The new vocalist for Cleveland metal band, Fallen Captive, is not really new at all. Stevie James began his career years ago doing unclean vocals for Fallen Captive when they were all still in school. Today he joins Jim Bergmann (guitar), Rob Warmuth (guitar), Jay Verbic (drums), Brian French (keys) and Morgan Patterson (bass) once more to thrill audiences with his unique vocal style.
The back story. It all started in high school when James discovered music was as much a part of him as his eye color. He played drums, started to learn piano, and even did a stint as trumpet player in the school band. He joined not one, but two metal bands and juggled school, band practice, and a job until he had to make a decision. He went with Abandon All Hope until they disbanded, gravitating to vocalist for This is a Lifetime, but they broke up too. James found himself playing many of the same shows as Fallen Captive, which allowed him to stay in touch with his old friends and keep up to date with the band and music. They even discussed the idea of a side project, which evolved to James becoming the vocalist for Fallen Captive when the position became open. He says, “It just all came full circle and I ended up back in one of the bands I started in. On top of that, it’s (Fallen Captive) a great band. Watching what they were doing from the perspective of being on the same shows and playing in other bands, watching what Fallen Captive was really able to achieve was definitely awesome. And of course I want to be a part of it. I feel I can bring that extra little push we need to take it to the next level.” James fit right in and the transition to Fallen Captive is like being back where he belongs.
There’s more to music than music. For a music lover, it is easy to forget how many people it takes to bring the show to the stage. James is no novice when it comes to the other side of music. He is Assistant Merchandise Coordinator for Alternative Press magazine and has a charismatic presence on screen when he interviews other musicians on camera for APTV. James has been a tour bus driver on full U.S. tours for other bands. He is also Head of Booking at the popular Vibe Studio in Cleveland, as well as a part time bartender at The Foundry, the premiere spot for metal music in Lakewood. While James appreciates the opportunity to learn all aspects of the music business, his first love is performing. He explained, “Being surrounded by music constantly is awesome, but ultimately nothing is nearly as cool as screaming into a mic and rocking out in front of people, and traveling the country, or the world doing it.” James uses his love of music in all areas, bringing that excitement and enthusiasm to every job he does.
Oh, Loretta! In music, artists are often defined by the sacrifices they must make. In 2014, James had to give up his beloved touring van, affectionately named Loretta. She was a frequent tailgate companion at Cleveland Brown games, and since the Browns lost quite often that year, James was reminded of Loretta, a character from Family Guy who cheated on her husband, Cleveland Brown. On an icy road in West Virginia, Loretta’s transmission failed, leaving the musicians waiting hours for a tow truck in the middle of nowhere, fighting below zero temperatures. But all was not lost. Losing Loretta paved the way for a larger, more dependable touring van that James named Henrietta, because it is a stronger name for a stronger vehicle, ready to take on the rigors of touring across the country with Fallen Captive.
At the first show back with Fallen Captive, I thought James had returned to the beginning of his career, but I was wrong. James did not go backward, but forward to a future with the band that has been close to his heart since high school. He is a powerful performer, with articulate screams interspersed with perfectly balanced highs and lows that adds just the right emotion at the right time. By far, the stand out feature of his vocal style is rapid fire screaming segments that captures the audience at once leaving them breathless and wanting more. Fallen Captive is currently writing new music and will have a new album out this year. In the meantime, fans can see them live at select shows and the newest video below.