed away in April of 2019. Who approached you about taking over the vocals?
Doc: I worked with the former drummer, Trebor Genry, at a bar in Mobile, Alabama. We met each other about a year prior to me joining the band, and had several conversations about music at that time. He approached me one night after work, and asked if I would be interested in auditioning as the new lead vocalist of Love the Hate.
TRR: Were you familiar with the band before joining them?
Doc: Yeah, I was familiar with them. I had the opportunity to hear Love the Hate live several times in 2018 and early 2019. At the time, they only had four members in the band. They performed at Cockeyed Charlie’s Sports Bar, my then and current place of employment.
TRR: Cockeyed Charlies? Is that named after someone in particular? Give me the skinny on this Cockeyed dude.
Doc: HaHa. Yes. It was named after the original owner, Charlie Henderson. Sadly, he passed away in 2019. He was a great man, and one of the best bosses that I've ever had the pleasure of working for. The bar manager took over the business, and we are continuing to run the bar as Charlie would have wanted.
TRR: Before joining the band, did you hang out with the guys or did you just jump right in?
Doc: I had the chance to hang out with Butch, Frank, Leon and Trebor after the shows.
TRR: Did it seem like it would be a natural fit for you?
Doc: Absolutely. They all seemed like guys that I would have a beer with anyway, so the music part was almost second nature.
TRR: How difficult was it for you personally to take over the vocal duties?
Doc: My main difficulty was the simple fact that I had not been actively involved in music for a few years prior to joining Love the Hate. I was also a bit apprehensive about stepping into this position after the passing of Butch Howell. I wasn't sure how the fans would react, or if I still had the chops to see this through.
TRR: Why were you away from music for a few years before joining LTH?
Doc: Life. HaHa. I had other responsibilities that were more pressing than music for a while. I would still pick up a random acoustic cover gig here and there, but I was working two jobs and honestly didn't have time for much else.
TRR: Once you joined the guys, how long did it take to get comfortable as the new vocalist for the band?
Doc: I was comfortable with the band right away. I liked the guys, I liked the music, and we all worked well together. The fact that we already knew each other really helped, even though, oddly enough, Frank and Leon didn't even know I could sing or play guitar before my audition. The former drummer was the only one who knew that I was a musician, and had only heard me sing on a couple of occasions. on karaoke nights at the bar.
TRR: Hold on a second. Before joining the band, you hung out with Butch, Frank, Leon and Trebor after some shows but Frank and Leon had no idea you could sing or play the guitar? Did they just think you were some creepy groupie dude?
Doc: No...or at least I hope not. HaHa. I was a bartender/door guy at Cockeyed Charlie’s on the weekends when they played there. Sometimes they would even come in after band practice or on off weekend to have a few drinks when I was working.
TRR: And, the only one who knew you could sing was Trebor, who saw you sing at a Karaoke bar? I love this. Give me a few of the songs you were belting out there? Anything by Michael Jackson? A little “Man in the Mirror?”
Doc: Not unless there was a little too much Jameson involved. HaHa. I pretty much stayed in my lane most of the time. Stuff like Seether “Fine Again”, Fuel “Hemorrhage”, Tonic ‘You Wanted More”, Radiohead “Creep”, or Breaking Benjamin “So Cold”. My buddy Jordan was the karaoke DJ and he would occasionally convince me to do some songs that were a little out of my comfort zone.
TRR: When you walk in to audition, did Frank and Leon look at you like, "Hey, it's that groupie guy from Cockeyed Charlies!"
Doc: HaHa. Not to my knowledge. By the time I actually had an audition with them, I had already worked out an acoustic version of their song “Burn”. I sent it to Trebor just to see what he thought, and he immediately shared it with Leon and Frank. So they knew what I was bringing to the table before I even grabbed the mic.
TRR: How was your first audition with the guys? Were you nervous?
Doc: Not really. It felt like a normal band practice to me. Really natural and laid back. We did two songs, “Burn” and “If I Would Go”, and I could tell that the guys were playing it cool, but it was pretty obvious that there was something really special happening. They sent me the rest of their material after that first audition, and told me to work on a few more and come back the next week. They had a few more auditions scheduled, but we all knew that this was going to be the new lineup for Love the Hate after that first day.
TRR: Is the band complete now?
Doc: Since I joined, we have added Marshall Mears, a very talented guitar player, who was actually our sound guy before we asked him to join that band. Our newest addition is Troy Dearmon, a phenominal drummer, who is becoming more and more at home in the Love the Hate family each day. Along with founding members, Leon Craft and Frank Killian. I really feel like we have a solid group of talented musicians that are capable of going a long way in this business.
TRR: What was it like the first time performing live with the guys? Were you well-received by the fans?
Doc: The first time performing with Love the Hate was a pretty surreal experience. I had been in the band for about a month at the time, and we were invited to open for Buckcherry at Soul Kitchen Music Hall in downtown Mobile, Alabama. It was kind of a “trial by fire” situation.
TRR: I'd say. Buckcherry. Yep, you got thrown right in there. What was going through your mind when the guys told you you'd be opening for Buckcherry? No pressure, right?
