THE BUSINESS OF LOVE

The members of Boulder's Love Lies are performers first and foremost. But they're also businessmen. As guitarist Duane Caraballo notes, "We're one of the few bands that carries a briefcase and a guitar case."

Indeed, Caraballo and his associates (singer Christian Dicharry, bassist Jeff Lipton and drummer Donovan Stuart) know as much about the music business as many entertainment lawyers. They run Rabid Records, a label that's home to Love Lies and Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass. And as a result of hard work and a knack for public relations, they've managed to build a fan base with strongholds in locales as disparate as Phoenix and Hawaii.

According to Lipton, establishing the group in other areas was a necessity given its sound. "Other cities cater to modern-rock music a lot more than Boulder and Denver do," he says. "Around here the scene seems to be focused more on groove-oriented music, which we're not."

True enough. When it was formed in 1990, Love Lies Bleeding, as the band was then known, was distinguished by a dark and moody synth-pop style. But since becoming Love Lies in August 1992 and releasing its debut CD (1993's Delve), the outfit has evolved into a decidedly mainstream modern-rock band. "We've definitely gone in that direction," Lipton admits. "We've become much more focused on songwriting--on writing great melodies and on being simple."

"Our sound is more mature and more distilled than it has been before, even on Delve," agrees Caraballo. "We're just hoping to dispel any preconceptions of the band and what we've done in the past. At that time we were a little too showy and had kind of a contrived sound."

The group's latest Rabid Records disc, Speak (co-produced by Todd Buffa, a Grammy-winning arranger and member of Rare Silk), showcases its new approach. Most of the songs on the recording fuse Caraballo's punkish guitar with a variety of well-crafted pop melodies, ranging from softer, Gin Blossomy pieces such as the title cut to the much heavier tones of the Pearl Jam-esque "Happy Birthday."

The next step for Love Lies is marketing the new album, particularly in areas where it's already established a reputation. "Seattle, Montana and Salt Lake City are all places that we've had success," Lipton explains. He laughs as he concedes, "There's that out-of-town-band mystique thing and the fact that we have a CD out and tour so much that gives people the impression that maybe we're more professional than other bands."

The act already has a two-week stint in Hawaii scheduled for late December, as well as a plan to reach listeners in other regions of the country. "We're going to be heavily promoting the new record," Lipton announces. "We're working with a retail promoter and focusing on the top 340 college radio stations in the College Music Journal."

In addition, Love Lies is moving into another new realm: cyberspace. Lipton reveals that the band has just opened a home page on the Internet's World Wide Web in order to keep its widely scattered fans up to date. "We're really wired in," he says of the project, which is accessible at http://www.lovelies.com. "A lot of major labels are doing it, and so are a lot of indies. Ultimately, it's a great way to increase exposure."

Also in the works is a state-of-the-art e-mail fan list for mass mailings, along with on-line video and audio clips of the artists. "We're going to have a laptop and upload things to our home page while we're on the road--pictures of the latest show, notes of what happened on tour," Caraballo enthuses. "We're going to try to make it as interactive as possible so our fans in different cities feel like they can stay in touch. It's a really exciting promotional element that I think a lot of bands will eventually be getting into."

In the meantime, the men behind Love Lies are eager to solidify their standing in Colorado. They recently made their second visit to The Peak Lounge, KXPK-FM/96.5's live showcase, and are looking forward to making more area appearances. "We're focusing a lot more on local gigs, and we're going to put a lot more energy into Colorado as the new record comes out," Lipton promises. "We've got gigs in Denver, Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. We're really trying to work the state more and develop a higher profile."

Lord of Word, the other Rabid signee, needs promoting, too; a new EP from the combo is slated for release early next year. Clearly, Love Lies has a lot on its plate, but the musicians feel that their future is in good hands: their own. "There will definitely come a time when we'll have to choose between the band and the label," Lipton declares. "But that choice has already been made. We started the label for the band's sake, and we ultimately want to play music."

Love Lies, with Sympathy F and the Christines. 9 p.m. Friday, September 29, Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax, $5, 830-2525.

 
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