In The Blue Corner

Evans Blue is getting down with MMA.

Evans Blue front man Dan Chandler has an MMA connection—the best kind—UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste. In 2007, 18 months before joining Evans Blue as their lead vocalist, the Missouri-based songwriter connected with Celeste by providing her with a few original songs to demo.

“I was writing a lot of different styles of music and sent Arianny a few songs to try out because she was working on becoming a pop artist,” says Chandler. “She recorded herself singing ‘For You’ and did an awesome job.”

As an avid fan of MMA, Chandler was familiar with Celeste’s work. The vocalist became hooked after watching The Ultimate Fighter in 2005, and now claims Georges St-Pierre and Clay Guida as his favorite fighters.

“It’s just a badass sport—I have so much respect for those guys,” he says. “The discipline and dedication—not to mention the hard work most of us will never experience— just screams passion. I can relate to the passion, just not the fighting part.”

Now, Chandler has to make time to catch the UFC pay-per-views and live events on free television because of his hectic tour schedule. He took over as front man for Evans Blue in February 2009, and the alternative hard rock collective dropped their self-titled third album four months later.

On April 17, 2012, three years removed from their last release, a fully recharged Evans Blue—also comprised of rhythm guitarist Parker Lauzon, lead guitarist Vlad Tanaskovic, and bassist Joe Pitter—will unveil their fourth studio effort Graveyard Of Empires through independent label Sounds+Sights. The powerful 12-track offering features riveting melodies, heartfelt lyricism, and Chandler’s
piercing vocals, including leadoff single “This Time It’s Different” and “Halo.”

This time around, the music is more personal than ever. “There is something special about an album that can make you feel as if it was written especially for you,” Chandler says. “It’s not necessarily a conscious effort to make that happen, but I believe genuine songs that speak truth will fill that void. The best music for me is the kind I can build a relationship with.”

Evans Blue will support Graveyard of Empires throughout 2012, and although Chandler hasn’t spoken to Celeste recently, he plans to link up with her in the future. “It’s been a while since I talked to her,” he says. “I know she’s been working with some producers and trying to get something going. We haven’t toured in California in a while. But when we do, I’ll invite her to a show.”

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