Before he joined the band that would become Creed, bassist Brian Marshall played in a group called Mattox Creed, and he swiped half of their moniker for the band that would go on to record hits like "Higher" and "With Arms Wide Open."
But last August he was booted from Creed, and as that group went higher and higher, Marshall's heart sank as he faced the task of starting over on the long climb to the top.
"It was all a shock to me," he said from the practice room near Orlando, Florida, where he's working with his new band, Grand Luxx. "I still really don't understand why things happened the way they did. I fell into a state of depression and then decided that the only way I would get through it would be to express my feelings and thoughts through my music again."
He started writing new songs with his old Mattox Creed pals, guitarist Dan Bartley and drummer Hardy Mattox. Then the three began auditioning singers. Last month they recruited Nashville-born vocalist Matt Knabe, who had previously played in the group Project Simon, and the quartet retired to Marshall's home studio to fine-tune a batch of songs.
"I'd say our music is rock, but it's very eclectic, and I think it can reach a wide audience," Marshall said. "We have a little bit of alternative and some hard-rocking guitar riffs too. And Matt brings in some pop flair because his influences are people like David Bowie and the Cult."
Grand Luxx have written six songs, including "Stagnant" and "Insomniac's Dream," and Knabe has provided much of the band's lyrical thrust. "Lux is the Latin word for 'light,'" he said. "So the band means 'great light.' I want to offer a positive message. Not everything I write about is positive, but at the end of the day I want people to walk away with an extremely uplifting feeling."
The first public Grand Luxx performance will be an acoustic gig at Wolfy's Den in Nashville on Friday. In August the group plans to follow with more fleshed-out electric shows and hopes to enter Marshall's home studio to start recording its debut album by the fall. If all goes well, the group will hit the road before the end of the year.
"Grand Luxx has really been like a bright light or a spiritual encounter in my life," Marshall said. "I just needed to see where my direction was, and now I know what I have to do."