It’s been a little over three years since the Savannah-based original hard rock and metal band Capital A played a public show.
In that time, the band’s four members —vocalist Brad Gibson, guitarist Jason Bouchea, bassist Todd Armstrong and drummer Brad Jensen— have kept busy.
Bouchea furthered his career as a local firefighter and formed a mobile DJ service. Armstrong worked as an electrician, became a father, and played bass in an early lineup of fledgling rock act Element Unseen. Jensen relocated to Atlanta to pursue a job in computer programming.
Only Gibson kept the Capital A name alive — but not as a band. Instead, he used the basic skills he honed through running the group’s PA as a springboard to open his own professional sound reinforcement company. According to Gibson, naming this now-thriving endeavour Capital A Productions was a no-brainer: the moniker was already stenciled on most of the equipment left over from the band’s rig.
During the three-plus years they were together, Capital A made a decent amount of headway in our notoriously hindered local scene. They performed regularly at a variety of Savannah venues, and gigged in such high-profile showcase rooms as Charleston’s Music Farm and The Plex, and Atlanta’s Masquerade. They also self-released a professionally-recorded CD which sold in excess of 500 copies.
Yet the grind of trying to crack into what we now know as the dying days of the established record business took its toll on the group, and depending on which member you ask, Capital A either “broke up” or simply “decided to take a break.” Still, these close friends and artistic partners all agree they never let the band’s dissolution get in the way of their personal bonds.
“Yeah,” says Bouchea. “We wanted stardom and fame and money, but the real reason we played music was for the feeling. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve felt it before. It’s like nothing else. You’re sharing with strangers and friends your emotions, your passion and your ideas on life — everything that is secret to you.”
Gibson says that very little planning went into this reunion, and he feels that’s a strong sign that conflicts and regrets that plagued the group in the past may have faded away for good.
“I was coming home from a sound gig and the idea hit me. I called everyone and was like, ‘Y’all wanna play a show?’ They were on board, so I booked it. It only took a matter of hours to organize.”
“I called (large, Hilton Head music club) Monkey Business and they asked us to open for Seven Mary Three. I was stoked. They’re one of my favorite bands!”
Gibson —who was known in the act’s initial lifespan to prowl the stage, bellowing his lyrics with a vengeance— says that it felt a little strange at first to be throwing himself back into this material.
“I had no intention of ever playing those songs again. I have only listened to them once or twice since we parted ways.”
However, he says one benefit of this time apart seems to be a newfound sense of maturity that is coming through in revamped versions of their existing setlist (the band has no immediate plans to write or rehearse new material).
“The vibe’s still the same,” says Gibson. “But I’m trying to sing more and scream less. I struggled with my pitch in the past and I’m working hard on that.”
Bouchea adds that local drummer Alan Sumrell (who’s filling in due to a scheduling conflict with Jensen) deserves much of the credit for how easily their six weeks of rehearsals have progressed.
“I feared we’d would lack the energy of before, but it’s just like yesterday. Alan’s worked his ass off. (Jensen) is a great guy, a great drummer, and part of this band. He knows he’s always welcome here.”
Gibson says he has high hopes that the group can continue to play the occasional area show. “We entered this with a clean slate, and we’re getting along great.”
Bouchea agrees, adding, “As long as there are people who want to hear Capital A live, we’ll be here.”
Still, if this show winds up as only a one-time event, Gibson says even that would be fine with him.“I can’t think of a better way to close this chapter — if that’s what this is.”