Today we’d like to introduce you to Max Bergstrom.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Avenue Army started in July of 2009 in St. Paul, MN between myself (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) and James Paulet (Lead Guitar/Vocals) after we had been introduced via a mutual friend. I felt we had instant chemistry and soon after we invited Chris Libby to play bass and Josh Mattson to play drums. I’ve always had a genuine love for music and started playing instruments (violin, saxophone) at a young age. When I was 9, I started playing guitar and I’ve been writing songs and playing ever since.
Avenue Army played heavily in MN and the mid-west, wherever and whenever we could, but we did not create any real traction until 2013, which was when I got sober. My battle with chronic alcoholism nearly ended my life, and for a long time, I was unable to perform well, show up to practice, or function. There were multiple attempts by band members, friends, and family to intervene and help me get clean, but nothing changed until December of 2012 when I quit for good. I can’t quite explain what shifted when I got sober or how it happened, but I consider it to be a miracle. I began taking life and sobriety seriously and took the spiritual steps needed to connect with my higher power and stay clean. I have not had a drop of alcohol or any drugs in almost seven years.
Avenue Army began getting some radio airplay in the midwest, going on tour, and opening for bands that we admired and loved (Alien Ant Farm, Saving Abel, 3 Pill Morning, etc.). We had some amazing experiences from 2013 to 2016, released a full-length album, shot music videos…the whole nine yards. It was at the end of 2014 that I thought of relocating Avenue Army to Southern California. I believed that our sound would fit better and San Diego had a vibe and ambiance about it that we just could not ignore. In April of 2016, Three of the four original members relocated to the San Diego area (North County), but shortly after, the other two members moved back home to MN.
I quickly recruited Vaugh Esparza (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Travis Wheeler (Bass/Vocals) and Jesse Schneck (Drums). In September of 2016, we played our first show at the House of Blues in San Diego and every year since then has gotten better and better. We have received so much love and support from the San Diego music scene, the bands, the promoters and venue owners, radio stations, etc. and we are very grateful.
Please tell us about your art.
I am the primary songwriter for Avenue Army but everyone is involved in the creative process and how we create art. Often I will have a melody pop into my head and I’ll just go with it. Once I’ve got something down solid, I will pitch it to the rest of the band and the rest is history, so they say. Drew Smith (The Rough) just joined the band recently, and he is an incredible writer. Needless to say, I am very excited to see where that goes! As for the content, you’ll find a good mix of themes, but addiction has certainly been prevalent in our last two releases. My experiences with addiction have impacted my life greatly and I have been able to use writing as an outlet for some of that.
Writing songs and performing is something I have always done and I don’t feel like I chose to do it over anything else, but more as it chose me. I’ve always felt pulled towards this music and songwriting thing… and I have always loved the brotherhood/sisterhood and camaraderie of being in a band. It’s an experience like no other!
We hope people that listen to Avenue Army’s music can feel a connection from it, relate to it, and just let go and enjoy the experience. Much of our material is written about struggle, but not all of it, and the lyrical content shifts and changes as we grow as artists. As long as people like the vibe and sound and can jump around to it and smile, I’d say our jobs are done!
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I used to think I was a sellout if I focused on anything besides music. However, in my experience, I have found it important to have other ways of generating revenue in order to continue to push the band forward through times that might not be the most fruitful. I am not saying that there is a “right” way to do it, as I know that different things work for different people. This has just been my own experience. I would say that when it comes down to it you get out what you put in, and that includes money. I would also say that no matter what anyone tells you, NEVER GIVE UP! Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t become what or who you are meant to be because you can!
Lastly, there are people who will support you and who are passionate about music! We owe a great deal to our manager, Vania Zamora, Bart Mendoza, Allen Camp, Tim Pyles and 91X Loudspeaker team, and the amazing bands, venues, and promoters in San Diego for the love and support.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
We are all over social media, and you can find us on all streaming services and on our website.
Literally every streaming service.
Our webpage is www.avenuearmy.com
For support, catch a show or just listen to our music and let us know what you think!
- Website: www.avenuearmy.com
- Phone: 651-253-6960
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com (our manager)
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/avenue_army
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/avenuearmy
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AvenueArmy
- Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4ihI2lJ3wolcFhlVmWAKWv