The Sound and the Swagger PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 July 2011 18:08

The Sound and the Swagger


The Favors bring the cock-rock bravado of North Hollywood to North High Street

by Paul Bearer - ALIVE

The Favors are an anomaly on the Columbus music landscape. With a sound more akin to North Hollywood than North High Street, the Favors have done in scant time what takes most bands considerably longer to accomplish, if at all. The band’s in-your-face live show has garnered a loyal following, which will surely grow based on the strength of their debut, self-titled EP, scheduled for release next week on Break-Up! Records. Produced with his usual acumen by

Jon Chinn, the platter’s five cuts showcase what’s become the band’s trademark: swagger and self-assured bravado.

Having played their first gig last June, this cock-rock juggernaut is a new band, but each member has served in other notable outfits over the years: Shannon “Kingsnake” Malone fronted Bliss and Gigolo Skills; J.D. Dallas lent his formidable guitar talents to Dogrocket, the Media Whores and the Kingrods; bassist Steve Patrick was in Emperors of Bad Luck as well as local legends Ronald Koal and the Trillionaires; and drummer Larz Raymond manned the throne for 13 O’Clock.

Larz is the newest Favor, having replaced original drummer Mikey Murder a few months back. With his addition, the burgeoning band has coalesced into a truly cohesive and focused unit. They’ve begun to gig regularly, write new and more polished material and establish an ever-growing legion of fervid (mostly female) followers.

Each of the individual Favors has assumed a necessary role in the band’s hierarchy. Larz is the glue and musical director. Steve is the facilitator and band diplomat. J.D. is the dogged self-promoter and band mouthpiece. But, as Steve puts it, “This machine was built with Shannon in mind. He’s our driver.”

While constant local gigging generally dilutes a band’s draw, it seems the opposite has been true for Shannon and company. With each performance the Favors’ fan base broadens. The secret to their success? Girls.

“You gotta get the chicks there first,” Shannon surmises. “Once the chicks are there, the guys will follow. They may hate us ’cause we’re on stage wowing their dates in our tight pants and make-up, but at the same time we deliver the rock. We’re more than pretty faces. We come out and blow the hair back on our skeptics.”

“I’ve asked myself why we’re doing so fucking well,” J.D. elaborates. “A lot of people say it’s because Shannon was born to be a rock star. Larz is the consummate drummer, a true professional, Steve was meant to be on stage, and I’m a bona-fide guitar hero. In all our respective previous bands, we didn’t have the proper supporting casts. But with the Favors, we have all the pieces of the puzzle fitting perfectly together.”

The fruits of their endeavors lend credence to these rather bold sentiments: A few weeks ago, the Favors played at the PromoWest Pavilion to a crowd nearly 2,000 strong. They’re returning to the venue this weekend.

Perhaps the Favors’ popularity is related to the band’s attitude. They dress and carry themselves like stadium-filling demagogues, adhering to an adage of fashion over function.

But glamorous rock garb is pointless if a band stands around like a bunch of tired grocery baggers. You gotta work it if you’re gonna wear it. Indeed, on stage the Favors are a blur of struts and poses. It’s this flamboyance that’s garnered as many detractors as fans.

“We get a lot of shit,” Steve opines. “We do things that target us, but it’s OK because we don’t want people to ignore us or be indifferent. Whether they love us or hate us, either way we’ve made a strong impression.”

Still, the band doesn’t place image over substance, and their EP bears this out. Steve points out that the impetus for the Favors’ formation was essentially a railing against our city’s “bland and staid rock climate.”

“The bands in this town take a workman-like approach to playing, with no showmanship or spectacle,” Steve says. “That’s what sparked my wanting to put together a band like this, fronted by Shannon. The timing was right, as the dissolution of our respective bands made us available.”

Call it fate, call it kismet, call it whatever you please—the bottom line is the Favors are turning the Columbus scene on its ear. They’ve already attracted the approaches of managers and booking agents, and it may be just a matter of time before A&R types beat a path to their door, pens in hand.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, who approach their craft as an avocation, these four cats are looking at the band as a vehicle that could allow them to shed their day jobs in favor (pardon the pun) of the life of full-time rock stars. More recording and touring are their immediate goals, and the band is willing to make the sacrifices required for a chance at grabbing the brass ring on the rock ’n’ roll merry-go-round.

“In a lot of bands there’s one manic type who’s either suicidal, gets arrested, ODs and ends up in detox or falls apart every time his girlfriend leaves him,” Shannon says. “They don’t show up for practice and if they even bother, they’re fucked up to the point of being useless. They pawn their equipment and, if their dope habit gets bad enough, they pawn yours too.

“Luckily, I’m not that guy anymore and, as a result, this band has no weak links,” he continues. “We’ve all been around long enough that it’s no longer about the endless party. We all share a common objective: The music, not the lifestyle that comes with it.”

The Favors will play at the PromoWest Pavilion on Saturday, February 15, as part of the Blue Jackets Post-Game Concert Series.

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