Last updated: July 14, 2002
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A: I don't know what Vertical Horizons are, but Vertical Horizon is band with roots in the New England and Washington, DC Area. They started as an acoustic duo at Georgetown University, but are now a full four-piece band. The band is currently made up of Sean Hurley (bass/backing vocals), Keith Kane (vocals/guitar), Matt Scannell (vocals/guitar), and Ed Toth (drums/percussion).
A: Back in 1991, while both Matt and Keith were going to Georgetown University, Keith had a weekly gig at a local club. In October of that same year, after meeting Matt at a party, Keith invited him to join him on stage and that was the beginning of Vertical Horizon. About five years later, Matt's mom was at Border's in Chestnut Hill, MA, and while there, she was helped by the store manager. For helping his mom, Matt invited him along with a guest to the show. The manager ended up taking Ed. Afterwards he found out that the drummer at the time was leaving, so set up an audition and got the job. Sean joined the band in February of 1998. The band was looking for someone to fill their hole at bass and Sean was the first one to audition and eventually landed the spot.
A more complete biography of the band members can be found in the We Are section of The Official Homepage.
A: Vertical Horizon has released four albums over a period of seven years. Their indie debut album, There and Back Again, was recorded in 1992. It featured only Matt and Keith and was recorded at the studio of Matt's old high school, Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA. Track Listing:
In 1995, Vertical Horizon released their second indie album, Running on Ice. For their sophomore effort, Keith and Matt enlisted the help of guest musicians to get a more full band sound. Guest musicians included Cary Pierce and Jack O'Neill of the now defunct Jackopierce, The Empty's' [side project for renowned producer Doug Derryberry] drummer Leland Nakamura, Steve Sidley on bass, and Dave Matthews Band drummer Carter Beauford. Running on Ice was recorded in Rutabaga Studios in Arlington, VA. Track Listing:
The follow up to Running on Ice was their live album aptly titled Live Stages released in 1996. Released on Rhythmic Records, the album was recorded on the 5th and 6th of September at one of the band's favorite venues, Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, NC. Live Stages features both songs from the previous two albums and some new songs. This was the first album to feature drummer, Ed Toth. Track Listing:
After signing with RCA records, RCA re-released the band's three previous albums with new artwork in January of 1999. In June of the same year, they released their major label debut, Everything You Want. This is the first album that includes all four current members of Vertical Horizon. Track Listing:
After three years, the Band is set to release their follow up to their major label release on September 24, 2002. Now Vertical Horizon's members have toured and played together extsnsively, the next album, entitled Go, hopes to show a growth and progression in their music. The band has stated that this album will have a "just go for it" mentality. "It's a very active word. A lot of the themes in these songs are about taking control of your life and living it the way you want to live it, and acting and doing and not just talking and thinking about it. It's really important in the big sense in a post-9/11 world to make sure we all live our life in a way where we feel good about it," stated Matt Scannell. "There are certainly messages within some of the songs at certain points on the album that deal with feelings of loss and those types of emotions, and also some feelings of, 'Hey, I want to get up and dust myself off and get on with my life. Both of those could be seen as viable and relevant reactions to 9/11" (MTV.com) Potential tracks inlclude:
A: Onamae wa
Keo digaku no Kanedesu, tomoshimasu.
Domo, Domo, Domo.
Mama naku ichi ganzen ni denshyaga, maerimasu.
Nihon ni kaimasendeshita.
America, America ga di, di skidesu.
My name is Kane. [In Japan, you go by your last name.]
I can speak Japanese.
I, Kane, am a student at Keo university, pleased to meet you.
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks.
(this is a phrase heard at train stations, which something to the extent of:)
Watch out for track one, train coming.
I didn't buy into Japan.
I really, really like America.
Finally, after much speculation we learn that the line is:
Mamma won't you say you want to stay?
After the bass solo, Matt and Keith go into what is
commonly referred to as the vocal interlude. Here is what
they are saying...
Two by two they enter now,
Don't you think you'll wonder how?
Can't you see he wants you there?
Take you by your golden hair. (6x)
I know things will change
I know things get better (2x)
If I call out to you, would you lend me your hand?
Would you save me from all that I might have been? (2x)
The devil came upon me, he found me on my knees.
Said, "Son, you ought to be a purer man,
If you could see my spirit, baby, flowing through the breeze,"
Said, "Life could be so very grand."
And so it shall be written, so then it shall be,
Said, "So it shall be, therefore it shall be."
So it shall be written, so then it shall be
So it shall be written, so it shall be...yeah
The band encourages its fans and listeners to make
personal interpretations of their songs, but they have
given some insight into what some of their songs mean.
Click here to find out what the band has to say on
particular songs. Note, not all songs are covered.
A: Wind in a Box, maintained by Carrie Fellrath, is a page dedicated to the lesser-known songs of Vertical Horizon. It includes lyrics to unreleased songs, alternate versions of songs and other information not found on the official homepage.
A: The Vertical Horizon Setlist Vault is part of Josh Beaumont's Lines Upon Your Page. This is the most comprehensive listing of Vertical Horizon concert setlists on the web.
A: Matt started his music career way back in 1985 in the band Tonez. Before meeting Keith, Matt was in the electric rock band Fallout Shelter during his undergraduate days at Georgetown.
Sean's first band was Suspended Animation. Since then, Sean has played with many bands, most notably Arlo Guthrie. Sean toured with Guthrie when he was 16 and went back on tour with him after his first semester at the Berklee College of Music. Currently, when he isn't on tour with Vertical Horizon, he plays in the band Lucky Stereo.
In 1985, Ed joined his first band Prime Time. Later, while he was in Miami, FL, Ed played with Jennifer Culture. While with Jennifer Culture, he played with former Vertical Horizon bassist, Seth Horan. Now, when he's not playing with Vertical Horizon, he plays with the Boston based Lawn Boys.
