Wicked World's Come of Age
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Sometimes a confluence of factors, persistence, and just plain old good luck meld together to create something amazing. That's the skinny on Talisman The Band. Eleven years ago, when the four band members met and began playing around Philadelphia, they started building a buzz and strong following. Then, as they say, life got in the way. So, the members of Talisman decided to take a short "break" and focused on family, work and independent music projects. Fast forward to 2008. Talisman The Band is back - effortlessly picking up where they left off, and with a full-length CD to boot. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves .... That Was Then (The History) ... In 1995, after relocating to Philadelphia, Talisman principal songwriter & singer C met future Talisman drummer Mike DeAngelis, who persuaded her to join forces. As Mike explains, "After getting together with her for an impromptu jam session, I was quite impressed with the quality of her song-writing and structure. C and I started to play as a duo called 'C' - to coffee houses, open mics, bookstores, just about anywhere that would let us play." The partnership continued to play as "C" for about a year, before they decided to expand to a full, 4-piece band. The additions of lead guitarist Jim Nichols and bassist Steven Jay brought the group to it's current lineup - as the duo "C" evolved into "Talisman The Band" and began playing Philadelphia-area clubs and bars. Clever combinations of acoustic and electric guitars, mixed with poignant and relatable lyrics, a solid beat, and great melodies that stick in your head, together created a great rock sound - and Talisman The Band started building a loyal fan base. Mike DeAngelis recalls, "When Jim and Steve joined the band, things really clicked. We played with and complimented each other very well. In 1996, we went into the studio and recorded our first two tracks: Burning Bridges and Comfortable Love. Unfortunately, shortly after, we decided to take a break." In the interim though, front woman C continued writing and performing acoustic solo work and collaborated with Nichols on a project called "Kitsch" -- a creative revisiting of some of pop music's most forgotten songs (remember "Thunder Island" by Jay Ferguson and "Shannon" by Henry Gross). And, THIS Is Now ... Now, Talisman has put the finishing touches on it's first full-length CD, The Wicked World's Come of Age. But, again, let's just backtrack a bit ... "In late 2006," Mike explains, "C, Jim, and I got together to remix Burning Bridges and Comfortable Love, with no expectations or pre-conditions. Jim and I were playing in separate cover bands, and C hadn't been playing at all. During the remix, we were inspired by the idea of recording some old songs. So, we contacted Steve, who was also excited by the prospect. We began rehearsing in the spring of 2007, and started recording later that summer." As C says, "The fire was lit and with Mike's simple phone call, Talisman rose again and we spent the next year recording music that was long overdue to be released." Songs like Daddy's Girl and Shadows are catchy instant classics that join the already memorable tracks Burning Bridges and Comfortable Love - making the band's choice of radio-worthy singles to highlight on the CD packaging difficult. Tell Me More About Talisman The Band Crystal "C" Eiswert, songwriter, vocals, guitar Principal songwriter, singer and acoustic guitarist C, is the youngest in a musically diverse family. Surrounded by her music-playing siblings, C started "pounding" on the piano at age 5, and wrote her first song by age 9. "Guitar playing came as a happy accident when my piano moved to Florida without me when I was in my early 20s," she explains. After a few music-less months, a guitar found itself into her hands, and C discovered the instrument that she should have been playing her whole life. C's non-traditional parents and much older siblings lent itself to a colorful, mixed bag of musical influences. Her earliest musical memory is her passion for the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." C's eclectic tastes continued with Ray Charles and Harry Chapin and then moved through the pop rock of the 1960s & '70s. Finally, the discovery of Indigo Girls' music in the late 1980s fueled her desire to learn acoustic guitar. C continues to be thrilled with the reunification of friendship and musicianship with "the boys" of Talisman The Band. She says, "I am looking forward to writing more material to play with them for years to come." Michael DeAngelis, drums and percussion Mike DeAngelis caught the music bug at age 12 when his brother, Chip, brought home the album A New World Record by ELO. "Shortly after that, I took an interest in drumming," Mike says, "also thanks in part to my brother, as he used to masterfully play the drum fill from 'Rock and Roll Band' by Boston on the car dashboard." Mike's musical epiphany occurred in 1980, when he heard the album 2112 by Rush. "It was Neil Peart's powerful and articulate drumming, that sealed my obsession with the drums." Soon after that, Mike bought his first drum set and started to play along to records. He joined his first band in 1984, and, he explains, "I discovered how satisfying it was to actually play music with other musicians." He continued to play in several cover bands until C and he met at work in the early 1990s. "Which brings us to where we are today," Mike says. "I hope you enjoy our music, because we certainly do!" Jim Nichols, lead guitar During the '90s, Jim was active in the Philadelphia scene, playing with the alt-rock band, Naked Twister. From the stage of the old Chestnut Cabaret to the Khyber Pass, Jim provided a full frontal assault on guitar using a Marshall half-stack and a Les Paul. The power and passion of Naked Twister earned them a "Street Beat" award for best live performance from Philadelphia rock radio station, WMMR. Naked Twister also worked with noted Philadelphia musician/composer, Ben Vaughn (of "Third Rock from the Sun" theme music fame), when he produced several tracks that ended up on the band's Bulkhead release. Following Naked Twister, Jim looked around for a new project and, answering an ad, found the genesis of Talisman -- with C and Mike DeAngelis. When Talisman's "break" turned into an 11-year hiatus, Jim kept his hand in the music scene by playing in cover bands. Jim has now traded his Marshall and Les Paul for a Stratocaster and a Fender amp. You can still hear the influences at work -- the rhythm guitar and power chords of Pete Townsend, the snarling leads of Angus Young and the icy, ethereal chords of Eric Johnson. This is where the fun is -- the way Jim's rock textures and atmospheres blend with the alternate acoustic tunings, mind-sticking melodies & lyrics and unusual chord progressions provided by C. Steven Jay, bass and vocals Steven Jay comes from a musical family -- most notably his father, whose piano playing he grew up listening to and watching with fascination. Steve started piano lessons in elementary school. By middle school, he had dropped lessons in favor of playing keyboard-centric classic rock from bands like The Doors and Pink Floyd. Steve enjoyed occasional moments of Rock & Roll glory in an assortment of grade school talent shows, but didn't join his first working band until college. He explains, "I played a Korg M1, and sung background vocals for three years in beer-filled fraternity basements." After college, Steve bought his first bass guitar, and began playing along to Rush songs, a continuing musical influence. He hooked up with a hard rock cover band in the '90s, playing bass and singing background vocals in bars. Then in 1995, responding to an ad in Trading Times, Steve met Mike DeAngelis and C, and joined what would then become Talisman The Band. Steve's biggest influences are still classic and progressive rock, but, he says, "I listen to everything."