Dovetail Joint (band)
This article is about the Chicago-based band Dovetail Joint . For the woodworking joint, see Dovetail joint
Byrne, Dapier, Kooker, and Gladfelter
Background information Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA Genres Alternative rock Years active 1992–2002 Labels Columbia Records
Associated acts Ivory Wire Website dovetailjoint.com Members Charles Gladfelter
Dovetail Joint was a rock band that formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1992. The band featured guitar/vocalist Charles Gladfelter, guitarist Robert Byrne, bassist Jon Kooker, and drummer Joe Dapier. After several years of playing locally, as well as independently releasing their self titled album in 1995, the band started to garner interest after their song "Level on the Inside" was featured on an annual compilation disc of local radio station WKQX Q101. Columbia Records quickly signed the band and released 001 in early 1999. "Level" turned out to be the bands only commercial hit, and Columbia dropped the band before releasing a second album. However, an independently released EP was released in 2002 which would turn out to be their last.
Gladfelter and Byrne regrouped to form the band Ivory Wire along with drummer Henry Jansen which has since put out two albums to date and has gone on an official hiatus.
The Early Days
Dovetail Joint's first show was in Chicago at the Vic Theater on August 14, 1992. The band's lineup was quite different then, but the pieces of the puzzle were there. Chuck Gladfelter (guitar, vocals), Joe Dapier (drums), and Solomon Snyder (bass) were on stage and Robert Byrne was in the audience seeing them for the first time.
For all practical purposes, Dovetail Joint officially formed in April 1994 with the addition of Robert Byrne. Chuck, Joe, and Sol were living and rehearsing in Evanston, Illinois. Robert auditioned after, as legend has it, losing a bet. The band was in the middle of writing songs for a future recording and Robert added the missing element. It didn't take them long to start playing out locally.
The first shows were at Chicago clubs Beat Kitchen, Elbo Room, and Thurston's.
The Black Album Era
In April 1995, they entered Chicago’'s Warzone Studios with producer/engineer Scott Ramsayer (Poi Dog Pondering). They recorded what would become their self-titled debut, later known as "The Black Album". They tracked 15 songs and their dear friend Jack Buck agreed to finance the project under the name Buckshot Records.
Following the eponymous release in September 1995, the music started to generate some interest throughout the states. Songs were featured on several compilations and samplers.
Sometime in early 1996, the interest peaked. Several large management and record company reps from the West Coast flew in to see the band. They did showcases for Jeff Kwantinez of the Firm (Korn, Limp Bizkit), Concrete Management (White Zombie), and both Atlantic and Capitol Records. No relationships solidified, and the band was left with its first real taste of the fickle nature of the music industry.
The band continued to fight on and started to write and record a series of demos now known as the "Cringe Recordings". This is when their relationships with Scott Tallarida (Exo, future interim bassist) and long-time friend Roger Jansen (KMA management) were born. Jansen was able get their proverbial "house in order" and took several new songs to a number of industry people.
Superproducer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette, Shelby Lynne, Dave Matthews, No Doubt, Aerosmith) was starting his own label called Java Records. His A&R man, Amos Newman, liked what he heard and offered the Joint a "demo deal" in June 1997. They were to fly to Los Angeles to record. Based on the songs’ commercial potential, Java would either sign the Joint to a full record deal or let them walk with the recordings. Java had paid for the airline tickets, fronted them a little cash, and booked studio time. The band was packed and ready to go. At the 11th hour, the boys got a call. Cancelled. Reasons why? They still don’'t know.
Around this time, friends of the Joint were experiencing some considerable success. Most notably Solomon’'s brother, Matt Walker(Filter), was enlisted as the new drummer for The Smashing Pumpkins when Jimmy Chamberlin was let go. After Matt'’s stint with the Pumpkins, he and several other friends formed a band called Cupcakes. Sol chose to play with his brother and left the Joint to play bass with Cupcakes. Wasting no time, DreamWorks Records signed Cupcakes after the bands’ fourth performance.
As happy as Dovetail Joint was for their good friends, they needed a new bass player. They felt down on their luck after twice being so close to landing a deal. Fortunately, their great friend Tallarida offered to fill in on bass. Before long they started to generate new interest.
