By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
By Tom Murphy
By Tom Murphy
Fans have faith that DiNunzio's analogy will hold true and assume that Denaliand The Instinct are merely the first of many remarkable musical landmarks to be constructed by the crew. But even in the early days, friends in high places took note when they first heard the outfit taking shape. And when the first demos were coming together, the band was courted by a few major-leaguers. Ultimately, however, Denali eschewed this big-box attention in favor of Jade Tree, a label known for the great care it takes of its artists. Matt Smith, one of the guitarists for Richmond's incendiary political punk outfit Strike Anywhere -- another member of the Jade Tree roster -- came to a show and felt compelled to let the label in on his home town's latest secret.
This kind of support from other musicians hasn't let up since those formative days and has resulted in some fortuitous touring arrangements. Just as the new record was nearing completion, the band was tapped to warm up the crowd for metallic monsters the Deftones, as part of that act's fall tour. Denali is preparing to make its presence felt across the country; the group will play thirty shows in a month, in venues ranging from mid-sized arenas to famous clubs like Hoboken's Maxwell's to rising-star cabarets like Denver's own Climax Lounge, exposing as many people as possible to its music along the way. After taking a few weeks off, the players are slated to embark on a short European tour in January, followed by another five-week jaunt across America in February. Though DiNunzio admits the touring experience can really sap creativity and enthusiasm, he acknowledges that it's all part of the job.
"You just have to take your girlfriend out to dinner, clean your sleeping bag, resign yourself to a lot of time away and bring a lot books," he quips. The bandmembers say their significant others are very supportive of the traveling that is required, so those dinners out probably won't have to be too expensive. And they're all voracious readers -- especially on the road, where there's plenty of time to read. Maura, who dreams of being an autopsy assistant, has just finished Michael Crichton's Airframe, and DiNunzio is re-reading John Krakauer's explornographic Everest saga, Into Thin Air. But DiNunzio is most excited about the fact that there will not be many days off on the upcoming road trip, since downtime usually means long drives.
And while he says he'd rather spend more time playing than navigating his way across the vast expanses of this country, it's life on the road that may eventually lead to that white picket fence and day-trading life of which he dreams.