Band of the Month – Flyleaf

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Flyleaf is a Christian, American hard rock band which formed in the Belton and Temple, Texas regions in 2002. The band’s origin’s dates back to when Lacey Sturm decided to play dark, hard-edged songs she wrote as a teen to drummer James Culpepper. After playing together for a brief period, they decided to recruit guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann. Former members of a local band who decided to call it quits. In 2002, bassist Pat Seals joined and the band formerly known as Passerby was born.

As Passerby the band released 3 EP’s and played over 100 shows in Texas alone over the span of two years. In 2004, Passerby played a showcase for RCA Records in NYC, RCA passed on the band, but the President of Octone Records was very interested. The band waited for two days at a truck stop in their van anticipating a call from Octone Records. On the 7th of January 2004, the record label announced the band’s arrival to the label on their official website.

In March 2004, Flyleaf travelled to Seattle to record an EP with Rick Parashar after which they toured with Skillet, Staind, 3 Doors Down and Breaking Benjamin to promote their self-titled EP. At the end of June 2004, the band officially changed their name to Flyleaf, due to another band already owning the rights to the name “Passerby”. In October 2004, the EP was released as “Flyleaf”, resulting in their first official single and video for the EP version of “Breathe Today”.

In 2005 the band recorded their first full-length album with Howard Benson. On the 4th of October 2005 the record was released under “Flyleaf”. Appearances on the album include Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction and Ryan White of Resident Hero. The album produced four mainstream singles namely “I’m So Sick”, “Fully Alive”, “All Around Me” and “Sorrow”.

In the summer of 2006, Flyleaf played the main stage at Family Values Tour 2006, later that year the band toured with Disturbed, Stone Sour and Nonpoint on the Music As A Weapon III Tour. An exclusive EP was sold at the tour Music As A Weapon EP which features an acoustic version of “Fully Alive” and three previously unreleased tracks. A portion of the funds made from selling the EP was donated to World Vision.

In 2007, Flyleaf toured with Three Days Grace and through Australia during the Soundwave Festival. The band toured Europe with Stone Sour and Forever Never. Flyleaf headlined the Justice & Mercy tour with Skillet and Dropping Daylight. A second leg of that tour featured Sick Puppies, Kill Hannah and Resident Hero. Flyleaf joined the Family Values tour in 2007.

Flyleaf’s songs  featured in many movies (Resident Evil: Extinction, The Nightmare Before Christmas) and video games (Sims 2, Rock Band, Guitar Hero). On the 30th of October, the band released a digital EP  titled Much Like Falling EP.

On the 26th of April 2008, the band released their fourth video “Sorrow” from their debut album MTV2. The band toured with Seether later that year, but the band had to cancel five shows due to complications concerning Lacey Sturm’s voice.

When the band finished recording their second album , the band had to whittle down 30 songs to only 14. Flyleaf reunited with producer Howard Benson and Chris Lord-Alge mixed the album. The album titled “Memento Mori” was released on the 10th of November 2009. Flyleaf debuted two songs titled “Chasm” and “Circle” when they embarked on a small acoustic tour in Afghanistan for the United States Armed Forces. Their first single “Again” was published on the band’s MySpace page and released on iTunes.

Starting in Seattle, Washington on the 28 September 2009 the band held VIP listening parties throughout the country, by inviting fans to be among the first to hear the band’s new material and to see brand new videos before they aired. The band teamed up with Eventful and fans were given the opportunity to demand that their city be included in the “Road to Memento Mori” using Eventful’s “Demand It!” service. Due to overwhelming demand over 10 events took place, where fans got the chance to see Lacey, Sameer and Jared perform.

Flyleaf’s video for “Beautiful Bride” was shot in early August 2009, by Don Tyler. The video was featured on Yahoo! the day that Memento Mori came out.

Flyleaf toured throughout the United States with Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace from January to March 2010. They embarked on a headlining tour called the “Unite & Fight” tour accompanied by 10 Years and Fair to Midland on the 28th of April 2010 to the 6th of June 2010. The band continued with the second leg of the tour from the 10th of September 2010 to the 23rd of October 2010 with Story of the Year and performed at various festivals the rest of the year.

