Country great Buck Owens called Bakersfield, California, home. In his day (the '60s), the place was flat, hot and wide open. A person needed a honky-tonk and a beer just to survive. Today, Bakersfield, as well as the rest of Central CA, is still hot and flat but there are a lot more people. The laid-back Country vibe has been replaced by urban aggression.
Adema's vocalist Mark Chavez worked as a daycare supervisor and even thought about becoming a teacher but the lure of Rock was too great. Following in his older half-brother's footsteps, KoRn's Jonathan Davis, Chavez fronted Bakersfield area bands.
A successful older brother can open doors. Davis went a little further. He was there to encourage, support and be brutally honest, especially when Chavez wasn't cutting it. While the criticism stung, it served to channel Chavez's efforts.
Adema played together for a year before ever getting in front of an audience. That process, though difficult (hard to stay focused without audience feedback or at the very least, the money a paying gig provides), gave them the time to write and record.
Drummer Kris Kohls wasn't sure what, if anything, was next when his band Videodrone bit the dust. Hearing a demo recorded by Chavez, bassist Dave DeRoo and guitarists Mike Ransom and Tim Fluckley, all long-time veterans of the Central California music scene, convinced Kohls to join.
Some demos and the Chavez/Davis connection got the group a record deal. They then, holed up in a Northern California cabin to compose their self-titled debut. Recorded in L.A., the '01 release was produced by Bill Appleberry and Wallflowers' guitarist Tobias Miller.
As Chavez found out, having a famous older sibling in the same line of work can cause some discomfort. Some wise guy dubbed Adema "Baby KoRn." Adema does sound like KoRn, but so do scads of other groups. Well, nobody said life was fair.
As it turned out the KoRn comparisons eventually became moot. In September, '04, Chavez had a major falling out with the band and quit. Luke Caraccioli stepped in for the '05 album "Planets," which was released on Earache Records (because the Arista imprint had collapsed). But Caraccioli didn't last and bailed in October. Four months later, the announcement came that Bobby Reeves was the group's vocalist. A veteran of the L.A. band Level, Reeves brought along bandmate Ed Faris to be Adema's second guitarist.
2007 Kill The Headlights
Take dense, blistering guitars, a Rock solid rhythm section and add a growling vocalist. You've heard it before and it's time to hear it again. Remembering what it's like to be "young and stupid," "The Way You Like It" kicks but it is far from being the top track on Adema's self-titled debut. That honor goes to "Freaking Out" followed by the lean "Close Friends." The tormented "Giving In" documents Chavez's battles with the bottle.
"Unstable" is a strong follow-up with the group bracing their power-pop with Tool/KoRn embellishments.
When a lead singer or guitarist exits the remaining members often attempt "expand" their horizons - as if to imply that their former bandmate was holding them back. That's where Adema goes on "Planets." Prog-Rock tendencies surface regularly and that's rarely a good sign. And while Caraccioli is a good vocalist, Chavez had more power and authority.