Madden Touchdown Pass

A brief history of the guys from Madden Touchdown Pass, Plattsburgh’s rookie in the hardcore scene.

Story by Nick Will

Photos by Madden Touchdown Pass

What kind of team can be formed when you combine a handful of Former SUNY Plattsburgh students and a handful of mall employees? One that slams, grooves, and can win the hearts of a small group of girls in a coffee shop. Here to talk about the game they’ve got planned for the future is Plattsburgh’s MVP Madden Touchdown Pass.

With a melodic hardcore sound similar to groups like Drowning Man, and with a vocal style similar to bands like The Polar Bear Club, Madden Touchdown Pass aims to please.

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The band hard at work.

“They are a good group of dudes, and I like how they approach their genre with an anti-breakdown sound,” says Collin Eldridge, a SUNY Plattsburgh student. Eldridge has featured Madden Touchdown Pass on his radio show on WQKE, the Quake, and sells merchandise for the band.

Madden Touchdown Pass started in August of 2008, and started out in a completely different direction. Originally, the group was called Pierrot and was comprised of current drummer Joe Cross and guitarist Chris Parmelee. The duo was trying to achieve a noise/grind sound, and didn’t seem to think doing it alone was going anywhere. They contacted friend and fellow guitar player Kevin Yando, and then asked him to join the project.

After Yando joined, things started changing. “We tried to get together something that we genuinely wanted to play, not just some gimmick,” said Parmelee. The group started reshaping, and in January 2009, they added bassist Jeff Lawrence. The band recorded a 6-song instrumental EP called “Dude,” and in February tried out vocalist Tyler Oliver, a friend and former bandmate of Lawrence’s. Since the band has been together, they seem to find that it’s all working.

“We are starting to get used to each other’s styles and feed off of each other.” said Parmelee. “Everything seems to be working naturally.” Each member has their own specific talents, but they have all come from similar places.

Cross has been with Madden Touchdown Pass since its creation. He has been drumming for 10 years, and has been in a handful of Plattsburgh local bands. He played for a band called Slam Pig, as well as hardcore band Theta before that. Cross stated that he listens to a lot of music, but over the last few years, his biggest influences have been The Polar Bear Club, Man-Man, and A Wilhelm Scream.

“I just want to do this as long as I can, go as many places as I can, and meet as many people as I can.”

Parmelee has been playing guitar for 7 years, and is completely self -taught. Parmelee is a native to the Plattsburgh area. He was formerly in a Vermont band Waiting for a Miracle, but left the group after a year of touring. Parmelee stated that they were all older musicians, and that he was looking for more fun in his career. “I just want to do this as long as I can, go as many places as I can, and meet as many people as I can,” Parmelee said.

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Band's generic hardcore photo.

Bassist Lawrence has been playing since 9th grade. He formerly played bass in Results May Vary and Paper Parachutes with Oliver. Lawrence is known as the most energetic member, with Oliver following at a close second. “Jeff is always the one rocking out the hardest at our shows,” stated guitarist Kevin Yando. Lawrence gets most of his influence from bands like Coheed and Cambria, although he acknowledges that, at one point in his music career, he was a fan of Mayday Parade. Lawrence said that playing with Madden Touchdown Pass has been fun, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Last but not least, Yando, the band's guitarist, is also a Plattsburgh native and has been in several local bands, including Theta with Cross, and Bearing an Hourglass. Yando has been playing guitar for 6 years, and is currently a Burger King employee. Yando said that he is influenced by groups such as Pink Floyd and Blink 182, but that most of his music is written at the spur of the moment and from the gut. “I just want to have fun playing music, and it’s always a good time with these guys,” Yando said.

Recently, the band did a three-day tour of the North Country with Vermont’s Alive and Well, and is excited about their next show on April 20th. Madden Touchdown Pass is in the process of writing and has big plans for the future.  “This looks like something that could last, and it is something that we are all genuine about,” said Parmelee.

“Our goal is to release a 6 or 7 song EP, and get to the point where we can feel comfortable playing anywhere.”

“We hope to go all the way,” said Oliver.

“We’d like to get out and play anywhere, travel the country,” added Cross.

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The band on a sinister night out.

The band hopes to get some of their personal favorites recorded in studio, and hopefully hit the road on a large tour. “Our goal is to release a 6 or 7 song EP, and get to the point where we can feel comfortable playing anywhere,” said Oliver.

Cross stated that he hopes to play a lot more with Alive & Well. According to Madden Touchdown Pass, if they could tour with any band, it would be Poison the Well, hardcore gurus from Florida. “Those guys always seem to be at the cutting edge of a trend in hardcore, and they are big influence on most of us,” stated Parmelee.

As far as the future goes, the band is optimistic. Cross commented that the band plans on recording with producer John Naclerio of Nada Studios in Orange County, N.Y. Naclerio has worked with artists like Polar Bear Club, Sense’s Fail, and My Chemical Romance. They plan on recording this summer, and releasing a full-length album. After that, they really want to get on tour and play as many places as they can. “We are just trying to keep things basic, and do things and create things to make the music scene what we think it should be,” stated Parmelee. “No Myspace promotion, just good, hard work.”

The group wants to start touring heavily, and the future looks bright if they do. “We just want to live on the road, and continue to write music that we all enjoy” said Oliver.

What do you think of Madden Touchdown Pass?