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Episode 8 — Unified Theory
Episode 8 — Unified Theory
When Rob Janicke first mentioned we should do an episode on Unified Theory, I thought to myself: “A band named after an Albert Einstein concept? I may have done my share of psychedelics, but I barely passed Algebra, and never quite made it to physics.”
After reading his article:
Naturally, I thought it was a good idea.
I can’t recall if it was Jeff Spicoli or Socrates who said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Rob and I sat down with lead singer Chris Shinn to talk about all things Unified Theory. Chris shed light on the bands galvanizing start and recording of this album. He also shared with us how much pride he still has in the record, and the band.
The conversation went down a variety of path with each one seeing Shinn open up a little more. Surprisingly unguarded and candid, Chris talked about his road to rock and roll, his time in Live, and even his very brief stint in Information Society.
For me the most revealing thing I found in this interview was how self-aware Chris is. It’s rare you see that kind of thing in anyone, let a lone a rock and roll singer.
By Shinn’s own admission, Unified Theory emerged at perhaps the worst time in music.
The larger multi-national companies were eating up smaller labels the way Pac-Man eats up the blue ghosts.
Napster was on fire… and raising the ire of Lars Ulrich of Metallica, who had volunteered to be the face of the fight.
Rock and roll had fallen out of favor and given way to pop music.
The timing may have been off, but it doesn’t lessen the strength of that debut album by Unified Theory. It may be 22 years-old now, but you wouldn’t know it.
Chris talks a little about his time in Live. In the event you don’t know, for 4.5 years (2012–2016) he was the lead singer of the band live, having replaced original singer Ed Kowalcyk.
On December 12, 2016, Live announced that original lead singer Ed Kowalczyk had returned to the band, though no reference was made to Shinn in the announcement.
All references to his time in the band have been removed from the Live website and the album he recorded with the band is absent from the website discography.
In fact, finding that well received 2014 album, The Turn, is challenging.
As we wrapped up our conversation Chris shared with us what he’s doing now and what we can look forward to in the future. And it sounds interesting, and not just because of the provocative name — no spoilers here.
By the time this is posted, Chris will be out in Joshua Tree recording and re-connecting with “badass” Christopher Thorn, in addition to recording new material for his new project.
Having not been familiar with Unified Theory before Rob mentioned them, I can say I wrapped up this episode as not only a fan of the band, but a fan of Chris Shinn.
We’ve been truly lucky with just how nice and open the artists we’ve interviewed have been.
There are loads of good episodes on the way including The Toadies, Great Buildings, and a deep dive into the work of guitarist Charlie Christian… among others.
It’s a fine time to subscribe so you don’t miss anything new — and even go back and listen to the others:
Episode 1 — Broken Homes (co-host Rob Janicke)
Guitarist — Craig Ross
Bass player — Jimmy Ashhurst
Producer — Jeff Eyrich
Studio drummer — Don Harvey
Episode 2 — The Silos
Episode 3 — The Whitest Kids U’ Know
Episode 4 — Baby Lemonade
Episode 5 — Tsar (co-host Rob Janicke)
Episode 6–20/20 (co-host S.W. Lauden)
Guitarist, singer — Steve Allen
Singer, guitarist — Ron Flynt
Episode 7 — The Shivvers
Writer — John M. Borack
Writer — Stanley Clark