The Division Bell
On July 5, 2005, Elevator Division played at Verizon Amphitheater as the afternoon opener for Cake and Weezer. It was a big break for a relatively young band just one year removed from its first official label release, the type of gig that opens doors. Singer James Hoskins reports that Elevator Division “made some new fans and sold a lot of merchandise.” But that show, part of a local three-concert run after a hiatus of several months, turned out to be the group’s penultimate performance.
“I’m starting a new chapter in my life in every other way, going back to school [at the University of Missouri-Kansas City] and starting a new relationship,” Hoskins says. “We had a two-year period where we put everything else in our lives on hold to go for it and see what could happen. It never really took off.”
Elevator Division’s 2004 swan song, Years, a pristine collection of soaring choruses and chiming guitars, deserved widespread acclaim and airplay alongside Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay — and didn’t get it. For Hoskins, sporadic raves and a scattered nationwide fanbase weren’t enough. He’d made a standout record, but his life — and the music landscape — hadn’t really changed. It was as if he had spent all that time preparing a gift, only to see the recipient smile weakly and shrug.
“I certainly wish it would have gotten more attention,” Hoskins says.
Locally, Elevator Division has enjoyed unwavering support. “I felt very loved by our music scene,” Hoskins says. “There was no backlash, probably because we never achieved a lot of success outside of Kansas City.”
Hoskins will continue playing and recording as a solo artist, and he plans a future collaboration with bassist Chris Stewart. Drummer Sam Hoskins, who has toured with Veda and Project 86, will head back on the road, likely with Open Hand. Former members Joe Hoskins (singer), Paul Buzan (bass) and Jeremiah Gonzales (guitar) will return for the final concert, appearing during the songs on which they originally played.
Elevator Division never reached the heights that Hoskins envisioned, but even though he occasionally feels frustrated, he says he’s satisfied with its seven-year run.
“You can always look back at any part of your life and think, ‘I wonder what would have happened if … ,'” Hoskins says. “But I have no regrets.”