How did The City's Finest meet?
"I've known Brian and Robby since we were in middle school, although I didn't join the band until just before college," says rhythm guitar player Chris Lenz. "I used to hang out with them while they were practicing, thinking about how cool it would be to be in a band, while they were jamming along to the likes of Rufio, Yellowcard, and New Found Glory. I think I had only owned a guitar for about six months at this point and hardly knew how to play the damn thing, but I can still vividly remember the first time Robby had temporarily switched from bass to vocals, and the band asked me to step in to replace him. For a 16-year-old kid like me, it was like winning American Idol. "
"Robby and I have been in bands together since we were 15 or 16," says singer Brian Grider. "We were Strave for the longest of all our bands, about three years."
"I have been in a bunch of bands with Brian and Chris," says bass player Robby Powers Davis, "with ridiculous names like Luigi's Sorrow, but they were really all the same band -- we just hadn't gotten our style down yet."
"I play guitar and sing in the acoustic-techno monster megamix band the Dateless Losers," says drummer Tim Curns. "Our lead guitarist is pretty busy with grad school, and I wanted to get back behind the drum set, so I found these guys."
"A little over a year ago I was in a band called Nicollen," says lead guitarist Andrew Stone. "It was my first real band that actually tried to get somewhere. It was a great experience, even though I had to drive about two hours, two to three times a week, for practice, and everyone else in the band had their own problems -- cancer, kids, wife. I started looking through Craigslist for bands wanting to jam, and I found a couple bands that were cool, but nothing really struck me. I got sick of looking and just put up my own ad in Craigslist, and Brian e-mailed me a few days after...we got together, and I really loved the sound he was going for."
Brian "I use a TC-Helicon VoiceLive vocal processor. I play a bit of keyboards live as well."
Tim "I bought a used Pearl Session kit from a guy who refurbishes drums. They are fairly new in my hands, but I'm rocking them as much as possible. It's like driving someone else's car for the first few weeks...then you can't imagine how you lived without it."
Chris "A special-edition Ibanez that I bought at Guitar Center about two years ago. It was my first 'real' guitar, so I have a real sense of affinity toward it. I must have tried out at least 30 guitars with our singer that day, but nothing seemed to fit. We were actually on our way out when he saw it hidden amongst a stack of promotional items they had piled at the front of the store. 'What about that one?' he said, and from the moment we plugged in we knew it was the one."
Robby "My bass was presented to me in a dream. The next day, as I was walking through a deserted house, I found it leaning against the wall."
Chris "I climbed onto a chair to try and reach the countertop in the kitchen of our first house but ended up slipping and accidentally grabbing my mom's miniature cactus to try and halt my fall. I actually remember being blown off by some magical gust of wind, but that's probably just my subconscious compensating for my childhood stupidity. My aunt was pulling those needle things out of my hands with tweezers for hours."
Brian "I remember sleeping in my bed when I was about four years old. Someone grabbed my foot, so I woke up and said, 'What do you want?' There was no answer, so I opened my eyes...I looked around and saw nothing. At that point I was incredibly scared and just dived under the covers. I've been scared of ghosts up until about three days ago."
Tim "I fell off a stool when I was little and chipped my gum. My tooth came in gray, and I had to deal with that for a few years."
Andrew "When I was a kid my four sisters listened to a band called Depeche Mode. It's all they would ever listen to, so I totally got into it. My parents hated it. I remember them calling it Depressed Mood. I got so into it I would put it on and dance around."
FAVORITE SAN DIEGO NEIGHBORHOOD?
Tim "I like downtown a lot. It's pretty clean for a downtown metro area, and it reminds me of our music in a certain way."
Andrew "Fallbrook. It's a little outside of San Diego, but I met some of the greatest people in the world from that small town."
Brian "La Jolla. I'm very used to organization and rich people."
Robby "South Park. It's just a cool place to hang out."
Chris "South Mission Beach is where it's at. I lived there during the school year and was within walking distance of, like, eight different bars."