The hottest new rock band just finished a solid title lineup, but there seems to be a lot of hype around the opening chapter. “Did you come here in time to see Plush?” Many local musicians and industry friends asked me, when we were leaving the place.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Mars Music Hall in time to see Plush band open to Mammoth WVH, on October 20 Mammoth singer/guitarist Wolfgang Van Halen played in Huntsville, Ala. He sprained his ankle when he got off the tour bus earlier. On the story’s deadline, I didn’t get there until the middle of Mammoth’s opening song, the challenge song “Don’t Hold Back.” It was exciting to hear Van Halen lead his band through the rest of the Tool-Meet-Foo-Fighters melodies set. crush her
I still feel like I’ve missed it a bit because this young, all-female rock band has talent off the charts. Famous singer/guitarist Moriah Formica is one of the best rock singers to emerge in recent years. Range, feel, and power. I’ve got all of it. Pride drummer Brooke Colucci, bassist Ashley Suppa and guitarist Bella Perron can play loops around more than a few musicians a few years older than them. Oh yeah, all four Plush members are under 21 years old.
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But all the pieces in the world don’t matter if you don’t have songs and chemistry. Marigolds flush with both. Their self-titled debut is one of my favorite rock albums of 2021. No filler among the 13 songs, from the epic opening “Athena” to the closer “Walk Away.” And in a rare case among young rock musicians, their story songs aren’t as sultry, as heard in notable hits like “Sober,” “Sorry,” and “Don’t Say That.” The album is available for purchase at Pavementmusic.com.
In terms of musical chemistry, the band felt it right from the start. The first time they met was in a room above the garage in the Colucci family’s home. The first song they played was the metal spinner “Hate,” a later version of which was broadcast in the studio more than a million times on Spotify.
“It felt really good,” Formica recalls. “I was like, ‘I can’t believe this is the first time we’ve met. “It was all there. The grooves felt good and the energy from our parents (who were also there) was really cool. They felt something out of the room.”
Formica, Colucci and Soba, all from New York, had been playing as a trio before that. But once you added Peron, a Berklee School of Music student from Maine, things really got bigger. “Like when you make a puzzle and put the last piece in it, that’s how it felt,” Soba says.
Their lineup is cemented as a quartet, the enslaved Plush members, even outside of playing, scoring or performing. Together they went to a concert by British rockers The Struts. They often eat together as well, with sushi being a favourite. “You can’t really force chemistry with people, but with us this experiment worked,” Formica says. “We got lucky that way. I really think we are supposed to play together for a long time.”
Formica first gained fame – and props from Miley Cyrus, the powerful singer herself – on TV “The Voice” at the age of 16. Formica has been associated with Colucci, who has amassed millions of views on YouTube with gorgeous drum covers of Black Sabbath, Rush songs and Metallica. When the duo released a cover of classic rocker Barracuda in 2020, the video went viral. After I watched this video, my initial thought was, “These kids are going to make someone a million dollars someday.”
Colucci reached out to Soba, a former classmate of rock school influenced by the likes of David Bowie and Cliff Burton. Then, the trio put a callout on social media in search of a young female guitarist. This research got a boost when Halestorm front actress Lizzy Hale shared it on Hale social sites. That brought Perron, a Randy Rhoads-inspired shredder, into the mix.
Plush recorded their debut album with producer Johnny K, who has worked with artists ranging from Megadeth to 3 Doors Down to Enuff Z’Nuff. The result looks like an album meant to be played live. Formica says of The Plush album, released October 29, “Our big goal was to make sure it looked authentic, real, and raw. No disdain for people with a lot of production and material. We just have more of an old school vibe, while also bringing something new to the table.” With this debut album, we wanted to make a statement.”
The opening track “Athena” was written in the studio and named after the Formica rattlesnake. The song started as a guitar scene. Next, Formica says, “We came up with this metaphor of love being so intense that it can be chained, like a snake.” Finding strength within and overcoming challenges are recurring themes in Plush’s words.
