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All State Champion

Since their inception in 1998, All State Champion has prided themselves with a stellar live show and thoughtful, intense songwriting. With a substantial foundation of loyal fans and a long anticipated full-length debut album completed and ready for release, All State Champion is poised to be an explosive milestone in new music. Having already had national radio and video play with their first EP in 1999, the stage is set for the return of undiluted intensity in live music.

Wes Cook and Todd McConkey, bass & drums respectively, have known each other the longest. The musical and personal friendship began as each was beginning to play their instruments, around ages ten & eleven. Isolation in a Vancouver Island community created a strange slant on writing; shunned by hippie, punk rock and skid rock cliques, playing music was a link to sanity and an alternative to "inside the box" thinking prevalent in the religious/retirement community. In the end, it was the sole reason for leaving, looking for like minded players in the city. Daniel Sioui lived in Oakville, Ontario, until his move to Vancouver in 1996. He had been pursuing music there, his hardcore roots drawing him towards a more intense and dedicated musical situation. Tim McGuinness, the only true Vancouverite of the group, had played or attended almost every punk/hardcore show of significance since the early 90s. Like Todd, he had ridden the Nirvana wave to its peak, soaking up the grunge explosion with every bit of identity. Through the influences of the most amazing music of the '80s & '90s, from Minor Threat to Jeff Buckley, the musicianship of the four individuals expanded. Post teenage and affected by music forever, they were all looking for the next step… but how it would ever happen seemed next to impossible.

Dan and Tim met through a classified ad in Vancouver's Georgia Straight. They didn't have many common influences, but after meeting, agreed that there was enough common personal ground… finding another musician fed up with the personal agendas and politics in the scene was something worth, in some cases, more than the common musical interests. They played together occasionally over the next year, writing parts of music, auditioning players, and looking for the missing pieces.

Wes & Todd made the move to Vancouver in the summer of 1996, where the two continued rehearsal and the search for other players. After a full year of meeting and jamming with a full array of hopeless musicians themselves, the situation was looking bleak. Dan had scheduled a flight back to Oakville, the slim pickings of Vancouver providing no real prospects. One week before the scheduled flight, Todd answered a classified that mentioned D.C.'s Fugazi, and a rehearsal was planned. That rehearsal produced "Call Me Up," All State Champion's first song. Dan's flight was cancelled, and period of heavy writing followed immediately afterward. The yet un-named band recorded a demo specifically to secure a show at the then hugely popular Brickyard, debuting to acclaim from friends & colleagues.

After several failed "spec deals" at different studios, in November 1999 ASC booked four days at Big Midget Studios, a regular rehearsal spot & affordable studio frequented by No Means No and the legendary Close Caption Radio. With friend Blair Calibaba at the helm, the group banged off six tracks, which would become the group's first official release, 2000's self-titled EP. Many shows followed, with the likes of At the Drive In, Blue Tip, Sunny Day Real Estate, Hot Water Music, No Means No, International Noise Conspiracy, Closed Caption Radio, and others. The song "The Greatest" charted on national College radio; a video for the song was released in early 2002, and along with a feature interview gave ASC more national exposure.

After All State Champion's first boom, the group retreated to the rehearsal space, spending long winters writing music. A substantial amount of material accumulated, and the group's efforts to record again failed one after another. Large studio spec deals, label politics, and personal frustration infiltrated every part of the group. As an interesting side effect, the music grew more intense and personal. The more doors slammed in their face, the louder they screamed. Vancouver was proving to be a city not ready to make a move towards something other than pop punk, fashion punk, or big rock. Reaching a critical point in the course of the band, the members were all feeling the financial and emotional pressures. The contradiction of increasingly larger crowds and ignorant industry types solidified the already outside approach; ASC would do things their own way until the end.

A cross Canada tour in summer of 2002 shed new light on the possibilities of the group. The shows in Vancouver were still sold out every single time, and the response outside the city was nothing short of amazing. The EP was still selling well, but still there was no money for a new record. Heading back into Lemon Loaf Studios upon returning from tour, new demos were recorded. The demos yielding some new interest from different areas, the group finally solidified a plan with friend and studio owner Jesse Gander at Rec-Age Studios. The plan offered the opportunity for ASC to create the record they wanted, something they could be proud of releasing. During May/June 2003 they recorded their full-length debut, sparking U.S. label interest and a wave of underground buzz. Marking a significant time in the group's career, the massively charged recording gives perspective to the struggles and changes since the EP. The record is a shining example of their growth as songwriters, and lays the groundwork for the arrival of All State Champion.

mp3 Track: "The Greatest"
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Latest Release:
All State Champion
(Five One Inc.)

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