Before Drop Top Alibi rocked out at The Rockpile (which you can read more about here) I had the chance to sit down with some of the band and get to know them a little better off stage. While they’re live performances indicate their edgy Rock N’ Roll stage presence (flowing hair and all), it was interesting to see how they’ve fused elements of classic rock into their daily lives. It begs the question, does Rock N’ Roll have a place in 2017? Drop Top Alibi is living proof that it does.
The current lineup of DTA members, featuring Brandon Gregory on lead vocals and guitar, Dylan Wykes as lead guitar and backup vocals, Luc Ricci on bass, and Anthony Pansino on drums, has only been together since 2016. However, Gregory and Wykes have been playing music together for at least six years, cycling through various roster changes.
Their most recent reincarnation was “Acidtone,” not to be confused with “acetone” (or any other form of nail polish remover). Gregory shares that the band decided to rebrand themselves after their last roster fell apart, and from the ashes, Drop Top Alibi was born. According to Gregory, “the name Drop Top Alibi is a bit of a word play, in short it means having a good time (drop top) but needing an alibi to get you out of it.”
The name change also served as a turning point for the band. Even though most of their current EP was recorded while they were known as “Acidtone,” their overall sound is a lot more rehearsed as Drop Top Alibi. While they stayed true to their “dark” and “moody” style, Drop Top Alibi is a lot groovier and more upbeat, more akin to dance rock.
This change in style is most evident in their lead single, “Holding The Gun.” The band reveals that this song was: “one of the first songs that came to the table as our sound was evolving into a groovier sound.” This evolution is also the result of Gilby Clarke’s magic touch. As both mentor and producer, Clarke has had a profound impact on Drop Top Alibi’s new direction. For “Holding The Gun,” in particular, the band shares that Clarke had them rewrite some of the verses to tap in to an edgier sound.
Last fall, Clarke flew into Toronto four days before his scheduled North American tour to hear Drop Top Alibi perform at MetalWorks. Clearly, he liked what he heard, and subsequently agreed to produce their self-titled EP. As a former guitarist for Guns N’ Roses, Kings of Chaos, and Rock Star Supernova, DTA aptly refers to their mentor as “an endless stream of Rock N’ Roll information and inspiration.” And DTA is definitely taking notes. “Whether the man is playing to 100,000 people with Guns N’ Roses or he is playing a little ol’ bar in Barrie, Canada, he is a prime example of what to strive for as a professional Rock N’ Roller.” If you don’t take their word for it, Clarke’s performance at The Rockpile, a little ol’ bar on the outskirts of Toronto, is a perfect example. (Read more about that here)
Being a Rock N’ Roll band in 2017 is not as glamorous as it was in the 1970s and 1980s, and Drop Top Alibi knows they have giant shoes to fill. The more challenging part will be making those shoes their own. DTA shares: “Besides the obvious financial challenges that strike all independent artists regardless of genre, the most challenging thing we’ve faced this year is solidifying a new lineup of musicians and carving out our own scene as a Rock N’ Roll band.” Of course, they aren’t alone in this struggle. Apart from Gilby Clarke’s guidance, the band has become part of a larger community of Southern Ontario rock bands, including The Road Heavy (mentioned in our last article).
For any other aspiring musicians who might be interested in joining this growing community of Canadian rockers, DTA has this to say:
We have some rules in the Drop Top camp (not many but a few):
Never say no. Always have a suggestion to move the idea forward;
Keep your groupʼs plans to yourselves and your camp;
Handle your drink;
Practice, Practice, PRACTICE;
Know your industry;
Donʼt be afraid to throw out old ideas and try new ones;
and above all else…Learn the value of a F*&K%NG favour.
The future for Rock N’ Roll, and Drop Top Alibi, is looking bright. After wrapping up their EP release tour, the band has plans to branch out, with contacts in California and Europe. In the upcoming years, the DTA hopes to “relentlessly play, write, record and spread our music as far as it can go.” It will be interesting to see how they continue to carve out their space in the genre of Rock N’ Roll throughout 2018 and into 2019. They have hinted that they have “big plans” for the future and according to them, “if we continue to crush our goals then the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish in five years.” Keep an eye out because these rock stars are definitely on the rise.