“I just wanna have some fun tonight,” Jacob Dryden declares. “I’m gonna tear down these walls, ’cause tonight I’m a wrecking ball.”
Those words come from “Tonight (I’m a Wrecking Ball)”, the track that kicks off Sticks & Stones, the latest long-player by Dryden’s band Quickness. The song’s party-ready lyrics and sing-along chorus may seem single-minded when taken at face value. However, they carry a seize-the-moment message that is central to the Vancouver-based artist’s songwriting.
It was a hard-won lesson. In the years leading up to the new record, Dryden lived through the dissolution of his marriage and the death of his long-time friend, Ray Garraway, who was Quickness’s founding drummer.
“It’s about death and rebirth, basically,” Dryden says of the concepts that inform Sticks & Stones, which was recorded mostly at the frontman’s own Song Lab Recording Studio. Referring specifically to the emotionally charged melodic rocker “Emergency”, he notes that “it’s about being in a scenario where you’re trying to open your heart up, and you’re trying to establish trust and build a foundation for a loving relationship again. That’s definitely a big theme on the record.”
Heady topics aside, Sticks & Stones—slated for release on March 20 2020 —is an accessible mix of introspective tunes and flat-out rock anthems. The latter category includes the single “Miracle”, a pulse-quickening blast of adrenaline built around fist-pumping guitar riffs and hammer-of-the-gods drumming. “Miracle” was mixed by Vancouver studio legend Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson), and its crowd-pleasing sound is a taste of what keeps fans coming back to see Quickness live on stage.
Dryden estimates that he plays between 150 and 180 shows a year, and he’s eager to get back on the road to promote Sticks & Stones and connect with the band’s ever-growing legion of listeners. For him, that eagerness is rooted in the same spirit that informs his songwriting and drives everything else he does. As he sings on “Courage”: “You need courage, to chase your desire/You only get one life.”
Jacob Dryden: lead vocals, guitar,
Jim McLaren: vocals, guitar, keyboards,
Shawn Moran: bass, vocals,
Phil Gardner: drums, vocals, samples
The band’s singer songwriter Jacob Dryden also recently scored the award winning CBC Radio documentary The Coming Zombie Apocalypse, as well as the recently broadcast CBC Documentary Distant Future Warnings.
“Quickness, a new band with a punk attitude but accomplished playing, convincing emotion and a selection of good, varied songs.” Dec. 28 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Quickness, with it’s combination of multi-talented musicians delivers a soulful Incubus-like sound with the heart and drive of Stone Temple Pilots. Their seamless melodies never tire of twisting and turning.” Oct 20 2011 Danica Steward / Toronto Rock Music Examiner
“Album of the week ”Quickness: Anthems For Your Ghettoblaster, The Province Newspaper, August 1 2011 Vancouver, BC, Canada
“Quickness is blessed with a talent for writing concise and cohesive songs, smartly contructed and simply stated… As well, Jacob Dryden’s vocals are impassioned and his guitar-playing also suggests a Jimi Hendrix influence, which adds an extra dimension to the band. Quickness sounds more versatile and flexible than it’s rather narrow description indicates.” The Province Newspaper, July 30 2011