If there's one thing Follow for Now guitarist and frontman David Ryan Harris hates about the media's perception of heavy metal is that it's a monochromatic taste. Metalheads, as the folks radio and at MTV seem to see it, are interested in metal,and metal only.
And that, says Harris, is dead wrong.
"If you go through the average person's record collection, it seems like radio and MTV sometimes sell the public short," he says. "None of my friends who really like heavy metal have just heavy metal records in their record collection. They have all different kinds of things. It's not a strange thing to have Sly Stone and Black Sabbath and Cream and Funkadelic in the same record collection.
"That's sort of where we're coming from."
Indeed, on it's self-titled debut album this Atlanta quintet draws from a wide range of influences, from the muscular hard rock riffs of "Holy Moses" to the sweet, soulful chorus of "Mistreatin' Folks." Yet no matter how far afield the music ranges, the band maintains its sense of musical identity.
"I think that's what I'm most proud of," he says, over the phone from a tour stop in Tucson, Ariz. "We can jump really great distances stylistically, but it still sounds like the same band. Other artists that do lots of different styles sometimes come across as a lot of different bands; they sound like a ska band, then they sound like a calypso band, then they sound like a rock band. It's a little hard to take."
Harris credits some of that to the fact that the band is able to blend the individual tastes of its members into a cohesive whole. Take, for instance, Follow for Now's version of the Public Enemy rap "She Watch Channel Zero" -- a performance that captures much of the original track's intensity, but completely rethinks its sound.
"Actually, it came about sort of as a joke," he says. "The other guitar player is really into Slayer and Metallica, so the guitar riff is from a Slayer song. But the drum beat is a classic James Brown 'Funky Drummer' thing, which our drummer's really into. So we just kind of stuck it together in rehearsal as a joke, and it was like -- 'Wow, this is kind of cool, let's see how it would work.' "
Considering that Follow for Now takes its name from a line in Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise," that rock/rap connection shouldn't be too surprising. But so far, Harris doesn't know whether P.E. is as excited about his band as Follow for Now is about them.
"I understand that Flavor Flav bought a copy," he says. "Flavor Flav saw our poster in a record store, recognized [the band name] from 'Bring the Noise,' and picked the record up. But I haven't really heard anything from them."
Follow for Now
When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
Where: Hammerjacks, 1102 S. Howard St.
Call: (410) 659-7625.