The Aware Era
In 1997, local indie label Aware Records took notice of Dovetail Joint. Aware had just recently inked a deal with Columbia Records to help finance the labels plans for expansion. The Joint knew little of Aware but quickly learned of their previous successes and bright future. The band was honored to be included on the labels annual compilation of unsigned bands: Aware 5 (1997).
The track chosen for the compilation was a demo version of "This is My Home," produced by Tallarida. In February 1998, Aware president, Gregg Latterman, along with manager Jansen, introduced Dovetail Joints music to Rick Krim of EMI Music Publishing. Although they were unaware of Krim's incredible professional track record, the band agreed to sign a publishing deal with EMI.
The group began looking for a record producer to take their sound to the next level. Jake Wisely, erstwhile Chicago ASCAP representative, suggested they try young Minneapolis producer John Fields (Semisonic, Evan and Jaron, The Rembrandts).
During this time, Scott Tallarida was still playing bass for the Joint, but indicated that he wanted to pursue his own musical aspirations. Once again, the Joint went looking for another bass player.
The second replacement was Mick Vaughn, an old friend and producer of early Dovetail Joint recordings. Vaughn only performed one Joint show and then moved to North Carolina. However, in January 1998 he played bass for the very first John Fields session at his Minneapolis studio Funkytown. Locked in the studio for 11 straight hours, the band emerged with a song called "Level on the Inside."
The Joint remained busy playing shows and on February 21 played Nashville's Extravaganza Music Conference. Joe, Robert, Chuck and Scott played for Columbia Records executives. That night they got the green light. They signed with Columbia Records/Aware Records.
The Columbia/001 Era
The studio experience with John Fields was extremely productive and the boys chose to continue working with him. In the spring of 1998, Jansen and Latterman worked out an arrangement with Columbia Records where the band would release an EP exclusively with Aware prior to their major label debut on Columbia/Aware. Meanwhile, Joe, Robert, and Chuck wore ruts in the highway between Chicago and Minneapolis to complete the recordings.
That May, Chicago alternative radio station Q101 sought submissions from local bands for their first annual compilation CD: Local 101. Dovetail Joint was unaware that "Level on the Inside" was one of 1500 songs being considered. Hard at work in the studio, they were shocked to hear that "Level on the Inside" was chosen to be the 1st track of 18 songs on the disc and would receive hundreds of spins at Q101 that summer. Little did they know, this would become the pivotal spark that would catapult Dovetail Joint on a national course. The band had little notion that things were going well until they started to receive euphoric phone calls from home declaring "I just heard the Joint on Q101. Its on, like, 5 times a day!!!!"
Aware pushed forward the EPs release to respond to the growing interest.
The search for a new bass player continued. Long time friend Jon Kooker had been rehearsing with the band since January 1998. He officially joined Dovetail Joint in the fall of that year.
Due to increased radio airplay, the band garnered national attention, allowing them the leverage to get the heavy hitter they wanted to mix their forthcoming major label release. In June 1998, the band headed out to L.A.s Ocean Way Studios to mix the record with the legendary Jack Joseph Puig(Weezer, The Black Crowes, Goo Goo Dolls).
In September 1998, Aware released the 6-song "Level EP."
On January 26, 1999, Columbia Records/Aware Records released Dovetail Joints major label debut, "001."
Early response to national radio promotion for "001" was so encouraging that Columbia agreed to produce a video for "Level on the Inside." In February 1999, Jon, Robert, Chuck and Joe headed back to Minneapolis, but this time to make their video debut. They enlisted director Phil Harder (Local H, Cornershop, Lisa Loeb). Immediately following the video shoot, the band returned to the road for what would become 8 months of continuous touring, hitting the continental U.S. several times over.
Nationally, "Level on the Inside" started experiencing the same success it continued to enjoy in Chicago. Having a radio single earned the band coveted opening slots on extensive U.S. tours with bands such as The Marvelous 3 and Train. The Joint also did two-week stints with major acts the Goo Goo Dolls, Cheap Trick, and Collective Soul. Other shows included playing with The Black Crowes, Silverchair, Everclear, Blink 182, Third Eye Blind, Eve 6, Local H, Orgy, and a host of others.
