Below is a small list of some musical projects I've been involved with in some capacity.
Now You Are 50 - The Songs Of Joe Jack Talcum
This is one of my more recent projects, and one I am most proud of. This is a tribute album for Joe Jack Talcum - best known as the guitarist and co-vocalist of Philly legends The Dead Milkmen. This was a present for his 50th birthday. Check it out here. Special thanks must be given to Dan Mapp and Dan Stevens, who without them I would have gone out of my head.
I produced, arranged, funded and orchestrated this album along with the indispensable Dan Stevens (The Dead Milkmen, Farquar Muckenfuss, The Low Budgets, and Blast Ignite) and a handful of mutual friends. Album design by me. Album art by tattoo artist Donno. I also performed on three of the tracks:
"Rising Sun" performed by The Trolleyvox (I played drums)
"Fancy Walls" performed by Felix Lighter (I played drums, harmonica, ukulele, and some sloppy keys)
"What Did Her Autopsy Reveal?" performed by Sherwin - this song was not included on the physical album but was featured on a bonus EP available only for download.
Sherwin - Out Of Practice EP
This is the debut release of a band I'm currently playing in along with two longtime collaborators, Adam Barbour (vocals, guitars) and Mike Jackson (bass, vocals).
Sherwin is the product of prolific songwriter and musical madman Adam Barbour, who has had many projects over the years (some of which I've been honored to play with, such as America's Mercury Astronaut) and who flirts and toys with endless sounds and styles. He never ceases to intrigue and amaze me with his endless stream of ideas.
I played drums on this album and also designed the artwork. The album consists of nine songs totaling just shy of half an hour. It is a snapshot of our sound at the time, which tends to evolve and take lots of turns and sneaky moves in a matter of moments. We are currently working on a bunch of new material which ventures into other realms but still stays true to whatever it is we do. When I figure it out I'll let you know.
Joe Jack Talcum - Live In The Studio
I was honored to be a part of my dearest friend's 2009 album, "Live In The Studio". It was recorded sans amplification in an intimate studio setting (designed for the night to be sort of like a living room) with a select number of guests for the performance.
The album design was done by me with Joe's input and the use of photographic elements by Nina Sabatino. I also played percussion on a few select tracks, which as of the day of the recording was not planned. Joe had local musician and friend Hugh Hamilton performing with him, and they had the idea to add a few other elements into some songs. I happily obliged.
This recording was made in February 2009. Later that year I would go on tour with Joe, which would take us throughout Alaska for about two weeks. I played drums and percussion on this tour, while tour manager/promoter Dave Hendrickson would play upright bass and drive us, always fast and recklessly, from gig to gig and town to town. This was appropriately called the "North To The Future" tour.
Stinging Nettles - Tread Softly
For a few years I was in this band with Lancaster musicians John Huebner and Andrew Jacobs, now members of They Were Only Satellites.
I played drums in the band and we played a lot of shows in the Lancaster area before my abrupt departure a few years later. I was replaced by Dylan Labiak, an excellent drummer and guitarist. Stinging Nettles went on to play a while longer and record some more material before disbanding around the end of 2010, playing a final Halloween show at local watering hole Quip's Pub.
It's worth noting that this album (as well as the other Stinging Nettles recordings) was self-recorded by John and AJ themselves, using their own equipment, engineering wizardry and resourceful techniques. It was also the first and only album where I played along with a click track, something I'm not accustomed to doing. It went well, and the drums were tracked over the course of a weekend.
Felix Lighter - The Dirt Bros.
This was to be the 2011/2012 full length release of Lancaster rockers Felix Lighter, however the album never really saw the light of day. Felix Lighter disbanded shortly after recording this album, with 14 tracks clocking in at about an hour.
Felix Lighter technically began as a band called Nobody Drives My Car, led by frontman Paul Skozilas. Their drummer would leave (and subsequently start the aforementioned Stinging Nettles) the band in 2005, and that's when I would join the band. Nobody Drives My Car played extensively in the Lancaster, Baltimore, and Philadelphia regions before the lead guitarist would leave the band, being replaced by Rich Caloiero and adding new member Andrew Jacobs on keys, guitar, percussion and vocals. Nobody Drives My Car became Blue Jean Hackman. Differences within the band prompted the bassist to pursue other life avenues, and AJ decided a civil parting as well (he was in several other projects). Bass duties were assumed by the deft, indispensable and talented Adam Horita, and thus Felix Lighter was born. We had the pleasure to open for acts like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Dead Milkmen, The Bridge and others, along with performing at two season openers and Calder Cup series at the Hershey Bears' Giant Stadium.
This album will hopefully someday have a proper release, but until then only a handful of self-released copies were made for friends of the band using some quick artwork I tossed together.
Felix Lighter - EP
This was the debut release of Felix Lighter, an EP consisting of six tracks recorded in the band's studio space and features an early version of the song "SLX", which would later be included on the full length record paired with the songs "Sing Along", collectively known as "The Dirt Bros."
You can hear samples from these two albums here.
The Bassturd - The Dark Side Of The Turd
I did not perform on this album, but I did design the layout of the album packaging itself. The cover, shown here, was done by Mary Streepy, The Bassturd's new band mate in The Bumping Uglies.
In the summer of 2011 I went on tour with The Bassturd, backing him on drums for select songs of his set. This tour was particularly grueling as The Bassturd is legally blind and does not drive. The tour was initially intended to be a brief (one week or so) East Coast leg to finish his touring career, but it ended up taking us up through Michigan, into Chicago and back to the East Coast. In addition to drumming duties, I assumed all the driving duties ("road manager" I say), logging a remarkable number of miles. Joe Jack Talcum was also on this tour, although he only had a backing band for a single show in Indianapolis. I played drums and a fellow named Jason Bambery rocked the bass and backing vocals. He's a fantastic musician. One of the most memorable nights on this tour was after we played in Grand Rapids. We had no place to stay, but our friend Woods hooked us up with some folks in the area who let us stay in a barn. It was the best night of rest I got up until that point. They also had a pet Flemish Giant rabbit.
John Skozilas - Father & Son
Paul Skozilas, the frontman of Felix Lighter and other aforementioned bands, engineered this album for his father, John Skozilas. Blue Jean Hackman and Felix Lighter members Rich Caloiero, Paul Skozilas, Andrew Jacobs, and Adam Horita, along with other local musicians such as Keith Lehman, came together as John's backing band. The album was initially a studio-only project but Felix Lighter did back John live once at a benefit concert.