The Victory Drive
Back in the late 2000s, when the first incarnation of his Jersey based power-pop band The Victory Drive was enjoying their initial success, blazing fresh trails and playing on the Warped Tours, singer/songwriter and frontman Jamie McClanahan had a somewhat removed approach to songwriting. To avoid redundancy and keep his lyrics interesting, he tended to make up scenarios and place himself in them. Currently rebooting the band after a several year layoff due to medical issues related to a severe hockey injury, the multi-talented musician finds creative freedom in writing how he truly feels about himself and life in general for the first time ever.
Reflecting on The Victory Drives’ new three track EP “Before I Self-Destruct”, and his choice to go it alone in the studio for the first time, McClanahan says, “Since I no longer have other band members that need to approve of my writing, I am free to choose exactly what I play and write about, which is exhilarating! I’m no longer shy about putting anything in a song, even if it exposes darker truths about myself.”
McClanahan’s lush vocal harmonies and uptempo pop/rock vibes ironically belie the raw and sometimes self-deprecating themes of his two infectious originals, the singles “Dynamite” and “The Countdown Pt. 2.” Though couched in lush, soaring musical textures, “Dynamite” is a self-critical examination of the way McClanahan often blows good opportunities via self-sabotage and often misses big moments because his attention is elsewhere.
“The Countdown Pt. 2” is in essence a requiem for a past romance that neither partner could quit its addiction to for a long time. Longtime fans of The Victory Drive will recognize it as a sequel to “The Countdown” on their 2012 EP “Almost Famous”. While part one has the girl threatening to leave and move to Florida, the new song laments the lack of communication that resulted from the breakup from hell. Along those lines, McClanahan makes the perfect choice of a cover song, Lady Gaga’s classic “Bad Romance” – recreated as a hybrid rocker with a lot of electronic influences.
Though he grew up in the land of Springsteen, McClanahan says that it was Kurt Cobain who changed his life and inspired all his later musical endeavors. “Even before my first listen to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was over, I had gone from a sports nut to music,” he says. “I started dressing like him, got a guitar and got started. The first real band I was in was actually with the other members that were to become The Victory Drive. We were playing in another group together where I was just the guitar player singing background.” The band was signed to Soft-Drive Records by Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, but when Velvet Revolver took off, Weiland didn’t have time to develop new artists.
“So I started writing a lot,” McClanahan says, “and since the singer of the band I was in at the time didn’t like my songs, I started recording them acoustically on the side under the name The Victory Drive. The other guys jumped ship and The Victory Drive was born!” Though he is back now to performing his songs on the acoustic guitar, he enjoys looking back on how the band’s original hybrid sound developed. “At the time the two most popular groups seemed to be Blink-182 and The Backstreet Boys. Total Opposites,” he says. “I thought, what if someone combined them and created a pop-punk band with great vocals and amazing harmonies? When The Victory Drive became a full band, we needed our own sound. I reached back in time to the Blink/Backstreet idea, but altered it to be a combination of rock, pop and dance. I’m excited now to present the new version of the band – and I just added Lexi Vito on keys! East Coast Tour coming January 2018!