Hardcore heroes Codeseven headed for hometown reunion

by Ryan Snyder

The original Codeseven lineup, shown here circa 1996, will reunite for a single show at Greene Street Club. (courtesy photo)


In the days when venues like Pablo’s were ephemerally emblematic of an honest-to-God underground hardcore scene in the Triad, Codeseven used it not only to garner local cult status, but to launch themselves into a pervasive national following as well.


They were shrewdly entwining shrieking noise with heavy, melodic rock when other bands were still wringing the last pennies from the grunge craze. Listen to their debut Paper or Plastic or the 1998 barn-burner A Sense of Coalition today and they sound strangely similar to the sound that dominates modern rock radio a dozen years later. They were indeed ahead of their time. If only they had realized it then.

An ache to experiment led them down many roads since vocalist Dave Owen departed the band after 1999’s Division of Labor, leaving them with a decidedly less aggressive sound. Codeseven built their name touring vigorously and built their following behind The Rescue, an album that saw them moving into spacey arrangements before their divisive 2004 release Dancing Echoes/Dead Sounds signaled the band’s ultimate dissolution in favor of a multitude of side projects. One of those was Telescreen, a multimedia-driven, orchestral rock outfit that featured all of the same members save for Jeff Jenkins, who had gone on to work with the electronically-influenced outfit Sundrone. When Telescreen singer Jared Draughon departed last year to pursue music collaborations with his wife and the remaining members had achieved what they set out to do, that once again left them with an itch to scratch.

“A lot of the music was going more instrumental and a lot more experimental, but we kind of just lost interest. The exciting thing for me was to see if we could pull it off. The whole visual concept and really making it feel unique. We did a couple of tours and setting all that stuff up really did kind of take the fun out of playing,” said bassist Jon Tuttle. “The goal we set for that band was kind of met once we pulled it off live. We may come back to it someday. It was fun and seeing the reaction after playing was so awesome. Every show you would see people tearing up and kinda of crying.”

According to Tuttle, Codeseven had begun discussing the possibility of a reunion show in early 2010. When word reached their friends in band Circa Survive, they were invited to come on in support of the Philadelphia indierock group during their six-week US tour, and Codeseven found themselves scrambling to put together an official reunion show, which will come about when they play Greene Street Club on Saturday, Aug. 20.

“We’re at home and we haven’t played here in a long time, so we thought, ‘Let’s just give everybody what they want to hear,’” Weyer said. “‘Let’s just have fun with it, which is the whole point.’ The plan is to go back to Sense of Coalition and maybe before.”

While Codeseven will get 30-minute sets on the Circa Survive tour, they’ll play a full 75-minute show at the reunion concert, which will feature the return of original vocalist Owen for one night only. Owen says he hasn’t been active musically for the past two years while raising his daughter, but is eager to return to stage.

“I bike around Salem Lake and listen to the songs we’re playing and trying to remember the lyrics,” said Owen. “We’ll see what happens; it’s only been 10 years.”

They’ll return to their 2004 lineup not only for the tour, but also for the possibility of a new record. Weyer says the band is in the early stages of writing new music together and with the support of their former label Equal Vision Records, each member is 100 percent committed to picking up where they left off.

“We’ll probably go more in the direction of The Rescue mixed with Division of Labor,” he said. “More toward the melodic harder stuff with some electronic mixed in. We’re going to make it real fun to play and I think we kind of lost some of that with the last record we did.”

Read Jon Tuttle’s thoughts on Codfeseven’s contentious 1998 hit, the hardcore cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” at the YES! Weekly Blog.

Codeseven will reunite to play Greene Street Club on Saturday, Aug. 20. Blankface will also reunite and perform in support.