A Sound Salvation

Austin's Class of 2000

A Sound Salvation
Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

Pushmonkey: Ozzfest Veterans Look to Bite Off a Piece of Radio

"We not only have to avoid a sophomore slump," says Pushmonkey frontman Tony Park, "but we really must have a sophomore slam. That's what we're up against."

Park says he feels confident that the promotional push behind 1998's Pushmonkey -- a year and a half on the road, plus every imaginable radio meet 'n' greet -- amounts to a solid foot in the door. The effort yielded three successful rock-radio singles, a slot at Woodstock '99, and a summerlong ride on the Ozzfest tour. Not letting that proverbial door close on their feet has already weighed heavily on the longtime local heavy metal band during preproduction for Pushmonkey's Arista follow-up.

"This is a business," says Park. "It's our lives, but it's a business. We've got to always be producing and getting ready for the next thing. The groundwork has been laid; we just need a heavy-hittin' single to follow through."

Park and Co. plan to have 25-30 songs written before they begin recording what they say could be a late-summer release. While they're definitely not planning a double album, Park says there's strength in volume.

"We figure that with 30 songs, as long as everyone agrees two or three are radio-ready, we can basically do what we want with the rest of the record," he says. "The more songs, the more to choose from. The more the merrier."

Parks says he's seen radio's lack of commitment to developing artists firsthand, where if a song isn't a hit the first week, it's gone. He maintains Pushmonkey is trying to avoid writing with radio in mind, and actually expects a heavier batch of songs than the last album.

"We used to be this weird heavy band that grew up and got commercial," laughs Park, who says the band will start shopping for a producer soon. "Maybe it's the Ozzfest influence, but I think we're going back a little toward weird and heavy. We're de-evolving, but I believe we can do it while also staying commercial enough for radio.

"When you look back to where we were before the record came out, that's when you say, "Wow.' The evolution of the band is pretty extreme. Our stamina and our focus on writing and performing has grown tremendously. Now it's all up to translating that to a record. Fortunately, we've already been together 10 years. That ought to be a real advantage."

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