Ten years ago Christian rock had a punk, reggae, rap band called Pax217 putting on high energy memorable shows as they toured non-stop in the early 2000s. Since disbanding in mid-2005 the members have gone their separate ways and not much has been heard from the group except for a reunion show two years ago. BREATHEcast had the opportunity to catch up with frontman David Tosti on what has been going on in the last decade since leaving the music industry.
Tosti's life has changed a lot since the band ended. In what seems like a lifetime ago, he has moved on to doing mostly wedding photography. At the time, Tosti and his wife had just learned they were pregnant and he now needed to provide for his soon coming daughter.
He began shooting weddings and anything he could after the suggestions of a friend. "From rockstar to suit and tie," he joked. "Weddings? Are you out of your mind?" Since then he has had 10 years in the photography business with "two beautiful kids."
"I'm grateful and lucky," Tosti admitted.
It is no secret money is tight for musicians, especially those that are in bands that have to share everything. "You make more money working at Starbucks then you ever would in a band," he laughed. "The money I made in Pax was so meager, but to me it wasn't even concern...that's not what it's about."
With so many other bands with similar sounds to Pax217 in the early 2000s it was tough to stand out. However, they never looked around at their peers to see what everyone else was doing; Pax just did their own thing. He used the analogy of looking at other photographers when beginning to shoot weddings. People were suggesting photographers to him to look at as he got into the business, but that was not helping him. "All that does is play into your insecurities." Tosti looked more at magazines and portraits and things that inspired him to fuel his pictures. As a frontman he was doing the same thing, putting on the best show he could organically.
The singer then broke down the beginnings of the end for Pax217, which came suddenly as one thing after another began to break down.
"We spent the last two years [prior] of the band touring our brains out, not synched up with our label as far the as marketing we wanted to see happening...we spent the last two years redesigning our business. We worked on getting out of our record deal...finding new management, but that didn't go well either."
Those two years were very stressful with all the behind the scenes thing happening. They were in constant talks with lawyers and in meetings discussing trying to be independent and leaving Forefront Records.
Finally in 2005 they decided they were not going to tour as much and work on their sound to try and find "the next thing." They were getting tired of the Limp Bizkit comparisons, which is not even close to being accurate as far as sound for Pax.
"We would have made the record where half the fans were like, 'I dig it , it's really cool' and the other half would have said, 'Oh man, I don't know, they really lost their thing. They're lame now.' I wanted to make that record."
He continued, "I wanted to make the record that pushed us artistically and made us dig deep for what we were trying to put out in the world."
At the time Tosti was doing plumbing with a friend in Laguna Beach, then driving home showering, and heading out to a little studio and working until three or four in the morning five or six days week. This exhausting process was hopefully leading up to the break through they were seeking as a band.
From there the band went to Russia and had a great time playing some shows. There did not seem to be anything wrong, but when they got back Joey Marchiano (drummer) said he had to move on from the band. "It was a very devastating thing. We were definitely like brothers, all of us." The remaining members of Tosti, Josh Auer, and Jesse Craig decided they would find another drummer and just begin to write "killer songs."
Marchiano left in April of 2005. The following month, Tosti went to Italy for two weeks with his wife and when he came back they played a show. The next day they got together and Craig announced he would be quitting the band. He wanted to do other things, and after processing the talk from the previous meeting, came up with his decision.
"Josh and I kind of looked at each other and shrugged, 'Well, I guess that's it'.
"We were all so drained and exasperated from all the hard work we had put in," Tosti said before admitting, "I think to this day we would have kept going had Josh said 'Lets keep going'." He explained from the time he was 16 until he was 27, "other than having to take a shower, I didn't think about much else. I just wanted to make great music, and I wanted to be the best at what I did."
"Often things die or end and push us into something great and where we need to be."
Tosti explained that for the first few years after Pax he only dabbled in music, but really put his priorities in work and his family. In the last five years or so, he has played with a few friends in a more therapeutic way. "It's a very cathartic thing for me to do. I can play three notes on the piano and for me that feels amazing."
He is also in the process of developing a solo album. "I don't know what it looks like yet...I'm really kind of developing a sound and a feel."
This ends part one of our interview profile with David Tosti of Pax217. Be sure to check back in tomorrow with BREATHEcast as break down the band's two full length albums, and give more insight on some of the highs and lows of the band.