Though the Venezuelan-born, Miami-bred guitarist and lead singer of Mellowdrone, Jonathan Bates, had been playing the instrument since a child, it wasn't until he got to Berklee School of Music that he realized he was simply a technically proficient guitar player, and didn't actually know much about music. At age 20, and a year before graduating, Bates left Boston and moved to Los Angeles to begin seriously composing and recording his own music. His 2003 self-released EPs, A Demonstration of Intellectual Property and Go Get 'Em Tiger, the latter recorded with Tony DeMatteo on guitar, Scott Ellis on drums, and Greg Griffith on bass, caught the attention of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who invited Bates, under the name Mellowdrone, to open for him during his upcoming tour. When Bates had finished playing with Marr, DeMatteo rejoined Mellowdrone, and after a hectic touring schedule with bands like the Killers, Elbow, and Secret Machines, the group signed to 3E/Columbia in 2005. Their first full-length album, Box, came out the following year. They spent 2006 touring to support the disc, meanwhile placing songs on such TV shows as Six Feet Under and Project Runway, the movies The Invisible and Driv3r, and even TV commercials, including one for Nissan. Mellowdrone parted ways with 3E/Columbia in early 2007. While preparing new material, Bates played guitar with M83 and Monsters Are Waiting. Reuniting with DeMatteo and adding drummer Brian Berg in late 2008, he set to work recording the next Mellowdrone album, Angry Bear, which was released by Coming Home Records on August 25, 2009. ~ Marisa Brown & William Ruhlmann
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