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The Berlin Project

The Berlin Project Biography

Not to be confused with the Los Angeles-based '80s techno-pop/new wave trio Berlin, the Berlin Project is an alternative pop-rock band that has been around the Pittsburgh, PA, scene since 1995. That year, the band was founded by lead guitarist John Garrighan, who was only 14 at the time -- and along the way, the Berlin Project has had its share of lineup changes and reinvented itself more than once. At first, Garrighan's outfit was a bratty ska-punk band along the lines of Reel Big Fish and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones; that was the approach they went with on their debut album, Running for the Border (released on Sour Records), and their second album, Culture Clash, both of which came out in the late '90s. But Garrighan and his colleagues reinvented themselves on their next release, The Transition Radio EP, which was recorded in 1999 and 2000 and came out on Try Again Records. They still sounded bratty, and the punk influence remained -- only this time, the Berlin Project favored an emo/punk-pop approach comparable to blink-182, Green Day, the Sloppy Meateaters, or Sunny Day Real Estate. On that EP, the participants included founder Garrighan on lead guitar and background vocals, Brian Camp on rhythm guitar, Brad Evanovich on ba** and background vocals, Aaron Mediate on keyboards, and Nick Revak on drums as well as some fellow Pennsylvanians who were listed as "additional musicians," including Steve Sobloslai (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Jeremiah Momper (rhythm guitar). And three years later, the band reinvented itself once again -- this time with a new lineup and a more mature, polished style of alternative pop-rock. Recorded in 2003 (the year after the Berlin Project toured North America as part of the Warped Tour) and released by Orange Peal that September, The Things We Say found Garrighan, Mediate, and Revak teaming up with new lead singer Jon Belan and new ba**ist Chuck Rocka -- and unlike the Berlin Project's previous vocalists, Belan didn't sound bratty. Belan (who also contributes rhythm guitar) was perfect for the more thoughtful, sensitive direction that Garrighan (who had reached 22) wanted for his band in 2003. More touring ensued in support of the record. However, after a decade together, the Berlin Project decided to call it quits in fall 2005, playing their last show at their hometown's Mr. Smalls Theater that October. Belan later went on to play in Punchline. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

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