Gang of four

It Was the Best of Times get streamlined
By CHRIS CONTI  |  October 16, 2008

IWTBOT-INSIDE.jpg
ALIVE AND WELL: Jack, Powers, Francis, and Lopriore.

It Was the Best Of Times have officially downsized to a quartet, but that doesn’t mean the sonic pride of Hope Valley plans on calling it quits anytime soon. The band lost a guitarist and drummer in a few months ago, but Bob Jack (Richmond), Lindsey Powers (Greene), Jacob Francis (Charlestown), and new drummer Sam Lopriore (Exeter) recently began writing new material for a full-length debut, the follow-up to their recent Hot Blood EP.

“We lost two members due to various reasons and rumors started floating around that we broke up,” bassist Jacob Francis said. Not so. IWTBOT will work in some new stuff at Blaze’s Billiards in West Warwick this weekend. You’ll also hear the trio of songs that make up Hot Blood (available on iTunes). “Your Life On a Silver Platter,” “On Her Knees,” and “I Hope Your Band Sounds Bad” all thrive on big power-pop hooks courtesy of Jack’s chugging guitar atop Powers’s swirling keys and sultry howl. Those arena-ready knockout riffs took top honors at this year’s WBRU Rock Hunt. The band has played more than 60 shows during its 18-month existence, including three self-booked tours, the most recent a mini-jaunt in the Midwest that left them broke, but highly optimistic. 

“We were in Michigan with five or six days left and all we had was $16,” guitarist Bob Jack recalled. “We made just enough in each show to cover travel costs to get to the next show and so on, but we had a blast and it was definitely worth it.” On the other hand, when I asked about their big opening slot for UK media darlings the Kooks at Lupo’s, drummer Sam Lopriore said, “They made absolutely no attempt to talk to us or watch any part of our set,” Lopriore said. “Playing to that many people on that stage was incredible, but the Kooks had no desire to even say ‘hi.’ ”

It Was the Best of Times are headed to the studio in early winter and shooting for an early ’09 release. “We’re writing a lot of new stuff,  expanding our sound and getting much more in depth than in the past,” Jack said. “The music is definitely heading in a new direction — it’s still us, but a different feel.” Lead singer and keyboardist Lindsey Powers added: “It’s going to have a slightly different sound, but completely organic and natural and something that we are all 100 percent behind.”

IWTBOT plan to release the album independently while patiently plotting. “There is no label help right now, we do everything ourselves,” bassist Jake Francis said. “But I guess it’s just about the right person hearing what we do.”

“We are putting so much into this right now that it feels like a full-time job, but this is what we all love to do,” Powers said.

IWTBOT will play a handful of shows between now and the album’s release; the only other gig currently scheduled is an opening slot for Innerpartysystem at Jerky’s on Novem-ber 15. Visit myspace.com/itwasthebestoftimes for updates. 

“The four of us are all on the same page right now and vibing so well with each other,” lead guitarist Bob Jack said. “We’re happier than we’ve been in a long time and it feels really good.

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