Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Cup That Everyone Will Drink From

(Cool play on words, but I didn't come up with it. Credit goes out to Gerard)

Hey, Let's play a show! Honestly what else is a band supposed to do on a Saturday night?

May 22nd at the Cup, what a surprise. (Is it a reoccurring rant that the disgruntled body of bands only plays at the Cup?) Nevertheless to quote Dylan Klein of my band, "It's just another day at the office". Well said Dylan. We are in a band and our job is to play. Just like the daily trek to work, the Cup has become the office. Our co-workers are the other bands playing, and the fans, well...they are the higherups, simply for the fact that we have to impress them, and hopefully move up in their favor. The more people you bring to the Cup is kind of like more publicity to the company. In turn, the more publicity, the more money there is to be made. That is also not to say that we are all in it for the money, because if that were the case we'd all have been fired.

So with that aside we perform really hard at work until one day we are recognized and moved to a better office a.k.a. Madison Square Garden...too much. I'll settle for one of the many non dancing ballrooms scatered about the tri-state area.

After work we all go out for happy hour (Colonade, Wendy's White Castle, A&W, etc.). We spend the money we don't have on over priced food despite the bounty of food possibly located in ones homes. Why do we do this? The easy answer is, I don't know. But if you dig a little further, it is because we are hungry right now, and there are friends near. (Sorry I have nothing inspirational to insert here). Sadly, this is where my analogy ends, and I'll actually talk about something relavent.

Local band promoter and contributor for Broken Records Magazine, Gerard Ucelli wanted to put together a special show.

"How many times have you guys been to the Cup to see a friends band, and you only see 40 people the max. Well let me say F*** That. This show will create a change in this music scene. Diversity means everything, and on top of that so does kicking a**. Your dealing with sub genres ranging from acoustic, punk, ska punk, metal, post hardcore, fusion/experimental, and alternative. I'm not making a penny off this show purposely. This is going all to the bands after the Cups' cut."
- Gerard Ucelli

(Thesibandguy is a family blog, naughty words and things you don't say around white grandma's will be not be tolerated).

Gerard is making a bold statement in the music scene, for he too has a passion just like I do. If all of us bands would just learn how to fight along side of each other, so to speak, we'd be a better scene. There is so much band drama, and musical prejudices that go on even in this small scale of an island. I have seen many good bands fall apart because of stupid things, or just overall lack of working together. I have also been to shows where every person has walked out on another band just because they don't "listen" to that genre without even giving them a chance to play. Give them a chance to suck before you jump to conclusions. Who knows, maybe you'll love them, and you just made a musical connection. And it is not just the fans, bands are guilty too. I'm guilty of it. My band has had it done to us before, and it sucks. Gerard I applaud you.

Seven bands were choosen to shake things up that night. Here they are:

Be sure to check out the links and give each of these bands a listen. I'm not going to give my commentary on the show because I was not able to get there at the beginning. I arrived shortly before my band had to go on. From what I saw there was a pretty good crowd, and a good amount of new faces which is always exciting.

Ok here's where I bring it home. We all as musicians are different and unique. We have our selective tastes and styles and for the most part live by them. But what do you say every once in a while we sit down at the same table and share in something together. At the Last Supper Jesus and the Disciples sat down for a last meal together, and all drank wine from the same chalice. It was to signify a bond and a friendship. May 22nd, we're at the table and the cups' being passed around. This is the cup that everyone will drink from, and I'm thirsty...(Most definetly the corniest thing I ever wrote, but it stays).

I leave you with some pictures from the night...

(All Photos by Alexa DiMaio)

Special shoutout to Dave Harris, who played his last show as drummer for Through the Year. Another shoutout to Terri Caputo who is moving out from behind the drums for Process of Fusion.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friday Night BBQ's and Nasty Coke Cans... (Friends With Faces)

So about that title...I can't tell you yet, but I promise it will mean something sometime to someone. I didn't mention anyone by name in this post, so fill in the blank. Okay, let's have it.

Friends With Faces

It appears summer has come rather early this year. It's the least the weather can do for us after the crap March threw our way. Officially speaking, we have like a week or so of the spring we never really had. In any note, it appears that this will be a great summer.

As discussed in my previous blog post (if you didn't read it, you should), I finally realized the importance of friendship between fellow musicians. A lot of times we [musicians] play these shows and stick to ourselves, or the group of people there to see us. We say hello and goodbye to familiar faces, and sometimes we go out to eat at the end of the night. We always say, "Yeah, we'll get together and hang out", but those are just empty words. Unfortunately, it never happens. Well, for me, it finally happened, and a lot more came out of it than anticipated.

