When Oleander asked radio programmers, "Are You There?" last week, the answer was a resounding "Yes."
The melodic rock song, off the Sacramento, California, band's upcoming second album, Unwind (March 6), was the most added track at three formats active rock, album rock and alternative.
Shortly before the song's release, singer Thomas Flowers and bassist Doug Eldridge said they didn't know if they could strike the same chord as they did with "Why I'm Here," their breakthrough single.
"We've got our fingers crossed," Thomas said.
"'Are You There' just made sense as the first single it's a little heavier, and we wanted to go back to rock radio and kind of re-establish ourselves back there, where our roots are, and where 'Why I'm Here' did so well," Eldridge said. "Why I'm Here," from the gold-certified February Son, reached #1 on the rock charts in 1999.
Director Marc Webb, who has worked with artists ranging from Cold to Sting, shot a video for "Are You There" that depicts "a skater chick who sneaks out of the house and makes her way to an Oleander show," Flowers said.
The singer said the new disc is harder overall than their debut, with "some extra instrumentation that doesn't make it too hardcore."
"It's more diverse," Eldridge said. "We've taken it in both directions, with some mellower tracks and heavier tracks."
For Unwind, the band reunited with producer Richard Mouser, who handled 1997's Shrinking the Blob, Oleander's independently released demo CD. Blob helped Oleander land a deal with Republic/Universal, and most of its songs reappeared on February Son, produced by Steven Haigler (Fuel, Local H).
"We believed in [Mouser] when we did our demos," Eldridge said. "We wanted to use him on [February Son] but he wasn't available, so this was an opportunity for us to do what we wanted to do in the first place. He's always been kind of a founding member of this band in a way, because when we were no ones, he took us to another level."
Oleander whose lineup also includes guitarist Ric Ivanisevich and drummer Scott Devours will join 3 Doors Down on the road beginning February 28 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Fuel comes aboard on March 6 in Stony Brook, New York.
Oleander plan to stay on the road through the summer and may stage a headlining tour if the album takes off, Flowers said.