In April 1999, "Beautiful" was chosen as Dovetail Joint's second single. On the 3rd of that month, Chris Lord-Alge (Replacements, Hole, Green Day) re-mixed the song at his Los Angeles studio. Later that month, while the band was on the road with the Goo Goo Dolls, "Beautiful" was released to radio.
Touring continued until September 1999, when Columbia felt that "001" had run its commercial course. The band headed home to Chicago and began writing their follow up effort.
The Killing of Cool Era
In late 1999, getting the official "thumbs up" for a contract extension with Columbia was less than smooth. First, the label wanted to hear the new songs and judge their commercial potential. Having written 30 songs since the release of "001," the band was more than confident that there was enough quality material to satisfy the label. The collection of songs were slated for the tentatively titled "Killing of Cool" album.
During this time, Dovetail Joint amicably parted ways with Roger Jansen and KMA, leaving the band without management and in a showdown with their label. Columbia/Aware had to decide whether or not they wanted to pick up the bands contract option. They pushed back the deadline twice. Frustrated, in February 2000, the band said, "Sign us or let us go!" With perceived reluctance, Columbia/Aware picked up the bands 1st option.
This, however, was only the first part of the Joint's struggle. While the band was excited to return to Minneapolis to work with John Fields, Columbia/Aware wanted a different producer for the second record. Searches for alternatives proved fruitless. Either the band was too particular or the chosen producer was unavailable. In June 2000, the label gave in to the bands choice.
In July 2000, recording with Fields started at Minneapolis studio Seedy Underbelly. After a week of recording, producer and band couldn't find the drum sounds they wanted and booked time at Sound City Studios outside of L.A. Drums were re-cut and the band regrouped in Minneapolis at Sub Jersey, Field's new recording studio, to complete their album.
In August 2000, Joe, Chuck, Jon, and Robert finished tracking and set out to find the right person to mix the recordings. Again, the label hesitated at facilitating any further progress. The guys were very excited about their new music and confident in its commercial appeal. It became clear that Columbia didn't share those same sentiments.
In September 2000 the band met with Aware's Gregg Latterman and was told that Columbia didn't hear the "obvious single." The label cut funding until the band delivered an "undeniable hit." Joe, Robert, Jon and Chuck decided that it was over between Dovetail Joint and Columbia records. Rather than writing only for the approval of a label, the band decided to leave and look elsewhere for support.
In April 2001, after six months of legal wrangling to come to acceptable departure terms, the band was finally free to pursue other ventures. They had found new management (Cornerstone Promotion and Management) and sought new record label interest. However, the preceding months left the band a little less cohesive than before.
The members of Dovetail Joint were at a crossroads: continue the pursuit of a musical career; or move on with their respective lives. Their experience with the true nature of the business was enough to make anyone have a change of heart. To the bands great dismay, Joe was unsure that continuing was the right choice for him. Joe agreed to play drums for several more shows, but suggested that the boys start looking for a replacement.
The Last Days
On June 27, 2001, new management had arranged a record label showcase in New York. The show went well, as expected, but the band soon discovered getting a second major label deal was their fiercest obstacle yet.
In September 2001, close friend and brother of former manager Roger Jansen, Henry Jansen, was invited to play drums for a few Dovetail Joint shows. Henry quickly learned a dozen songs and played 3 shows back-to-back later that month. The musicians clicked.
On October 1, 2001, Joe stepped away from the Dovetail Joint he had helped to build.
On January 15, 2002, "E.P. from the Underclass" was released.
At the close of 2002, the desire to work towards something new brought an end to Dovetail Joint.
On August 14, 2010 Dovetail Joint reunited to play one show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago.
Date of Release Title Record LabelUnknownDovetail Joint (The White album)UnknownSeptember 1, 1995BuckshotSeptember 8, 1998The Level EPJanuary 26, 19990012000The White Lab Coat ExperimentN/AUnreleasedThe Killing of CoolJanuary 15, 2002E.P. From the UnderclassCornerstone Productions
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