HOLLOWAY - Bio
Holloway is a progressive metal band based in Grand Rapids, MI. They have released 1 full length album, 1 EP, and 2 music videos. Holloway was started in 2008 by frontman Ross Morgan and bassist / brother Josh Morgan. The current line up consists of Ross Morgan (guitar, vocals), Kevin Schaner (keys), Josh Morgan (bass guitar), Shawn Julien (guitar), and Rob Parkkonen (drums). Holloway is primarily known for their forward thinking songs, use of striking visual imagery, and often controversial art work and lyrics.
Generally referred to as “Progressive Rock”, the band has help perpetuate the current trend of “post progressive”, a style that incorporates ideas from 70's prog rock, heavy metal, pop, and art rock.
Holloway released their first record “Illusions” in 2009, and quickly released a follow up EP The Gaze Eternal in 2010, followed by a full length music video DVD as a visual companion to the EP.
As of 2011, the band is currently in the recording studio creating their second full length album.
The core members of Holloway had known each other in one way or another from playing in other local bands. Ross Morgan joined Shawn Julien's band Avitus after answering a craigslist ad for a vocalist. After a year or so, the group then recruited Ross' brother Josh to take over on bass duties. That band recorded an album and opened for notable acts like Smile Empty Soul and Black Light Burns. After seeing a Megadeth show, Morgan decided to move away form the project to start playing guitar and focus more on his own material. The Morgan brothers then regrouped under the name Holloway and entered the recording studio to start creating their first album. Part way tough the recording Shawn Julien was also brought into the fold on guitar duties.
Throughout 2008 Ross Morgan, Josh Morgan, and Shawn Julien created and recorded the concept album 'Illusions,' written mostly by Morgan. The records concept follows the death and attempted recovery of a lover through occult means. The recoding process took place in the Morgan brothers home studio, Seaway Sound Studios. Along with guitar and vocals, drum duties were also handled by Ross Morgan. 'Illusions' was sent to the famous Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, to be mix and mastered by metal recording guru Jens Bogren. The album also features a guest guitar solo contributed by guitarist Per Bergqvuist from the swedish metal shred band Closer.
Before completing the album, the band contacted world-renowned surrealist painter Susan Van Sant to compile the cover art work and downloadable lyric book for the band. Before the albums release, high school friend Kevin Schaner was tapped for keyboard duties, and local drum powerhouse Rob Parkonnen was added after a lengthy audition process to take over on the kit.
The album was released on March 17th, 2009 to critical acclaim. MUEN Magazine called it “an endearing montage of rock dynamics, usually not within the translation capability of a band creating their freshman L.P.” John Sinkevics wrote in The Grand Rapids Press, “To say Holloway knows just how to balance intricate prog-rock stylings with dynamic pauses, and all-out hard rock would be an understatement...”
2009 through 2010 saw the band embark on a series of tours and high profile shows, including The Carnival of Chaos ‘09, RockStock ‘09 and ‘10, Labor Day Metal Mayhem, The Halloween Harvest of Souls, a Hot Topic in-store acoustic performance and CD signing, and even a TV appearance on WZZM’s Take Five and Company... during this time the band shared the stage with many notible acts, including: Sevendust, Saliva, Hail the Villain, Taproot, Since October, Anchored, Samus Theory, The Last Vegas, Dirty Americans, and more.
Illusions spawned one single, The Visitor, which aired on college radio nationally, and also had an accompanying music video.
THE GAZE ETERNAL (2010-2011)
In the early winter of 2010 the group returned to the studio between gigs and eventually emerged with The Gaze Eternal EP, a three movement, twenty minute long progressive rock odyssey. Once again employing a concept to the album, the story crosses three vignettes all transpiring in a futuristic cityscape.
Ron Fuchs of Prognaut.com said the EP is “...everything a progressive rock fan can want in the music and more. It’ll also hold the fans over for the next full length studio album.” The album once again featured a free lyric book with original paintings by Van Sant.
At the same time, the band released the cover single of Rockwell’s 1984 classic “Somebody’s Watching Me” which had become a fan favorite at Holloway live shows. The single appeared as a bonus track on the digital download version, and was given away free to the bands fan club and mailing list.
The band continued to tour though the year, with even more high profile gigs opening for three international acts - Katatonia (Sweden), Orphaned Land (Israel), and Swallow the Sun (Finland) - as well as a headlining performance at the Carnival of Chaos Nightmare Before Christmas event where the group shared the stage with acclaimed metal act Mushroomhead. The summer of 2011 was highlighted by opening for rock godfathers Queensryche, whom are cited by the band as very influential. Frontman Morgan said from the stage during the show that they have “influenced everything we do.”
Also in the summer of 2011 the band issued the music video DVD that covers all three songs from The Gaze Eternal. The film is structured to be projected behind the band in a live performance and is also a stand-alone piece in its own right, but is not a music video in the traditional sense, as no band members appear on screen. Instead, the film is a lose narrative following a priest who uses necromancy to bring a plastic doll to life, questioning his faith in the process.
The controversial film was produced almost entirely “in house” by band members and frequent collaborators, on a shoe string budget. Ross Morgan, the bands frontman and director of the video, adds via the DVD's press release that “fans of the band know that the visual aspect is very much as large a part as the musical aspect. This video was created in my spare time as a way to keep myself busy and to give something different and unusual to our fans. It's based off of the artwork that came with the EP and is a solid dose of high-strangeness, which is what you can expect from us”.
The DVD video was released as a limited edition DVD of 50 copies, hand numbered, and signed by the band, available only from the group's website and at live performances. The film has been accepted at at least one international Film Festival (Great Lakes International Film Festival).
HIATUS – (2011-2016)
In the fall of 2011 Holloway went into the studio to start work on a follow up full length record but the progress was delayed and the album was never finished. Band members focused on career and personal life. Ross Morgan also took time to rehabilitate his singing voice.
THE FEEBLE HEARTS OF MAN (2016-present)
In early 2016 it was announced that remaining band members Ross and Josh Morgan, and keyboardist Kevin Schaner had reconvened in the studio during 2015 to complete the unfinished Holloway record. Later in the year it was announced the record would be entitled The Feeble Hearts Of Man. Featuring more artwork from surrealist painter Susan Van Sant that was originally completed previously for the album. The Feeble Hearts Of Man was once again mastered in Sweden by Jens Bogren. The album is loosely based of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and features stark black and white imagery of strange apparitions and demonic witches.
Stating on the online press release as the reasons for the albums lengthy delay, Morgan stated: "During the interim I had been building my own studio, studying music theory and technique, taking lessons, and of course handling my real job and “real world” responsibilities."
The highly anticipated album was made available on July 19th, 2016, along with an accompanying lyrics video for the song "Three Kings, Three Crowns".