Some of Byron’s best guitar solos on the Plush album include a spinning break in “Walk Away.” “I love that she plays with Floyd Rose,” Formica says, referring to the guitar’s tremolo system that allows for the wild boom, made famous by ’80s talents such as Eddie Van Halen.
Slap grooves throughout the plush album. The band cuts time on the track “Better Off Alone” and there are some great dynamics on “I Don’t Care.” For Colucci, it’s all about instinct and living in the moment. “I try not to overthink,” Colucci says. “I just listen, and then whatever I play first it usually feels the best.” Of course, it takes several hours with an instrument before the music really flows that way. Growing up, Colucci first became fascinated with drums by watching her father Godsmack’s live videos, particularly the band’s drum battles between singer Sulli Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin.
Soba’s father is Mike Soba, an accomplished guitarist whose playing has been shown on the HBO series “Entourage”. Mike’s friendship with original guitarist Kiss Ice Freely led to Ashley singing backing vocals on Freely’s solo recording (2017 “Anomaly”) when she was just 6 years old. “The headphones were too big for my head because I was so small,” Soba recalls, adding that Freely looks like her uncle.
After hearing the music of hard rock legends Aerosmith at the age of six, Formica began teaching herself guitar and “fell in love with the music,” says Formica. “I knew that was what I wanted to do.” My video chat interviews with Plush are taking place over the winter break, unfortunately Perron was unable to join us. According to an interview with v13.com, Byron grew up listening to her dad’s Led Zip and Beatles discs and kissing. She got her first guitar on her fifth birthday, and her guitar inspirations include Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Stone Temple Pilots’ Dead DeLeo.
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And no, Plush wasn’t named STP’s signature grunge hit of 1992. “When we first met, we were like, ‘Okay, now we need a band name,'” says Formica. And I think someone in management or something threw the name Plush. It’s kind of tongue-and-cheek because that sounds cute and soft. Yeah, we’re four little girls, and you can stereotype us as being cute and soft, but when we go up on stage, it’s Our energy isn’t quite like that. Also, it’s (the name Marigold) just a tongue-rolling. It’s one word and easy to remember.” More than a few artists previously released music under the Plush name, so how this band secured this label in 2021 is likely to be a story on its own.
Formica is proud to be in a squad made up entirely of strong females. She adds, “But, I think it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that we’re just a hard rock band. The female thing is cool, but it shouldn’t be too much of a focus, in my opinion. For me, that’s not something that makes us a band.” Plush’s favorite songs for live performance include hit numbers like “Sober,” “Champion,” and “I Don’t Care,” the latter of which features some fun fan interaction.
In their short existence, in addition to Mammoth WVH, Plush has landed support wagons with acts including solo bands for guitar legend Guns N’ Roses. Formica says the opening of the tour for its champions Evanescence and Halestorm marked a turning point for Plush as a live unit. “We were locked up with each other every night.” In the spring of 2022, the band will get an excellent shot at converting even more fans, when they perform in Daytona, Florida at the Rockville Festival alongside a stacked lineup themed Kiss and GN’R.
“When people tell us, ‘People are talking about you,’ it’s kind of like ‘Wait, really?’ “We couldn’t be more grateful for all the love and support we’ve received so far,” Colucci says of the building hype around Plush. “It’s such a humble feeling that everything I’ve been through so far is 100 percent worth it,” says Suppa. This one: “It’s this big buildup you’ve been looking forward to forever…and it’s absolutely nothing to describe.”
Plush will perform at Mars Music Hall in Huntsville, Address 700 Monroe St. , at 8 p.m. on January 1 as Sevendust’s opening show. Tickets start at $34.50 via Ticketmaster.com. You can also get the same bill at 8pm on December 30 at Souk Kitchen, 219 Dauphin Street in Mobile. Tickets start at $35 via eventbrite.com. More information at plushrocks.net.