The Atlanta-based quintet breaks new ground and addresses new challenges on its latest album, Graffiti the World. The collection is truly the work of combined contributions from each individual member of the band. “It’s five people getting’ together and trying to do the music that they want to hear,” says front man Danny Alexander. “Everybody contributed. You always have a vision of what you want to do and it never really comes out the way you plan it, but the end result is really good. You’re just constantly trying to put out what you feel.” The final result of their combined efforts evokes a more positive and inspired feeling to the record. Formed in the late ‘90s, pioneering mash-ups of scorching rock and searing rap, Rehab released its debut album, Southern Discomfort in 2000, filled with an array of guest stars including Cee-Lo, Goodie Mob and Cody Chestnutt. The album spun off the top 15 modern rock hit "It Don’t Matter" and sold over 140 thousand units. This success enabled the band to kick off a 2 year national tour supporting the Vans Warped Tour and bands like Kotton Mouth Kings and Linkin Park. Then, three years ago, in the wake of diverging creative, personal and financial points of view, the group splintered. While facing down his own personal demons,Danny brought together a new version of the band, which has delivered, Graffiti the World. “I did a lot of observing and lyrically sat down for a while and thought about what was going on around me, what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it,” Danny says. This album is a documentary of the station you are in life and trying to get to the next area or stop."
The musical muscle of Rehab comes from four long-time professional musicians. Lead guitarist, Mike Hartnett, is a veteran of Atlanta studio sessions with vast credits that include Pink, Outkast, Nelly, Killer Mike, and many more. He’s known Danny since 1998. “Once he left the old group, we reworked songs, then wrote news one,” Mike recalls. “;And everyone had more to say about what they wanted in the production.” Danny says of his longtime friend, “We kind of call him the alien -you can’t ever tell what’s going on in his mind. He talks in word association. He’ll speak back at you in some crazy trip. He’s one of the best guitar players in Georgia; you never get the same solo twice.”Anchoring down the bottom are bassist Hano Leathers and drummer Chris Hood. “Hano, to me, is the backbone of the whole operation,” Danny says of the bass player, a founding member of rock bands Prozak and Belloch. “He’s logical, which is fitting because he’s a bass player. He plays the whole groove and pulls everything together. He’s also a very good businessman, and awesome human being and he plays hell of a bass.” Danny is especially fond of Chris, a veteran of several Athens, GA bands over the past decade, including: The Sounds of Motown, Aftermath, and Atomic Cafe. “He’s a six foot five man-child, a real nice personality. He’s almost innocent, and has no idea of malice. He can say things so honest sometimes, he blows people off their feet. And he’s really talented as a drummer.”Last, but hardly least, there’s rhythm guitarist Foz, who’s worked in the past with World Soul, Soybase, Ying-Yang Twins, Lil’ Jon, and Bonecrusher. He rates as the group’s bonafide rock star, and every band should have one. “He’s got that whole attitude down,” Danny says. “He’s definitely a conqueror.”
With such a powerful line-up in place, it’s no surprise that Danny was inspired as he’s never been before. “These guys have really come up when I was down and picked me up. I’m thankful for it.” The songs on Graffiti the World reflect that newfound creative wellspring. “A lot of time, I’ve been guilty of over-thinking things, trying to say the right thing so much, I’ve come off a little judgmental,” Danny admits. “I hope I never sounded like that because I want to make positive stuff that people can relate to and feel good about. I don’t want plant ugly thoughts in people’s heads, there’s enough of that going around.”
The album’s title track looks for those life affirmations in street art. The song was influenced by, of all things, Simon ;Garfunkel and their line in “Sounds of Silence” about “the words of a prophet written on a subway wall.” “I always loved that,” Danny says. I kind of had this idea of kids doing graffiti and how it’s against the law. But, if you think about it, the earth was once the most beautiful place until somebody graffitied it with buildings, then the skies with satellites and the air with airplanes. It’s a cycle and people get caught up trying to break those cycles and the next thing you know, some kid’s getting arrested for spraying a wall."Other songs on the album include “Last Tattoo,” “Bump,” and “Running Out of Time,” all produced by Hartnett. Also, one of Danny’s favorites, “This Town,” is filled with irony, considering he left his own hometown in order to confront his demons and what made him tick. He says of the track, “it’s really close to what my ideal of style of music is for me. . .Rehab music.” For Rehab, Graffiti the World is a band’s bid to cover the world with special sounds, seeking the dark and light within, asking questions and perhaps, sometimes, finding the right answers. And Danny says he knows well he can’t do that alone. Along with the help of not only his band members, he collaborated with A-list producers/mixers Billy Hume, whose credits include the Ying Yang Twins, David Banner, and Bonecrusher, and Phil Tan whose worked with the Neptunes, Snoop, and Mariah Carey.
“I’m still, of course, a selfish artist,” he laughs. “I still have my ultimate plan, but it’s not necessarily what needs to go down. These guys have their own thing they like to be doing right now. They’ve all helped out so much. I’m really lucky to be where I am.”
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