In the wake of Price Tag, I recorded a lot of music by myself, but the desire to play in a band was still strong. In seventh grade, I formed High Voltage with Josh Brooks, then my best friend, and Hutch Benton, a fellow percussionist in the school band. Although Hutch was a drum-savant, Josh had very little aptitude to play bass guitar as he was poised to do. We practiced and recorded for a few months, but eventually Josh stopped showing up, leaving Hutch and me to find a new bassist. It's important to note that unlike Price Tag, High Voltage was a band formed around practicing and improving. Almost all of the recordings Price Tag ever made became albums. High Voltage never produced an album. Instead, we produced only one demo. We heard of a potential bass player through my mother. One of her co-workers had a son, Chad Walker, who suposedly played bass and tuba. Hutch and I recorded this demo to entice him to join us.
Chad Walker heard the demo and agreed to join. Although he had relatively little bass guitar training, he had musical training and was quick to learn. At this time, especially after finding another band with the same name online, we decided that High Voltage was not right for us. Our new name, Positive Rail, came from an internet search related to our previous name; a positive rail is one half of a voltage supplier for a power supply unit.
We were extremely passionate about our music. We practiced all the time and the three of us were always challenging each other to get better. After about four months, during the summer of 2000, we played our first concert and recorded our first album, Point of Distortion. We used this album as a promotional tool, giving copies to everyone we could think of and collecting feedback for improvement. We continued to hone and refine our music. Chad and I started working on writing music together, exploring ways to diversify it. At the same time, I began recording Turkey's Revenge which pushed my own music in a weirder direction.
Over the next year, Positive Rail became a tightly-knit musical unit. We played for school functions, such as fundraisers, talent shows, and basketball games. The only thing we could do better than play our signature set list was improvise. A large portion of our practice became hour-long jams. I look back on this time with extreme fondness, but we had set up a trajectory for ourselves that would lead to our demise.
In eighth grade, Hutch became involved with a crowd at school that encouraged him to start smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. This, in the eyes of Chad and me, was in direct contradiction to our musical mission. Sure, it seems a bit harsh now, but at the time we dreamed of getting a recording contract and living a straight-laced rock n' roll lifestyle built on our instrumental technique. As a result, we continued to push Hutch even harder, specifically in regards to his comprehension of time signatures and meters other than 3/4 and 4/4. At the same time, Chad and I started recording some music by ourselves as SeedS to experiment with stranger ideas.
In our last months together in 2001, we worked very hard to polish a second album, Turpatine. We viewed Turpatine as a remake of Point of Distortion although their track lists are mostly dissimilar. Immediately following its completion, Chad and I kicked Hutch out to pursue SeedS as a full-time duo.
Two years later, we played with Hutch one more time, but the magic was completely gone. Turpatine is, and probably always will be, one of my favorite musical accomplishments.