HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/21/13) – The Hopkins County music scene is expanding by leaps and bounds. As the scene develops and grows, local musicians continue to support each other. As a result, a fresh atmosphere open to all types of expression is being created. Whereas some artists may have shied away from our community in the past, this new and inviting sense of musical comradery is drawing in a variety of talented acts from all over the region.
Due to this ever-growing musical expansion, a newly reformed and renamed band recently took to the stage for the “first time” in Madisonville. Be that as it may, many members of this group have been rocking Hopkins County for several years. You might remember seeing them in the past as Too Far Gone or Bad Trip. So, while their latest project, Fighting Fate, is new, they’re no stranger to the local scene.
The Sugg Street Post had a chance to talk with Fighting Fate after a recent show at Elite Tattoo Lounge in Madisonville and found out what they are looking to do with their music in our area.
Jess – Well, why don’t you all introduce yourselves and fill me in on what role each of you take on in Fighting Fate.
Timmy – My name is Timmy Armstrong, and I play lead guitar and do some vocals.
Jonathan – I’m Jonathan Adamson. I'm the lead singer.
Carlos – My name is Carlos Hightower, and I play bass and do some backup vocals.
Brian – My name is Brian Greer. I pretty much just stand there and look good. [everyone laughs] I play a little guitar, too.
Taylor – I’m Taylor Sanders, and I am just filling in for a little while until these guys get a full-time drummer on board.
Jess – You guys just changed your name, is that right?
Timmy – Yeah, we just changed our name from Too Far Gone to Fighting Fate.
Luke – Are you guys all from Madisonville?
Brian – I am.
Taylor – Originally, yes.
Jonathan – I’m from Grove Center, Kentucky and I’ve lived in Sturgis, Kentucky for most of my life.
Carlos – I’m from the good ole’ U-S-of-A. Right here in Madisonville, born and raised.
Taylor – ‘MERICA! [everyone laughs]
Jess – How long have you all been together?
Timmy – We played together six years ago as Too Far Gone. We played as Too Far Gone for about two years or so. Sean Goodman and my brother, Jason Armstrong, were playing with us back then. Eventually, we just had a parting of ways. Before that, Carlos, Brian, Brad Brantley, and I had a band called Bad Trip. This is going way back to when Screams Go Silent and Too Weak to Notice were on the scene. So this has been awhile ago.
Brian – God, man, we were in Bad Trip in like 2001 or 2002.
Jess – That was awhile ago. You guys have been together for a minute.
Brian – Timmy used to be a big bully back when we were in middle school.
Timmy – I don’t remember that.
Brian – He was a bully. Then I learned he could play guitar so I started hanging out with him, even though he was a bully.
Carlos – I was always black. [everyone laughs] Just black.
Timmy – Actually, one of our first shows was at Kyle Yates’ house. Chad Florida had me up playing until like four o’clock in the morning. At that point, I was just playing by myself. Chad kept saying, “Play this! Play this! Play this!” I just kept pumping it out, so he just kept making requests.
Jess – What genre would you all consider your music?
Timmy – Man, I really don’t know. We are a really good mix of things. We covered a Johnny Cash song tonight.
Brian – We have our own rendition of "Folsom Prison Blues." We start out with the original style and then we rock into our version, which is a little heavier. It’s pretty cool.
Jess – How many of your songs are original compared to covers?
Timmy – Right now, we’re doing a lot more covers because we’ve only been playing together for like eight days.
Brian – Yeah, eight days as this band.
Jess – Eight days?
Taylor – We literally had four or five practices before the show tonight. This is our first show together.
Jess – What are some of the other covers you guys have been working on?
Timmy – We have been working on "For You" by Staind, "Killing in the Name" by Rage [Against the Machine], "The Red" by Chevelle, and some songs by Breaking Benjamin. We also do a few Deftones covers. We cover "Cold" by Evans Blue and "Cold" by Crossfades.
Brian - We do a lot of cold songs.
Jonathan – Yeah, you have to have a jacket on to listen to us. [everyone laughs]
Luke – What do you guys want to do with your music?
