It would be very understandable if Brad Sinsel didn’t give a good goddamn about the record industry. You’d sympathize with him if he quit on music altogether. Truth is, the singer and songwriter behind the band Angels of Dresden had a pretty unfair shake over the past 30-plus years.
It started in the late 1970s, when he fronted a band called TKO. You may or may not have heard of the Seattle outfit, but they were way, way ahead of their time. They were writing the style of music that would become massively popular about 1,100 miles down the Pacific coast on the Sunset Strip about six years later with bands like Motley Crue, Ratt and Dokken. And just when that style of ‘80s “hair metal” took off, when all of the band’s hard work should have finally paid off, they got unceremoniously dropped like a hot potato by their record label. And TKO was … well, knocked out.
Sinsel would have his chance at redemption just a few years later, when he found himself fronting a new Seattle-based band called War Babies. Tunes like “Blue Tomorrow” and “Hang Me Up” got the full MTV video treatment, and they were signed to a major label, Columbia Records. They even featured among their ranks a bass player named Jeff Ament, who was looking for a gig after his band, Mother Love Bone, broke up following the drug overdose and tragic death of singer Andrew Wood. Though Ament left War Babies to join up with his fellow Love Bone buddy Stone Gossard in a band called Mookie Blaylock (later renamed as Pearl Jam), things were looking great for War Babies when the Seattle music scene exploded following the massive success of Nirvana’s “Nevermind.”
Though the grunge revolution would vault several of those Seattle-area bands to superstardom, War Babies was not one of them. Deemed not grunge enough and mishandled by Columbia Records (see the recurring theme?), War Babies released only one album before disbanding.
So you’d forgive Sinsel if he said, the hell with this. Instead, he’s come back with yet another band, Angels of Dresden, with a song (“Go Down Swinging”) that’s featured on the recent edition of StripJointsMusic’s tunes for adult club DJs (www.stripjointsmusic.com).
“It’s in my blood—sometimes I wish it wasn’t,” Sinsel says, half jokingly. “But I still love making music. It’s what I do, it’s what I’ve always done.”
He even has some good company on their new disc, with special guests that include Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready and Jessika Van of MTV’s “Awkward,” among others. Things come full circle for Sinsel on “Go Down Swinging,” which seems to echo his life philosophy when it comes to being a musician and features some old friends.
“If (“Go Down Swinging”) sounds like TKO, it’s because the guys from TKO recorded that song with me,” says Sinsel. “The music is really organic and I’m having fun, and really, that's what matters.”