Since 1999, Amen have been one of those happening bands that never really happened.
The Los Angeles rock group had two label deals and lost both before having a chance to really prove itself. And that's why System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian is trying to give them new life by releasing their next record, Death Before Musick, on his Columbia Records imprint label EatUrMusic.
"The band has had some tough luck," Malakian said. "That's the only reason Amen hasn't gotten as big as they should be. There was this whole misconception that they were a nü-metal band, which they're not. They're very rock and roll. Then they had problems with their label falling apart, so they never got the chance to tour properly, and they haven't had a single out."
Malakian became friends with Amen frontman Casey Chaos years ago but has become especially tight with the singer over the past year and a half. He offered to sign Amen after Chaos played him a bunch of new songs early this year. "It's an album's worth of gems," Malakian said. "I can't wait for people to hear them because I think they'll love 'em."
Before Malakian stepped in, Amen's days seemed numbered. Since they had such bad luck with record companies in the past, no one was willing to take a chance on them, and Casey was considering breaking up the band.
"It was such a shame to me to hear these songs were just going to be thrown away," Malakian said. "I was thinking, 'What is Casey going to do now? Work as a car dealer? I've got to step in and try to help him out.' "
Death Before Musick is tentatively due in March. On Thursday the band will play in Washington, D.C., with Killing Joke as part of a tour that runs through November 14 in Los Angeles.
Amen tour dates, according to the band's publicist:
- 10/23 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
- 10/24 - Baltimore, MD @ Fletcher's
- 10/25 - Boston, MA @ Axis
- 10/26 - Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of Living Arts
- 10/28 - Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace
- 10/30 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
- 10/31 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
- 11/1 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
- 11/2 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave/Eagles Ballroom
- 11/3 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe
- 11/5 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
- 11/6 - Salt Lake City, UT @ DV8
- 11/8 - Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan
- 11/9 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox
- 11/11 - Vancouver, BC @ Richard's On Richards
- 11/13 - San Francisco, CA @ Slim's
- 11/14 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater