YEAR FORMED: 2000
HOME TOWN: Philadelphia
Greg Drudy - Drums
Matt Smith - Bass
Casey Boland - Guitar
Billy Werner - Vocals
It is a rare but wonderful occurrence when a band can form out of friendships and last more than a few months. Greg Drudy (drums, formerly of Saetia and Interpol), Matt Smith (bass and guitar, formerly of Off Minor), Casey Boland (guitar, formerly of You & I) and Josh Jakubowski (guitar and bass, formerly of Neil Perry) formed Hot Cross in the winter of 2000. With a desire to play music on the weekends, the band was originally formed with the intention of being a casual project amongst friends who had known each other from the early to mid-90's tri-state area hardcore scene.
As a 4-piece, the band wrote a handful of songs and played some shows to test out their live chops. Soon, a practice demo was mailed off to Billy Werner (vocals, formerly of Saetia), another close friend and hardcore scene alum who was studying abroad in the UK. He was into the songs and alternately the members of Hot Cross were into the work he had done in the past. In a whirlwind of hyperactivity, Billy returned to the states on a Monday, practiced with Hot Cross for the first time on a Wednesday, and played his first show as the vocalist of Hot Cross on that Friday. Now that a permanent vocalist was in the band, it was time to make a record. The band's chaotic sound, which melded 1990's San Diego hardcore influences with a more controlled east coast foundation, caught the attention of Robotic Empire Records. The A New Set of Lungs EP was released by Robotic Empire in later 2001 and was sold out in a matter of weeks.
The band continued to write material and play regionally whenever work schedules allowed. A small 10-day tour of Europe took place in the summer of 2002, and a split EP with the now defunct Light the Fuse and Run appeared shortly after. Over a period of several months, the band wrote and recorded its debut full-length, Cryonics which was followed by a tour of Japan with Tokyo hardcore giants Envy and the much-lauded Virginia-based City of Caterpillar. Cryonics was much vaster in scope than Lungs, as the songwriting diversified and included melodic backing vocals from both Boland and Jakubowski.
To change up the bands dynamic further, Smith and Jakubowski switched their respective duties in the band. Smith, being a native bass player and Jakubowski having a great deal of experience on the guitar mutually decided that the band could benefit and expand if both members played what they knew best. The change took place and writing commenced on a follow-up to Cryonics, resulting in the Fair Trades and Farewells EP. This record, released in 2004, also marked the moment the band became a full-time operation. Hot Cross played over 200 shows that year including two full tours of the US and various regional tours. Unfortunately, Jakubowski's schedule as a part-time recording engineer wouldn't allow for this sort of touring and he parted ways with the band in the spring of 2005. The remaining four members forged ahead with one less member, immediately touring in the Midwest with Japan's Melt Banana and writing material that represented the newer incarnation of Hot Cross.
In early 2006 the band became part of the Hope Division/Equal Vision Records roster, and the rest is history. Hot Cross' first full length in 3 years, and their debut for the label, Risk Revival, will appear in February, followed by stateside touring.