Expanding Man spent over ten years toiling away in the East Coast alternative rock scene, first playing covers, then recording independently, and eventually signing with a major label. As it often happens, the group's first major release ended up being their last. This is not at all due to any musical incompetence -- the group's brand of tuneful, post-grunge, melodic rock was truly exceptional. The music of Expanding Man is perfectly tailored for radio playlists, yet the group received little attention despite their incredible songcrafting and high profile support spots with the likes of '90s superstars Stone Temple Pilots. The band also received generally good critical response to their Sony debut/swansong Head to the Ground, but they soon found out that kind words from the rock press and superior songwriting have exactly no value when combined with soft record sales. The debut fizzled and Expanding Man hasn't been heard from since its 1996 release.
Formed in 1987 by vocalist Aaron Lippert, guitarist Dave Wanamaker, bassist Peter Armata, and drummer Chris Hancock, Expanding Man started off performing covers while the members were in high school. Eventually the quartet moved from their Long Island home to Boston where they met second guitarist Bill Guerra in 1992. The outfit released their first recording, Free TVs, on the Boston-area independent label Composer's Recordings Inc. in November of 1994 and the disc was a big hit locally. The single "Screws" received healthy airplay regionally and Expanding Man was nominated for two Boston Music Awards. After signing with Columbia shortly after Free TVs, the group offered up Head to the Ground. The first (and only) single that the band's new label chose to promote to radio, "Download (I Will)," was met with typically good reviews and minimal attention otherwise. The group toured with STP and I Mother Earth, among others, but without radio or MTV on their side, record sales were too soft for anyone to champion a prolonged promotional campaign for the record or the band and they simply disappeared. Along with similarly talented alternative acts like Failure, Expanding Man paid no attention to image-crafting while they were writing and recording their very dynamic music. This aversion to theatrics may have contributed to the band's unfortunate early retirement. Other than Aaron Lippet's sporadic solo performances in the Boston area, the members of Expanding Man haven't been involved in any notable musical acts since the band's demise. This is too bad as there was definitely a large reservoir of talent in the group. It's hard to blame them, however, as these guys certainly have found out that great work has little relation to the elusive and undefined prizes awarded to only the tiniest fraction of (generally politically skilled and media savvy) rock musicians.