Oldschool Sunday: FLYBANGER

Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

Starting out under the name Jar, a band formed in Vancouver circa 1995 or so with vocalist Garth Allen and drummer Rob Wade, the band achieved a dedicated loyal following. That following and their rise as a highly sought-after support act in the vast Canadian expanses culminated in several record releases for Jar. A pair of releases were issued under the Jar name, they were 1997’s self-released ‘Harsh And Discord‘ and 1998’s Factor Records-released ‘Knott Skull‘.

1998’s ‘Knott Skull’ helped get the band the attention of several record companies but the band soon learned of other acts also using the Jar name. They adopted the name Flybanger while still consisting of Allen and Wade alongside members Bryan Fratesi (guitar), Tom MacDonald (bass, guitar, vocals), and Chris Smith (bass).

Now working under the Flybanger name, the 5-song ‘Outlived’ EP was issued through Gotham Records in 2000. The EP, along with the fact that Flybanger was sharing stages with bands from Hatebreed and Orange 9MM to Sepultura, landed the band the attention of Sony Music.

Now signed with Columbia/Sony, the industry machine went to work and brought in mega-producer Matt Wallace (Deftones, Mushroomhead, Faith No More) to work with the band. Before going into the studio to begin work on their debut full-length as Flybanger, Chris Smith exited the band. Wallace called in one of his contacts at the time, Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin, to play parts on the album which freed up MacDonald to handle both guitars and bass.

In 2001, Flybanger unleashed their mammoth full-length outing, ‘Headtrip To Nowhere‘ for the label. By all accounts, this record was a smashing success with fans of hard rock, alternative, and nu metal as well. Several singles were culled from the record including an old Jar standard, “Cavalry“,  as well as songs “Radical” and “Blind World“. The latter was also included on the soundtrack for the motion picture Dracula 2000.

The band toured heavily for the album, sharing concert and festival stages with such acts as Corrosion Of Conformity, Clutch, Soulfly, Nickelback, Sevendust, Filter, Judas Priest, and more. Yet as quick are they ascended, Flybanger reached their breaking point rather quickly and disbanded in 2003.

In 2005, Rob Wade (drums) and Garth Allen (vocals) joined Kill Rhythm, a band started by Rob Thiessen (formerly of Noise Therapy). In March 2009, following the breakup of Kill Rhythm both Wade and Allen turned their focus to the heavy acoustic rock project, Thick Of It.

In the fall of 2010, Rob and Garth decided to put together a new version of Jar and do some shows just for the hell of it. They enlisted ex-Annihilator bassist Russ Bergquist and former Kill Rhythm members, guitarist Holly McNarland and drummer Chris “Weasel” Gorst.

In 2013, the band released an album under their original name of Jar containing re-recordings of several of their older songs. The band released an album under their original name of Jar containing re-recordings of several of their older songs. Flybanger however, remains inactive by all accounts.

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