Rebelling against your parents is as American as apple pie, power-pop and Laurel Canyon – which leaves brothers Dustin and Graham Lovelis three for four in that equation. Rather than rebel against their dad, they followed in his footsteps – going so far as to take on the name of the group he disbanded to raise his family and embracing the melodic pop of Big Star and the laidback, sun-dappled harmonies of The Byrds.
Although Dad hasn’t made an appearance on the The Fling’s recordings (yet), the boys and their fellow bandmates (drummer Justin Ivey, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Justin Roeland and guitarist/vocalist Joel Bond) have been steadily bringing his musical aspirations to life. A critically lauded self-released album earned them a deal with Dangerbird Records as well as sessions on World Cafe and with KCRW’s Nic Harcourt. Their new EP What I’ve Seen looks to up the ante even further.
What I’ve Seen is the sound of a band truly coming into its own. The band’s intricately textured SoCal folk-pop is a refreshing breath of familiar air – music that relies on classic elements of melody, harmony and pop structure while confidently staking out its own territory.
Part of that can be attributed to The Fling’s unusually functional dynamic of having multiple songwriters and singers in one band. The group may have started as a vehicle for Dustin’s musical output, but it’s expanded to include Graham and Joel – something Dustin views as a plus.
“I don’t even consider myself a lead singer/performer,” he says. “I just kinda fell into that. It’s nice to have other people singing and all sharing the stage.
“I listened to a lot of Teenage Fanclub a long time ago and I always thought it was cool,” he continues. “You can go all the way back to The Beatles, Beach Boys – there’s a lot of really great bands that have a lot of songwriters and they have all these different angles of who writes the darker songs, who writes the pop songs. There are just so many different angles when you have that many different songwriters. I think it’s really cool to bounce off each other.
“Plus, you get this cool friendly competition going where it’s like, ‘That song’s bad ass ,’ and then you go into your room and try to write something better,” he laughs.
That camaraderie and collaboration – based on stellar songwriting and pushing the envelope – is the basis for The Fling.
“That’s kind of been the model,” confirms Dustin. “And it’s kind of always changing but it’s write a good catchy pop song and then bring it to the band and have them beat the shit out of it. Layer it with as much stuff as you can until you’re satisfied with both the way the song sounds and the song itself. And that’s a really fun thing to do – it’s fun to see the song that you’ve written take on a completely new life and become something awesome that you wouldn’t have done if you were just by yourself.”
With the current line-up firmly in place, a new EP in stores and a new album on the horizon, it’s time for The Fling to do what they do best – play live. The band is currently on the road in support of What I’ve Seen and winning over new audiences with their deliciously unpretentious and contagiously delightful sets. This is what it’s all about, and their gigs – a combination of ace musicianship and the sheer pleasure of playing together – sets the band head and shoulders above their peers.
“We wouldn’t be touring or playing music if it wasn’t fun, because that’s pretty much all there is to it,” Dustin concludes. “There’s no money coming in, there’s not thousands of fans screaming at us. There’s really no selfish motive for us to be playing other than just enjoying it.
“Which I guess could be considered selfish,” he grins.