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Most young rock bands would be thrilled to sell nearly 400,000 copies of an album, but Lifehouse is not like most young rock bands.
The Southern California trio, which will be in concert Monday in Toledo at Gator'z, rocketed out of the gate with sales of 2.6 million copies of its 2000 debut disc, "No Name Face."
Driving the massive numbers was the surging, angst-powered love song, "Hanging by a Moment," written by singer-guitarist Jason Wade. The song reached No. 1 on the alternative rock charts and crossed over to make the list of Top 40 most-played songs of 2001.
Following that starry start, Lifehouse's sophomore disc, "Stanley Climbfall," seemed to do more falling than climbing, topping out at sales of 398,000 copies.
"We were in Europe when the second record came out and we were thinking, 'Wow, when we get back to the United States the record will be all over the place,'•" said drummer Rick Woolstenhulme, Jr. "But when we got back it was, 'Wow, what's going on?'•"
The album was nowhere to be seen, largely because Lifehouse's label, DreamWorks Records, had disbanded, leaving the new disc lost in the ozone.
But Woolstenhulme said the sophomore slump was a proverbial blessing in disguise.
"The slump was a stroke of genius because when you see all the peaks and valleys, you realize just how good you had it and how hard you have to work to stay on top," he said.
Woolstenhulme, a native of Gilbert, Ariz., met up with Wade just after graduating from the Los Angeles Music Academy, where he had studied jazz drumming.
"I was a total jazz head, working clubs five or six nights a week, lugging my drums and making no money," he said.
Lifehouse had just fired its drummer and Woolstenhulme auditioned and landed the job, right after "No Name Face" was recorded but before the band went on its first national tour.
Things picked up again with Lifehouse's 2005 self-titled disc, which sold a million copies and produced the hit song, "You and Me," which spent 60 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The new release is "Who We Are," on the Geffen label, a refreshingly live-in-the-studio collection of songs that takes full advantage of the group's tour-tested intensity.
"We've been on the road for seven, eight years and the plan was to keep the chemistry and camaraderie from the last album going," Woolstenhulme said.
Wade brought rough sketches of the songs into the studio and played them for Woolstenhulme and bassist Bryce Soderberg, who then hammered the tunes into recording shape.
"Most of the songs are three takes or less. It has a kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants vibe," Woolstenhulme said.
The first single, the romantic rocker "First Time," reached No. 40 on the Adult Top 40 charts and has been downloaded more than 400,000 times.
Lifehouse opened this summer for the Goo Goo Dolls, playing outdoor amphitheaters from coast to coast. Now headlining its own fall tour, Woolstenhulme said the venues are quite a bit more "intimate."
"We're playing everything from big clubs to small theaters to nice sweaty rock clubs," he said. "It's really up close and personal."
Lifehouse will be in concert Monday at Gator'z, 2567 West Bancroft St., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $21 in advance, available at all Ticketmaster outlets, and $25 on Monday. Information: 419-474-1333.
Contact David Yonke at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6154.