Biography: Eastern Conference Champions
Eastern Conference Champions (often abbreviated ECC) is an American Indie rock band originally from Philadelphia now residing in Los Angeles, CA, consisting of Joshua Ostrander, Greg Lyons, and Melissa Dougherty. The band gained great notoriety when it was announced that they would be featured on the The Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack in May, 2010.
Eastern Conference Champions hails from just outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Longtime friends Greg and Josh had already worked together recording with the band Laguardia. Their full-length Welcome To The Middle (2003) was a critical success, but big-label politics kept the record on ice and left the band high and dry. It was a frustrating experience for Greg and Josh, and the two left their friends and band mates to go back to work on their own terms.
The summer of 2004 was a character-building experience for the two. Just a few months earlier they'd been a nationally-touring, major label act, and now they found themselves back where they started: doing manual labor, digging holes under the glaring sun. Not a couple of guys to bitch and moan about the hand they'd been dealt, the friends jumped right back on the horse and used their free time at night to write and record what would become the material for their EP. The Southampton Collection, named after their hometown, contained a wonderful set of songs reeking of liberation and lost love, fashioned under the influence of 7 a.m. coffee and cigarette breakfasts.
When the two finally decided to take their music to the people, they discovered their old friend Vern, who recently parted ways with CKY. The equally disheveled and disgruntled bass player heard what Josh and Greg were working on and the trio was formed. Soon they began playing shows in Philly and NYC, catching attention with an unabashed approach to their live performances. Publications like Blender took notice, remarking that they found it "refreshing to see a band who actually looked like they enjoyed playing their songs." There's nothing more disheartening than to watch a band play like they wish they weren't there, and that's never the case with Eastern Conference Champions.
The EP was released in March of 2006 on Retone Records, and as the boys continued to play, the list of band supporters grew. One fan was Suretone's Jordan Schur, who heard the band's EP and thought it was strong enough to sign the band on the spot. And so in late 2006 the band was signed to Geffen/Suretone Records, a subsidiary of Geffen Records.
Another such ally was Brit-pop super-producer Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve). Morris relished the thought of producing the band's major-label full-length so much that he crossed the pond to work with the trio, and the resulting labor of love is Ameritown, which was released on July 17, 2007. The album was a critical success, garnering rave reviews as the band toured the U.S. relentlessly and made an appearance on "Last Call with Carson Daly". Always ready for the road, ECC criss-crossed the country in their van playing countless shows by themselves and supporting such acts as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and indie rock legend Black Francis.
While earning well-deserved accolades at home in the States, ECC also turned heads abroad when "Ameritown" was released in the United Kingdom on Island/Fallout. ECC built up a loyal UK fan base and caught the attention of publications such as NME by playing anywhere and everywhere across the pond and even made their name known in Europe by supporting American indie rockers Rogue Wave.
The band felt out of place at the major label and decided to opt out of their contract for the second record. Taking the exit fee, they put it towards self releasing their own records under their imprint "RockHampton", a name Greg Lyons came up citing the town he and Josh grew up in, Southampton, PA.
Melissa Dougherty joined the band in 2009 after the departure of founding bassist, former CKY bassist Vern Zaborowski. Ostrander, Lyons and Dougherty recorded The Santa Fe EP, which they self released on September 30. The band sold limited edition signed artwork copies off of their website. The EP gained more exposure when it landed TV placements for 'Friday Night Lights' and 'Melrose Place'. Both shows featured 'Sideways Walking', a song Ostrander says is about trying to quit smoking. They soon realized the joys of being in full control of their music and career. "Every decision comes down to the three of us, just how it should be", says Ostrander.
The band was also featured on the season finale of Gossip Girl on May 17, 2010 with their rendition of Bob Dylan's "Don't think twice it's all right". The song quickly became the band's number one seller on iTunes.
Based on the success of the Santa Fe EP the band decided to release another EP in early 2010, but then decided to record a full length album once they realized they were going to be on the upcoming Twilight Eclipse soundtrack. The album is to be entitled "SPEAK-AHH" and is said to have a Fall 2010 release date. It is said to be the biggest departure to date from the band's already unique sound. In an interview with Ostrander he states the first single, "Bull in The Wild" is without a doubt the "biggest song of their career."
The band was thinking of shortening their name to just 'ECC' in the Spring of 2010 until realizing they forgot to tell the producers of Twilight who then shipped the record with the full name. The band has said that the reason they never gained great success was because their "name was too long" and that nobody wanted to type it and jokingly that "we came up with the name before the internet took off."
The band prides themselves on being a 'one stop shop' for anything band related. They record, produce, mix and master their own records and Ostrander designs all artwork and posters. He has made reference to being an "un-qualified hack at everything" and that he "should have been a lawyer."