Charleston City Paper | September 30, 2006
It’s been a hell of a long and winding journey for the five guys in Charleston, S.C. rock band Number One Contender (comprised mostly of former members of quench). Theirs is a trip that began as a teenage effort and gradually matured into a fully-realized contemporary rock concept. This Friday, in a grand gesture of reintroduction to the local scene and beyond, the band celebrates the official release of their first proper full length, simply titled The Album.

“Something will happen,” says guitarist Alan Price, 27. “We’ll hopefully take off with this record. I’m curious to see what we can do. We’ve done the independent thing for such a long time, and it’s definitely the way to go. We’re going to do some things we’ve never done before and we’re going to say some things we’ve never said before. We’re going to tell it like we live it.”

The NOC story picks up where the “quench story” leaves off. Bassist Jonathan Holt, drummer Pauly Huck, and guitarists Damon “Irish” Jackson and Price formed quench around 1998 and gradually worked their way up the local club and band scene, establishing themselves as one of the more serious and tuneful guitar-oriented nü-rock groups in town.

In 2004, quench earned the Charleston City Paper’s reader’s pick for “Best Band in Charleston.” A few months later, they released their first proper full-length release, Number One Contender, engineered by local producer Eric Bass.

By 2005, most of the band felt the need to put down an official stopping point and start right back with a clean slate. In July, ’05, the band said goodbye to longtime vocalist Kally Knight and officially welcomed Reid Johnson (formerly of Volusia) as the lead singer.

“We try not to compare anything to the quench stuff,” says Holt, 29. “We’re definitely proud of all the stuff we did in that band, but we wanted to revitalize. We parted ways with the old singer and took steps to re-form as a new band. Reid’s such a great musician, songwriter, and singer and we wanted to utilize that. We wanted to put his skills together with our skills and start fresh.”

“It wasn’t so much of a conscious change,” says Price. “This is one new chapter of where we’re heading with things. You know, Reid has a totally different style of vocals than anyone I’ve ever worked with. He manages to bring a really hard-rock element into things. The guy’s got ability and it’s been great.”

With Johnson, they performed one last time as “quench” at the Music Farm in August, 2005, playing a lot of material off of the Number One Contender collection. The gig made a strong impression on their fans and the scene. Just weeks after Johnson’s inaugural show, the quintet capitalized on the effects of the impact and announced they changed the band name — fittingly enough — to “Number One Contender.” By the end of the year, they completed most of a new album at the local Fusion 5 Studio with Bass at the helm.

“Eric was the right guy to work with,” says Price. “He’s someone who likes what we’re doing and believes what we’re saying. He’s someone who wants to help us make it all go down.

“We’ve had tons of ideas and we write pretty quickly,” adds Holt. “We’re big on structuring. We wanted to put something together that people could enjoy musically. It’s a little more melodic in some ways … and a little more rockin’ in some ways. We want it to be rock ’n’ roll and we want it to be different.”

Charleston City Paper

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated City Paper is Charleston's only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-largest publication in the metro Charleston area. Reaching a strong mix of active, affluent locals and tourists, the City Paper has thrived...
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