BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING

Listen to Particle's "Below Radar" from 2/28/06 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA!

By Kayceman


Particle by Josh Miller
(l to r) Combe, Molitz, Pujalet, Metzger, Gould

We had just finished the band's first-ever interview with the new lineup. As the five of us walked out from the Great American Music Hall's backstage area, Scott Metzger (one of the two new guitarists in Particle) and I continued to talk. Standing there with Metzger as he spoke of being in limbo from New York to L.A. and his current excitement for getting the revamped band off the ground, he smiled and said, "I think Particle just broke the glass ceiling for themselves."

Going back over my tape, Metzger's notion seems to echo through the band: the future is now unlimited. They have released themselves from past shackles, shattered pre-conceived notions (mostly internal ones), and are ready to "conquer the world." Each of the five band members spoke with excitement, passion, and genuine, bright-eyed joy. There was a glow reminiscent of a new band that just got their first big break, and in some ways, that's where Particle is.

THE PAST


Eric Gould - Particle :: 02.28.06, SF
by Josh Miller

What began in 2000 as after-show throw-downs in the band's hometown of L.A. has progressed faster and further than anyone ever thought possible. When asked how long the idea for a lineup change had been in consideration, bassist Eric Gould says, "It had been happening for a while, but great things continued to happen for us so we were working with it." While the three original members of the band (Gould, drummer Darren Pujalet, and keyboardist Steve Molitz) made a point of speaking courteously and respectfully of former guitarist Charlie Hitchcock, it was clear that he was moving away from the rest of the band, musically and perhaps mentally and personally. But when you experience one of the fastest ascents imaginable in a very finicky music world, it becomes very difficult to make drastic changes for fear of deflating that momentum. Most bands toil in bars and broken-down cars for years before even making a ripple in the music world. By 2001, just one year after forming, Particle was selling out venues on both coasts. By 2002, they were voted "Best New Band" by Relix magazine and eventually played at pretty much every major festival on the circuit including Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Austin City Limits. In 2004, Rolling Stone featured them in their "New Faces" section, and The New York Times even took notice. When you're selling out venues and folks like Rolling Stone are writing about you, deciding to take a huge risk, change lead guitarists, and come off the road for a while is not an easy decision. But as Gould explains, "The time comes when you have to achieve your dream with a clean spirit and really be with a group of people who are unified and who all share a common vision, and that was something we struggled with with Charlie. He wasn't quite on the same page as what we were going for, and it was clear. And we knew there was someone, or some people, who were out there who could help us get to where we really wanted to go. So we took a huge risk and went through this really wild path over the past four months, and now I look at the five of us here and I'm so happy. We've found the light at the end of the tunnel, and I feel like I can take a big deep breath and I'm just so happy right now."


Steve Molitz :: 02.24 by Earl Gardner

As the conversation begins to turn from what was to what will be, Molitz is quick to pull the reigns back and to clarify one last point on the Hitchcock ordeal. "I know there was some confusion when the decision first came out, and I just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't a talent-based decision; it was more about the process and about the vision, and about four – or in this case five – unified guys all working towards the same goals. And I would also just echo what these guys are saying, which is that it would be foolish of me to claim that we are a bigger, better band. Art is subjective and that's up to the fans, but what I can tell you is that we're a happier band and it shows on stage."


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