Josh Malerman, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of The High Strung, has been been a buzz name over the last two weeks. His epic novel Bird Box, a New York Times best seller, was adapted into a feature film starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich and has become Netflix’s biggest hit to date.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “The film turned into a cultural and social-media phenomenon after premiering on the streaming-video service on Dec. 21. Netflix rarely releases data on viewership of its content. But in the case of Bird Box, a tale about a resourceful mother protecting children from a homicidal force, the company said a record-setting 45.3 million of its 137 million accounts watched at least 70% of the movie in the first week of its release.”
But Bird Box is not the first thing to shed light on the band. Worldwide audiences will recognize their song “The Luck You Got” from the opening credits of Showtime’s Shameless. Quiet Riots, the band’s eighth and newest full-length album, is a powerful, witty, harmony laden masterwork that hums, zooms, soars, and roars through 14 songs in 38 minutes. Pre-order HERE.
The High Strung formed nearly 20 years ago, but the friendship of four core members started in the fifth grade–underscoring their long and continually winding road. Metro Detroit natives Josh Malerman, Derek Berk, Mark Owen, and Chad Stocker formed in 2000, along with Clevelander Jason Berkowitz. It wasn’t long before they’d completed a sizeable batch of songs around the lyrics of Malerman/Owen and hit the road to tour the Midwest. That taste for adventure found them relocating from Detroit to Williamsburg NY, just as they were slated to cut an album for Tee Pee Records. Their debut (These Are Good Times) made a splash, complete with feverish music videos (“Wretched Boy” and “Real Nice Boy”) that captured their signature livewire energy.
When Owen and Berkowitz stepped away, Berk (drums), Stocker (bass), and Malerman forged on as a trio and made the Bob-Pollard-praised indie-pop tour de force Moxie Bravo – which kicked off a half-crazy/half-capricious five-year odyssey of non-stop touring. This mad run shaped them into a well-oiled pop machine in their live incarnation – pushing them towards completion of three stylistically-adventurous full-lengths between 2007-2009 (Get The Guests, Ode to the Inverse, Dragon Dicks). After settling back in Detroit, rock guitar wizard Stephen Palmer joined the band, adding much flare to the weird and wooly batch of tunes. The band would continue to explore new sounds and styles on 2012’s ¿Posible O’ Imposible? and would transform further by the time 2014’s I, Anybody was released. Founding member Owen returned in 2016.