Timmy – We just want to play and have a good time. We want the audience to have a good time too. That’s what we’re all about. We play what everybody wants to hear.
Brian – If we were to play a show and someone said, “Hey, next time play this song,” we’ll do our best to learn that song and play it at the next show.
Jess – So, you mentioned earlier that this was your first show as a group?
Brian – Officially, yes.
Luke – How do you think it went?
Timmy – I think it went really well, but my brother messed up the entire sound system.
Carlos – I told you, sound.
Jess – What was the sound issue?
Timmy – He doesn’t know what he’s doing. [everyone laughs]
Jess – Taylor, why do you think that music is important?
Taylor – It’s important to me because I’ve played drums since I was 9-years-old. I’m 22 now. As lame as it sounds, my mom always said as soon as she got pregnant with a boy that she knew he was going to be the best drummer in the world. I know that sounds so lame. Have you guys ever seen the movie Hocus Pocus? There is this scene where that kid plays a drum set with a tie-dyed thing on it. The scene is like two seconds long. I saw that thing when I was four and I was like, “Mom! Drum set! Christmas! Yeah!” You know what I’m saying? [everyone laughs] It’s been a wicked ride since then.
Jess – Why is music important to the community at large?
Taylor – It brings people together. So many people have a foul opinion of this area simply because they don’t reap what’s actually in this town. I’ve lived in Nashville, and yeah it’s freakin’ dope, but there are things to do here. You know what I mean? I think music can bring people together to realize that.
Jess – Agreed.
Timmy – That actually runs into what I was going to say. As an individual, it is important to me because I like to tell stories based on reality. I don’t like to tell fictional stories. That would kind of sell the wrong thing. If you can’t talk about what you’ve lived through, then why say anything at all? A lot of the songs that we play are about stuff that we can actually relate to. As an individual, I’m not going to listen to something that I can’t relate to. I play stuff that I feel. It’s like Boscoe France when he’s playing his guitar. If he doesn’t feel it whenever he’s playing, he’s not going to play it. I’m kind of the same way.
Jess – Why do you think art is so important to our community?
Timmy – Actually, it’s for the same reason. Music tells stories. Whenever people hear a story that they can relate to, they realize that they are not the only ones going through certain situations in life. When you write a song, if it’s the right song, then it can steer people into a better direction. For instance, if someone is contemplating suicide and you’ve written a song that puts things in a positive light, then it might affect them in a positive way. If you save one person, then you’ve done your job.
Jess – How about you Jonathan?
Jonathan – Well, for me, I’m kind of an addict. As a singer, looking out into a crowd that is having a good time and hearing them sing a song that I’m singing, that’s just like a drug for me. I love that. It’s kind of like what Timmy was saying before. For us to be able to write about our everyday life, put something together, and for somebody else to like what we’re playing, for me, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not just about having a good hook or melody in a song, but creating something that actually has some substance. That’s what we want to do with what we write and play.
Jess – Why do you think music is important to this community of people?
Jonathan – Hanging out in the community is one way I can connect. I used to go to Casa [Mexicana] all the time because I loved hearing music, no matter what band was playing. I think that if we get back to that point, people from young to old can enjoy music as a whole. We’re enjoying this concert right now. It’s peaceful. It’s a good time, and that’s what it’s all about. There is so much hate and negativity in the world right now. Music brings people together and it creates a positive vibe. That’s what this world needs.
Jess – Carlos, it’s your turn my friend.
Carlos – I’ve played lots of shows in my life. I’ve seen one thing across the board, and that’s family. You know what I mean? Even if we didn’t know the kid coming to see us play, his hatred for the world, the pain that he’s gone through, it all goes away whenever he’s there. You know what I mean? We can help you stand up and get over what you’re going through. It’s no longer the outside world. You become a part of the family. I think it’s better for the community because it brings people together. It really is a family. That’s the way people feel whenever they leave a show.
Jess – And that’s the way it should be.
