Parlaying a battle of the bands (Butter’s Rock Fight) victory from nearly a year ago, local rock act The IZM, expanded on the prize of a three-song demo to instead record a 10-song project, “Welcome to Earth.” And the CD is set for release Saturday at the Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill in Myrtle Beach. Front man Jaesen Moore reflects on rock ‘n’ roll, family, and a beef jerky-fueled entrepreneurial bent, as he and his band mates prepare for the all-ages CD Release Party and concert, set to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday.
While discussing The IZM, Moore seemed slightly preoccupied – like he had something on the stove, which, it turns out, he did. I was certain he was yanking my chain as he told me of J Mikes Beef Jerky, LLC, a company he started a few months ago, with hopes to expand into a viable, federally-regulated food manufacturing venture. “Dude, people love this,” he said, adding that he’s perfected the recipe on family and friends and is working toward certification of his facilities in order to start marketing the product. But what about rock ‘n’ roll?
“Hey, we have jobs, children – we’ve got to pay the bills,” he said. Moore also works for Verizon. The IZM also features Jason Woolley (guitar), Nadia Manigo (drums), Merrill Weekly (guitar), and Matt Sellers (bass). Original drummer Jak Sumwalt now plays with rock act Prowler, replaced years ago by Manigo, one of the area’s rare female drummers. “Nadia is the heartbeat of the band,” said Moore.
Prior to adding Moore six years ago, the band had been performing and writing as Aneurism. “They spent years and years looking for a lead singer,” said Moore. “When I showed up, we changed the name to The Izm, and we’ve been writing and playing out ever since.”
Moore hadn’t been looking to join a band when Aneurism came calling. “They tricked me by telling me they had some karaoke equipment for sale,” he laughed. Moore had been a local Karaoke champ in the late 1990s through the early 2000s. “I won Karaoke Idol at Overtime one year,” he mused. “I never won the Broadway Louie’s contest though…I came in second and third like a thousand times, but always seemed to lose to some awesome woman in a beautiful dress singing Whitney Houston.”
Moore’s natural baritone voice and commanding stage presence makes him well suited for the melodic rock of the IZM, which focuses on loud guitars and insightful song lyrics. “We’ve been compared to System of a Down,” said Moore, “but I don’t really hear it. It’s hard for me to describe our music. I tell people ‘I put the black in Black Sabbath.’”
“Welcome to Earth” was recorded in March at Ocean 10 Studios in Myrtle Beach, as part of the battle of the bands prize package that included a portion of the recording time. The IZM paid for additional time to expand the project. The band also won a photo shoot with local lens man Corduroy Lefever, whose photos are featured in The IZM’s promo materials and CD design. Radio airplay was also a part of the prize package. The band is scheduled to be featured on the Mad Max morning show (Rock 107), around 9 a.m. Friday, according to Moore, who hopes people will listen, come to the show and buy a CD, rather than a digital download online. “We’re more homegrown than that. I’d rather people just come to our shows and buy a CD there.”
Saturday’s CD Release Party also includes local progressive rock act Lunar Fizz, Virgil Kain (from Charleston) and an after party with The Movement. Moore plans to be on the premises most of the day and evening; a microphone in one hand, and beef jerky in the other. “Right now I’m giving out free samples – but donations are always accepted,” he laughed. “We even have The IZM flavor – it’s thick and mild.”
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