Even if you spend a lot of time in the Grand Rapids music scene, it's still likely that rock-vets AG Silver are flying below your radar. This isn't by accident — it's because they like it that way.
"We decided early on that we didn't want to play Grand Rapids that often," Vocalist Jon Ornee said. "We wanted people to be excited when we play and not like, ‘Oh my god, I heard this same set last week.'"
While Ornee and Guitarist Chris McKeller acknowledged sometimes there are drawbacks to rarely playing hometown shows (such as lack of consideration such as events like Festival of the Arts and ArtPrize), the strategy has brought the band national attention.
Several years ago, the band played a showcase for multiple major labels. While a record deal never came to fruition, it did bring the band a new lease on life.
"We rehearsed like crazy for that show," McKeller said. "They were like ‘Great live show, love the music, but we just need that one hit song. So we went back and tried to write a great song — I thought we wrote a great song, but the intermediaries were like ‘We're not going to pass this along.' So we just kind of gave up hope."
But not all hope was abandoned. The members of AG Silver took what they refer to as ‘the manufactured hit,' a song titled "Feels Right," and added it to a bevy of additional songs for a brand new record.
"We'd never felt so close, but we'd never felt so far," Ornee said. "We look at things in terms of, you know, the American dream. We started to think ‘What are we doing?' Do we want to write things for people, or do we want to write something we believe in and give it to the people that want it? ... We want to actually live the dream, and not chase some rendition of the dream that feels like slavery."
The yet untitled new album is slated for a release in spring 2012, and will feature gang vocals from an audience of Grand Rapids fans from an October show at Ladies Literary Club. Listen to tracks from the upcoming album on the band's website.