All Roads Lead Left

Left on Northwood releases debut album, avoids numerous debacles involving pain and litigation

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Left on Northwood is (L to R): LeRoy Pristach, Joe Marshall, Mike Dye, Cody Stapleton, and Todd Anderson.

It was only a few years ago that the members of Left on Northwood moved to Lawrence to pursue music on a more serious note than their previous projects. After a number of close calls with rent, the group is gearing up to release its debut album “Gut Check Personality.” The disc’s screamo-influenced hard rock tunes take inspiration from Warped Tour godheads like Thrice and The Used. Alternately abrasive and melodic, the disc may well help Left on Northwood land its own slot on the lineup of Warped Tour or the rack of Hot Topic. Members Todd Anderson, Mike Dye, and Cody Stapleton joined us to discuss the new record and share some anecdotes from Warped Tours of yore.

lawrence.com: I notice you have a tattoo on your arm. What does it say?

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The Dog and Pony Show

All Roads Lead Left: An Interview with Left on Northwood

Lawrence's Left on Northwood is gearing up to release its debut album “Gut Check Personality.” The disc’s screamo-influenced hard rock tunes take inspiration from Warped Tour godheads like Thrice and The Used. Members Todd Anderson, Mike Dye, and Cody Stapleton joined us to discuss the new record and share some ...

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Anderson: I have a lyric on my arm by Dustin Kensrue of Thrice that says “We must see that every scar is a bridge, and as long as we live we must open up these wounds.” It has to do with hopes of a good afterlife, but right now we should share experiences with each other and help each other out through the negative times. It's my favorite song.

Favorite band of yours as well?

Anderson: Yes. I discovered them at Warped Tour in Wichita ... I went out and got their CDs and it was love at first listen.

What do you think of the Warped Tour these days?

Anderson: I've gone to three of the last five, and it's getting to not be as punk rock, that's for sure.

Stapleton: It's a marketing scheme. The way that the industry is these days, it's almost impossible to be a thriving band just on (the basis of) your music alone. Kids that get in these bands know that, so they submit themselves to this industry of cool ... I love the concerts, but I think it's lost a bit of its underground color.

Anderson: I remember seeing (Bert McCracken from The Used) get on top of these 50-foot-high speakers and take a stage dive – I thought he was going to kill somebody ... I guess if you have 15 kids with all their arms in the air, nobody gets hurt.

Have you ever attempted stage dives?

Anderson: I did a weak one once. I went up and did a little scream spot with Censura. They were like, “Jump in the crowd when you're done.” I jumped just enough so they could catch me and throw me back onstage. It wasn't really that cool.

Stapleton: I figured out that stage-diving with an instrument is something you should think about before you do it. We played a show at the Bottleneck and a lot of the crowd was going crazy. They were headbanging and moshing, so I just jumped in the pit straight off the stage. I hit some kid either on the top of his back or the back of his head with the headstock of my bass. I wanted to stop and see if he was ok, but he disappeared in the mess of kids that were jumping around.

Maybe he just went off and died like a wounded cat.

Stapleton: I hope not. Wherever you are, I'm sorry about hitting you.

Anderson: I've been jumped on before at an Emory show. They were the opening band and they did not fit in and I think they were pissed off. One of the roadies did a cannonball into the crowd and literally landed on my head ... I don't think I'm ever going to go into the front row again, because it's a dumb idea if they're going to do cannonballs on your head.

A cannonball seems like the wrong approach. I would think a nice belly-flop would be better.

Anderson: Mike just got the Hellfest DVD, and you see kids running on top of the crowd. They'll start running on the stage and just run over the crowd. The way that kids express themselves these days...

Past Event

Left on Northwood CD release show

  • Saturday, May 23, 2009, 8 p.m.
  • Granada, 1020 Mass., Lawrence
  • All ages / $8 - $10

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Where did the title of the record come from?

Stapleton: “Gut Check Personality” is a personality that you start to form over time with anything: girls, relationships, crack cocaine, cigarettes, beer, alcohol … You do it and then you’re like, “Aw man, I shouldn’t have done that.” Ultimately you form a personality trait because of it, and you can’t escape it.

What does your gut tell you now that you’ve finished this record?

Dye: Write a better one. I’m really happy with it, but we have probably 15 more new songs that we’re sitting on.

Anderson: Hopefully we can finish another album in less time than it took (to make this one). We skipped from studio to studio, struggling with money and trying to keep it all together. I think we’re most proud of the fact that we didn’t give up despite the fact that we didn’t have a goddamn cent. As soon as our paycheck came in, it went to the guy who was recording us … I especially want to thank all the guys who engineered it for being patient and flexible.

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