This last Friday, May 7th, I got together with a bunch of talented friends for my first BBQ of the summer. The night started off with burgers and hot dogs just like any other BBQ. From there, we all sat around wondering what to do. Then out came the acoustic guitars, best move of the night.

We started playing and singing along to some songs including our own (corny I know), but overall we were having a good time. Then the guitarists started experimenting with chords and riffs. I was half joking, half serious, when I said, "Hey let's all combine together and write a song." Much to my delight the others liked the idea. We pulled out three pens, and three pieces of paper. We picked a topic, and began to write independently from each other.

Slowly the parts fell into place. One of the girls started singing, while I laid a rap over it. The other singer's part sounded perfectly like a chorus. We came together to piece the lyrics and change some things. More guitar parts were added, and after we realized it was past 12am, we brought this jam session inside. While inside we continued to work on the song, except now we had a deadline. One of the girls had to be picked up to go home, and we only had about twenty minutes to finish. Don't worry we did, who knows what would have happened if we didn't...

Now it was time to release it to the world. So in the middle of the street, at 1:45am, to the girls mother, we decided to perform the song for the first time. It went amazing, and no one called the cops! I have to admit, the song came out great, and the response we got from the others hanging out and our audience of one, agreed.

It's moments like these that will never be forgotten. I have found the best songs I've ever been apart of have come spontaneously in strange situations. I guess it can be contributed as the "spark of an idea notion followed by chain reaction" (I think I made this up, but it sounds right). So I guess I'll explain my theory because it's quite simple. One person has a good idea, someone else agrees, and it goes down the line. As more people get involved, they begin to add their input. This takes the initial idea and transforms it into a melting pot of a vision. I think that's what happened Friday. We kept pushing until we reached the finish line of our idea. It really was amazing.

I find this especially cool because besides the people in my band, we all have never worked together on anything. We have all heard each others music, and we all have our different styles that "we thought" would never mesh. We were wrong. The song's drastically different from our regular sounds, and yet most definitely a piece of all of us in some way. There really is power in music. Music can transcend, translate, and touch anybody no matter language barrier or preference. When the right pieces are in place, and the right things are said, anything can occur.

These last two weeks for me have been eye openers not only as a musician, but also as a person. I have learned what real driven passion is. Last week, I learned the art of performing, and building reputations and friendships and it's importance for success. This week I learned what these friendships could do when you work along side of them. Sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone, and try something new. I've never rapped to an acoustic guitar before, and I'm sure most of them never sat down in a backyard at midnight and created a song in two hours based off a joked remark.

This yet again proves my point that music can change the world around us. I feel strongly about this. I also feel very strongly about artists collaborating to make something of themselves. The philosophy of "the more the better" applies directly to this. So to every musician out there reading this, get out of your regular regime. Don't take the cautious way, experiment. Don't be a carbon copy of everyone out there. Make the music you want to, and not what everyone else wants to hear. I assure you, you will never be disappointed in yourself. Take those people from the crowd and let them be more than just a "face". Let those people become your "Friends With Faces", and move on from there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Can Feel it, Calling in the Air Tonight...

(This post is a little different from my normal ones. It's kind of some stuff that has been on my mind. It is not edited perfectly or entirely professional, but it comes from the heart, so enjoy)

There's something to be said when you can play a show in front of a bunch of people you care dearly about, and watch their faces light up as you perform for them. Now you would think this is a standard reaction being you care for these people, so they care for you. This is not what I mean...

Playing in front of a bunch of people you don't know is undoubtedly scary. But playing in front of a bunch of people you know, is even scarier. The reasons behind this are simple:
1. You will always see these people, you know them personally.
2. They know all of your songs, or are at least are interested in seeing you.
3. When you mess up they know, when you create something new that sucks, they'll tell you.
4. You become stuck trying to impress people that may already be impressed.

This puts needless pressure on yourself. Instead of preaching to the converted, artists need to learn to perform as if everytime was their last chance to leave an impact. If I don't walk off the stage exhausted then I know I had a bad show. That is how I feel personally, you may not agree. The passion has to be there. Even on off nights, which do occur, if you give it your all, you'll get props for doing your thing.

On the flipside you know when you have a good show. There is a certain vibe to the crowd that lets you know it. You can feel it from their energy which in turn supplies you with the extra push to persevere. It's that certain applause after a good song, or that screamed out "hell yea" that lets you say to yourself, "Self, we did great tonight." Those feelings are obviously very hard to write down, but if you are reading this and you know the feeling, then subconsciously give me a thumbs up...(thanks).

