Brian Tashima, guitarist and lead singer for the Vancouver/Portland-based rock trio Second Player Score, is a firm believer in the value of second chances.
“The first time you do something – your first band, first kiss, whatever – it’s cool because it’s fresh, new, exciting,” Tashima says. “But the next time around, you’ve learned from your mistakes, you’re more experienced. And it sort of validates you, because now you can say that you’ve done it again — it wasn’t a one-off kind of thing.”
The members of the Second Player Score know a few things about second chances. For all three of them, the Portland area is their second home – drummer Kyle Gilbert grew up in California, while Tashima and bassist Daniel Downs were both born and raised in Hawaii — and each of them was coming off of what they considered to be their first serious musical projects.
“We were all in bands that had released albums, played a lot of shows, the whole nine yards,” Tashima explains. “For various reasons, none of them worked out and we all ended up migrating to the Pacific Northwest.”
Finding each other through musician-wanted ads and word of mouth, the three quickly discovered that they shared a fondness for hard rock, geek culture, and craft beer. After taking their name from a line in an episode of “The Simpsons,” they set about developing a collective sound that eventually grew to resemble bands like Weezer, Husker Du, Green Day, and Bad Religion.
“At first, it was just meant to be something fun and casual, but as time went along, the songs started to come together and take on lives of their own,” Tashima says. “That’s when we thought, ‘hey, maybe other people would like to hear this stuff.’”
Encouraged by the positive responses they received at their energetic live shows, the band decided to record some of the aforementioned “stuff” with producer/engineer Stephan Hawkes, whose credits include popular Portland-area bands such as Red Fang, Rags & Ribbons, and The Crash Engine. The resulting album, Fortress Storm Attack, is a collection of ten songs that range stylistically from pop-punk (“Chosen One,” “Better Than My Dreams”) to heavier driving rock (“Bend,” “Falling Forever”), all while maintaining the huge sing-along hooks and three-part vocal harmonies that are an integral part of the band’s anthemic rock approach.
Is Tashima concerned that it’s their first album and not their second?
“Well, that goes back to what I said about the first time being cool and exciting,” he says with a laugh. “But still, even though this was our first experience recording together, all of us had been in the studio a bunch of times before, so we knew what to expect and what needed to be done.”
“Also, we have most of our second album already written,” he adds.
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