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Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006 02:39 pm

Lost Boys find themselves

A great cover band releases great original music

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Plenty of local groups learn cover songs straight off the records, content to get gigs and draw crowds on the basis of other people’s music. Once in a while a cover band writes some songs, then feels compelled to expose the listening public to this original music. Usually the audience, conditioned to enjoy those all-too-familiar tunes, doesn’t react favorably to “This is a song we wrote — hope you like it.”

The Lost Boys, one of the Springfield area’s most popular combos, beats the cover band/original group dilemma with some sleight-of-band work. Don’t get too excited (or disappointed): The misplaced lads still do mostly ’80s and classic-rock covers — “arena rock,” they like to call it. But they successfully slip Lost Boys material unannounced into set lists filled with Mötley Crüe, Poison, AC/DC, and Van Halen.

“We’ve had a lot of people tell us that if we hadn’t told them later it was one of our songs, they wouldn’t have known,” says drummer Shaun Tobin. “I take that as a compliment.”

The group, together for almost seven years with only one personnel change (the recent amicable replacement of a guitarist), plans to unleash those undercover originals with the release of The Storm Within, the band’s second CD.

After spending 2005 writing songs and searching for a recording studio, the band finished up the demos and settled on the Cellar Records Recording Studio, in Dixon, Ill. They recorded 12 songs last February, fully intending to release the disk in the spring, but things just didn’t sound right.

“We weren’t happy with the final mix,” Tobin says. “To get what you want, sometimes you got to do it yourself.” So they pushed back the release date and spent the summer in Springfield mixing the Dixon-recorded takes themselves at Guitar Pit Studios.

The 12 finished tracks clearly show the heavy-pop/rock roots of the group, with loud, full-sounding guitars; big, boisterous drums; and clean, snappy production. Lyrically the reflections are more uplifting than those generally heard in heavy modern rock, a direction the band took consciously.

“We wanted to make a rock album that wasn’t negative,” Tobin says. “Ours may have some attitude, but it’s in a positive way.”

The band, says Tobin, is content to stay in central Illinois, working during the week and playing the weekends but still taking all the chances they can to get the music where they want it to be.

“We’ve found our sound as a band and just want to put the CD out there and see what happens,” he says. “We stay true to ourselves because that’s what got us here.”

Lost Boys celebrate the release of The Storm Within, on Friday, Oct. 27, at the Cave, 126 E. Jefferson St. (formerly Viele’s Planet, 217-528-0952), and Saturday, Oct. 28, at City’s, in Jacksonville (217-243-1212).

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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