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We Came As Romans at Saint Andrew's, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019

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We Came As Romans continues to rock -- even though the Troy-formed band's world was indescribably rocked just over seven months ago.

Last August, singer Kyle Pavone passed away from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 26. Though shaken to its core, the remaining quintet announced it would not be replacing Pavone but that the band would continue, and it was on the road a few weeks later opening for Bullet For My Valentine.

Time has helped heal the wound -- a bit, according to frontman Dave Stephens. WCAR is back on the road this spring, headlining, and further adjusting to life without one of its own. As the song says, "To Move on is To Grow," and the group is certainly living that, for better and worse...

Stephens says by phone that WCAR's fall tour "was pretty gut-wrenching, a lot of first like your first practice without (Pavone), your first show without him, your first hometown show without him. That was the hardest thing. This tour, I won't say it's easier but everyone's having a little more fun, and we've just gotten better at handling our emotions aroun dit. It's something that's there and will always be with us, and we've all just learned to deal with it better."

WCAR's decisions to both carry on and not replace Pavone did not require much debate, according to Stephens. "In our minds we didn't have a doubt about moving on and continuing as a band. We all knew Kyle and we knew that he would've killed us if we didn't continue the band after he passed. And there's just no one who could replace him. I feel like if we added another singer it would feel like replacing him, whereas if it's just me then I'm just covering his parts. It wouldn't tear at our fan base or our hearts as much as seeing someone else up there singing those words and these songs."

Stephens, who was able to visit Pavone in the hospital before he passed, has become accustomed to being WCAR's sole vocalist, covering both his parts and Pavone's. "It's pretty difficult, but I like to rise to the challenge and rise to the occasion. I just had to work really hard at being able to tak eon a bigger responsibility vocally, and there's different things I had to do to take care of my body more and make sure I'm giving my voice every advantage it can have. It's not easy, but it's something I'm getting better and better at. But singing along to his voice makes me feel like, spiritually, he's there with me in a way, singing through me."

Stephens, who is moving back to the Detroit area after spending five years in Atlanta, says WCAR is planning to work in earnest on a new album this summer, a follow-up to 2017's "Cold Like War." "We're writing stuff while we're on the road and throwing a few demos around -- nothing too crazy yet, but we plan on using the duration of the summer to write and record. Every record we make some kidn of progression, so there'll be a progression on this one, but I don't think we're going to do anything too drastic. It's still gonna sound like We Came As Romans."

Some of the new songs may include ideas Pavone contributed before his death, and Stephens is confident much of the material will be inspired by their shared grief after his death. "I love that we're going into the studio with so much to write about and somethign that hits home for all of us so hard. We've never had somethign so terrible happen, and I think it's gonna be therapeutic to write about it and be together and go through the whole process. I'm actually really looking forward to it."

We Came As Romans performs on Sunday, April 14, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors at 6 p.m. $25 and $38. 313-961-8137 or saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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