A twisted musical reunion

The rock group Twisted Method in its heyday: Andy Howard, left, Derrick "Tripp"  Tribbett, front, Derek DeSantis, back, and Ben Goins
Eddie Karam

The rock group Twisted Method in its heyday: Andy Howard, left, Derrick "Tripp" Tribbett, front, Derek DeSantis, back, and Ben Goins Eddie Karam

"1, 2, 3, blow it UP!"

So go the intro lyrics of the thunderous 2003 song "Reach" by metal rock group Twisted Method. The group, made up of four 21-year-olds, spent that summer touring on Ozzfest and winning over legions of fans across the country with its wild, aggressive live shows in support of its ambitious major-label debut record.

Its members had achieved what many striving, struggling musicians dream of: a chance. And it all started when four bored Cape Coral high schoolers pooled their energies and started a band. It was something to do in the hometown they not-so-endearingly dubbed "Cape Coma."

Derek DeSantis, Derrick "Tripp" Tribbett, Andrew Howard and Ben Goins, products of Mariner High School's class of 2000, went out into the world as Twisted Method, with crazy clothes and crazier hair. They weren't just a rock band; they were brothers. And they blew it up together.

DeSantis met Howard in seventh grade at Trafalgar Middle School and met Goins the following year. Howard had started playing guitar at age 12 and Goins got a drum set for Christmas when he was 14. The two of them would jam together after school.

"I hung out with them as they jammed," DeSantis recently recalled from his home in Cape Coral. "Seeing how I was there and they needed a bass player, I went and sold my PlayStation and went to a pawn shop and bought my first bass."

DeSantis and Howard met Tribbett in 10th grade geography class.

"He was the kid who slept the whole time, talked back to the teacher and didn't do his homework," DeSantis remembers with a chuckle. "He was pretty funny, though, so we befriended him." They had their front man.

They started playing pep rallies at school and backyard parties. By the time they graduated, they were playing local clubs. The band's buzz was building.

99X Halloween Bash

What: Reunion of Twisted Method and music from Hawks with Rockets

When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28

Where: Dixie Roadhouse, 1023 S.E. 47th Terrace, Cape Coral

Cost: $15 adults 21 and older; $20 adults 18-20

Information/Tickets: www.99xonline.com

DeSantis recalls the early shows.

"The vibe was always positive and energetic. This area always gave us strong support. Local bands at that time took us in and got us on their bills."

The buzz was reaching the ears of record label executives in New York in Los Angeles.

In 2002, the band invited representatives of four major record labels to a Fort Myers gig. Matt Pinfield, of MTV fame, hosted the evening. About 200 people squeezed into Gotham Hall, now Cigar Bar Live.

The band signed a deal with MCA Records soon after. Within months, they were out in Burbank, Calif., writing and recording.

"That was a whirlwind," DeSantis said. "We went from climbing slowly to having jet packs strapped on and soaring upward. Nineteen-year-old guys with anything we wanted at our fingertips. The stories about that time could go on and on but I'll keep it to lots of partying, lots of studio experience and lots of partying."

In July 2003, Twisted Method released its debut record, "Escape from Cape Coma." After Ozzfest, which featured such metal heavyweights as Ozzy Osbourne and Korn, the band continued to tour hard into 2004.

By mid-2005, the band's path hit the intersection of change. Howard had become a father and Goins decided to leave the band.

"It was an odd period. For a second, there was a feeling of hopelessness or confusion," DeSantis said. "Respectfully, Ben did his thing and that's cool. I think he was ready for a positive change. We had to regroup and go back to the drawing board."

As DeSantis and Tribbett continued to write new material for a follow-up record and pondered the next step, Andy Howard, their guitarist, died. The cause of death was not discovered.

"I felt numb about it at first, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Andy was a very bright mind and a dynamite guy to be around," DeSantis said. But, he added, "I never thought for a second about quitting music. None of us did."

DeSantis and Tribbett joined two other musicians and made a record as the band Makeshift Romeo. DeSantis later joined the prolific local metal group Ekotren, recording three records and touring the country numerous times. Tribbett went on the 2009 VH1 reality TV dating show "Daisy of Love." He continues to entertain and write music while living in Nashville, Tenn., where, coincidentally, Goins now lives.

Over the years, DeSantis and Tribbett spitballed various ideas about a reunion show, and now the stage is set. On Sunday, Twisted Method will return to Cape Coral.

Billed as a Halloween bash, the show will be at Dixie Roadhouse and include local band Hawks With Rockets.

DeSantis, Tribbett and Goins recently finished a week of rehearsals with good friend and former touring partner Virus, of the band Dope, on guitar.

DeSantis can't wait.

"It will be really cool to see all the old, familiar faces... as many people as Dixie Roadhouse can fit," he said.

"When we do finish up our set, and put down our instruments, we want to walk out into the crowd and hang out with all of the people who were there for us all of those years."

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