For years, it seemed like Envy on the Coast was going to be one of those bands that simply imploded on the edge of success, never to be heard from again.
The promising Long Island band broke up in 2010, shortly after the release of its “Lowcountry” (Photo Finish) album, ready to go their separate ways.
However, it turns out that fans of their emotional, hard-hitting rock weren’t willing to let them go. And that inspired singer Ryan Hunter and guitarist Brian Byrne to relaunch Envy on the Coast again, starting with shows at Webster Hall in Manhattan and The Paramount in Huntington this week.
“We would just look at Spotify sometimes and think, ‘This song has an insane amount of hits on it,’ ” says Hunter, calling from his home in Los Angeles, where his new band 1st Vows is based. “And we would hear from people just what the record meant to them. It’s a different thing from what we do now. It’s a reminder that we made a bunch of stuff that meant a lot to people.”
Hunter says he and Byrne, who worked together in the band NK and on other projects, always thought about reuniting Envy on the Coast, but they couldn’t agree with the other members about how best to work together again. (In a statement, keyboardist Sal Bossio, drummer Dan Gluszak and bassist Jeremy Velardi said, “Rest assured, our not being a part of these shows is not for lack of desire. We hold the legacy of this band near and dear to our hearts, as well as the decade of unwavering support and enthusiasm from the lifeblood of Envy on the Coast — you guys, the fans.”)
Hunter and Byrne, whose band The Hand That Wields It just released its debut EP, were still not sure whether they would move forward with plans to bring back Envy on the Coast until Byrne joined 1st Vows onstage at the Studio at Webster Hall in April to play a few songs, including fan favorite “The Gift of Paralysis.”
“I just thought I would never play those songs again,” Hunter says. “Emotionally, it hit me in a way where I realized that I missed it . . . . I wanted to feel those emotions again. I wanted to be experiencing those things again. It was some of the most exciting and fun parts of our lives.”
A major part of the Envy on the Coast reputation was built on the band’s live shows, whether as headliners or opening for bands like Taking Back Sunday. And Hunter says he is excited by the thought of letting the music and his emotions carry him away again — this time with former Envy touring drummer Doug Rogells, bassist Gray Robertson from 1st Vows and longtime friend guitarist-keyboardist Dan Ellis.
“When we play those songs, I don’t know what I’m doing,” he says, laughing. “Stuff happens. . . . I cannot wait to be completely drenched in sweat, not knowing how my body is going to react. It’s very therapeutic. Only one thing is for sure: I won’t be standing there with the mic on the stand.”
WHO Envy on the Coast
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Aug. 16, Webster Hall, Manhattan; 8 p.m. Aug. 18, The Paramount, Huntington
THE NEW ENVY
Ryan Hunter says that after the short August tour, the new Envy on the Coast lineup will start work on new music. “We’re fully in nostalgia mode right now,” he says. “But in September, we’re going to dive back into this as a new creative outlet.”
— GLENN GAMBOA