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Stagger's singers make music together.

Byline: Jim Gangi

WORCESTER - Local metal band 7 Minute Stagger has gone through some major changes, lately. In the last year - the band, which has been around since 2007 and performs Friday at Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner, 148 Grove St. - has played new towns and switched guitarists, but perhaps the most striking change is that the band's two lead singers now not only share the spotlight, they also share their lives.

In June, Amanda and Trey Holton were married, bringing together a match made in heavy metal heaven. "It wasn't until we sat down to do some writing that we really got to know each other," Amanda said. "He was like a male version of me. I felt like he really was what I couldn't find for such a long time in my life. We just clicked so instantly. It was so funny because we had known each other for about seven years and had no idea that we would fall in love."

Despite the wedding, not much has changed in the couple's artistic relationship. "Trey writes the majority of the songs, only because I like the way he writes better than the way I write," Amanda said. "I'm so straightforward and he's very metaphorical. I wish that I could write the way he does."

By having two lead singers, 7 Minute Stagger is able to have a highly contrasted vocal sound. "Trey is a full-out screamer. His range is pretty broad, he's got a lot of low guttural screams, but he can get really high as well," Amanda said. To complement the low masculine screams, 7 Minute Stagger features Amanda's higher and cleaner feminine voice. "I find that when I first enter a band, I start off not really reaching my vocal range; I stick to a safe level. I don't really branch out until after many songs (have been written)," Amanda said. "Lately, with the newer songs, I've been bringing the vocals up a lot higher."

As to the lineup change, former Wreckoning guitarist Russ Beaudoin was brought in in August to replace founding member Greg Joy, who moved to South Carolina. "The first name that came up, and for me the only name, was Russ," Amanda said.

Beaudoin brings his own style to 7 Minute Stagger, which complements fellow guitarist Erik Zarazinski. "I come from a different background than Erik, musically," Beaudoin said. "Most of my background is more of hardcore, metal, straight-laced breakdown kind of stuff. Erik likes running around the fret board, bouncing the fingers on everything."

Zarazinski's pervious experience as a drummer adds to the uniqueness of his guitar style. "He can already see where the drummer is going to go with (the song) before the drummer gets there," Beaudoin said. "For me, I have to wait on the drummer to see what he's going to do, because I don't picture things like that." Along with Sean Cottle on bass and Emile Bourbeau on drums, 7 Minute Stagger features a heavy rhythm section.

Recently, the band has experienced success outside of Worcester. "Right now Western Massachusetts has really been where we've been doing a lot of shows," said Amanda. "We've been really well-received out there. Worcester is our home for sure, but Western Mass. has been picking up quite a bit."

At first, 7 Minute Stagger was hesitant to play in Western Mass. "When we started booking shows out there, I thought we would play to no one, but instead they've been awesome," Amanda said. "There are hidden scenes and the hidden towns in Western Mass.," said Beaudoin. "The club owners, the sound guys, the crowds - it's like everybody is glad to see some fresh faces out there."

The band hopes that their experience in Western Mass. will lead to more opportunities. "We would love to have Western Mass. bands that we've been playing with come back here and bring that music here," said Amanda. "There's a lot of metal out there, and I can't say that there's a lot of metal here right now. It looks like Worcester has moved on to something different, and I don't even know what that is, but it's not metal."

Despite success elsewhere, 7 Minute Stagger remains loyal to Worcester. The band's favorite venue is a tossup between Ralph's and the Lucky Dog. "They each have their own certain thing about them," Beaudoin said. "I started at the Lucky Dog, that was the very first show I played. But then Ralph's has that different atmosphere."

On Friday, 7 Minute Stagger will be playing alongside Truth Ending Cycle, Army of None, Next To Nothing, and InAeona. "It's definitely a show worth getting there early for," Beaudoin said. Doors open at Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner at 8 p.m. and tickets are $7.


CUTLINE: (1) 7 Minute Stagger is, from left, guitarist Russ Beaudoin, vocalist Amanda Holton, drummer Emile Bourbeau, vocalist Trey Holton, guitarist Erik Zarazinski, and bassist Sean Cottle. (2) Amanda Holton

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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 3, 2011
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