A Sound Salvation

Austin's Class of 2000

A Sound Salvation
Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

Wan Santo Condo: Big Plans From A Band You Know Nothing About

"Nobody knows who the hell we are, and that's fine," says Wan Santo Condo frontman Bob Via. "We get a response when we play and I think we're still waiting for our crowd. We haven't quite found them yet, but we know they're out there."

Kneeling Elephant, an RCA-distributed arm of the mighty Artist Direct Agency (Beastie Boys, Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters), apparently believes they can help match Wan Santo Condo with a fan base. The upstart label officially signed the five-year-old Austin band last month, so naturally the question is, what did ADA see in a band that most Austin music fans have heard of but never seen?

"I think they see a straight-ahead rock band with the potential for modern-rock, rock, and Mix radio play," says Via.

In other words, a post-grunge rock band perhaps capable of duplicating the radio success of recent acts like Creed, Third Eye Blind, Oleander, and Our Lady Peace. Still don't know what to make of Wan Santo Condo (the name is a play off Via's old landlord)? That's probably because they've primarily played on take-what-you-can-get bills with everyone from Great White to MC Overlord, and haven't had an album in stores since they pressed a few thousand copies of a 1996 demo.

"Trying to conquer Austin now and make our way out would be a mistake at this point," concedes Via. "I think what Kneeling Elephant has in mind is for us to immediately jump out on tour with someone with a profile. We'll probably still wind up doing club gigs at some point, but Artist Direct has so many great bands on their roster that they can feasibly put us on the road with any of them."

Of course, if Wan Santo Condo wants to impact at radio or on the road, they'll need a finished release. Paul Leary is reportedly impressed enough with Wan Santo Condo to offer producing services after hearing demos the band recorded last year, but his time commitment to the new Butthole Surfers project could get in the way.

"The sooner we make the record, the sooner we can get back out on the road," says Via. "I know Kneeling Elephant is excited. They really haven't had a band break, although they have all the applications to do it, so I know they feel like they have something to prove. I think it's a good match because we both seem to enjoy being the underdogs."

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