Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Benefit Show - "Get Young"

Spread the Rumor, Sandy Benefit show
I don't know why but I have been putting this blog post off for a awhile. I almost felt like it had to be written the night the show happened, but I have a clear head and a goal in mind. First and foremost I would like to thank everyone for the love on the Sandy documentary. I put a lot of hard work into it, and now we'll have a complimentary piece to go with it.

Please listen to this as you read and download it for FREE! 

E.N.D. performing at the benefit. Photo by Vlad Grach.
December 23rd 2012 will forever go down as one of my favorite memories as a musician. One day I'll tell my children about the night their father helped usher in some of the best moments of his youth while  uniting friends, family, and a community to do something amazing. I'm not trying to sound pompous or gloat in this fact, but I will say that I take great pride in the event that was of course made possible with everyone who played, the Full Cup, and those who spent their hard earned money to give back to people in need, and Jay Campbell who saw my vision as well...amazing.

I'm getting married in April, reality check, I'm not growing up anymore, I'm grown. Some of you are there with me, and some of you are getting there. It's tough, it's scary, it's a little depressing. Everything I once knew, or "still" think to be true is going to change. I'm not a kid, I'm no longer in school (I finished), I have to work and make money. I can't sit around and play music in my basement all day while fantasizing about rocking the Garden someday. (I now do that at my desk at work ha). I'm not trying to be a buzz kill, but the point is as we grow older we lose a lot of what we used to love in the shuffle of life. So for one night, and perhaps for the last time, the 23rd helped me remember and relive everything I ever loved about being a musician from Staten Island and rocking the faces off the crowd with my "musical family."
Patrick, Justin, Mike. Classic POF.

When my band Process of Fusion started out in 2007, it was just Patrick and I and we were terrible. We played our first show on a two hour notice. I played drums and rapped a little, and Pat sang and played bass. Our friend Mike came and learned two songs in half an hour. That show we met EveryNight Drive, It's Not Over and the Corrao Q. It's Not Over was really tight and we could tell they were serious about what they did. Corrao Q's drummer, Simon, had been a good friend of mine but I never saw his band. They blew me away with their musicianship and passion on the stage. Til this day I think they are my favorite local band from S.I. and at the time they were 15 and 16 years old, I was 18 (24 now).
Steve, Justin, Pat. POF

The event we played was called Purge the Purge. PTP was started up by a friend, Carissa Sutter. It was an organization that raised awareness and money for girls with eating disorders. (Funny that we met during a benefit and reunited for one...) The next show Pat and I played, I switched between drums and frontman while our friend Steve switched between guitar and drums. It was weird, it was bad, but we received so much love from Corrao Q and the other band we really connected with that day, EveryNight Drive.

EveryNight Drive were like the good guys of the music scene. Everyone loved them, everyone pushed for them to make it, everyone loved them as people and as musicians. Pat and I wanted to be like E.N.D. Everything they did was great, the sound, the music, the performance, their characters. They liked us when we started out and we developed a great relationship with them that had us playing CD release shows, Halloween shows, and even Roseland Ballroom together. Their drummer, Manny, filled in for us several times (Simon too), and was even in the band for a brief period of time as we could never keep a drummer after I made the switch to vocals.

Backslashes & Bad Ideas, Sandy Benefit show. Photo by Vlad Grach
We met most of Backslashes & Bad Ideas (Cobalt Sky, kinda) at a PTP show where EveryNight Drive played a showcase for a record label. That was sometime in 2008, early 2009, I believe. Cobalt Sky was fronted by Nick DePalo who would become a friend over the next couple of years as he played with various projects and bands that we played shows with.

To my understanding, we met Spread the Rumor at a Purge the Purge show that was held at the Cup in early 2009. They were another band we would "grow" up with and play shows with all the time. Those girls became my little sisters of music. They were amazing and tough too! Pat and I had asked if they needed help with equipment, and refused us!

I like to joke that these bands became the Superfriends of sorts because of all the time we spent performing and hanging out together, also, I'd like to shout out Pete King and his bands at the time, Groove Revival and Through the Year. They were an integral part of our scene as well.

By the end 2010 the Superfriends started falling apart a little bit with various problems I won't get into. Corrao Q was no longer a band, E.N.D. after several lineup changes was breaking up, Cobalt Sky was no more but Backslashes was born, and Spread the Rumor played their last show, not to mention our beloved home, the Cup was closing! On August 31st 2010 Manny ran a toss up between this last show, for the show of all shows at the Cup. That "last" show at the Cup featured ten frequenters/all-stars of the Cup minus Corrao Q. (READ ABOUT THAT HERE).

That show was very emotional as some of the scenes favorite bands disbanded and our home closed, (not for too long though). People were crying, dancing, hugging, and singing along. The house was packed with about 250 people who stayed from start to finish. I never experienced anything like that in my life. There was so much love and respect. After that show I didn't feel like music would ever be able to fill that experience in my heart, and for the most part it didn't, until this last show. The memories came flooding back as the familiar tunings of guitars and melodies of choruses came off the stage and into the speakers. It was beautiful, it was perfect, it was the best moments of 2007-2010, it was home.

Corrao Q, 2008. PTP show
That night Staten Island needed heroes to bring a little cheer back to our Island which had been ravaged by the Hurricane, and also a little cheer to a few humble musicians who are still on their grind who needed to be reminded of their youth. "Get Young" was the slogan of the freshly back in business EveryNight Drive after a two year divorce. They are now happily remarried and ready for new music! Corrao Q was a treat we may never see again, but they certainly felt the love and were just as good as they were in 2009. Spread the Rumor killed it, and I have a hunch we'll see these ladies again doing something together! Backslashes has been doing their thing and had a great 2012 after a somewhat not active 2011. It's Not Over is exploring a new style of music, and creating new opportunities for themselves. Process of Fusion had a great 2010 and 2011, but 2012 was really just a bad year for us musically, emotionally, and creatively. Honestly speaking, we were dead, but now our heads are on straight and 2013 is looking like its going to be a great year for us!

It's Not Over 2012
Here are some facts. December 23rd, we came together and raised $1270 that will go to help people displaced by Sandy. We performed to roughly 180 people. E.N.D. absolutely destroyed the Cup with garbage; balloons, silly string, and candy...damages not included. A scene that had went away came back for a little bit, and we all had a blast in doing so.

2012 ended with a bang, and hopefully that shot keeps ringing in 2013 as a rejuvenated bunch of non-famous musicians continue doing music whether it be solo, together, or in different bands. I love you all. Thank you for making me feel 19 again, thank you for caring about this cause as much as I did, thank you for being the amazing influential musicians and heroes I've always known you to be, and most importantly, thank you for giving me a reason to do what I love most several times a month, play music.
Corrao Q 2009 and Justin from POF.

Justin (POF), Manny (END), Simon (Corrao Q)
Please watch the documentary of the night, and share with everyone you know.

Leave your best music memories in the comments below.

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