Shredding Faces with 1931
Churning metal into a knife with a blade that could puncture steel and leave its mark etched forever in the souls of the metal music loving youth has been attained by the hardcore death metal music smiths of Columbus, Ohio’s 1931. The five-member band formed in high school originally calling their project The Obituaries of 1931 after filming what seemed to be a “ghost” inside a house that was built in 1931.
Although the ghost caught on tape may remain an Unsolved Mystery, vocalist DJ Cosgrove added, “William Shatner was born in 1931, so I’m pretty sure everyone agrees that 1931 is the best year!” With some set backs and a new line up, the band only progressed, eventually solidifying into 1931, leaving the ghosts behind. This music isn’t for pussies. It takes balls to create and establish such face denting sounds of thrashing-time-signature-twisting-melodic music that can jog the brain into a state of visual hyperboles.
Combining early influences of Dream Theater, Symphony X, and King Crimson with newer influences Dead To Fall, Animosity, and Through The Eyes Of The Dead is not easily achieved. It has taken time and dedication from each of the band members to encompass their dreams.
Eighteen-year-old Chaz Frazer pounds on his Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals, and keeps his “slick legs” alive with DW 7000 pedals. Devin, 19, slays his Ibanex Prestige RG1570, Peavey 6505+ head, Randall Cabinet guitar and assures “you’ll get caught up in the crossfire!”
Jason Han, 19, contributes with his Gibson SG, Line6 POD guitar through a Peavey Roadmaster head and Peavey 5150 Cabinet after warming up from eating General Tso Chicken!
Kevin Tolliver, 18, slaps and taps his Ibanex Sound Gear 5-string bass, Fender bxr200 with a Boss tuner pedal, while myspace girls cheer him on!
Twenty-year-old DJ bestows the fury of his articulate, flexible vocal variations to the mic and on the sideline awaits a cooler of some natty ice and a strand of Laffy Taffy! DJ promises “if you aren’t in the front, I’ll embarrass the hell out of you until you come to the front, then I promise you, I will get you having some fun!”
1931 has shared the stage with a number of area hardcore bands as well as Chiodos, The Devil Wears Prada, The Heartland and others. When it comes to writing songs, the music portion falls primarily into the hands of Devin and Chaz, although the entire band “pitches in a lot to help create the final product.” The man behind the lyrical content is DJ.
“Somethin’ that not too many people know is I get a lot of my inspiration for my lyrics from movies, but most of the ideas come from either my heart or an idea I feel connected to what I see in a movie or on TV that I feel the need to express in our music,” said DJ.
When inquiring about religious allusions such as in “In Shepards We Shall Be” (“satan is coming, and he’s coming for me / but satan and his warriors will have to return to hell without me / for all demons die, but an angel always lives on…”) DJ stated, “In no way do we label ourselves as a Christian band, but I do have that relationship with God. I don’t feel the need to preach it to people as some do, but I feel if I release it in some subconscious level in my songs, it gives me so much emotion into the writing of my songs, and when we play it live, it allows me to sing it the way I wrote it, rather than just being random words on a page, like some bands are nowadays.”
DJ mentioned that he also ties in family issues with his writing. “People work their asses off at a corporate office to support their family, but they get wrapped into their work while their family waits for attention. It saddens me, but this is what the world has become. Sometimes it takes something drastic to realize that you have family all along that loves you.”
Between touring, practicing, and writing new material Chaz works in the kitchen at a nursing home, DJ baby sits his nephew Cash, Kevin works at Vavoline, Jason goes to college full time, and they all enjoy some Guitar Hero, making fun of each other, and pranking each other! DJ said, “we’re just living a dream of a DIY band. Having fun. Playing music.”
“Hopefully when kids see us, they know the lyrics and completely understand that you only have one life, you don’t have time for hatred or fear. Live it with love, and drive to excel and the ability to pass onto others as your life passes before your eyes.”
1931 played a final reunion show at the High Five in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, December 28, 2007.
Written and Photography By Neil Shumate, Copyright OOTB Publications, 2007