I absolutely believe in fate.
story by Melanie Falina
Named for the Vedic story that tells of music having been created within the “flood rituals”‚ the vocation of this four-piece Chicago band has seemingly been just as mystical. While prepping for their debut album release party, and with a heady list of accomplishments already under their belts in a relatively short period of time, Flood Ritual almost makes it look easy – perhaps even fated.
“I absolutely believe in fate,” says vocalist Jim Mullin, as he and drummer Charlie Costa spoke in earnest with Chicago Innerview. “I’ve always felt the need to do this and I’ve never taken it to this level before, but it just seems like everything keeps falling into place for us. It’s like things just keep falling in front of us.”
But it’s not just things like the licensing deal with MTV that’s rendered Flood Ritual’s music on “The Real World” and “Road Rules”, or having been named “Best Rock Band of 2004” at the New York Music Festival that has created this air of destiny. The coming together of Flood Ritual was just as prophetic.
“I met [bassist] Tony Bock and we started a band called Hammerlane with another guitarist/singer and began looking for another guitarist to fill the sound a bit. That guitarist ended up being Ken Weiss,” explains Costa. “Several months after that, our two guitarists were not getting along very well and our original lead singer/guitarist either wanted Ken out or he threatened to quit. One thing I really loved about Ken was that he was a great songwriter and performer. I told Tony that I wanted to destroy Hammerlane and start a fresh new band with Ken.”
Costa continues: “The events that occurred after that started with trying out ten singers after [we] had written a dozen or so songs together and made our own home recording to give to the best singers. Well, none of these singers made the cut and Ken began to lose interest in the project. I ended up persuading him to stick around, and told him we were almost there. I knew I had to find someone soon or all this hard work would have [gone] down the drain.”
Mullin was also a little lost musically at the time: “My whole life I’d always been a musician and a singer but I wasn’t working on it as hard as I should have been, and I hadn’t played in a band for awhile. I went to a Creed show and was just blown away when I saw those guys play. I left there and was just like, ‘I’ve got to get in a band again,’ and I went to Guitar Center and put up a flier that I was looking for a band.”
“I walked into Guitar Center, didn’t even buy anything, wasn’t even looking for anything in particular either as I normally would be,” says Costa. “As I was leaving the store, there were many post-it ads on the wall. The only one that stuck out was this huge professional-looking flier that read ‘male vocalist’‚ and he listed bands like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, et cetera, and I was like, ‘Shit, there he is.'” Thirty minutes later, Mullin got a call from Costa.
The firstborn of this musical marriage is Flood Ritual’s debut release, Set Yourself Free. It’s comprised of an all-star production team from Chris Bellman of Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood with Web design and album art by Daniel Tremonti, brother of Mark Tremonti (yet another, almost fatalistic link to Creed), and produced by Detroit’s Chuck Alkazian.
From day one these Chicago natives have aimed to be bigger and better than any of their competition, but not without the aggravation of dealing with manufactured bands that are easy moneymakers for club owners. “You just can’t be afraid of anyone in this business and have to learn from being kicked to the curb,” adds Costa. “As one of our song’s chorus says, ‘I won’t rest until I fly.’ Jim meant that in a way that it is related to this very album. We will not rest until our goals are accomplished as a band.”
Flood Ritual :: Navy Pier’s Skyline Stage :: May 28.