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Posted May 21, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Local pop rock act getting attention with re-release

Members of the band Allwreck
Members of the band Allwreck are, from left, Jeff Snook, Chris Piercey and Mike Berry. Courtesy photo


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By Ben Orcutt -- borcutt@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Members of the band Allwreck are hoping that fans will find their music is all right.

Mike Berry, Chris Piercey and Jeff Snook have known each other since they attended Annandale High School in Fairfax County. Berry and Snook are married with children and Piercey is engaged to be married.

They all have day jobs, and while family is their main responsibility, the trio is hopeful their dedication and passion for good music will help them climb up the charts.

Berry, 38, and his family moved to Shenandoah Shores in Warren County a little over a year ago.

"It's the pace of life," Berry said during a recent interview. "As you get closer in towards D.C., it's a little bit more hectic. The farther you drive out, the easier things get. It's beautiful out there. I look out at the mountains every morning and every evening. It's just wonderful out there."

Berry plays bass and like his fellow band members, shares in the vocals. He also is the group's business manager.

"It borders on the pop rock genre," Berry said of the band's style of music. "We can go heavier sometimes, a little bit lighter. We try not to approach a song and try and make it fit a genre. It's just whatever strikes us at the time."

Snook, 39, plays guitar. He and his family live in Springfield, a short distance from Piercey's house.

"The practice space is at Chris' house," Snook said. "We've been practicing there since we were kids, so it's like a second home to Mike and I."

Berry admits it's difficult balancing work, family life, and trying to make it on the national music scene.

"There's a lot of extra time after work that goes into it," Berry said. "You get out of work at 5 or 6 o'clock and especially me, because I'm acting as the business manager. It's late nights. You stay up till 12, 1 o'clock in the morning because the people on the West Coast are three hours behind. So you try and e-mail them as much as possible. Most people answer e-mails and don't answer phones anymore. You plug away at the e-mails and get people there. You track down leads. The one good thing about it is other musicians and people in the industry, they also keep late hours. It's just the nature of the beast."

Snook said Allwreck was formed about 10 years ago and put out their first CD, "Where's Sundeep?," in 2000. Following some touring and more children, the band decided to take a break, Snook added. They decided the time was right after this past Christmas to start playing together again.

"Since then, things have just kind of snowballed to where people are really responding to the music that we're playing, and Mike has just been absolutely going bananas getting our stuff out there, going out on the Web and submitting our stuff to a thousand and one different places," Snook said.

Berry said Piercey came up with idea for the band's name.

"It's kind of a nonsense word and I think people can pull some sort of simpler definition out of that, their own meaning," Berry said.

Piercey, 37, plays drums and bears a striking resemblance to country music star Kenny Chesney.

"I've heard that before," Piercey said.

The group is re-releasing "Where's Sundeep?," which features the single "Money Song."

"What's been real interesting is that this is an album that we put out almost nine years ago and it did a little bit of a burp over in Europe, but really didn't get that much [excitement] here in the states," Piercey said. "I think what the three of us have found the most exciting in re-releasing the CD this time around, all of a sudden we're getting a lot of attention and people seem to enjoy it this time.

"It's been real exciting for me to have Jeff and Mike to have the time to be able to get the band back together. These are my two best friends in the world and it's great having these guys around again."

The band plans to play at Celebrate Fairfax in June and Berry said they hope to play at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival next year.

"That's going to be the big priority for next spring," Berry said. "So hopefully the new album will be out and we can make a stop there. We've been talking to some labels. I can't give their names out right now because I don't want to jinx that. Hopefully they'll be able to pick it up."

For the members of Allwreck, it's not about how big they may get but how much they enjoy what they're doing.

"We believe that our music speaks for itself," Piercey said. "We're using the tools we have. Really trying to kill people to get to the top is not what we're about. The biggest thing for us is to really enjoy ourselves while we play and hopefully people will enjoy it as well."

Snook agreed.

"The most important thing for me at the end of the day is to write songs that I enjoy and that my circle of friends will enjoy," Snook said. "So to me, it excites me and I get kind of a kick out of writing music and having my friends listen to it because they're going to be my toughest critics because they're musicians, too. At the end of the day, if I can have their approval, well then I'm as successful in my heart as I need to be."

Success is not about caving in to what record companies think will sell and just going for the money, Berry added.

"I mean yeah, sure, it would be great to be able to quit our jobs and do that, but I think in the long run, I'm sure all of us will be happier if we just play music that we enjoy playing and not try and worry about making a million bucks off of it," Berry said.

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