Is STRAIGHT LINE STITCH Unraveling or Just Re-threading The Needle?
With the release of last year’s incredible The Fight of Our Lives, Knoxville metalcore merchants Straight Line Stitch were set to take it all to the next level. Then it all began to come unwound for the quintet. The new year saw the departure of sure-fisted drummer Kanky Lora followed closely by original guitarist Seth Thacker, and new guitarist Kris Norris. All at once, remaining members Alexis Brown (vocals) and Jason White (bass) truly found out what the fight of their lives was all about.
Was this the end for the band that just last summer graced us with amazing performances at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival? Only the incredibly energetic and powerful vocalist Brown and bassist White remained. But over the last several weeks, details have been emerging on the acquisition of new members. Now the entire lineup has been announced. Enter new guitarists Nathan Palmer and Kris Hawkins along with drummer Ian Shuirr who makes his return to the SLS family. Here’s a little history on the new guys and, in their own words, some of their thoughts on the new lineup.
Ian Shuirr moved to Knoxville in January 2005 to join with Straight Line Stitch. He wrote and recorded guitar and drum work for the album To Be Godlike. He quit temporarily in 2007 but returned to tour in 2009. He is in the “What You Do To Me” video. Also in 2009 he began recording for his solo project, Identity Device. Kris Hawkins came to him about recording for his solo project and they recorded a song together, “Quarterlife” and called their project Sentinel Concept. They decided to form a complete band and instrumental, prog metal band ARC was born. Fast forward to 2012 and the SLS breakups were announced. Hawkins and Shuirr were both offered positions in SLS. They accepted, not intending to disband ARC but unfortunately disagreements within the band ended ARC anyways.
I asked Shuirr what he’s looking forward to in the future with Straight Line Stitch.
“Just looking forward to experiencing life and seeing the country and hopefully other parts of the world and being able to focus on music and making our life about creating music with friends. I met so many great people in my previous years of traveling and playing music so we are excited to meet all the current SLS fans/friends as well as making new ones.”
Kris Hawkins, the guitarist that also left ARC to join SLS is an eleven year veteran guitar player. I asked him what he thinks of the new lineup.
“I love the new lineup. I’ve been in previous bands with both Nathan and Ian and absolutely loved working with both of them. Jason and Lex are both awesome people and amazing musicians. I think this new lineup will bring something to the table that will make SLS branch out even further than they have before.
I’m looking forward to finally being able to pursue a career in music with amazing people with the same drive as me. Touring the world and playing music has been a dream for me since I was a kid. I’m excited to have a hand in the new music that will come and can’t wait to see the impact of all the fans.”
SLS have become a pretty big name in the metal world. Are you feeling any pressure to keep it going?
“I can say that there is a little pressure there, but I know the potential of the line-up we have. I know that we can keep SLS alive and on the road to the same goals they have always had.”
Nathan Palmer has been playing guitar since around 7-8 years old and he comes from a family of musicians. His father and brother both play guitar while another brother plays drums. Palmer has played in several local Knoxville bands before this opportunity arose. I asked him his thoughts on the new lineup.
“I couldn’t be happier, honestly. I’ve jammed with Ian and Kris before in bands and it’s always been a blast. Ask anyone in Knoxville about Kris or Ian, they’ll tell you the same thing; they’re incredible musicians.”
What are you looking forward to?
“Just touring and writing some new music. Everything, really. I know there are going to be ups and downs but that’s part of it. This is what I’ve worked so hard for for years. I’m not gonna let anything fuck it up.”
I also asked him if he felt any pressure because of Straight Line Stitch‘s success.
“Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a little intimidating to come into a band this big. Straight Line has been busting their asses for a very long time. They’ve worked for everything they have. But I feel confident in my writing and playing and dedication, that I think this is going to be a great thing. Straight Line has a lot of fans that have stuck with them this whole time and they deserve for Straight Line to keep going. Again, I’m so thankful for this opportunity. Everyone in the band wants the same thing, and everyone is prepared to do whatever it takes. I’m excited. Good things are to come for this band. Straight Line Stitch deserves it. See you on the road.”
Bassist Jason White also offered Metalholic his thoughts:
“I’m excited that Lex and I are able to continue with the band. I hope that our fans won’t be let down. Of course, things will be different. But for better or worse? Come see for yourself.”
Well, Jason, I plan on it. I look forward to seeing what this band can do with such a revamped lineup and let’s hope their success in the metal world can continue to rise.