"As a kid, if he skateboarded, a week later, I'm gonna be skateboarding. When I was 14, I bought a guitar, and was, like, 'Hey, show me some stuff,'" Ian says. "I think it was second nature, having an older brother to test the waters first for anything."

The pair couldn't stop "jonesing for something more" than saving lives and stopping fires, and got together for jam sessions, from which Digital Summer was born. They'd never collaborated musically before, but Larry Elyea says he was impressed with the results when he first saw the brothers perform in his Scottsdale studio.

"They definitely have a good dynamic and work very well together," he says. "Kyle's definitely the ringleader, and I'm sure it's challenging to have your older brother in your band and watching over your shoulder, but they definitely handle it well."

Jamie Peachey

Elyea, who's worked with such marquee-level talent as Jimmy Eat World and Tech N9ne, was also blown away by the band's music during their first recording session.

"Even on their first demo, they weren't really like some rough band that needed a lot of work," Elyea says. "They already understood the fundamentals of songwriting and they made up their minds that they wanted to sound [like] commercial hard rock and approach it from that aspect. They already know how to write good songs that people want to hear."

Larry McFeely, program director for local radio station 98 KUPD, agrees, which is why Digital Summer's been featured on the hard-rock station more than any other local metal group.

"I think they have a sound that is unique. They have an appeal to them that other bands lack," McFeely says. "Not to sound like Simon Cowell or anything, but you either got it or you don't, and a lot of these bands that are sending out music and trying to get stuff played on our station, they're not able to pull it off."


MySpace is like the unofficial gathering point for Digital Summer's fervent followers, as the social-networking powerhouse is awash with loving shrines by their ever-growing fan base. (Current friend tally: 48,614 — more than the tallies for such Valley supergroups as Meat Puppets, JFA, and Phunk Junkeez combined).

These doting love letters include paeans to Digital Summer's CDs, requests to get drunk with the drummer, and the more insane devotions (the latest trend is getting tattoos of Digital Summer's logos). One 16-year-old Texan named Kimmi extols the virtues of the band's music and lyrics on her MySpace page devoted to the band.

"They DONT sing about sex or drugs or killing, most of all they DONT SUCK, thier [sic] music actually makes sense and have meaning and i love it!" she writes. "The best part is that mostly everyone can relate to it, i know i can."

Kyle considers the accessibility of Digital Summer's music as the band gets in a Saturday-morning nosh on the patio of Einstein Bros. in central Phoenix.

"Most of our songs are about the relationship bullshit that everybody goes through. I think that's a reason why our CDs do as well as they do and why people dig our music: because it's easy to relate to," he says.

Nodding his head while finishing a bite of his bagel sandwich, Ian comments further on the matter.

"What else are we gonna write about? We didn't have a rough childhood. We weren't born in the 'hood. We could be like Vanilla Ice and sing about life in the ghetto, even though we lived in Dallas."

"Although Fish [guitarist Johnmark Cenfield] grew up in Compton," Kyle quips.

"Crenshaw," replies Cenfield. "Get it right."

Another major subject couched between power chords and furious vamps in Digital Summer's dramatic discography is an angstful longing for getting to the next level in life.

"It's never too late and don't ever look back/'Cause there's no future in the past/If you want to change your life, I think you should know/The door is open but it's closing fast," Kyle sings between growling guitar riffs on "Now or Never."

He makes no secret that such yearnings are about getting Digital Summer to the next level, citing English poet Nan Fairbrother to drive the point home. "There's a quote that sticks with me: 'We are perverse creatures and never satisfied,'" Kyle says. "That's us to a T. We're constantly pushing for that next step with the band, whether it's getting signed or bigger crowds."

It's a push that goes on nearly 24/7, according to Cenfield. When band members aren't practicing endlessly, they're busy renting out local venues for gigs, mailing out merch, contacting media, designing flyers, or a hundred other tasks. Getting financial backing from such alt-friendly sponsors as Club Tattoo and Lithium Clothing is also a major focus, since it helps fund their massive live shows.

"There's so much going on that it wouldn't be possible if we didn't formulate it like a business and run it structured," Cenfield says. "There's never a day off, never a time we're sitting idle. If I don't get at least a text message or call from somebody in the band during a day, I feel like they're mad at me or something."

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15 comments
Chris
Chris

I'll admit....these guys don't suck. Nice to know AZ might actually have something of value to offer to the music world.

Melissa
Melissa

I just wanted to say that the Digital Summer article is awesome and the pictures are fantastic. Let me just say that us street teamers take alot of pride in our work around the valley. There is nothing that we wouldn't do to help the guys get their name out there!!!

Josh
Josh

Killer article, they sound like they really have what it takes to make it big. I'm going to go get there cd tomorrow! Keep up the good work-josh

mark
mark

heard of these guys awhile back. didnt listen to their music till newtimes put them on the cover, and i gotta say i was impressed. they have some really good music. after reading the article, if all is true, they definitely deserve the cover. so to the two assholes above, talking shit isnt gonna take Digital Summer off the cover, and jealousy isnt gonna get u on it! so save ur breathe! good band, great article, good job new times!

dante m.f. white
dante m.f. white

digital summer is the shit. bottom line the first time i realized that they were THE band to represent arizonas rock scene was when they played homeless for the holidays acoustic set. any band that can play acoustic and sound just as good as thier cd has talent.

SANDY
SANDY

Those last two comments are pretty ignorant. Quite obvious that jealousy is playing a role. I went to their show last night. Not only was it sold out, but it was probably the best show I have ever seen, local or not. So you could definitely consider me a fan now, in which case that last moron would be calling ME an idiot....so FUCK YOU. Digital Summer keep doing what you're doing. You're amazing and it shows!!

James
James

Digital Summer are a bunch of poseurs. Their music is totally souless and their fans are all idiots. Fuck 'em.

God
God

Just goes to show..you don't need talent to be on the cover of the new times..Great job new times..another shitty band with a "gimmick"

you disappoint me more and more..

God

Mac
Mac

These guys rock! Great article!!! I must admit I never read the Newtimes, but when I saw digital summer on the cover i was like " oh f*@k yeah!!!"

Becky Patton
Becky Patton

Digital Summer is an amazing band that has so much talent and deserves this type of recognition and much more. They work really well together and have what it takes to make it. I play their CD in my car all the time and all my friends ask who they are... Cant wait for your show tomorrow night! you guys rock!

Dan
Dan

Ridiculous.

Jae
Jae

Bunch of cool guyz! It's good that we keep getting put on the map for bring out good rock bands!

Brandi
Brandi

Great story! Digital Summer is such an amazing band and they are all amazing people! My daughter is one of the 7 year olds they talked about taking pictures with and quit honestly, i don't know many band that would take the time to do that! That is why we love them!

Tiffany
Tiffany

I am so happy to see these guys finally get some well deserved recognition! They are an amazing band that works so hard and is really just a cool bunch of guys. GREAT STORY!

 
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