They released an animated  music video for “Chasm” on the 22nd of September which was created by Giles Timms. At the end of the Unite & Fight tour in November, Lacy collaborated with Apocalyptica on the song/video “Broken Pieces” and partnered with Australian singer Orianthi on her song “Courage” The band released their next single “Arise” from Memento Mori.

On the 15th of November 2010, Lacey announced to her fans that she and her husband Josh are expecting a baby boy in 2011. On the 7th of December 2010, Flyleaf released an EP titled “Remember To Live”.

On the 22nd of January 2011, Jared announced that he and James were busy building a recording studio and preparing to record some demos for the new album. In February 2011, the band started pre-production on their next album at Treelady Studios in Pittsburgh, PA.

On the 1st of June 2012, Flyleaf announced on Twitter that the new allbum and single would be called “New Horizons”. The single premiered on radio on the 1st of August 2012 and was released on iTunes on the 21st of August 2012. On the 4th of September 2012, the band released a video for “New Horizons” on Fuse. Flyleaf released another single entitled “Call You Out” on the 25th of September 2012. On the 22nd of October 2012, the band announced that Lacey Sturm was leaving  and she expressed that with the birth of her son Joshua “Jack” Sturm combined with the recent death of one of the band’s lead audio engineers(Rich Caldwell) that she finally knew the true meaning of “Memento Mori” (an object kept as a reminder of the inevitability of death). “New Horizons” was released on the 30th of October 2012.

In a statement written by Pat Sears, it was announced that Kristen May (formerly of Vedera) was to be Lacey Sturm’s replacement. The band released a new single with Kristen on vocals on the 18th of June 2013 called “Something Better”  featuring P.O.D. front man Sonny Sandoval. A new EP “Who We Are” was released on the 9th of July 2013.

On the 29th of March 2014, Don Gilmore was announced as the producer for their upcoming album. On the 20th of May 2014 it was revealed that the band was now signed to Loud & Proud Records. “Set Me On Fire” , the lead single from the upcoming album “Between The Stars” premiered on the 1st of July through Revolver. The release date for the album is the 16th of September 2014.

I discovered Flyleaf one day when I watched the video for “Broken Pieces”, I was extremely impressed by Lacey’s voice and the video that I decided to listen to her band’s material. I was captivated by Lacey’s voice and presence. Flyleaf has a unique sound and approach to the rock music genre. I was shocked by Lacey’s departure as I’m sure all the band’ s fans were.

I recently watched the band’s latest video for “Set Me On Fire” and I really liked it. I started to read all the comments on the video and was surprised by the fans’ reactions to the new vocalist. Some fans had really nasty comments and I feel that this is very unfair. Lacey was talented, captivating and a true artist. Kristen is not Lacey, but that does not necessarily mean that fans have to automatically reject her. She didn’t cause Lacey to leave the band, she saw a great opportunity to advance in her career. This couldn’t have been an easy decision for Kristen, because she had some big boots to fill. Kristen is charismatic, talented and she deserves a fair chance from Flyleaf’s fans. A vocalist is an important part of a band, but is by no means the only part of a band. After all,  this is the music business, not politics. Keep an open mind and don’t judge too quickly.


You can follow the band on Twitter here:

You can follow Kristen May on Twitter here:

You can follow Sameer on Twitter here:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – We As Human

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All photos belong to the photographer who took them, as credited in the caption.

If any of you have read my tweets recently, you will know I have developed yet another obsession and I would like to share it with The Rock Riff’s followers.

We As Human is a Christian rock band from Sandpoint, Idaho and they formed in 2006. They have been signed to Atlantic Records record label. They moved to Nashville, Tennessee in September 2011 and still live there.

