So who exactly is American Hi-Fi, the Boston-based quartet which includes singer/guitarist/songwriter Stacy Jones, guitarist Jamie Arentzen, bassist Drew Parsons, and drummer Brian Nolan? Take the best of the pop/alternative/rock world, throw in a case of beer, a rehearsal studio, the pineapple-saturated island of Maui and there you have it. American Hi-Fi's self-titled debut was produced by Bob Rock (Veruca Salt, Motley Crue, Aerosmith) and the thirteen tracks on the cd showcase the band's penchant for songwriting, strong musicianship and pop sensibility.
After years of playing drums for Letters to Cleo, Aimee Mann and Veruca Salt, Stacy Jones decided to start a band of his own. He brought together longtime friends Jamie Arentzen (formerly of Boston's Sky Heroes), Drew Parsons (who played bass for Tracy Bonham) and drummer Brian Nolan (ex-Figdish) and completed the lineup.
Bob Rock was the band's unanimous choice for producer. Jones got to know him while drumming on former Veruca Salt member Nina Gordon's solo album, which was produced by Rock. Soon thereafter Jones and his bandmates were hanging at Rock's Maui studio, rehearsing to record their debut release. Jones wrote all 12 of the album's tracks. He says much of the lyrical inspiration came from the difficult breakup of Veruca Salt. "When I was writing these songs, it was a pretty messed up time in my life," he recalls. "I had a pretty chill existence until that year. Some really crazy stuff went on in the breakup of that band. It definitely inspired some of the lyrics and moods on the album."
Even though the melodies on American Hi-Fi are pure pop, the density of guitars and drums puts the album in the heaviest of rock categories. The album's first single is "Flavor Of The Weak," a tune that tells a story about a girl who's disrespected by her slacker boyfriend. The verses have a sentimental feel straight from the sweetest 70's AM pop radio without losing the song's decidedly alternative performance. Stacy's experience as a drummer is evident in the relentless rhythm-heavy songwriting, although his approach toward the music is pretty simple. "From the beginning it's been really organic and about having a good time," Jones says "and bringing the fun back to rock."