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Lola Ray

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When John Balicanta decided to attend NYU, he not only had to move from his native California to New York City but he also had to leave his high-school band behind. Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Balicanta had formed Lola Corin (translated from Filipino, it means "Grandma Corin") with high-school friends Brian Spina (guitar) and James McIvor (bass). They were a loud band, playing in the style of the Smashing Pumpkins, Fugazi, and Failure, until college broke them up. While at NYU, Balicanta was studying audio engineering and needed an internship. He got one at Dumbo Studios, owned by Peter Robinson who was the V.P. of A&R at RCA Records. Balicanta was now recording demos and performing under the name Lola Ray, and invited Robinson to one of his open-mic gigs. Robinson was willing to get behind Balicanta and shop his demo around if he could come up with a real band. Through Dumbo Studios, Balicanta met drummer Alex Smolinski but finding a suitable guitarist and bassist in New York City proved difficult. Old buddies Spina and McIvor moved to new New York and joined the new band as soon as they received Balicanta's call. Robinson gave Good Charlotte's Benji Madden a tape of the band, and Lola Ray found the perfect label for their debut. With a sound that coupled their earlier hard, alternative rock style with a powerful pop polish, Lola Ray released their debut, I Don't Know You, on Good Charlotte's new label D.C. Flag in April of 2004. ~ David Jeffries


2001 in Los Angeles, CA

Years Active: