On an early November morning en route to Salt Lake City, Stray From The Path had a run with disaster – a patch of black ice sent the band’s van and trailer swerving off a frozen U.S. highway before the break of dawn. “We flipped and then a semi-truck flipped behind us the other way,” guitarist Tom Williams recalls of the catastrophe. “Our bassist Anthony [Altamura] was sleeping…we thought he was dead for a few seconds.”
In the lounge of a record store on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Williams and vocalist Drew York speak of their dedication to the band: unless a member is severely injured “it [is] never an option to miss shows,” says Williams. Remembering their performance in Salt Lake City that night following the accident, Stray From The Path insist that such hardcore ethos combined with a DIY work ethic are key elements to the band’s rising success.
Having experienced periods of intense turbulence since the group’s formation in 2001, the Long Island hardcore band has managed to survive through its growing pains, even in times of doubt. When the band approached Periphery mastermind Misha Mansoor to produce them in the late 2000s, Mansoor initially told them that their 2008 album Villains (produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge) “sucked” and the he hated it. After tracking a demo with the band, he eventually took interest in taking on what became their 2009 effort Make Your Own History.
A chaotic and stormy evolution is what Stray From The Path says is the cornerstone of its latest album Rising Sun (released in August via Sumerian) – which is seemingly beginning to pay off. The band will embark on its first-ever U.S. headlining run in January with Cruel Hand and Structures, and will immediately follow-up the stint supporting Every Time I Die on a North American trek. The band members further speak optimistically of an upcoming 4-way split vinyl release, set to feature cover tracks from them and three other bands, expected out next year.
As our conversation on the evolution of Stray From The Path and Rising Sun becomes more in depth, York and Williams (left to right) continue their story of the van accident.