It’s not easy to talk about Chad Perrone without recalling his seven-year membership in one of Boston’s favorite unsigned bands, Averi. Nor is it right to overlook his dramatic exit that shocked both Perrone and Averi fans alike.
Three years later, no one is really sure as to the real cause behind the lineup change. Rumors still float around the Internet, a predominant few claiming that Chad was inhibiting the growth of the band in one way or another.
Averi posted an announcement on their website addressing the cause for Chad’s abrupt leave: "He decided to go on an indefinite hiatus from the band with no guarantee of ever returning. His lack of commitment to the music, to us, and to all of you made a very powerful statement that his intentions were not to continue on with the band. For a long while now, Averi has been struggling to progress with a band member who did not want to be a part of the team and who was acting in a way that greatly reflected this.”
Unlike most booted band members who kick up the dust after unhappy departure, Chad remained quiet and even proud of Averi and their accomplishments. In an interview with Alternative Addiction published several months after the news broke, Chad came out with his side of the story. "As much as I’ve wanted to, I’ve intentionally avoided speaking publicly about the break out of respect for the people who have been so supportive of myself and the band for so long – despite the claim that I turned my back on everyone (which might be the most hurtful and ridiculous statement of all)."
Immediately following the break, Chad focused all of his creativity into a newly energized solo side project, recording songs that, as he puts it, needed to come out. His first solo effort, "Used To Dream," was released in 2006 and featured 12 songs written over the past three years.
The album included a track named, "Reinvent," which seems to be his good-natured response to the entire Averi commotion. Confident in his abilities and unafraid to take the chance to do something different, Chad reenlisted the help of friend, occasional band mate, and owner of 6media AV, Dennis Carroll, to co-produce, engineer, and mix his sophomore release, "Wake."
There’s no question that from first listen "Wake" is an incredible improvement and grand departure from the previous album. Although Chad’s voice usually sounds flawless, it’s impossible to find a questionable note or even the slightest slip up anywhere. Every song sounds polished with the care and attention nowadays given to just hits of an album. It’s clear that Chad and his bandmates, Carroll included, cared so strongly about the creation of the music and not just the final result.
The album begins with "Blinded," a tune so catchy I find it hard to listen to it and even have the ability to think about anything else at the same time. I’m completely absorbed by this song that I can only grin and envision how huge a response it will receive at his live show. "Blinded" is an easy comparison to the overall feel of the albumâ€”crisp, incredibly full of life, clear vocals, rich guitar, and, surprisingly hopeful. Just the titles of his solo albums show the transformation over the past three years, with this album displaying his ease and comfort transitioning into an established solo artist.
Another impressionable tune is "Awake in The Morning," a song whose message is so universal that it’s hard to take in the first few times. Chad croons:
So If I sleep away the entire day /
Would you wake me in the morning? /
Would you think less of me if I admitted defeat? /
I’m just so tired all morning /
Chad once said in an interview that his purpose for writing was to create music that people could identify with, and understand that everyone goes through the same rough patches. He far surpasses his goal with this song, and after a while it’s hard to listen to just once.
Clutching bottles of booze after a heart-wrenching breakup in "Only We’ll Know" or finally finding the love of his life in "All I Go Looking for," several songs do seem a little clich©, but what’s so wrong with that? Chad is a storyteller and his music is the soundtrack to our lives that are filled with basic, primal human emotionâ€”love, sadness, and despair.
"Losing Direction" spotlights a female voice, which is a nice change to Chad’s distinct sound. The obvious hit of the album is "Wanting More," which, like many of the other songs, demonstrates how well the band plays together. If there’s anything that is exceptional on this album it is how beautiful every harmony is.
One track in particular strays from the traditional Chad Perrone style, and it’s not that I dislike the intent to try something new, it’s just that I’m not entirely thrilled by the result. "Give In" immediately starts sounding like a well-crafted Garage Band project featuring a computerized string quartet. It’s possible that by the time this track rolls around, I’m too accustomed to the sweet sounds set up from the earlier songs that I’m too taken aback to enjoy it. By the end of it, however, I’m beginning to warm up to the layered vocals and truly wish they had chosen to feature more of them.
The record finishes strong with an ending that comes back to the atmospheric sounds at the beginning of the album, coming full circle. With a total of 15 tracks, there’s no denying that Chad Perrone and band members (Brian Packer, Steve Belleville, Max Zemanovic, & Dennis Carroll) all have incredible talent.
All established musicians and minor celebrities in the Boston music scene, it’s comforting to know that none of their work will be going unnoticed, especially as Chad pocketed a nomination for Outstanding Singer/Songwriter of the Year at the 2007 Boston Music Awards. Everyone knew to watch out for him, but "Wake" proves that this is just the beginning for this Boston musician.
"Blinded," "Madison, "Wanting More," "Nantucket."
Wake is available now on iTunes, CD Baby, and can be purchased at live shows. The CD Release show is on June 20th, 2008 at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Ma. Also playing are Cahill and Tim Blane.