Josh Barker: Singer/songwriter
Nick Miller: Guitars
Jim Wark: Bass
Tristan Davies: Drums
“Believe what you've learnt, make it count, never settle for less than what you know you're worth” - Battle Plan
Like Crocodile Dundee, or bands like AC/DC and INXS before them, the members of LONGREEF have come from Down Under to conquer the U.S.A. Having relocated to America from their native Sydney in 2010, the band has taken to their adopted land by storm, tirelessly touring around the country with the likes of Seether, Sevendust, Papa Roach, Fuel, Hoobastank and have even showed their versatility with a special acoustic opening set on a tour with Gary Allan. Add to this prime time sets on the mainstage at the Virginia Beach's massive Verizon Music Fest and East Coast Surf Contest, CPR Fest and Gulfport Music Fest in Biloxi MS, the boys from Longreef have been winning fans over on stages small and stadium sized. They've had crowds upwards of 10,000 singing the words to their Active Rock radio hits “She Likes The Ladies” and “Dirty Motel” and were ranked the 10th hardest working band in the USA by DeliRadio, counting the artists with most tourdates in 2013.
“We’re pretty road-tested,” says lead singer and songwriter Josh Barker, who originally formed the band as Inakin in Australia with LONGREEF guitarist Nick Miller. That group played up and down the east coast of Australia, starring in a reality TV series “The
Resort” contributing a tribute song, “Without You, dedicated to noted Aussie animal expert Steve Irwin on the one-year memorial of his death as well as playing for the country’s troops stationed in The Solomon Islands to quell civil unrest there.
“You don’t get as tight as we are unless you’re getting out there and performing as much as you can,” says Barker, the first of the group to move to America, settling in L.A, where he began co-writing with Vertical Horizon’s Matt Scannell and Carmen Rizzo [Alanis Morisette, Oakenfold, Esthero]. He then relocated to Nashville, where he recorded a full album with the help of 3 Doors Down’s Chris Henderson and Alissa Moreno [Rascal Flatts’“Every Day”], eventually calling on Miller to join him, adding bassist Jim Wark and drummer Tristan Davies to the line-up.
“Compared to Australia, there’s just so much more opportunity and live venues to play here,” adds Josh. “We just feed off the crowd’s energy, and get more comfortable each night knowing what they want to hear. It’s just been a fantastic experience.”
Interspersed with a heavy touring schedule that took them to the Gulf Coast, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, then the Midwest, Ohio and Michigan and the East Coast, LONGREEF went into the studio to record a debut EP, which they released in June, including a first single, “Lonely,” which went to #33 on Billboard’s R&R Indicator chart.
“We were pretty stoked about that, our first single release in the USA had people turning up at our shows after hearing it as far away as Texas”
They began to draw interest from some major labels, with Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger among the band’s high-profile fans, but chose instead to return to the studio to record another EP themselves, Dirty Motel, with five songs that showed off the band’s increasing prowess, harder edge, strong bridges and musical range, from the tongue in cheek title track, about the lure of big city fame and fortune for a small-town gal, to the soaring ballad, “Sweet Emotion” (co-written with Australian country star Matt Scullion)”. In
between, there’s “She Likes the Ladies,” a cheeky male answer to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” the love/revenge song “Want Me Back” (one of the first songs Josh wrote with producer Steve Forde) and “How Long,” a hard hitting no holds barred rock track.
“We are starting to write together as a band a lot more,” says Barker. “We like writing about women and relationships. There’s always something going on, good or bad, someone holding out to see someone, or being apart as we're touring so much”.
Forgoing the major label system to date to go it on their own, Josh is confident the band’s instincts will win out in the end. “Having the creative control has made the band so much closer,” he explains. “We don’t want to just wait around and wait for someone to tell us what to do. We want to take the reins and make this happen on our own. So far, it’s been working.”
The next LONGREEF album is slated for release in Summer 2014, and features the anti-bullying anthem and first single “Battle Plan”. The band has partnered with The Friend Movement, a national bullying prevention organisation, to launch the song.
“I was affected by bullying at a certain time when I was young, and it stays with you. There are kids out there who need to know they can get help, and I want this song to inspire them to believe in themselves and get the help so they can put an end any bullying that's happening in their lives.”
“I like to think we have the best job in the world,” continues Barker. “And if we can help people , entertain people and move people it only makes it that much better. The day we played our first show in the USA proved it was the right move. Every show has been an absolute blessing. We just want to keep shooting for the stars.”
In addition to their efforts in spreading the word about the important issue of bullying, LONGREEF been donating 10c for every mile they travel to Ronald McDonald House, and have been doing so since 2012.
LONGREEF are here to stay, and coming to a town near you soon.