The Rhode Island native’s got his first real band We Are The Fallen, ergo, his first real debut album Tear The World Down, and above his first real consistent gig for the future.
He laughs when thinking this was all thanks to an unanswered e-mail he sent in 2002, to tryout for guitarist Ben Moody’s new band at the time, Evanescence.
“Funny story,” says O’Brien who’s been on three different Ozzfest tours as a free-lancer, and has rocked with A-list people like Tommy Lee, Disturbed, Kelly Clarkson and Celine Dion.
“About a year-and-a-half after I didn’t get a reply back from him, I ran into Ben (Moody) outside the Viper Room on Sunset Blvd -after Evanescence had become really popular- and I introduced myself, asking him about that e-mail. He freaked out, and was like ‘dude, are you serious!? At that time, I was living in my grandmother’s basement! When I saw your credentials, I thought that it was like a joke that a few friends were playing on me or something!’”
Not to worry though, because from that encounter stemmed a building friendship between O’Brien and Moody for years to come, where Moody would leave Evanescence in 2003, and have O’Brien play bass on all his solo-projects.
It was only a matter of time that after Evanescence members John LeCompt (Rhythm Guitar), and Rocky Gray (Drums) also left the band in 2007, that Moody would decide to bring them together along with O’Brien, grab a talented former American Idol top ten finalist Carly Smithson (Vocals), and form new talented alternative rock/metal band We Are The Fallen in 2009.
“I tell everyone,” says O’Brien, “even though the band has only been together for a year, it feels like I’ve known some of these guys for a lot longer- for like years now.”
O’Brien admits that this new experience is definitely a contrast to his days free-lancing as a bassist for party rock n’ roll tours.
“There’s a difference for sure,” he says. “With Tommy Lee, you try to go back into the bus to chill out, but wait, you can’t because there’s a huge after party on the bus. Here everyone’s married, has kids, very mellowed out. We watch movies, everyone’s in their PJ’s after the show. It’s funny.”
And although the band’s concentrated ex-Evanescence core has brought a bit of criticism that they sound like Evanescence, O’Brien says that it can’t be avoided.
“It makes me laugh,” he says. “You have to realize, these guys pretty much created Evanescence. It’s like if Led Zeppelin broke up and created a new band…obviously it’s going to sound a bit alike. How do you not sound like yourself?
“But we’re just way too happy right now to be fixed-out about it.”
Keeping them high on life is their debut album Tear The World Down -which was released by Universal Republic on May 11- and is led by their hit single Bury Me Alive, which has climbed the charts and was also used in the promo of the season one finale of CTV’s The Vampire Diaries. Also pushing the record strong are singles like Don’t Leave Me Behind, and Sleep Well, My Angel.
Originally the group was supposed to release a song every eight weeks by MySpace to build a compilation, but after the band underestimated the amount of material that they had actually written, it was agreed that they had to put it together into an album.
“When we formed, we didn’t have one song,” says O’Brien. “So you can imagine how much writing we’ve done over the last year, but we all just had a lot to say on our minds in the beginning, so we had more than enough material to write about.
“We would even all record and submit our own musical ideas form our designated instruments. It was a really creative open brainstorm.”
But surprisingly, writing wasn’t even the first issue on the agenda when the band formed. It was actually figuring out how they were gonna look on-stage.
“Ben was the first to speak to Carly,” says O’Brien, “and they clicked on their vision of what this band should look like, to the album cover, to the performance, to what they wanted to do on-stage. We have all these crazy ideas that we’re working on now.
“I can’t say anything yet, but you’ll be seeing them soon…”
The group hopes to reveal those ideas and their potential while on their current massive 28-city tour in the U.S. with Finish rock-band H.I.M, and then a 14-city solo-tour in the U.S. and Europe.
“We plan on staying on the road for a year-and-a-half, probably 18 months,” says O’Brian. “We’re determined to work this album for a long time. But we have to take this step-by-step, that’s the way to do it to reach longevity.
“We want to prove ourselves. It’s one sitting at a time, to show people what we have. But it’s a great feeling to finally have that album out.”