The rock band Mad at Gravity did not come together in the usual way or consist of the usual sorts of musicians who make up rock bands. This was not the case of a lead singer and his friend, a guitarist, rounding up the rest of the group after finishing high school and then building a local following. The members of Mad at Gravity tended more to be college-educated and formally trained; they were signed to a recording contract after playing a minimum of shows; and it was the drummer who started the band. Jake Fowler, born in Kalamazoo, MI, and raised in Orange County, CA, started playing in bands after finishing high school, but that did not prevent him from taking a degree in biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. After several bands came and went, including one that nearly reached a major label, Fowler hooked up with Ben Froehlich, a bass player he had met when their two groups played on the same bill. Froehlich, also raised in Orange Country, grew up more interested in soccer than in music, picking his college, St. Mary's in Moraga, CA, on the basis of its soccer program, but also studying art. He took up bass playing when his brother began on guitar. He met guitarist Anthony "Bosco" Boscarini, another soccer player, through his brother. Boscarini was born in Oxnard, CA, and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He took piano lessons throughout his childhood, later adding guitar, which he also studied formally. He attended the University of Southern California as an economics major and was a kicker on the football team.
With the trio of Fowler, Froehlich, and Boscarini in place, Fowler placed an ad in the magazine The Recycler looking for another guitarist and a singer. Guitarist James Lee Barlow, who answered the ad, was another resident of Orange County, where he took up the guitar at 14 and also studied professional audio at a community college. He was getting work on the technical side of music, such as recording demos for Alien Ant Farm, when he passed the audition to join Mad at Gravity. The final ingredient in the band was singer J. Lynn Johnston, born in Sunnyvale, CA, in Silicon Valley, the son of an employee of Apple computers. He wrote poetry in his teens and switched majors at Azusa Pacific University from music to English before graduating in communications. He also worked at the campus radio station and began doing recording sessions as a backup singer and interning at record labels. Then he answered Fowler's ad.
Mad at Gravity, taking their name from the title of one of Johnston's early poems, formed on July 3, 2001. The members had mailing lists from previous bands that they used to tout the new group, and they posted acoustic versions of three songs on an MP3 site, attracting further notice. This led to record company interest, and they signed to ARTISTdirect Records, recording their only album, Resonance, for release in July 2002. They also placed two tracks on the soundtrack to the summer 2002 film Reign of Fire and booked a national tour, Locobazooka, supporting Sevendust and Filter. Actually, live performance was the one area where they had not had much experience as a group; by May 2002, they had played only ten gigs. And by the next year, Mad at Gravity were history, as vocalist Johnston departed and the group disbanded after failing to replace him. ~ William Ruhlmann