The Forty-Fives opening for D4 at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Friday (January 31). $10. 416-598-4753. Rating: NNNNN
Danny Goldberg must feel like a sap for letting the Forty-Fives, who could be the next Strokes, slip through his fingers. But you can't really blame him for not seeing the Hammond-driven Atlanta combo's enormous chart potential.
No one could've guessed that when Alice in Chains-inspired grunge rockers the Drugs hired bassist Mark McMurtry from the hair-metal rednecks Every Mother's Nightmare they'd turn into the sloppy-rockin' garage threat the Forty-Fives have become.
Sure, there were signs of future promise in the Forty-Fives' Get It Together (Ng/Artemis) debut from 2000, but three years ago no one, including Artemis, thought bashing around like the Hives and the White Stripes was the best way to get a song on modern rock radio.
"We'd send them demo after demo and they'd say, "Danny isn't hearing what he wants to hear,'" recalls singer/guitarist Bryan Malone on the phone from Atlanta.
"They were trying to get us to go in a different direction -- nu-rock or whatever they call it -- but we couldn't give them what they wanted so it was time to leave. The whole time we were there we only met Danny once, and it was very strange. He came into the office, introduced himself, shook our hands and left.
"A couple minutes later, the phone rang. Mike (Ng boss Mike Chambers) picked it up, spoke for a bit and hung up. "That was Danny," he said. "He wanted to know if you liked him.' How am I supposed to know? I only saw him for 10 seconds!"
If that meeting with Goldberg wasn't indication enough that something was wrong, the Forty-Fives figured it out while on the road supporting an album that wasn't in stores.
For some reason Malone is still at a loss to explain, their Get It Together disc was held back from U.S. release for 10 months, leaving the band to sell copies of the Canadian import at shows on tour.
But playing with Southern Culture on the Skids proved to be a turning point. Not only did Southern Culture's frontman, Rick Miller, produce the Forty-Fives' raucous new Fight Dirty (Yep Roc) disc at his Kudzu Ranch home studio, but the industry-sussed hayseed hipster also schooled the Forty-Fives in the finer points of label finagling.
"We talked about our recording plans, but since we were off Artemis we didn't have the money to do anything," says Malone. "So Rick said, "Come to my studio. We'll make the record the way you want it to sound; then we'll find a label and get them to pay for it!'
"That's just what happened. We set up in his home studio, recorded everything live and it sounded great. He introduced us to the Yep Roc people, and we licensed our record to them. Rick's a smart guy, and he's been a great friend and mentor." email@example.com