Golden State

Antiwar songs by Golden State
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Golden StateMeet the band Golden State. Members include: James Grundler (formally of Paloalto), Marc Boggio, Elias Reidy (formally of Red Jumpsuit Appartus), and Kameron Waters. -

It was around two years ago, after almost half a decade in his own personal wilderness, that James Grundler finally discovered his Golden State.

“I woke up to what was going on in the world, unplugged if you will,” he says in an entirely un-hippy, non-New Age, un-Matrix-rocker sort of way. “I started paying attention to my surroundings as well as the media, watching how things were progressing and changing. Instead of singing about the traditional love stories of a guy and a girl it became the relationship between you and the powers that be. It became a lot clearer, this subconscious voice was coming through, screaming out and wanting to have a voice.”

It was, after all, time for James to crystalise. Having wandered the LA circuit playing sets as Golden State with a loose, revolving cast of backing players since the split of his previous band in 2004 – cult indie rock wonders Paloalto – by 2009 the world itself was starting to reflect James’ sense of confusion, disarray and upheaval. Oil wars, political corruption, apocalyptic scenes in Haiti, uncaring leaders: James’ focus switched from his own personal concerns to the wider picture. Suddenly he found himself writing rampant rock tunes of frustration and defiance like ‘Standing On The Edge Of It All’ and ‘World On Fire’, or filling ‘High Noon’ with visions from a cross between Sergio Leone and the Book Of Revelations.

“There is this subliminal cowboy image soaked in Revelations, with the four horsemen of the apocalypse,” James explains. “It’s very apocalyptic. The songs were talking about political issues, good versus evil and a relationship between two parties or three. It gets pretty wild. That was when everything really clicked for this band, the direction, the songwriting, everything. That’s why I say Golden State has been around for about a year. It felt like this is when it became my music.”

And such music. Combining the ambition of prime Muse, the crunch of classic US rock and the vibrancy of Queens Of The Stone Age or Screaming Trees, Golden State are a thrilling summation of the entire gamut of modern rock and the consolidation of James’ lifelong obsession with aspirational music. Even as a pre-teen he was writing songs and playing drums in a band called The Phoenix, named after the Phoenix, Arizona elementary school they formed in. “We wrote a couple of originals and played a couple of Clash songs, it was hilarious. We played at our talent show, that was my first taste of how powerful music really was.”

As a teenage athlete – music was James’ spurring soundtrack; he’d train along to an eccelctic mix of R&B, Bill Withers, early Stevie Wonder and Rush. “All of a sudden life was like a movie,” he says, “you’ve got theme music going right along with it, bringing it to life. I’d go out and train a lot on my own and jog in the evening and run up these big mountains. It felt like you were in a Rocky movie, the music was so important to push you to the next plateau, the next hill.”
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