Doc: I remember them telling me at practice one afternoon, and thinking that this was a pretty big deal for my first show as the new singer. I’m pretty sure it was Frank that said “Good luck and don’t fuck up!”. HaHa.
TRR: I imagine there was a pretty big crowd for the show.
Doc: If I remember correctly, it was an almost sold out show with nearly 1000 people in attendance. There was a mix of my friends and family, longtime fans of Love the Hate, and people that were only there to see Buckcherry. For me, that was the night that I had to prove myself to the previous fans of the band. I had to show them that I wasn't there to take Butch Howell’s place, no one could do that. I was there to continue his legacy that night and moving forward.
TRR: How did the show go? Any pre-show jitters?
Doc: It was great! There was a lot of support from our local fans, and we put on a show for them for sure. As far as jitters go, thankfully I've really never been affected by that. I tend to get hyper focused and really calm right before we hit the stage. I’ve always felt very comfortable performing. I feel confident in saying that we haven't lost any of the longtime fans of Love the Hate with me as the lead vocalist, and they have been more than accepting of me as well.
TRR: The new single, "Solid Ground," cool song. Tell me about the recording process for it along with the rest of the songs you guys are working on. Chris Dawson produced it. Tell me a bit about him.
Doc: We spent two days in October of 2020 in the studio with Chris working on “Solid Ground”. Scratch tracks for guitar, bass, and drums were done on the first day, along with most of the rewrites and some of the vocals. When we left that night, we had a pretty good idea of how the song was going to sound. Day two was spent recording final instrument and vocal tracks and critically listening to the song. Chris was there every step of the way with ideas and suggestions. He is just one of those guys that knows how to get the absolute best out of a song and out of the musicians in his studio. I can't say enough good things about Chris Dawson.
TRR: Did you record it at Aphotic Studios or did you guys do remote and mix because of the pandemic?
Doc: We traveled to Derby, Kansas to record at Aphotic Studios. We had a song called “Could Have Known” that we had previously recorded with Charlie Hadley at Cyberwave Studios in Atmore, Alabama. With the guidance of Chris Dawson and his programming engineer Jimmy Beatie, in two days, we re-worked that song into “Solid Ground”. We were a little nervous because this was the first time we had worked with anyone other than Charlie, but it was such a great experience. Chris and Jimmy are top tier professionals, really down to earth and easy to work with. We really look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.
TRR: Chris did a great job with production. Did he do the mixing and mastering also?
Doc: I know Chris mixed the track, but I'm pretty sure they outsourced the final mastering of “Solid Ground”
TRR: The song's title is pretty on track. It's solid. For the final mix/master, how much input did you guys have?
Doc: We were involved in the process every step of the way. Chris and Jimmy asked us to look at them as the 6th and 7th members of Love the Hate, and we made all of the decisions as a group. Chris even sent us a rough mix of the song for approval with all of the post-production work that he and Jimmy did before it was sent off for final mastering.
TRR: The final production of the new single is very clean, not over produced. Is that what you were looking for?
Doc: Absolutely! Chris and Jimmy are geniuses. We couldn't have asked for a better finished product. With the exception of a few tasteful added layers of effects in post production, “Solid Ground” sounds like Love the Hate performing live-which is exactly what we set out to do.
TRR: When can we expect the full album to be completed?
Doc: We are going back to Kansas in late March to record two new tracks for the album. Just like many other bands, we had plenty of time to write a lot of new material in 2020, so now we have to figure out which songs are going to make the cut. As of now, we will be releasing “Solid Ground” in April and plan to release an EP later this year.
TRR: As a band, what is the last live show you guys did before the pandemic put the brakes on things.
Doc: We set up a five band show at Alabama Bar, another local hang out for us. We had two Gulf Coast bands, Silent Trust, and Rise the Phoenix. We also invited Modern Mimes, from south Florida, and Anything but Human, from Dallas, Texas. It was an all day event and we had a blast hanging out with everyone.
TRR: Is there anything you guys would have done differently during that show if you had known it would be your last live show for quite some time?
Doc: I would not have changed a thing. Something that we always talk about as a band is “leaving it all on the stage.” That way, if something like a pandemic happens and we can't play for a period of time, at least we know that our last show was the absolute best that it could have been.
TRR: The pandemic ends tomorrow, no more fears of people getting sick or dying. Where's the first place you guys perform?
Doc: We are actually playing our first show with our new drummer, Troy, at Club LA in Destin, Florida on March 5th. We are all excited to get back out there. I love the shows at the bigger venues, but we are all ready to start playing festival shows again.
TRR: Anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to?
Doc: I would like to thank all of the fans of Love the Hate for their constant support. I would especially like to thank my family and friends for always being positive influences in my life and for encouraging me to continue to pursue music. Also, Sarah Raye at World of Music Artist Management has been the driving force behind this project from the moment we decided to join her roster. I really can't thank her enough for all of her hard work and dedication. Thank you, Chris Dawson and Jimmy Beatie of Aphotic Studios for making this single better than we ever thought possible. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my son, Caden, for being my biggest fan.
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher, TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and to promote musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.