Character version 2.0
While I really enjoyed playing in The 7th Seal and to this day would love to do it again, we started to drift into different musical and well as personal directions and in the back of my mind I had always hoped to do something with my vision of Character. Enter Drummer Brian Hurst. A young drummer full of motivation and energy who was looking for something just like Character. Around the same time I met Bassist Curt Hanks through an audition that we both went to which neither of ended up being interested in the band we auditioned for (it was really more like a meeting than an audition) but he could tell I had a clear vision and we clicked really well...all 3 of us.
We auditioned several singers but none were making the grade. We were not going to settle for anything less than what we wanted and that standard was pretty high. I had mentioned to Brian and Curt I had played with a great vocalist many years earlier in a cover band but we had always had issues with him. I was reluctant but they pressed on so we brought in vocalist Lee Foster.
Although this version of Character had intended to play live and did, like the first incarnation we were more interested in writing, recording, and shopping for a label deal. So went into the recording studio owned my local band Mara's Jay Aaronoff and Mike Tekulve and recorded a 5 song EP cassette that which featured the song "I Am Willing To Do" which got radio air play Nationwide on 28 different stations.. That track was co-produced by my friend Steve Blaze of the band Lillian Axe and featured him on back up vocals. We did several shows and even more shopping of the demo and like the 1st go-around, many close calls with labels and management companies but no deal. Curt informed us he was going to move to Florida so in stepped John Maynard on bass who was a local acquaintance and friend of Lee's. but this was short lived. We recruited a former Guitar student of mine, Scott Watson on bass but he wasn't living up to our standard as a band and also at this point we began to have issues with Lee. A great look, great singer, but soon the problems of the past came back and by mutual agreement we parted ways with him and Scott
We auditioned a plethora of singers and ultimately, we got lucky and found Dan Arhman. Once Dan was on was in we picked up right where we left off but yet again, needed a bassist so we recruited a friend of Brian's Derrick Hughes. We did a few shows with this line up but our last show I knew was going to be our last show. It was an under 18 club show and usually those are awesome because they are young kids that don't get to go out to bars to see live bands and are always upfront and full of energy. However, this was now the mid 90's and Grunge had pretty much obliterated anything remotely close to 80's Rock and while most of the young girls at the show were quite into it every guy was at the back of the room sitting on the floor trying to look disenchanted (and they were) in their flannel shirts. I knew that was the end.
But wait..there's more... Who would have thought that fast forward 15 years later that Character would finally end up signing a Record deal? There was a small indie label based out of Nashville called FnA Records that specialized in re-issuing 80's Hard Rock and they LOVED Character. We were actually the 2nd act signed to the label and the label was hosting a concert in Nashville to showcase it's bands which also included at this point Dirty looks and Tora Tora. So, Brian, Dan and I discussed doing a reunion show and everyone was on board but we needed a bass player. I decided, and rightfully so, the best man for this gig was my long time friend bassist A.J. Jackson who did a stellar job only having a couple rehearsals. This show was on July 24th, 2010 at a venue called Center Stage in Nashville. That was Character's last live performance...for now ;)