Formed in Canton, Ohio in 2002, Lovedrug is currently comprised of Michael Shepard (vocals, guitar, piano), Jeremy Gifford (guitar, synthesizers), Thomas Bragg (bass), and James Childress (drums). The band’s often-misconstrued name is something of a word play; Shepard initially left music to attend film school but his first ‘love’ of the music medium ‘dragged’ him back (thus “Lovedrug”; a verb, not an aphrodisiac).
Lovedrug drew nationwide attention with two independent EPs in 2003 and 2004, followed by the highly acclaimed debut full-length Pretend You’re Alive in July 2004 on indie The Militia Group (Sony). The fastest selling debut in label history, Militia upstreamed the band to parent label Columbia Records for a planned rerelease in March 2005 around the radio single “Spiders”. Though unrelated corporate purging at Columbia left many plans stillborn, Lovedrug toured heavily, including dates with The Killers, Robert Plant, Switchfoot, and Coheed & Cambria, and established a sizable American following.
By late 2006, Lovedrug had a new album’s worth of material and, to avoid continued upheaval at Columbia, returned to The Militia Group to release Everything Starts Where It Ends in March of 2007. The album was well received, selling close to 30k albums in several months on the back of Japanese and North American touring, including two headline runs and tours with Sparta and Blue October. Several singles/videos saw traction at radio & MTV, including “Ghost By Your Side” and “Happy Apple Poison”, but a lack of significant label support failed to capitalize, leaving the band frustrated and burned out.
After a brief interlude, founder Shepard reformed the group and proceeded to write what would become Lovedrug’s 3rd album as a bit of catharsis, working with iconic producer Michael Beinhorn (Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mew) to exorcise several years of demons in an aggressive homage to grunge. Though the 2008 release of The Sucker Punch Show coincided with the collapse of the Militia Group in North America, the album was especially well received upon it’s 2009 release in Europe, landing at #6 on the coveted Visions summer chart, garnering broad radio play for the single “Only One”, and seeing the band play shows and festivals with Kings of Leon, Nine Inch Nails, Silversun Pickups, and Eagles of Death Metal.
Following the European summer tour, a fully revitalized Lovedrug took the rest of 2009 to explore and define what would come next. The band self-released EP- PART I in April, the first in a series of three such indie EPs planned for 2010, while continuing to write, tinker, and prepare for the HiFi album to come. Lovedrug will play a number of dates this spring, including a headlining tour June/July, Bamboozle, and others.
Michael Shepard - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Jeremy Michael Gifford - Guitar, Synthesizer, Piano
Thomas Bragg - Bass
James Childress - Drums