Music

Preparing for takeoff

Theory of Flight measures success by the lives it transforms

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Theory of Flight (left to right): rhythm guitarist Stephen Goodrum, drummer Tyler Williams, bassist Joey McMahon, lead guitarist Vince Casas, keyboardist John Colombo and singer Beau Hodges.
Photo: Fred Morledge
Pj Perez

For Las Vegas-based rock band Theory of Flight, playing music isn’t about success or accolades. “It’s about creating something you’re super proud of,” says lead singer Beau Hodges.

The sextet is prepping for the fall release its first full-length CD, Within Reach, and Theory of Flight recently shot a video for fan-favorite song “Set the Night on Fire.” Within Reach, recorded by the band at lead guitarist and songwriter Vince Casas’ home studio, was mixed and mastered by acclaimed engineer Mark Needham, whose other clients include Chris Isaak, Cake and another Vegas-spawned act, The Killers.

Needham’s name wasn’t simply drawn out of a hat. Much like the rest of Theory of Flight’s approach to music, his involvement is part of the band’s well-laid plan. “We took a lot of careful preparation with this project,” Hodges says. “We’re very careful about what we release and what we play.”

Manager Matt Slater asked the band members who they’d ideally want to engineer their record. They all agreed on Needham, and Slater, through a number of connections, was able to make that happen.

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“Within an hour of Mark receiving the disc, I got a text message: ‘Mark loves the disc, he wants to work with you guys,’” Hodges says. “When we sat down with Mark, between the vision of the album and us being from Vegas, he got very excited. He’s now become family.”

Needham remixed five tracks from Theory of Flight’s debut EP, A Brilliant Display, for inclusion on Within Reach, complementing the seven new tracks Casas and keyboardist John Colombo produced.

Theory of Flight seems to be on the precipice of something grand, all the universal axes lining up properly. But though they won’t say things have come easy, the members agree letting nature take its course has yielded optimal results.

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Theory of Flight

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    Burn On
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    Can't You See
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    Goodbye Tonight
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    Maybe in This World
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    Next to You
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    One Last Call
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    Sinister

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“All our connections just fell into place,” says drummer Tyler Williams. “Anything good we haven’t had to strive for. But all our mistakes were things we tried to force—it wasn’t natural.”

It was seven months ago when the band stopped trying to force things to happen. Hodges says he had a “revelation.”

“What are we about? How are we going to give back to the fans? We began to look at our strengths,” Hodges says. “We started writing music that was so much deeper. It challenged us musically.”

Hodges was also deeply affected by the death of Brandon Rayner, a 10-year-old Theory of Flight fan who passed away last Christmas after battling cancer for most of his short life. Hodges dedicated the song “Burn On” to Rayner’s memory. “That was a tipping point for us,” Hodges says.

The band has found its place in giving back to not just fans, but also the community, playing at and putting on charity shows, including Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation’s Camp Cartwheel last summer and the Rock for Freedom concert this March for local troops being deployed to the Middle East.

“If you have a voice and a heartbeat,” Hodges says, “you can affect and inspire everyone around you.”

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Previous Discussion:

  • The R&B/gospel legend wrote lyrics for three songs, stressing the importance of love while acknowledging racism and politician deception.

  • Its aimless and erratic lyrics—and largely underwhelming melodies—threatening to undermine the sweep of his voice and the instrumental robustness of his band.

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