Years ago, Eye & I, a band that originated out of a New York movement called the Black Rock Coalition, was penniless because the act seemed too bizarre and sounded too futuristic to record company executives.
"What we were doing just seemed really radical to a lot of people," said Melvin Gibbs, who's in charge of "bass and stuff" and writes at least half of Eye & I's song material.Eye & I is opening for rap star Ice-T and his new hard-core metal band Body Count Friday, April 10, at Club DV8, 115 S. West Temple. Tickets are $15.50, available through all Smith'sTix locations. Shows are scheduled at 6:30 and 10 p.m. For further information, phone Club DV8, 539-8400.
"It's funny now, 'cause a lot of (our music) is like the commercial music now. There was a lot of resistance, too. People (who saw us) live really liked it, but the people who invest in paying for bands, they didn't really see the validity of investing in it for a while."
In the music biz in general, and in Eye & I's case in particular, "for a while" can mean as much as six years.
And much can change in six years. What at first seems "radical" can suddenly become widely accepted. Try, for instance, blending rock music with pop, jazz, heavy metal, funk and hip-hop components.
Consequently, the band's self-titled debut album has garnered rave reviews from The New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine, while critics' responses years ago would have been, most likely, "Come back when you know who you want to be."
Featuring lead singer DK Dyson, guitarist Gary Poulson, drummer and percussionist Richie Harrison, disc jockey J. Logic and Gibbs, the band embodies numerous styles.
However, don't expect chaos. Each song is a gem, especially the guitar-oriented cover version of the Lou Reed/Velvet Underground classic "Venus In Furs."
Eye & I's music is neither black nor white yet extremely colorful, musically fusing the backgrounds of its individual members.
"We kind of just go with the flow," said Gibbs. "It's really DK - she works the crowd. She's got the imagery down. It's just a combination of everybody's experiences together, and we just put it across. People seem to like it."
What exactly is there to like about Eye & I?
How about a solid slapping bass that's wild and driving, a crazy disk jockey who's spinning his records back and forth when you least expect it, guitars that can be extremely funky one minute and feature metal riffs the next, a drummer who's on a first-name basis with all beats and sub-beats from throughout the history of rock and a vocal daredevil who sounds like a grown-up Whitney Houston?
Rapper/actor Ice-T, who declined to be interviewed, formed his heavy metal group Body Count earlier this year. The song lyrics are primarily "geared toward black kids," he said during a press conference in New York.
Ice-T is working on his fifth solo rap project, possibly a double album, set for summer release. The co-star of "New Jack City" and "Ricochet" also has a new film scheduled for release July 3, "Looters," co-starring fellow rapper/actor Ice Cube ("Boyz N the Hood").