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March 30, 2001
From the first time their angular guitars and chaotic, churning, driving rhythm section rang in my ears, Frodus burrowed themselves deeper and deeper into my perception of what rock and roll music should be all about. Inside my mind, you see, there is a little room with white walls, a table with a few chairs, a bare light bulb in a rusty socked suspended from the ceiling by frayed electrical wiring. The room looks not too much unlike those that you see in films, where intelligence operatives put enemies of the state through the interrogation ringer. Above the door is a crooked sign reading, in red stenciled letters, ROCK.

This room is where great bands come to play inside my head, churning out set after set of music that is, at that precise moment, my perception of perfection. Some times this perception is based on aesthetic, at other times it is based simply in sound. For much of my post-discovery life (Discovery being those few months when you first discover a new wave of punk rock and fresh sounds come crawling out of the woodwork) Frodus has occupied that room, rocking out for hours on end in sync with my stereo, or a memory, or a dream. They can and do rock harder, longer and stronger than anyone else who enters the room.

But, Frodus is gone now - indeed they have been for some time - and the ROCK room in my head is the only place that they still perform. There are few things, especially in music, that really remind me that these ideals and these dreams and these rock and roll ambitions that we all have are valid. Few bands really remind us that few things are more powerful than creativity. Frodus was, and is, one of those bands. Although myself - and certainly many others - will long lament their departure from the stage, I am eternally thankful for the brilliant documentation of their sonic legacy, so that they may play on for others who cannot observe the goings on of the ROCK room inside my head. As a point of closure for myself, for other fans, and perhaps for the band, I asked for and received an explanation from Shelby Cinca, the band's official mouthpiece, of the end of Frodus.


Frodus in Japan [Photo: Shigeo Kikuchi]

-- CONCLUSION: An explanation, by Shelby Cinca --

Many things went into Frodus ending. We were at it for almost seven years, always going through different labels for each album, which was hard considering we didn't have a steady 'home'. We were playing the hardcore/punk scene and being somewhat misunderstood, since we weren't hardcore, and we weren't indie. We were something in between. People like to know where to place you and we couldn't be placed, so rock n' roll became our war.

We were also wearing thin on each other from touring so much and struggling as a band.

When we signed to Tooth & Nail, it was in a period of the label branching out and expanding their roster, along with gaining more indie distribution. The bands being signed were more interesting, and they were really having a go at expanding beyond being a 'Christian label'. Eventually, the plan wasn't really happening to their idealistic vision and the people who worked and stood behind us left Tooth & Nail over the subsequent years. So basically, when we were getting ready to record Weapons, Tooth & Nail was a different label than the one we signed with in 1997. Definitely more focused on being a Christian label again, with limited distribution avenues and limited exposure in the 'secular' market. We had a talk with the owner and we both decided that it would be best for us to leave; they couldn't work us how we should be worked. They offered to release us from our three-record deal for the cost of our last record and publishing, which was amazing considering they would eat all the debts we incurred for the label, like them buying us a van, plane tickets, et cetera. They really handled it like true giving Christians, which I thought was right on.

With this settled, we were again in label limbo. Putting the finishing touches on our album and talking with a few labels about releasing our music. However, after a lot of thought and unhappiness with doing Frodus, we decided to call it quits. We were being pulled in different directions and time had simply had it's way with us. Frodus simply wasn't fun anymore and we had a lot of stresses in our lives, with our drummer's girlfriend being diagnosed with cancer and my father having a stroke, in the same week in 6/99 - hence the song. After a few months, we spoke with our friend Jack, who worked at M.I.A. Records (in New York), and he said they would be interested in putting out our record. They offered us an amazing deal for being a defunct band. However, it was too good be true... the label was owned by a multi-million dollar oil tycoon and he decided to shut it down since it was one of his endeavors that wasn't making a lot of money. Our record didn't come out on M.I.A. and the masters were returned.

It was now the middle of the year 2000 and our record was yet again in limbo. Our drummer made some calls and we stumbled upon our friend Tony, an old Frodus fan who worked at Fueled By Ramen. Tony loved the record and decided they would put it out. He stepped in, bought the record from Tooth & Nail, and the rest is history.

With the time away from the band we all settled into new routines and new endeavors. Our bassist, Nathan, went back to school and was working on his own material, I was writing songs for a pop side-project started in 1999 called The Cassettes, along with starting to play in Blue Bird in the latter part of the year. Jason was gone for many months that year since his girlfriend and our friend, Alanna, passed away. He went to South America and traveled around the continent to temples and exotic places to clear his mind. There he came up with the plan to begin writing a book about the whole experience he went through with her getting cancer. We got together later in the year to jam... it was kind of fun, but the vibe wasn't there so we really didn't pursue it. Time passed, things changed... it was a new era in our lives and time for us to go our different paths.

In the end of it all, what matters to us is that we are all still friends and we have grown with our experiences. We let out a lot of different feelings on our last record, from the despair of "6.99," the frustration of touring in "Red Bull of Juarez," and the state of the world in "The Earth Isn't Humming," along with many other similar themes. We experienced death, sickness, love, and life. I like to think that our final record will be a good companion to those in similar situations, those who have similar views on the world and life, and those who simply like music.

With the musical entity of Frodus breaking up after recording something we put so much of our hearts into... I feel And We Washed Our Weapons In the Sea makes the band's end more powerful than any show could ever be. It's honest and it lasts forever. You can always put the record on again. It's the perfect portrait to end with and bow out respectfully.

The machines never died.

SEE ALSO: www.frodus.com
SEE ALSO: www.fueledbyramen.com

--
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other articles by Eric J Herboth.

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