Hippo Manchester
September 22, 2005

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Nite: Keeping the music real

The Samples live, play right on the edge of success

by Richie Victorino

The Samples might very well be the greatest band you never heard of. And if you have heard of them, have you actually heard them? The reggae-rock style of The Samples is unique to them, though itís fair to say that Sean Kelly ó the man behind The Samples ó  has a voice eerily similar to Stingís.

But unlike The Police, The Samples havenít benefited from commercial success. They are a band that teeters between subculture and mainstream, and all too often that gray area is overlooked by the masses. But being overlooked isnít something that bothers Kelly much. His primary concern is the fans and the hope that heíll continue moving forward to his goal, whatever that might be. Even he hasnít truly figured that one out. 

Kelly spoke to us while on his way to California via Colorado to perhaps figure out why The Samples are indeed the best band you never heard of.

I keep hearing that The Samples are the best band you never heard of. Why do you think that is?

I feel that very little attention is put on musicians, songs and music. Itís more smoke and mirrors. I think it speaks more about the industry in general as opposed to [The Samples]. Weíre just playing and keeping it real.

Youíve mentioned that you stay true to your fans, and you keep it real. What does that mean?

Well, you definitely donít want to only preach to the converted. But the fans are the main reason we do what we do. Itís because of them that we can have a career. Always number one is the audience.

You guys are a career band. None of you have regular jobs but I wouldnít go as far as to say youíre big rock stars. Whatís the lifestyle like for a band in your position?

We always have a constant goal of succeeding. Whatever [success] may be. But weíre always in forward motion. Whether itís spreading out the music to a larger audience or whatever. Thereís nothing consistent about it. Like, we just finished an album last week. Itís probably one of the better albums weíve ever made. We donít do it to flounder and avoid regular jobs. Itís to move forward.

Why do you feel your next album is the best youíve done?

Just in the fashion in which we recorded it. I was writing a log of songs nightly. I had never done that before. And with the hurricane happening, all of that was peaking. It all funneled into [the album]. Itís all very current. Itís just so fresh.

Do you have a name for the new album yet?

Weíve got some tentative titles, like Rehearsing for Life.

Do you know when itíll be released?

No. Iím not sure yet. But if you keep an eye out on the website, those people will be the first to know.