Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rising up the charts, Janus experiments in hard rock

The guys of hard rock band Janus have faced a few obstacles.

Like the time they were on tour and almost weren't allowed into the U.S.

"We were driving from Syracuse to Flint, and we route everything with our phones," guitarist Mike Tyranski said, chatting from a gig in Johnson City, Tenn. "The route took us through a tiny portion of Canada, and we didn't think it would be a big deal. We had no problem crossing over to Canada. But when we tried to get back into Michigan, we only had drivers' licenses.

"They pulled us off to the side of the road, searched our van, searched our trailer and searched us," he said, laughing. "It took hours. We almost missed our show in Flint."

They made it on time. And the show went on.

Of course, Janus - who plays Small Planet tonight - has encountered bigger obstacles than misguided mapping. After fighting to get noticed amid the massive Chicago music scene, the guys finally inked with Warner Bros.' Independent Label Group last year. They re-released their self-produced album, "Red Right Return," and the disc's single, "Eyesore," has been climbing up the active and alternative rock charts.

"Once the song started doing well in some key markets as far as radio goes, a lot of people started getting excited and other stations came on board," Tyranski said. "It's all pretty surreal."

Musically, Janus brings something unique and experimental to the table. Between a melange of U2 atmospherics, neo-prog angst and metal guitars, the band floats in and out of different genres.

"Red Right Return" is kind of a concept album. You don't need to listen to the whole thing at once to get the full effect, but a theme runs through the tracks.
Next up: a tour with fellow Chicago natives Chevelle.

"I think playing shows is the best part of this whole experience," Tyranski said.

"The best is when we're playing with bands like Sevendust and all the shows are sold out," he added. "It's playing to a packed house and meeting people who have never heard of us before and that are excited about us. It's great just connecting with people."

By Anne Erickson, Gannett NOISE

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