local music scene south carolina
ex·cel·lence noun \ˈek-s(ə-)lən(t)s\
: extremely high quality
This is where it gets easy for me because I am not a writer, a reviewer, or critic…simply put I am a fan of music and I have fallen in love. While I gathered up the timeline photos, researched the historical background and devoured an entire catalog of music a great sense of jealousy and loss came over me because I realized I wanted to be there – I wanted to experience this band from the beginning, go to the shows, watch them grow, change, succeed, then to get completely derailed when I realized the world as a whole would miss out on something so special and beautiful and finally to stand still in quiet resolution as I listen to the new material they are producing and realizing it has only gotten better and I am here now – so, lucky me! I was living on the west coast during the arch of Treadmill Trackstar’s early career but many throughout this state know and remember them as a part of their life and the music they have created stands as a testimony to originality, expression, and excellence. I want to thank the band members for allowing me this opportunity to showcase their history and just a fraction of the body of work they have created. They have asked me to be sure and mention that you can download all of their music for free at http://treadmilltrackstar.bandcamp.com/ On a personal note I admire their dedication to the music, the principle of creating, and their honesty and respect to both themselves as artists and their fan base.
Treadmill Trackstar’s combination of hotwired guitars, swirling cello and a powerful rhythm section creates a distinctive, hard to pin down, sound. The Detroit Free Press called their music "a colorful gush of grassroots pop [featuring] emotive vocals and bizarro lyrics,," We think that about sums it up.After a decade long break to ‘catch their breath,’ the band is back to finish what they started. And if not finish, at least add to a bit.
From 1994 until 1998, Treadmill Trackstar held the distinction of being one of the hardest working touring bands by spending over 200 nights a year searching out and destroying each and every venue across the land that would have them. The band traveled from coast to coast garnishing a loyal grassroots fan base won by hard work, solid songs and a true belief in what they were doing. The touring came to a climax in the summer of 1997 when Treadmill was lucky enough to hit the summer festival circuit with the likes of Beck, Moby and Iggy Pop and had the chance to perform for crowds of thirty thousand plus.
Treadmill self-released an album titled ‘Excessive Use of the Passive Voice’ in 1994 which garnered regional radio play for the standout song ‘Shouldn’t I Take,’ unheard of for an unsigned band.
All this hard work paid off in 1997 when Treadmill Trackstar was signed to the Atlantic Records imprint label Breaking Records. After a valiant attempt at rock and roll fame, the band was dropped a year later by Atlantic sighting poor sales. As Angelo says, “If we’d thought of that Okay Go video back in ’97, everything would have been different…” The band attempted to go on, but the diligent work ethic that had worked so well for them also took a toll on band members who decided to jump off the Treadmill in 1998 to pursue other interests.
Fast forward to 2007. A group of promoters contacted members of Treadmill Trackstar about getting back together to perform at a charity concert celebrating the legendary Columbia music venue, Rockafella’s. After much gnashing of teeth- Treadmill somehow made it onto the stage to perform to a sold out crowd. And that’s when things began to get interesting.
While Angelo, Tony and Heidi hadn’t played a note together in a decade, that first rehearsal felt like they’d never parted. They realized what it was they had loved so much about the band, and couldn’t think of a good enough reason not to bring it back to life. Treadmill now plans on continuing to perform sporadic shows and releasing new music funded directly from friends and fans only, an elaborate scheme that only a Treadmill fan could truly appreciate.
EVERYTHING TURNED OUT RIGHT…
In 2017 Treadmill Trackstar released their final recording titled Everything Turned Out Right. A six song EP that allowed them to go out showing everyone smart enough to give attention and listen just how good they were as musicians, performers, writers, and as a band. The release was coupled with a final farewell show at New Brookland Tavern in Columbia SC, which thanks to my brother, Hal Axson, my Son and myself were able to attend and enjoy in his stead. Having never seen them perform I was not about to miss this and they did not disappoint. I was able to speak with Angelo, Tony, Mike, and Heidi and I thanked them for their contributions to the soundscape of South Carolina
I still maintain Treadmill Trackstar is the best alternative pop band to come out of this state, this is a matter of personal taste I know but that’s how I feel. I hope I can say this about some unknown alternative pop band yet to come and on the day when I meet them I will be sure to spread a little Treadmill Trackstar their way, (just to be sure).
Angelo Gianni - Vocals/Guitars
John Furr - Guitar
Tony Lee - Drums
Heidi Brown Carey - Cello
Mike Mills - Bass
Chris Grigg - Bass
Katie Hamilton – Cello