NEPA Scene Staff

Earshot, feat. Wilkes-Barre guitarist Aaron Fink, tackles pandemic depression in new music video

Earshot, feat. Wilkes-Barre guitarist Aaron Fink, tackles pandemic depression in new music video
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From a press release:

Hard rock band Earshot, best known for such hits as “Get Away,” “Headstrong,” and “Wait,” started the new year by releasing their first original song in five years on Jan. 1, appropriately titled “Been a Long Time,” and on Feb. 4, they followed it up with a new music video as the song climbs the Billboard charts.

The video, which was produced and edited by lead vocalist and guitarist Wil Martin in his home studio, opens by addressing the increase in depression and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic, noting that federal surveys show that 40 percent of Americans are grappling with at least one mental health or drug-related problem, with young adults being hit harder than any other age group.

He told BraveWords that he hopes it “serve as a reminder to everyone out there that they are not alone and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel… even if it’s not quite visible just yet.”

“Fans immediately resonated with the song emotionally and mentally, I think, because they could tell I was also going through the same thing. It’s like talking to someone who understands you, who can empathize with you, who reassures you that you’re going to be OK,” he continued.

“That’s why I felt it was important to put together a video that connected with our audience on a deeper visual level as well.”

The Los Angeles quintet’s new lineup features guitarist Andy Stafford, drummer Mike Sylvia, and two Northeastern Pennsylvania musicians – Aaron Fink, best known as the founding guitarist of Wilkes-Barre rock bands Breaking Benjamin and Lifer, and bassist John Novak, who was the vocalist/guitarist of Wilkes-Barre alternative rockers Down to Six and currently plays in Fink’s solo band.

Ironically, the track itself, which Fink described as “a melodic, hard-rocking song with dark undertones and smart lyrics,” was written and recorded remotely, with band members quarantining in their homes on separate coasts, a situation that Martin said “wasn’t ideal but necessary.”

“We worked remotely and recorded our parts separately,” he explained. “It wasn’t the perfect situation, but it’s what we’ve got to work with at the moment. Thankfully, we all work well together and are experienced in the studio, so the creativity and energy levels were just as high as if we were together in one room. I think Earshot fans will recognize the same melodically-driven rock songs that we’ve become known for, but with a bit more mature and refined edge.”

Since its release, the single became the No. 2 most added song on the Billboard Mainstream and Active Rock charts, and it is currently among the tracks receiving the most increased airplay on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

Marking their fifth studio release since forming in 1999, Earshot’s new collection of material will be disbursed throughout 2021 as a series of singles, the group’s first original music since their 2015 independently-released EP “Aftermath.” Prior to that, their first two albums featured songs charting in the Billboard Top 200, with their debut single, “Get Away,” reaching No. 4 on the U.S. Active Rock radio charts and staying in the Top 100 for over 64 weeks. Since then, several band members have been busy working on solo and/or other projects, including Martin, who recently sang lead vocals on George Lynch and Jeff Pilson’s cover of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” on their 2020 album “Heavy Hitters.”

Martin and Fink, who met when Earshot and Breaking Benjamin played shows together years ago and have since stayed in touch, both produced “Been a Long Time,” and it was mixed by Cedrick Courtois and mastered by Rob Brill. Fans got their first taste of the current lineup on May 15, 2020 when they released their version of Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning 1998 hit “Uninvited” as a way to tide people over until this new single arrived.

Fink, the former lead guitarist of multi-platinum-selling Hollywood Records artists Breaking Benjamin, has written and recorded four solo albums in four years: “Wolves & Butterflies,” “Galaxies,” “Heavy Feathers,” and “Saint Sylvania.” He is currently a producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and looks onward to adding to an already extensive rock catalog.

During his tenure in Breaking Benjamin, the band had certified sales of over six million albums, six million singles, and performed thousands of shows in the United States and Canada’s largest concert venues and festivals. They also had multiple No. 1s on rock radio, and their platinum album “Dear Agony” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts. At the time, Breaking Benjamin appeared on a slew of late-night talk shows hosted by Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Craig Kilborn, and Carson Daly. In the late 2000s, Fink had a brief run in the nationally acclaimed, A&M-signed roots rock band The Badlees, which ultimately led to him joining singer/songwriter Bret Alexander’s current band, Gentleman East.

Fink is also a founding member of Wilkes-Barre nu metal band Lifer (originally Strangers with Candy), who won MTV’s Ultimate Cover Band Contest in 2000 and went on to have Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson produce their debut record on Universal/Republic Records. Lifer also had their song “Breathless” featured on the RIAA gold-certified soundtrack for “The Scorpion King” and, more recently, the band reunited in 2018 and released their first new song in 18 years, “The Start of Something Else,” on March 31, 2020.

Formed in 1999 with singer Wil Martin collaborating with original bassist Guy Couturier, drummer Dieter Hartman, and guitarist Scott Kohler, Earshot released their debut album, “Letting Go” (produced by David Kahne and mixed by Andy Wallace), in 2002 on Warner Bros. Records. Guitarist Mike Callahan and replacement bassist Johnny Sprague joined the heavy modern rock outfit shortly after the album was completed.

During months of extensive touring with the likes of Hoobastank, Shinedown, Staind, Kid Rock, and Stone Temple Pilots, their debut single, “Get Away,” reached No. 4 on the U.S. Active Rock radio charts and stayed in the Top 100 for over 64 weeks, while “Headstrong” was featured on the “Queen of the Damned” soundtrack alongside Disturbed, Deftones, and Marilyn Manson.

In 2003, Earshot returned to the studio to begin work on their second album, “Two,” produced by Johnny K., mixed by Rich Costey, and released on Warner Bros. Records in 2004. Their breakout single “Wait” reached No. 9 on U.S. Active Rock radio charts while also being featured on the hugely successful “Madden NFL 2005” and “MX vs. ATV Unleashed” video game soundtracks.

After parting ways with Warner Bros. Records in 2005, Earshot signed with Indegoot/Fontana/Universal Recordings in 2007 and began work on their third album, “The Silver Lining,” produced by Brian Garcia and Wil Martin and mixed by Mike Watts. The album spawned the band’s fifth radio-charting single, “MisSunderstood.”

In 2015, after a long hiatus from the music scene, Earshot independently released their long-awaited fourth studio recording, “Aftermath,” produced by Wil Martin and mixed by Sam Hughes. The five-song mini-LP launched with the release of the EP’s first single, “Now That It’s Over,” and concluded with an intimate rerecorded acoustic performance of “Fall Apart,” previously released on their second and most beloved album, “Two.”