Ryan, the frontman and singer for the Warsaw-based punk band Corporate Circus, says he and several of his musician buddies formed the band seven years ago not because they had any yearning to sing and play their hearts out, but because they thought it would help them meet women.
"We thought it would be fun and a good way to hook up with chicks," he said of the band's formative days. "Then we started doing things the right way."
Ryan said the band started getting serious about their music and their potential soon after forming. Eventually, Ryan, guitarists Cory and Jon, bassist Josh and drummer Jeremy, put out a full-length album, Help Wanted, early in 2000 and are now completing a follow up, There's No Place Like Home, scheduled for release early next year. Corporate Circus' music also is featured on five compilation albums, he said.
Like many other bands, Corporate Circus is using the internet to promote their music. Ryan said the band has tracks on www.mp3.com and www.garageband.com, two websites that help aspiring artists promote their music by offering free downloads of mp3 songs to fans and listeners. Aaron Syphilis, the band's manager, said their song "Subjects" is currently ranked 28 out of over 40,000 songs on www.garageband.com.
The band is getting radio play in both their hometown and Fort Wayne. WRSW 107.3 in Warsaw first took an interest in the band after a DJ purchased the Help Wanted disc at a show, said Syphilis. He said WRSW has aired a number of the songs from the Wanted disc, including "Runaway," "Hello, I'm Over Here" and "Mel-E." "Once some new material was recorded, our old stuff kind of died out. Now, WRSW plays 'Another Lie,' 'Justice' and "Fool's Paradise,' " he said.
WXTW 102.3 in Fort Wayne also has taken an interest in the band. Recently, the station selected the song "Fool's Paradise" to be featured on their Essentials Vol. 5 CD, to be released in December. A release party, at which many of the Essentials performers will play, is scheduled for December 27 at Piere's.
Said Cory of getting "Paradise" on Essentials 5, "We are all really stoked about this and can't wait to see how people react to our song. Our goal is to reach the cage match . . . and to do this we're gonna need everyone's help."
Syphilis said of the accomplishment, "We've always been a well-accepted local act in Indiana. Having our song placed on Essentials Vol. 5 basically secures that local acceptance. Essentials will be an excellent opportunity for us to get our music out to the masses, who might not have had a chance to hear us live or pick up our CD."
Ryan said the band is developing their own record label, Corporate Rock Records, to promote and produce their and other local bands' music. Help Wanted was the first album released on the label.
"It's coming along. It's going to take some time to put together," Ryan said. "I have high hopes for it. It could develop into something really unique."
By getting airplay and getting their music out in independent albums and compilations, the band is certainly increasing their chances for major label notice. Ryan said he wants the band to eventually go "straight to the top. I'd like to make a career out of it. It beats working at a gas station."
Aside from working on their new album and setting up their independent label, Corporate Circus have been busy and will continue to be busy with their live shows. In 2000, the band took its music on the road, hitting clubs and bars
along the east coast. Said Ryan of the month-long tour, "We didn't make a lot of money, but it was a good experience. We thought we got a really good response from the east coast. They were very supportive of what we were doing."
The band are planning another tour for next year. Ryan said they will likely head west. "We think our genre is more of a west coast style. Our music is more influenced by that area."
Corporate Circus have a number of upcoming shows in the state. Aside from the Piere's gig, the band is scheduled to play two back-to-back Dec. 28 and 29 shows at the Emerson Theatre in Indianapolis. The next day, Dec. 30, the band will perform at the Festivilla, another Indianapolis venue. In each of the shows, Corporate Circus share the bill with a number of bands including Chronic Chaos, Take the Pain and Farewell to Arms.
Ryan believes that the current state of punk music on the whole "has its pros and cons. There's a lot of bad representation out there." Locally, he described the Warsaw original music scene as "pretty weak." He said there are only a handful of original acts and even fewer places where original music can be heard. In describing the city's bar and club scene, he echoed the sentiments of many Fort Wayne original acts. "When it comes to trying to impress the bar scene crowds, it's horrible."
Ryan said the band's live shows are usually energetic and intense. Ryan, who also plays guitar and originally was the band's lead guitarist, gave up that role to improve live shows. "I thought I could enjoy the show more if I could just concentrate on singing. I thought it would make the stage show more intense."
Ryan said the band tries to please fans by "writing catchy songs that stick in people's heads. We try to go for that concept." As a result, he said Corporate Circus are steadily building and gaining a following in the area.