Twenty3Fifty9 is a melodic, symphonic progressive metal band based in Dallas/Fort Worth. Their style is one of contrasts; dark sounding heavy riffs interposed with clean passages, frequent time signature changes and shifting emotional content. Layers of keys set the symphonic stage for dramatic instrumental and vocal leads, and complex rhythm sections make up the backdrop for duel keyboard/guitar leads. Above it all, a vocal line that strives for melody and harmony with the underlying music.
The band takes its common influences largely from symphonic/progressive metal bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Savatage, Symphony-X and Evergrey. Other influences that can be heard in their music include progressive rock legends such as Rush, Yes, Genesis and Kansas. This is all rounded out with a touch of Iron Maiden influence as well!
Jeff has been singing and playing guitar since he was a wee young lad–he joined his first performing band at the age of twelve, and has been singing and playing guitar in various party bands ever since, covering everything from the BeeGees and Sean Cassidy to Elton John, the B52s to Van Halen, Iron Maiden to Metallica to Stevie Ray Vaughan to ZZTop, to Rush, Kansas, Styx…. His current influences include Evergrey, Dream Theater and Symphony-X.
Brian started playing guitar around the age of 8, before moving on to the keyboard, which is his primary instrument today. He enjoys all kinds of musical influences from Dream Theater to Quincy Jones. His fascination of having the Swedish Tan Team on the Twenty3Fifty9 Tour Bus is his main influence to keep playing hard.
Bill began playing the drums at the age of 14, studied percussion at the University of North Texas, and has performed in various bands as both a guitarist and a drummer. His primary influences are Rush, Kansas and Dream Theater.
Tom began playing bass at age 23 in order to jam with some friends. Self taught, he has developed a collective style influenced by various Blues, Rock and R&B groups. Current influences include Dream Theater, Symphony X, Iron Maiden and Jeff Beardsley.
Twenty3Fifty9 came together in late 2003 as a side-project for Jeff and Bradford. Both were members of the party bands, “D’Nile” and “Biaxident”. The two had been talking about the possibility of an original music project for some time, and had been frequenting clubs in Deep Ellum, and generally grousing about the sameness found in much of the music they were hearing.
Both were big fans of Dream Theater, and took some hope from the gradual increase in the popularity that Dream Theater and similar groups were having at the time. The guys even drove out to Atlanta that September to attend “Prog Power USA”, a yearly progressive metal/power metal festival then in it’s fourth year. During the festival, they decided that progressive metal might just be having a comeback! Perhaps a new progressive metal band could actually find an audience in Dallas?
Bands at Prog Power IV included Nightwish, Symphony X, Evergrey, and Circle II Circle (Zachary Stevens and guest Jon Oliva, both of Savatage fame) — in short this was a very inspiring show for the boys, and they returned from Atlanta, pumped up and ready to ROCK!
And so the band was born. All they needed was a few more members, some material to play and a name…. A drummer was no problem; Bill, whom the two had played with in “Biaxident” had by this time also become a member of “D’Nile”, and was as much a prog-head as either of the other two; in fact, his collection of progressive titles is just huge!
Soon the three of them started jamming, recording interesting ideas along the way, and the beginnings of what was to become “Overture 1815” came together. It was at this point that Jeff began seriously working on lyric ideas for the music. A number of themes came and went before he was struck with the idea of doing something really big. A new movie adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo had been released the prior year, and was still fresh on his mind at the time. When Bill and Bradford heard the idea, it was unanimous. They had their theme.
For the next few months, while continuing to play with “D’Nile”, the guys got together once every couple of weeks for a jam session, and as before, recorded any interesting musical ideas for later. Jeff re-read the original Count of Monte Cristo story in book form, roughed out an outline for the material, and started turning out lyrics in the form of a rock opera.
They still needed a name. A good prog-name–it was thought–should reflect something mysterious, contain a double meaning perhaps, or make reference to a literary work; something to peak the interest of an inquiring mind. Jeff has a tendency toward doing things at the last minute, and was thinking of names in that vein; “Last Minute”, “11th Hour”…. Of course a web search using these terms turned up dozens of existing bands. It was actually Kristine–the lead singer in D’Nile–that suggested another name along those lines: 23:59, or Twenty3Fifty9.
By January 2004, D’Nile had had their final show, everyone was interested in doing new things, and the guys began working in earnest, recording rough versions of Overture, Darkness, Betrayal, and Providence (homecoming). With no bass player available, bass parts were recorded by Bradford on keys, to which he would later add real keyboard parts.
It wasn’t until August of 2004 that a suitable bass player was found. A long time friend of Jeff’s from high school, Tom was part of another local party band “Last Call”. His band, like “D’Nile” had played its final public show, and its members were moving on to other things. With Tom’s sudden availability, the group was complete.
They spent the next few months bringing Tom up to speed on existing material while continuing to write, and by December had re-recorded the first four tracks with Tom on bass, and composed and recorded perhaps their most involved track to date: Providence Part II (conspirators), as well.
The first half of 2005 was very busy for all of them, and essentially no progress was made on the recordings until summer, when schedules lightened up enough for rehearsals and recording sessions to resume.
By September the amount of material they had ready to play was approaching 40 minutes-enough material to start considering public performances. Jeff and Bradford had continued to spend a fair amount of time watching other local bands, and had just arrived at Monte Carlos one evening when Brian Miller of SpaceTime introduced them to Dawn Lane of Mystic Management. Their first show was not long in coming. October 14th saw Twenty3Fifty9’s debut performance at The Galaxy Club in Deep Ellum.
Stay Tuned for more!
The band would like to give special thanks to Kristine “Queen of D’Nile” Rios, for frequent live appearances with the band as the voice of “Mercedes”.
Kristine is a long time friend of Jeff and Tom–she was in high-school with both of them–and has known Bill and Bradford for some time as well. All five are past members of D’Nile.
A singer all of her life, Kristine has been in numerous local rock and blues bands, including D’Nile, which she founded, and led for seven years.
These days Kristine is a school teacher who still likes to get out and rock now and then!
THANK YOU KRISTINE