A ‘scenic’ look at San Diego band Denver Harbor

In Music


If you were to ask most aspiring musicians if they would be satisfied with a 7-year career, two trips out on the Vans Warped Tour, a video on MTV, substantial radio play and the sale of more than 400,000 albums, chances are they would say yes.

But that is not the case for former Fenix*TX front man Will Salazar. The 2002 break-up of Fenix*TX left Salazar and bandmate Chris Lewis with some newly written music and the urge to find a new band to play them.

While working on album artwork for the band F.o.N. graphic artist Shauna Salazar (Will’s Wife), introduced the talented brothers Aaron and Ilan Ruben to her husband.

With the addition of Aaron (bass) and Ilan (drums), Will (vocals/guitar) and Chris (guitar) now had a band with no shortage of talent.

At just 16-years-old Ilan holds claim to the title of "Best Undiscovered Drummer Under 18" by Modern Drummer magazine.

And under the tutelage of Blink 182’s Travis Barker, landed himself in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest musician ever to play at Woodstock, 12.

But the kid dubbed as a "schizophrenic musical genius" by his bandmates isn’t weighed down by his early success.

"There’s no pressure when you know you’re good at what you do" Ilan said. "But I’m always trying to get better."

With all the musical pieces in place the band still didn’t have a name.

After compiling a list of potential monikers, Salazar posted them on an Internet forum frequented by former Fenix*TX fans and asked them to chose.

Denver Harbor was the name chosen by fans, although Salazar admitted he was partial to the runner-up Dirty Sanchez.

The San Diego based rock group has been hard at work since their first show in March of 2003.

After releasing their independent album "Extended Play" in April of 2004, Universal Records signed them to a contract in June.

"We got signed on a Friday, went in the studio for pre-production on Monday and started recording the following Monday," Aaron said. "The day after mastering [the album] we went on tour. It’s been non-stop for the last couple months."

In their short existence, Denver Harbor has toured with Sugarcult, Story Of The Year, Flogging Molly and most recently Lit.

Ideally they’d like to be out on the road with the Foo Fighters and The Mars Volta, more out of respect for their creativity and open-minded fans rather than the similarity of their music.

"Really though, I’d just like to tour and get out on the road with anyone," said Will.

While out on tour their full-length debut "Scenic" hit the shelves in October.

The release of "Scenic" has garnered mixed reviews claiming that the songs are too different from one another.

But that was the intention according to Aaron.

"No matter how distinct the sound may be, it just gets boring when a bands’ songs sound the same," he said.

"Obviously all of are songs have a link, but I can’t say there are two songs on the album that sound the same," added Ilan. "And I’m proud of that.

The album is a fusion of hard-core punk, ska, and rock. Case in point is their ability to bang out the fast paced pit starter "Xenophobia," slow it down with "All I Want" and then take the crowd on the musical roller coaster that is "The Ride."

Denver Harbor hopes to sell albums while on tour in the near future.

But the guys are enjoying their recent time off by kicking back at home, playing video games, bowling, and just trying to live the dream.

For more information on Denver Harbor visit their website at www. denverharbor.net.

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