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XFactor1 considers playing to locals a ‘family reunion’

Courtesy of David Heasley @ Cover Photography

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Soldiers might take pleasure in showing off war scars, and athletes can brag about their medals, but one Columbus band measures some of its success in damages – more than $2,400 worth to be exact.

After hosting an after party with more than 200 people in conjoined hotel rooms, XFactor1 was charged more than $2,400 in damages to the rooms. But instead of crumbling up the bill and throwing it away, the band took it as a badge of honor by using it in a T-shirt design.

“This party was massive and in a pretty small space,” said Ricky Wolf, lead vocalist, whose stage name is QBall. “That night was epic and the bill was just awesome, we felt like bada—- and we kept the bill and put it on our T-shirt to sell.”

XFactor1 formed in 2006 but came together in its current five-member form in 2007, when guitarist Cody Joseph, who is the youngest member of the band at 24 years old, got promoted from light technician to band member.

“We were on tour at the time and our guitarist left in the middle of the tour,” Wolf said. “Cody was our light tech and he knew how to play guitar and I thought he would be uptight but he got up there and started to (do) windmills with his guitar.”

But even before he was a light tech, Joseph was a fan. He said he enjoyed the style and the vibe of XFactor1 and set out to be a part of it.

“I saw them play locally and really liked the sound and everything they were doing,” Joseph said. “So I jumped on and became the lighting guy and one night they needed someone to fill in on stage. I went up and played with them and have been here ever since.”

Wolf said a successful XFactor1 live performance involves a lot of crowd participation, including bringing fans onstage and doing instrument tricks to get the crowd pumped up.

“We play with a lot of passion,” Wolf said. “We are very professional and well-choreographed before we get there but I would say we are a high-energy music orgy that loves to interact with the crowd.”

The band’s musical influences range from classic rock to modern-age rock, drawing inspiration from artists such as Metallica, Pink Floyd, Korn and Fuel.

“Our style is as versatile as the stuff we listen to ourselves,” said lead guitarist, Christopher Watkins, whose stage name is CLok. “I’ve been playing all my life so I have a lot of different styles that I like and everyone in the band is the same way. That is what makes it work so well.”

The band has toured statewide, playing in smaller venues such as Columbus’ Screamin’ Willies and large multi-day events such as Rock on the Range.

In 2009, the band played with Slipknot at Rock on the Range.

XFactor1 signed to Megaforce Records in January, and Wolf said the band saw the rewards of hard work and perseverance when its music became available at Best Buy and F.Y.E. stores in the Midwest.

“It took a lot of struggling and working with different labels to get to where we are now, but we are happy with what we’ve done so far,” Wolf said.

The band released a 13-track album “Famous.Last.Words.” June 5. Additionally, the band is slated to release a cover of Billy Squier’s song “The Stroke” in October.

“People have been telling us that they’re excited about the cover and I like it because we gave it a new sound and spiced up it from the original,” Wolf said.

Despite the band’s recent success, Wolf said, it’s not neglecting its local fans and favorite spot to play for them: Screamin’ Willies.

“We like to make our local shows an event because we only do a few every year,” Wolf said. “The show is like a family reunion. You see people you haven’t seen in months and it just turns into a giant party.”

It seems the band has found playing for locals in an organized setting is a more affordable party than playing in a hotel room for thousands of dollars worth of damages.

“That kind of money is money we don’t have, so that is not our routine when we are out on tour,” Wolf said. “And we don’t want that kind of reputation.”

The band is scheduled to kick off its “Edge of Insanity Tour” Oct. 18 in Flint, Mich.

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