OS2L: the time is now

One Second 2 Late

Newcastle's OS2L (front, from left): Rob Henderson, Brian Pisani, Steve Leca; (back) Derek Knox and Adam Wishak. Photo by Ryan Fujiki

The timing couldn’t be better for Newcastle band One Second 2 Late (OS2L). Having released their debut CD World Time Bomb on the SonyBMG indie label Red Ink on August 26, the band members just started a two-week, six-city tour opening for the JUNO-nominated group Hedley, flying out to play Winnipeg last night. The tour will bring the local punkpop outfit to Massey Hall in Toronto this Saturday, Oct. 18.

Having already played to a 2,000-plus capacity crowd while opening for Hedley last February at the Kool Haus club in Toronto, frontman Brian Pisani said he and his fellow band members are excited to be playing at the 2,753-seat Massey Hall, a heritage concert hall venerated for its acoustics.

“I believe that capacity-wise, it will be the biggest crowd we’ve played. But history-wise, Massey Hall is a dream come true,” he said.

Pisani spoke by phone last week, while returning home from a dinner out with his mother in celebration of his 22nd birthday. It was quite a week of celebrations for the lead vocalist, as the band’s Toronto show was close to sold out, and its single “Fear Of A Nation” was at #30 on the Canada Rock Chart. Adding to the festivities, he and bandmates Rob Henderson (guitar), Derrick Knox (drums), Steve Leca (bass) and Adam Wishak (guitar) are looking forward to the release of the video for “Fear Of A Nation,” which is being delivered for broadcast to MuchMusic and MTV this week.

“It feels awesome,” said Pisani of the single’s radio-play status after only four weeks on the charts. “We weren’t too sure how radio would receive us, but the song was received well, and hopefully we’ll keep moving up the chart.”

OS2L has come far from its early days, when it was simply a way to pass the time for a group of friends at Clarke High School. “Derrick actually started the band,” said Pisani. “Rob and I joined in Grade 10, in 2002.”

“We all grew up listening to our parents’ music: the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. And then we were also influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182 and of course, Sum 41, coming from Ajax,” he said of the band’s alternative rock sound.

The band is based in Newcastle, the hometown of both Knox and Henderson. Pisani is originally from Orono, but now lives in Newtonville, while the newest members, Leca and Wishak, both hail from Courtice. “We stole Adam and Steve from another band called Hero’s Day Off,” he said.

Since touring with the bands Faber Drive and Anti-Flag in Western Canada in August and September, OS2L has encountered a lot of new fans that don’t know where Newcastle is, according to Pisani. “We just tell people we live 45 minutes east of Toronto,” he said, laughing.

“But it’s really cool coming from a small town,” he noted. “A lot of people come from small towns, and we can relate to a lot of people. Most of the people coming to our shows are coming from out of town, from the suburbs. Some of our views are political, and our songs are a lot more relevant because we can relate to being from a small town.”

Pisani said the music scene in the Durham Region is vibrant, “Rides Again is a band from Durham that’s doing great. Hello Beautiful is doing great.  Durham Region has a great music scene. Bands like Sum 41, Not By Choice, and Summer Hero all come from here. We keep pumping out bands because there’s not much else to do here.”

In fact, it was after connecting with Sum 41 producer Greig Nori that OS2L got a record deal with SonyBMG. “Greig used to work with Sum 41,” said Pisani. “We had been bugging him for a couple of years. He finally came out to see us play; he actually came to Newcastle. We bribed him with an open bar tab at what was then JP’s [it’s now Wie Geht’s Amigos]. $700 later, he was our manager – it was a worthy investment!”

“When we started working with Greig, he had ties with Sony because his own band, Treble Charger, was on Sony. They had a studio, and gave it to us for free. So we recorded ‘Fear Of A Nation’ and then we recorded three more songs that [Billy Talent guitarist] Ian D’Sa worked on with us. Sony liked it, and it kind of just progressed. It snowballed,” he said.

And the snowballing continues, as OS2L begins an acoustic tour sponsored by “Whiskey Legends” Crown Royal, Canadian Club, Wiser’s and Forty-Creek, which is providing the band with a tour bus as they perform at LCBO stores and clubs in 15 cities starting Oct. 16 in Sudbury.

The LCBO tour will include a stop at the Peterborough LCBO at 879 Landsdowne St. W. at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29, and the Oshawa Center LCBO at 400 Gibb St., at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30. Pisani said the tour will also include a show at the club Le Skratch in Oshawa on Oct. 28.

When the real snow hits our area, Pisani said the band hopes to be farther south, touring in the U.S. over the winter. And also in the new year, OS2L will be releasing its second single from World Time Bomb. Updates on the band and its tour are available at MySpace.com/OS2L.

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