Afraid of Knowing
With their unique, dynamic blend of metal and alternative rock, the guys of Cynical Theory are rapidly turning heads toward, of all places, southeastern Oklahoma. 'I think it would be different if we were from a bigger city,' says singer and co-songwriter Cory Kuykendall (PICTURED LEFT). 'Maybe someplace you'd expect, like Chicago, Dallas, or even Tulsa or Oklahoma City. But we're not, we're from McAlester and Haileyville, OK, and in a way I think we're sort of proud of that.' The powerhouse is comprised of vocalist Cory Kuykendall, guitarist Greyson Dollins, who also makes up the other half of the songwriting team, bassist Cory Ford, and drummer Josh Duff. Regardless of where they hail from, there is no denying the fact that the band is starting to gain some positive attention from listeners and colleagues alike, worldwide. From the driving rhythms and commanding guitar work of songs like Away From You and What It's Like, to the raw, emotion-filled confessionals of Feel You Nothing and When You Fall, it seems there is nothing these guys haven't covered. Even those who don't care for hard rock can find comfort in the stripped down and unplugged closer for the album, Sunday. Kuykendall admits, 'I didn't even think Sunday was going to make the album. But a few of our close friends were hanging out in the studio and heard it, and the popular consensus was that we should add it, so we did. I think it's a good thing, though, because that song really represents a big part of me, musically.' With the band's collective influences ranging from Motley Crue and Slipknot to bands like Flaw and Cold, the finished product somehow manages to incorporate all these styles into what the guys have coined 'Nu-Rock.' Now for a little history... Cynical Theory formed in November 2003. Cory K., Josh, and Greyson had been playing together for 4 months after being put in touch by a mutual friend, and essentially already had what would later become the self-released 2004 demo Afraid of Knowing ready to cut. All that was left to do was find a bass player, and that slot was filled by a fan and old acquaintance of Greyson's, who happened to stick around after a show. 'Evidently, he and Greyson talked that night,' says drummer Josh Duff ( RIGHT), 'and the next thing we all knew he was auditioning. We pretty much decided to let him in when he showed up for rehearsal and, on one day of practice, played every song perfectly all the way through.' 'He delivered the goods,' chimes Greyson of Cory Ford ( BELOW LEFT), 'you just can't argue with something like that. He came in the door knowing what he wanted, and he got it.' Having secured the lineup, the guys set out to make a record and back it up by playing live whenever and wherever they could. 'We already had a demo that me, Josh, and Greyson recorded at Greyson's home studio,' says Cory K., but it became apparent to the band that they needed something more professional. 'We decided to go to a studio in Oklahoma City to do the record, and so we got up the money and headed out,' explains Josh. It took an impressive two days to finish up the tracking and only another two to mix. While in the studio, the guys were put in touch with producer/engineer Voytek Kochanek with Atlantis Studios in Hendersonville, Tennessee. 'He offered us the deal of a lifetime,' says a grinning Greyson (RIGHT). 'He heard our stuff and really liked it and saw a lot of potential there, so he gave us a break and we jumped at it.' Kochanek has worked with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Guns 'n' Roses, and Cinderella. 'The week after we had finished our project, he was in L.A. working with Steve Vai on his new album,' says Cory K. 'When you look at it that way, it really makes you feel lucky to be working with such an important person in the industry.' With a finished product in hand, the guys began post-production while perfecting their craft on stage, playing tracks from their demo and road-testing fresh songs for pleased audiences all over the south.