Trapt, Fuel play The Expo

When hard rock band Trapt blasted onto the scene in the early 2000s, one thing that helped the group stand apart from other hard rock and metal acts was the positive tone frontman Chris Taylor Brown brought to Trapt’s lyrics.

It was an age where most bands were full of angst and using lyrics to wallow in self-misery. Brown frequently wrote about problems, too, but he was trying to confront and solve them within the songs.

Now, he feels that lyrical approach remains one of the elements that connects Trapt’s new album, “DNA,” to the group’s earliest music.

“I feel like a lot of the lyrics are about self-empowerment," Brown says during a telephone interview. "The songs take a problem, make a positive thing out of it and listeners become stronger and come out on the other side. A lot of the lyrics on ‘DNA’ are definitely staying on that path.”

Rock bands Trapt, Fuel, Starset, Tantric and Alien Ant Farm perform during the fourth annual Table Rocks Music Festival Saturday, Aug. 27, in the Lithia Amphitheater at The Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the festival, and are available online at, Magic Man and Badass Coffee in Medford, Music Coop in Ashland, and at The Expo. Ages 12 and younger get in free. Gates open at 2 p.m.

In the years since Trapt’s 2013 studio album, “Reborn,” Brown and his bandmates had plenty of opportunities to face problems involving the group and find the will and perseverance to push forward.

The source of the problems that most affected Brown and Trapt was a lawsuit concerning payment of royalties to former guitarist Simon Ormandy. The lawsuit and the threat of a bad outcome hung over Trapt for much of the period that followed the release of “Reborn,”  and Brown was worried he could lose everything he had worked for since forming Trapt in 1995 in Los Gatos, Calif., — his assets, the band’s instruments and equipment and even the rights to Trapt’s songs.

It wasn’t that Brown lacked confidence in the band’s position concerning the amount of royalties that were due to Ormandy, who was booted from Trapt in 2008. The worry was more about the resources Ormandy had at his disposal.

According to Brown, Ormandy was using his parents' war chest to pursue his litigation against Trapt.

In the end, Trapt settled with Ormandy, paying the same royalty money the group had offered when the guitarist first sought payment — a major win for Trapt. With that chapter of Trapt’s history closed, Brown feels what didn’t kill the band only made it stronger.

“When you’re looking at staring into the abyss and you’re not really sure where you’re going, that’s when you find out who you really are,” Brown said. “And we really pushed through and became a stronger band. Now we have more hunger to go out there and give our best to our fans every day. So it was a great triumph.”

The legal saga, though, did slow work on the new album for Brown, who is joined by bassist Pete Charell, drummer Dylan Thomas Howard and guitarist Ty Fury in the current Trapt lineup. He was so distracted and stressed by the situation that he wasn’t able to write much for the “DNA” album until the settlement was reached.

“We basically started writing it in 2014,” Brown says. “We had some good music and a few lyrical ideas. But really the bulk of the music was written in March and April of 2015, and then the lyrics poured right out. We started recording it in the summer, and we were still recording new songs for it earlier this year.”

The album Trapt created with “DNA” is very much in character with the band’s earlier work. Songs such as “Unforgiven,” “Changing Hands” and “It’s Over” strike a good balance between aggression and melody that has characterized the band’s five previous studio albums and hit songs such as “Headstrong” (from the 2002 self-titled album), “Stand Up” (from 2005’s “Someone in Control”) and “Bring It” (from “Reborn”).

The band puts a bit softer touch on a few tunes. “Human (Like the Rest of Us)” mixes ambient bits and ample melody with big riffs, while “Not So Different” uses a Police-ish reggae-pop feel in the verses to go with a big and hooky chorus.

Brown and Trapt figure to introduce two or three of the new songs this summer while headlining national tours.

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