In Tom Hanks’ directorial debut That Think You Do, four kids get lucky and write a chart-topping hit. The band is appropriately called The Oneders (they pronounce it The Wonders.) The movie chronicles their rise and fall. It’s a great movie, but the story of Maine’s Jeremiah Freed would be just as good, if not better. When the band started they were still in high school. When they released their debut album and earned some notoriety, they were all basically kids. A big boost to the band’s local popularity was when they won the state of Maine’s Battle of the Bands. They started out idolizing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and they wound up opening for the band. It’s a story that’s so good you would think somebody made it up. They didn’t. Joseph Smith, Matt Cosby, Kerry Ryan, Nick Goodale, and Jake Roche went on one hell of a ride.
It’s been more than fifteen years since the band released their self-titled album and about a decade since the band vanished from the scene. They’ve all settled into adulthood comfortably, but recently they surprised everyone and released new music. The only member not returning is drummer Kerry Ryan, filling in for him is Matt’s brother Andy Cosby.The first part of their new Companion album – obviously titled “Companion Part One” was released in July. Alternative Addiction hopped on a conference call with Jeremiah Freed singer Joseph Smith, bassist Matt Cosby, and guitarist Jake Roche to talk about all things Companion – starting with how it all came about.
“A couple of years ago we were doing our own things and Jeremiah Freed wasn’t on our radar,” said Cosby recalling the tale. “I was in L.A. and I came back to Portland for a trip. I ran into a DJ from WCCY – the station that broke us back in the day. He asked us if Jeremiah Freed would do a reunion show. I didn’t think it could happen, but I made the calls anyway. It’s funny, I remember making those calls and the people who I thought would be hesitant about it were the most excited, and the people who I thought would be excited about it were the most hesitant. Everyone was kind of in the middle of it and I knew I could talk everyone into it at that point. The thing is though, we didn’t want to just do a one-off show in Portland and call it good – we’ve done that before. So, we started working on new music and everyone got excited and we started working out logistics.”
Cosby was for sure the catalyst in the process but Jeremiah Freed frontman Joseph Smith said working with Jeremiah Freed was always calling out to him. It was a scratch that he needed to itch.
“For me, I don’t play music unless it’s with these guys,” said Smith. “I’ve never played with another band. I’ve maybe played one or two shows on my own. This band is music. There’s not anything else for me. There was a lot of unfinished business for us. After we stopped, Nick and I would send flash drives back and forth in the mail. We were working on these ideas not knowing if anything would come from them and not really caring. It was a creative release that neither of us had. The situation that Matt described, that’s how it came to a head. But there was always a need to create with guys that never went away for me. In a strange way, this was bound to happen.”
Read Part Two