Sunset Black

by Sarah Klosterbuer
January 2003

The Midwest may not be famous for producing rock bands, but newcomers Sunset Black are trying to change that. With a solid sound and great opportunities, Sunset Black has arrived on the rock scene and is getting its shot at rock stardom.

Sunset Black is a product of Minneapolis’ budding rock scene, the group having moved there after forming in Kansas City in 1998. Hometown heroes in a sense, the band was pleasantly surprised with the amazing fan response. After a lot of couch surfing and actually renting out a walk-in closet, “It was overwhelming,” recalls vocalist Brandon Sammons. “We had a really good fan base, but they weren’t just fans, they were friends, so for us it was really personal in Minneapolis.”

Sunset Black’s big break came with a battle of the bands contest sponsored by Minneapolis’ 93X. The winner would get to play at the station’s X-Fest concert in front of a crowd of 30,000. The X-Fest bill included the already prominent, hard-rock band Nonpoint.

Discovered by Nonpoint, Sunset Black was brought to the attention of MCA records and Nonpoint’s guitarist Andrew Goldman went on to produce the band’s first album.’

The band is currently making the jump from local stardom to the nationwide scene, and is pleased with both fan response at concerts and sales of its album, Common Ground. “We’re having a great response right now, locally, and it’s starting nationwide,” Sammons says. “More CD’s are definitely moving. We’re really excited for it, I love touring.”

In the fall of 2002, Sunset Black got its first taste of touring, joining friends Nonpoint on the road for a club tour. Sunset Black is currently on the road again, promising a straightforward rock show. “We’re very energetic live, we’re very emotional,” Sammons says. “We come out and we don’t wear makeup, there’s no pyrotechnics. We come out and we just rock. That’s our therapy for the 45 minutes, and we definitely throw down, but there’s nothing fake about it. It’s just good melodic rock music.”

The group’s music has a typical guitar-driven rock foundation, with melodic vocals putting a bit of a spin on things. While this recipe is certainly not exclusive to Sunset Black, Sammons’ unique vocals give the band’s music a distinctive sound, possibly giving them the edge they’ll need to duplicate the success they’ve seen locally on a national level.

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