In a world straight jacketed by scripted passion and corporate identity – sometimes you just want to put push it all away and commit Treason . Treason claims its five members from the spans of North America including Toronto, Canada, Seattle, Washington and San Jose California. Their debut Waterstreet offering, Spinning, has been embraced by the worldwide press as delivering “the rock voice of the millennium” – Italy’s Metal Shock magazine, “pumping, gut wrenching guitars” – USA’s Electric Basement, “keyboards nothing short of a mindblower” – Portland Music Network, and a “rhythm section as precise as a swiss watch” – Metal Shock magazine. Treason lays claim to the heart and the imagination of its fans. In the words of Sonic Foundry e-zine, Treason has “serious talent, serious potential”, or more succinctly as Germany’s Rock Reunion says “Long Live Treason!”
The band’s key members were wow-ing the local club circuit in 1996 as keyboardist Ted Stockwell and bassist Jim Dixon joined forces with guitarist Karl Haug and drummer Pete Stern. In 1999, the band started collaborating with Sue Ennis (songwriter, Heart), with Ennis eventually taking on more and more of the lyric writing. With the addition of vocalist Jason Saunders behind the microphone, the band’s evolution was complete. Explains Saunders, “the group had this amazing collection of songs and the vibe was magic. I’m telling you, it was a dream situation.”
Treason’s previous self titled album, which featured Alan White and Billy Sherwood of Yes, caught the attention of Waterstreet, a new media company in search of serious talent. Waterstreet got Treason into the studio immediately, arranging for the bands chief songwriter/keyboardist Ted Stockwell to produce, Zack Reinig (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains) to engineer and celebrated producer/mix man Ron Saint Germain (Creed, Soundgarden, 311, Living Color, Tool, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc) to mix. “It was incredible to have this wealth of experience, imagination and enthusiasm at our disposal. The situation couldn’t have been better,” said Stockwell. Adds Stern “Making Spinning was an amazing experience. You can hear it in the songs; you can feel it in this album. It always gives me shivers when I hear it.”
The band made the studio their palette, painting very vivid images with a driving and powerful collection of songs. Spinning pushes the aggressive envelope in pieces like Kali Ma, SuperCool and Silent Prayer, the band’s first single. “We definitely like hard and edgy, but it’s the melody and the lyrics that make the songs appeal to a wide audience”, says Dixon. “You don’t hear great melodies much in music today.”
For songs like Spinning, Cycles and Cold Tears, which features Ann Wilson of Heart singing with Saunders, Treason wears emotion on its sleeve. “Ann Wilson brought this real heart-stopping quality to Cold Tears – she made it soar – she made it cry” , says guitarist Haug.
On State of Grace, Holy Water and Last Stand, the band used gritty, chunky keyboards, huge, in-your-face guitars, a rocking rhythm section reinforced with pop savvy choruses. Co-writer Sue Ennis, whose work with Heart is still a staple of rock radio, chimes in: “Collaborating is a tricky thing. You’re always hoping to find that oh-so-rare magical chemistry. Working with this fantastic band was an absolute match for me. By the end of our songwriting time together, we were finishing each other’s musical sentences. When we sat down listened to the mix, we all said “whoa, where did that come from?””
“For me, if a song can stand up to the scrutiny of the recording process, and still sound fresh and get me excited, I know it’s good”, says Ted Stockwell, “a lot of music doesn’t keep my attention even though it’s in heavy rotation and in my face – it’s one dimensional. I think we’ve created something that radio can sink its teeth into, an album that’s real and touches the fans; and isn’t that what this is all about?”