The alternative, indie-rock group The Transit War is riding strong and making strides with their latest release, Miss Your Face. The San Diego quartet has found a sufficient medium in today’s music scene, blending edge with ease, and having a refined allure and appreciation for the stage they have arrived at in their careers. Their melodies are tight and rhythms sharp; never too aggressive, yet also not adhering to mainstream pop appeal.
The band’s conception was first shaped in 2001 from an appreciation of their local music scene, and inspiration from bands such as No Knife, Three Mile Pilot, and Inch. Guitarist and vocalist Jaime Solis explains, “The band came together from the remnants of several other defunct local bands. Except for Mike, who grew up outside Philadelphia, San Diego was a total music playground for us.” However, although they’ve obtained success, their earlier years weren’t cut short of painless experiences, and failed endeavors. One illustration of this is the number of line up changes the band has been through, which ironically foreshadowing their name, has kept them in transit.
The original lineup united around current lead singer, guitarist Jim Hughes and bassist Mike Frey, with the addition of guitarist Anthony Levas and drummer Bernie Tiano. When they began recording their first full-length album, Ah Discordia!, with Harbor Records, Levas and Tiano were replaced with present guitarist Jaime Solis and drummer Brad Bohensky. This change has proved to be a success for The Transit War, as Solis clarifies, “It was just like finding that perfect ingredient you never knew was missing. Where the band might have had a couple of drivers and a couple passengers before, we’ve ended up with a connection between four people who really belong behind the wheel.”
The band underwent another change when they switched labels for their most current release, Miss Your Face, from Harbor Records to the comfortable and productive Orange Peel. “Harbor wasn’t really much more than a kiss and a good luck handshake for us. Orange Peal is a place where we can grow and function as a band,” Solis says, as the band has always kept in good spirits about any hardships or changes. “We’ve always said The Transit War motto was, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. We love what we get to do in this life and know we’re lucky to be doing it at all, so all the blood, sweat and tears are given very willingly.”
Miss Your Face was inspired by many elements including alcohol, storytelling, regret, tour, families, shortcomings, and the music from which the band members derive their influence. Recording this record was the first time they were able to be attentive in creating the music, as most was written on the road together as a band. When they were recording Ah Discordia! it was more of an impulsive time, as Brad and Jaime were unsullied to the band. For Miss Your Face they were able to center more on songwriting, different instrumentation, and creating significant melodies and harmonies.
The experience of recording Miss Your Face and being on tour has solidified The Transit War’s current line up, brought its members close together, and has also formed an appreciation for the bigger picture. “I’d say we’ve grown into a family – a family with a ton of branches. We’ve spent so much time on the road together living in our box that it was inevitable really,” Solis remarks. “But it’s the kind of environment we thrive in, to the point where family means our families at home, all of our fans and friends, even the people we work with business-wise. Everyone’s related at this point.”
The Transit War’s valiant efforts, upright attitude, and dedication to their music have earned them many accolades and industry nods which have been beneficial to exposing the band to new fans. One of their more notable honors was winning MTVu’s The Freshman contest for their video “Kerosene.” They’ve also been nominated in the Best Rock category for the San Diego Music Awards, and have been Spin.com’s Artist of the Day.
The band is currently out on the road with Self Against City, doing a stretch of dates throughout the West Coast. Select dates also feature Quietdrive and The Fold. For The Transit War, bringing their songs from the studio to the stage is what they live for. “We enjoy dynamics in music and try to build a set the same way. If you’re coming to a show you can expect a lot of energy, not so much shtick, and some quality harassment from the four of us to check out the new lamp at our merch table.”
This is a band with a positive reception to what’s been thrown at them, the state of flux and transit they’ve endured, and a general respect for the situation they are in.