The band consists of:

Justin Cordle-Vocals
Adam Osborne-Drums
Jake Jones-Guitar
Justin Forshaw – Guitar
Dave Draggoo-Bass

The band had an interesting story to tell starting with the band who discovered them, Skillet. Skillet was playing an arena show and their road manager was working at the show. Their road manager handed the band an EP that We As Human had produced. Front man for Skillet, John Cooper listened to it that night and he loved it saying that it punched him in the face. He called his band manager,  Zach Kelm and he said to him, ‘I think you should work with this band.'” From there on an introduction to Atlantic Records wasn’t far off. Now, with their self-titled debut-album being released through Atlantic Records via Hear It Loud, a partnership helmed by John Cooper, Zach Kelm and attorney Todd Rubenstein. We As Human arrives at a place where their future looks exciting and promising.

With We As Human’s thrilling collection of songs together with rock-renowned record producer Howard Benson it can only serve to amplify the band’s already massive, juggernaut sound.

For Justin Cordle it was absolutely thrilling that Howard Benson produced  P.O.D.ʼs “Satellite,” an album that Cordle played countless times on its release. He held that record in high regard and he knew their record would come out better because of  Howard Benson.

We As Human’s debut album stays true to the core of their sound and adds an unrivaled intensity and energy to each song. In my opinion this album is by far one of the best debut albums by a rock band that I have heard in a very long time. Most bands take a few years to really find their stride and their signature sound. Some familiar faces appear on the record, such as John Cooper from Skillet on the track “Zombie” and Lacy Sturm (previously from Flyleaf) on ” Take The Bullets Away”.

The inspiration for the record was generated by the band’s own lives, experiences and stories.

“Sever” is an extremely personal song for lead singer Justin Cordle. His nephew was fighting cancer at the tender age of 3 he passed away. Justin wrote the song after his passing.

“Finally Cordle found the inspiration he needed in Tyler’s mother: “She said something that will stay with me forever: ‘People are really sorry about Tyler losing his battle with cancer. But I don’t think he lost his battle with cancer; he won his battle, and he’s with his creator, and the cancer is dead.ʼ To hear that from a woman who had just lost her son was amazing to me. It was really heavy.” – Sourced from We As Human’s Official Facebook Page (

We As Human made a video featuring a tribute to Justin Cordle’s nephew and played an acoustic version of “Sever”. During this performance Justin’s passion for music and dedication to his religion became clear to me. His voice is extremely versatile, it can go from silky smooth to gruff in an instant.

“Strike Back” is the first single from their debut album and has a hard-hitting chorus that grabs you by the collar and doesn’t  let go. That is exactly the band’s intention with their first song. It is their statement and declaration of courage.

For the band the ultimate pay-off for their hard work is not money or fame, but an intimate relationship with their fans.

I discovered the band when I watched the Cover-Tune Grab Bag video on YouTube which is a Roadshow tradition and different bands come together to cover a popular song. Justin Cordle started to sing the first few lines of Katy Perry’s Roar and the manner in which he delivered those first few lines got me interested.

Watch the video below:

So I watched some of their other videos on YouTube and eventually listened to their track “Zombie” on iTunes. I decided there and then that I have to own the entire album.

I never regretted that decision. There is enough content on this album to satisfy any rock music lover. From the heavier tracks like “Strike Back”, “Dead Man”, “Take The Bullets Away”, “Zombie” to the more tender “Fall Apart” followed by the more mainstream rock songs “Bring To Life”, “Let Me Drown” and “Sever”.

I have never been so infatuated by a band that I have just started listening to.

Check out the official music video for the band’s first single “Strike Back”:

Justin Cordle is very proud of their live shows and that they work hard at perfecting their art, while still delivering intense, energetic performances.

We As Human’s thought-provoking lyrics coupled with their unbridled energy and enthusiasm combines to create an explosive package. The band has incredible potential to go as far in the music industry as they are willing to venture.

You can follow the band on Twitter:

You can follow Justin Cordle on Twitter:

You can follow Dave Draggoo on Twitter:

You can follow Jake Jones on Twitter:

You can follow Justin Forshaw on Twitter:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K