Carlos - You might meet somebody that you’ve never met before, but they’re the coolest person ever. You might meet one of your best friends at a show.
Timmy – Music breaks down boundaries, is what it amounts to.
Jess – OK Brian, tell me a little bit about why music is important in your life.
Brian – Individually, what music means to me…
Timmy – …is onion rings. [everyone laughs]
Brian – No, onion rings give me gas and there’s a difference. As cliché as it sounds, music runs through my veins. Music is life. It’s everything to me. You can go as far back as my great-grandfather, who, believe it or not, was a barber in a barbershop quartet.
Jess – That’s cool!
Brian – Yes, and my grandfather played guitar and piano, and my father plays guitar. It’s in my blood. My whole family is all about music. Without music, life would be so boring. I mean, think about it. When you get in your car, what’s the first thing you do? You turn on the radio. When you go home, if there is nothing on TV, what do you do? Turn on the radio. If you didn’t have music, there would be such a huge void in your life. You would be bored. To me, music is life. Music makes everything.
Jess – What about the community? Why is it important to everybody in this community?
Brian – Music breathes life into your community. It brings people together. None of us would be here tonight if there wasn’t music. I’m going to break it down even smaller, too. Band mates–these guys here are my best friends. If they weren’t in a band with me, they’d be a buddy. When you’re in a band, your band mates are your best friends. You can count on them, no matter what. They’ve always got your back. If I mess up, I know that somebody else will fill in and cover me. It brings all of us together. Music is awesome. It’s everything.
Timmy – If more people would play music instead of politics, more people would get along.
Luke – How do you think the music scene could be improved in Madisonville?
Timmy – For one, they could stop with the liquor sales ending at midnight, because that pushes bands out of bars. We could play a lot more than what we do if the sales didn’t stop at 12.
Brian – I’ve read a lot of the stuff on the Sugg Street Post and you’ve always asked every band why they picked their name. You didn’t ask us why we picked our name yet.
Jess – Why did you all go with Fighting Fate?
Brian – I’m proud of where our name comes from. I’ve been in a band with four out of five of these guys at one point or another. As we said earlier, we kind of split up, went our separate ways, and lived different lives. We all parted ways but we keep coming back together for the music. It’s as if fate keeps trying to take us all in different directions. We are literally fighting our own fate to come back together to play music as a group. Carlos even became a gypsy and traveled the country.
Jess – Where all were you “gypsying” around Carlos? I’m curious.
Carlos – I was actually playing guitar for Roadrunner Records and Metalblade [Records].
Taylor – Two huge record labels, like massive.
Carlos – I got on the internet and talked to this guy who was scouting. I went on the road with four other guys. We wrote and sold songs to bands.
Luke – What were some of the bands you worked with?
Carlos – We did some work for As I Lay Dying, Daath, and others.
Jess – Where were the two companies based out of?
Carlos – They are based out of Altanta, Georgia. That’s where Daath got picked up by Roadrunner.
Jess – Which states did you travel through?
Carlos – I went from here, to Texas, to New Jersey. Jersey’s metal scene is totally different. We got to meet Shadows Fall on the road. They are really good. It’s amazing, because they are a big band, but they play smaller venues than what we played here today.
Jess – A lot of bands I’ve talked to prefer the smaller venues.
Timmy – I do.
Brian – I prefer them when playing and when listening. I don’t like going to Bridgestone [Arena in Nashville, TN]. You sit a mile away from the stage. I like a more personal experience.
Jess – You need that feedback from the audience, and when they’re in your face, you get it.
Luke – Is there anything else you all would like to say, or any shout outs you would like to make?
Timmy –Big props to Boscoe France. He is a legend.
Taylor – He’s a bad a**.
Timmy – He’s one of the most awesome guitarists I’ve ever known. Everything that I play probably has something to do with him. Watching him play as a kid is pretty much what influenced me to even play. I probably wouldn’t be playing guitar right now if it wasn’t for his influence on me.
You can keep up with Fighting Fate on Facebook by clicking this link.
Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jeff Harp