Arts & Entertainment

Orange rises from ashes on new album 'Phoenix'

Rising up from their ashes, L.A. punk rock group Orange is heading on tour to promote their third album, Phoenix -- and no, it's not named after a Harry Potter book.

"(The album name) means a lot to me personally," said Joe Dexter, lead singer and bass guitarist. "A lot of people think it's named after Harry Potter or the city."

But Phoenix is a nod to Dexter and Zak Glosserman finding lead guitarist Brendan Minded and guitarist Perry Ladish after cutting loose their former bandmates four years ago.

"In the end it wasn't working out," Dexter said. "I didn't feel that the magic was there anymore and the lineup didn't have the right chemistry I was looking for. So to me, (Phoenix) represents us leaving our past behind and being a new, better, bigger band."

After deciding to book their headline tour solely through fan recommendations, fellow Cali rockers 5 Days Dirty sent Orange an e-mail saying they would schedule their tour if they could come along.

No strangers to the Tri-Cities, 5 Days Dirty booked an all-ages show in Richland at 9 p.m. Oct. 6 at Ray's Golden Lion, 1353 George Washington Way.

Dexter is loving his new band family.

"It was amazing," Dexter said. "It was like playing music for the first time all over again. I feel like I've been waiting eight years to play with a guy like Perry -- we just click perfectly. Above all, they're fantastic musicians, they're amazing friends and that's such a great new experience."

After forming in 2002, the band released a three-song demo in 2004 to pass around at school. The demo landed in the hands of punk rock legend Tim Armstrong, who expressed interest in signing the band. While Orange was getting checked out by Geffen, Sony and Warner Bros., Dexter noted none of the labels had the same vision for them as Armstrong's label Hellcat Records.

"At the time and even now I don't regret that decision," he said. "I don't want to be the Jonas Brothers. I want to be a real rock band and write our own stuff. In the end (Hellcat) allowed us the freedom to be ourselves."

Originally from London, Dexter moved to L.A. at age 13. "Radio over there is really nonexistent and people kind of discover music on their own terms, where here it's kind of thrown at you from all angles."

Growing up with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease characterized by frequent respiratory infections, Dexter's love for music is unwavering, even when it landed him in the hospital after most tours.

"It is a bit of a concern sometimes and I do the best I can," he said. "We've always been very professional ever since day one. It's all we want to do and all I ever want to do and I want to be the best I can at it."

His optimism is uplifting, much like their new sound.

"For older fans and even new fans, this is brand new Orange," he said. "I'm so proud of it, it's really a definitive record. If you're just getting into us, this is one the buy; this is the one that's going to change everything."

Tickets are $7 at the door.

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*Bethany Woo: 582-1465;