One night that stuck out for me particulary, was a show Process of Fusion (my band), had a chance to play on April 30th. To be quite honest I don't know all the names of everyone who played, all I know is that the electricity in the room that night was buzzing. I want to focus on three acts that struck a chord with me in particular: Spread the Rumor, Nick DePalo, and my band (POF). (Sorry to anyone I don't mention. Everyone did their thing that night, but these gave me the wow factor).

It is not my business to go into detail, so here is the gist of it. Recently Spread the Rumor has had a few minor setbacks. They had to cancel some shows, and change the lineup around a bit, but they are coming back! I would like to consider STR to be one of the three bands that my band has grown up with. The others of course are It's Not Over and EveryNight Drive. It seems we are all destined to play the Cup together every weekend, and one day take over the world with our music etc. etc... Anyway, STR that night was different to me. Although they were short a drummer, they never seemed better. They were spot on, and I really admired their performance. I always knew what they brought to the table, and I always had "mad" love for them. But on April 30th, this time it was different. Hilary, Katie, Sabrina, and Valerie, you guys are fearless and amazing at what you do. Never stop ever! This is an order from your big loveable friend! I stood there and sang along like a champ to everything you threw our way. Thank you for putting on a lasting show.

Next, Nick DePalo, DUDE! You were the man that night. To quote Manny of END, or George of INO, or both at once "That was dope". Nick performed an acoustic set that was mostly interrupted by the chatter of his friends in which he made sure to return the dialogue. One of the things I liked most about his performance, was the intimacy of it. When he took a seat on stage, everyone gathered around him campfire style and just sat there all eyes on him. When Nick started playing everyone sang along, clapped, laughed, and had a great time. Nick did what we as muscians sometimes become afraid of doing, impressing your friends and not being so serious. He went up there and had a fun time. I remember running to Pat (bass player and singer of my band) and saying, "Dude, do you see how cool that is. Can we do an acoustic show tonight too!" Of course Pat and the rest of the band shot me down, but I'm glad it went that way anyway. Nick had the spotlight now. Nick if I could give you any advice as a friend, you need to do acoustic sessions and shows. It is a calling that not many can pursue.

Lastly, I want to talk about my bands performance, which wasn't perfect by the way. We had a couple screw ups along the way, but we did our thing. I was kind of nervous because we were playing two new songs, and one relatively new song. Only two songs from our album were being played. The second song we weren't sure of until the end, when the crowd picked it for us (very cool by the way). We were in a room filled with all of our closest band buddies, what would they think of the new songs? Would I remember my words? Could I nail my screaming parts, and not embarrass myself again? Would I mess up the keyboard part or knock it over like last time? Would Brain finally take over the world? I wasn't sure of any of these things, especially the last one.

We opened with the first new song "Moment of Clarity". I was tested in the beginning with screaming, I did it! I fumbled words here and there, but it was mostly good. The crowd gave a great response. Next was our "classic" "Mutiny". During this song is when I noticed this night was going to be one of those unforgettable nights. Because the crowd was a little smaller, maybe like thirty to forty people, it had the intimate setting. Even better, was those thirty to forty were our friends and knew the words. They sang along with us on every chorus, rap verse, bridge, you name it. I saw the video tonight, and watched my friend Manny hoist up my other friend George onto his shoulders just so he could do the rap part with me. It was awesome! Friends, family, bandmates, I love you guys, and thank you for giving me a rockstar moment. The next song was "Connections" followed by the new one "Lights in the Sky."This was the one I was nervous about. We had just finished it days before, and I was playing the keyboard. The beginning was rough as we made a few mistakes, there were some pitch problems throughout, and the ending was a bit sloppy. With all those things happening, the song still felt so right. The response after the song was positive, our friends didn't fail us. Of course we are going to work harder to perfect it, but thanks to everyone who saw it and applauded.

After all this, I guess what I'm trying to get at is, being in a band does not make you better than anyone. Whether you are the worst musician in the house, or the greatest on the planet, there is no hierarchy. We are all striving for the same goals show after show. We are all there to do our best, and put on a performance all the while doing something we love. It takes a lot of guts to get up on stage and pour your soul out in front of a group of people. I remember the huge amount of stage fright I had growing up, and to be on stage now is something I never thought would happen. Never stop reaching for your goals. Always strive to be the best whether you're the lead singer, the roadie, or the guy/girl who takes the tickets at the door. Do what you love, and never let anyone tell you that you can't. Music is: a gift, a curse, an art, a dream, a vision, a goal, a passion, and a life. You only get one of those things, so don't blow the opportunity.

Check out Nick DePalo's acoustic project "Meet Me In Montauk" at

Check out "Spread the Rumor" at

Check out "Process of Fusion" at

Or hit us all up on Facebook!!!

POF's "Mutiny"