Connells are succeeding with tours and timing


Sometimes with a new album it's not the content or the publicity involved, but rather the timing of the release that can dictate success.

Take The Connells and their latest work, "One Simple Word."

The North Carolina-bred pop band hasn't released anything since "Fun and Games," 18 months ago, but their constant touring and word-of-mouth public relations have found the band entering new markets for concerts with more than marginal success.

Being on a tiny label, TVT Records, which doesn't have the funds or the manpower to entice huge sales or MTV air play, singer Doug MacMillan said sometimes it's the legwork of the band members that sell the band.

"We're trying to do whatever it takes so people can hear the music," said MacMillan, who leads the band into Max's On Broadway tomorrow night. "The album comes out this week, and we've already played a bunch of places we've never played before. We did real well in Kansas City the other night, and we had 1,100 people at a club in Nashville last month. So the word is getting out."

At their home-base in Raleigh, The Connells have generated enough of a following to play a 4,000-seat hall, but that's in the heart of a pack of colleges where their music is heard frequently on radio.

"I think with 'One Simple Word' we have an album that is accessible enough to be played on not only college and alternative radio but also on rock radio," MacMillan said. "We think it's the best thing we've done for many reasons, and we're hoping that this is the one."

After working with various veteran producers (Mitch Easter, Gary Smith) on their first three albums, The Connells enlisted another big name for "One Simple Word" in Hugh Jones, who has worked with Echo and the Bunnymen, del Amitri and Modern English.

"He wanted to do the last one, but it just didn't work out," MacMillan said. "He gave us a cohesive sound with a nice variety of guitar sounds. He was immediately receptive to our ideas, and it really clicked well."

MacMillan said the band always seemed unhappy with little things about their previous works, but this time there is complete harmony.

"I think for the first time we're unanimously pleased," MacMillan said. "Maybe I'm biased because it was such an enjoyable album to do and because there wasn't a lot of presure on us to get it out quickly. It shows in the songs. They're better structured and better written and we're proud of it."

As for the live show, MacMillan said the band hasn't let the excitement of a new record get in the way of what the fans will demand.

"We're doing five or six new songs that crowd probably hasn't heard before," MacMillan said. "But we're sticking mainly to the older stuff, the songs the fans are coming to hear."

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