- With: The Few, American Plague, Digital Summer
- When: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3
- Where: The Valarium, 112 Ramsey St.
- Cost & info: $17/$20, TheValarium.com.
KNOXVILLE — "Now Is the Time (Ravenous)," the third song on the new 10 Years album, "Feeding the Wolves," might seem like the band's new philosophy.
"Now is the time to open your eyes/You need it/You want it/You did it/You got it/So act like you own it this time," recites 10 Years singer Jesse Hasek.
"It's about our careers," he says. "We wanted this so bad and we felt like we didn't have control over it and we didn't own it, but we do. It's in our hands. It's our band. It's our name. It's us. We need to always keep that in mind."
10 Years is probably the most successful rock band to come from Knoxville. The group's 2005 album, "The Autumn Effect," featured the song "Wasteland," which topped the Billboard Modern Rock chart. That was followed in 2008 by "Division," which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The group has toured around the world and sold hundreds of thousands of recordings.
Yet the new album takes a bite out of the negative aspects of the entertainment business.
"It's called 'Feeding the Wolves,' because you have to feed the wolves to keep them at bay," says Hasek. "You hear this from all kinds of musicians and entertainers. There's a lot of wolves out there and a lot sharks in the water. A lot of that is about getting that off our chests. The first song, 'Shoot It Out,' is about how they'll bleed you dry if you're not careful."
10 Years formed in Knoxville in 1999 with bassist Lewis Cosby, drummer Brian Vodinh, guitarists Ryan "Tater" Johnson and Matt Wantland, and vocalist Mike Underdown. In 2002, Hasek replaced departing vocalist Underdown.
With Hasek, the group recorded the 2004 album "Killing All That Holds You" (original copies of the disc can fetch upwards of $70 on Amazon.com), which included the original version of the song "Wasteland."
Hasek says his lyrics are often so obscure that no one would recognize how personal they actually are, but "Wasteland" was one that fans began to figure out. The song was written about Hasek's relationship with his cousin and good friend-actor Brad Renfro, who suffered from drug addiction.
"For the first couple of years I didn't let that out, because it was a personal thing, but people began to get that it was about drug addiction and living with someone with drug addition," says Hasek. "It was personal and I didn't even want him to know, because I thought he'd get mad at me. But it was my therapy. I didn't think what it would become. I was just in a place in my head and my heart and that's what came out. It's as honest as I could have possibly made it. It's two points of view. The verse is the addict's point of view and the chorus is the loved one's or friend's point of view."
Renfro died of an overdose in 2008. He and Hasek had remained close. Hasek says Renfro's advice and example have helped him stay grounded. Young celebrities have access to any type of temptation, and Renfro advised Hasek to not take the bait. Hasek also got to see the real person on the other side of tabloid journalism. He said that exploitation of a person's failings is one of the things he hates about the entertainment industry.
"It's like it's not hurting anybody. ... It's just entertainment," he says. "Tragedy is just a paycheck."
Hasek says if his lyrics come off as angry that isn't really a reflection of who he is.
"I'm happy as a person, so if I see anything I think is wrong that's how I get it out - through music. Music is therapy for me. I think it's therapy for a lot of people. It helps them through hard times. I've had military people and people who've been in prison, people who've gone through stuff I've never encountered, come through and say, 'Your music helped lift me up.' Maybe even if it was a really dark song, they're not the only one who feels that way."