Keith previously played in an acoustic duo
prior to Vertical Horizon.
A: Both Matt and Keith are on Jackopierce's 1994 album, Live from the Americas. In this album, Keith announces the band and plays the guitar, while Matt plays the guitar and bongos.
Matt is also featured on numerous other albums. In addition to Jackopierce's Decade (1997), he lends his guitar work to Chupacabra (1997) by Imani Coppola, Ask Anybody (1998) by Swirl 360 and plays both the mandolin and guitar on Bruce Hornsby's Spirit Trail (1998).
Sean can be heard on Arlo Guthrie's Mystic Journey and Alice's Restaurant 30th Anniversary Edition. He also plays bass on Guthrie's and Pete Seeger's collaborate efforts, More Together Again Volumes 1 & 2. He is featured on Mark Curry & The Tenpin Trio's Down My Alley (1997) and on the records of two Boston based female solo artists, Shannon Hart and Kristin Cifelli. Most recently, Sean played on R&B star Mya's latest release Fear of Flying (2000).
A: Although Matt has shown his proficiency in playing the guitar, he has played many different instruments on Vertical Horizon's records. In addition to the guitar, he has played the mandolin, banjo mandolin, keyboards, bongos, drums, and even the tambourine.
Keith states that his first instrument was his voice.
Before picking up his bass, Sean first learned to play the saxophone.
Ed learned different percussion instruments while in college, including classes on African drumming. Before shows, he warms up by playing a djembe.
A: The band has made every effort to keep their private lives just that, private. Though the band has put themselves in the spotlight, their loved ones have not. Therefor, we feel that it would be respectful to the band and their loved ones to let them remain out of the public eye.
A: The band likes to say that a vertical
horizon is what a pilot sees when he is inverted (*note-if
a pilot is inverted, wouldn't the horizon still be
horizontal? Only upside-down?) However, that's not the
true origin of the name. Keith was trying to think of a
name one night before a gig. He was writing prospective
names on one of those toy clipboards with a plastic
pencil. The kind where you lift the piece of cellophane
and it erases what you wrote. After seeing a kiddy pool
lying on it's side, he had wrote down:
then lifted up the page halfway to erase fool and wrote "Horizon." One version of the story says that as he was lifting page, he erased the bottom part of the word "Vertical," creating a horizontal line across the bottom of the word, hence "Vertical Horizon."
A: "Hey guys, we are getting the Christian question again." - Ed Toth
Some of Vertical Horizon's songs appear to have religious overtones. One song in particular, "Prayer for an Innocent Man" is based on one of the Psalms of David (Psalm 17). However, Vertical Horizon has not acknowledged that they are a Christian band. In fact Keith has said that this was one of the many rumors that have circulated around the band. Matt has encouraged people to develop personal interpretations of the songs. This is especially true about the latest album. Ed says he loves being in this band because of this room for personal interpretation. He goes on to say that "it's fine with us because there can be 5,000 different interpretations about a song. People can think whatever they want, but we are not a Christian band. We don't even go to church when we are on the road." By interpreting the songs on a personal level, it allows the listeners to connect deeply and get more out of the song.
As a collective, Vertical Horizon is not a Christian band, but there has been some speculation to the personal beliefs of the members. Many people point out the fact that the founding members went to a Jesuit university. Also, Keith has said that the Bible is a good book to have and read. In spite of this, no one is really sure of any of each member's personal beliefs except the members themselves, and they choose not to make that part of their recordings, performances, and public life.
A: Vertical Horizon does not allow bootlegs. Bootlegs are copies of live shows that are bought or sold for profit. However, the band does allow taping of their live shows as a means to spread their music into areas where they might not be able to tour. It may seem like nitpicking about a word, but it's important to denote that bootlegs are implicitly illegal, because they are sold, and not sanctioned by the band, RCA, or their management. Live recordings are permitted and welcome when feasible. Here is Vertical Horizon's official taping policy [also available on the official Vertical Horizon website]:
Vertical Horizon allows audio and video taping at most live performances and will use its best efforts to provide notification whenever a more restrictive policy is in effect for a particular event. Soundboard and/or power feeds are generally not available; therefore it is the responsibility of the taper to bring his/her own equipment. [editor's note: no soundboard feeds are permitted, by band policy.]
We want all our fans to enjoy the performance so please conduct taping with care and consideration for those around you. Please do not obstruct anyone else's view of the performance.
Recordings made by members of the audience should be for personal use or trading (to the extent permitted by law), though there are no particular restrictions on the formats used for recording or trading. The sale of any such recordings is illegal, unauthorized and may jeopardize everyone's taping privileges.
Vertical Horizon reserves the right to change this policy at any time.
Fans are thus allowed to trade recordings, but never for sale. This policy is crucial in maintaining VH's and RCA's pro-taping stand. Please respect both the law, and the band's wishes by abiding by this policy.
A: There are in fact a few web communities. There is the official Vertical Horizon Discussion Forum (previously known as The Unchosen Ones and You Say) found on the official site. Footprints is the e-mail listserv for the band and contains over 550 members. There was also the Lines Message Board which was created to fill the void left by The Unchosen Ones, but has also fallen by the wayside. Other boards include fragment.st and Everything You Want.
A: Vertical Horizon CD's can be found on most on-line stores, such as CDNow, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Recently, Vertical Horizon has changed their official online distributor from The Connextion to MusicToday.com. There you will be able to find CD's, T-shirts, stickers and other various merchandise.
A: Currently, Steven Black maintains this FAQ. If you have a question you think deserves to be on this FAQ or a correction, please drop him a line or leave feedback in the forum. You may also ask questions on Vertical Horizon Discussion Board or Footprints.
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