alt-rock alternative flashback Flashback Artists New Jersey rock The Smithereens videos

Friday Flashback :: Smithereens

Arguably, one of the most underrated alt-rock bands of the 80’s & 90’s, The Smithereens, to this day goes down as one of my all-time favs as I quite literally have every album and know most every song, even the deep tracks, by heart.  So, naturally, when they came to the Northern Virginia’s State Theatre a while back I just had to go.  Some may say that the band has long since passed their prime…and they’d be right.  However, these cats still rock out loud.  They are not even the least bit pretentious.  In fact, they are far from it.  While most of the alt-rock veterans would rather play their “brand new” stuff (that nobody cares about) the Smithereens plastered the filled to capacity crowd with their most notable tracks from every album in their arsenal.  It was epic.
I was fortunate enough to actually meet and hang out with the band a little bit after the show (that’s me with drummer Dennis Diken) and they were the epitome of cool.  In fact, I talked with bassist Severo “The Thrilla” Jornacion about playing the bass line to “Blood and Roses” featured above.  His response? “The first time I played it I thought I my fingers would bleed…it is such an honor to play that song.”  With all the nit-picking in the music industry today it’s somewhat refreshing to hear someone give deference to their predecessor, in this case, former bassist Mike Mesaros.
We could have picked any number of tunes from The Smithereens catalog…“A Girl Like You” or “Only A Memory” would have been the more than obvious choices…but “Blood and Roses” was one of the tunes that was instrumental in my alt-rock conversion.  Thusly, I pay homage to the song and the band today on the Friday Flashback.  Enjoy my friends
Check out all the stuff by The Smithereens on [itunes link=”″ title=”Smithereens on iTunes”] !

– Drago


acoustic featured artists folk New Jersey rock Sunflower and the Seeds unsigned

Sunflower and the Seeds

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Sweet Escape :: Rain or Shine

Folk/rock from New Jersey?  Really?  The one summer I spent on the Jersey Shore (Seaside Heights…to be exact) all I ever heard was club music and hip-hop.  Musically, it was the worst three months of my life!  Not that there is anything wrong those genres, I actually dig them…just not 24/7.  Needless to say, being able to listen to band as digable as Sunflower and the Seeds would have been a welcome change to Lime and The Cover Girls…although my roomates at the time (Pauly “The Gooch” Gaccione, Joey Tut and John “Mulch” Vilotta) would staunchly disagree!
However, having listened to their 4-song EP entitled This One’s on Us about a gazillion times I must admit I’m quite smitten with their sound.  The music of  Kyra “Sunflower” Schenck (vox/acoustic guitar), Bob Schenck (keys), Alex Denney (bass), Teddy Owen (electric guitar), Jovan Mann (electric guitar) and Joe Huster (drums) exhibits a certain degree of honest purity that is not always easy to find in today’s commercial/mainstream music scene.  I find myself being drawn as much to the melancholy moodiness of “Jellyfish Sunrise” as I am the dark guitar laden jams of “Apocalypse” as both tracks showcase the band’s range and versatility.  This versatility of which I speak is further exemplified in “Rain or Shine” which sounds a bit like Edie Brickell fronting the Alman Brothers band while being backed by gospel singers from U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”  Way cool.  The coolest, however, in my humble (but accurate) opinion is “Sweet Escape. It’s bouncy. It’s folksy. It’s soulful…and it rocks. The keys (which sound a lot like a Hammond Organ) really make this song for me, not because they are way out in front but because they provide a colourful backdrop for some wicked guitar work and a vocal element that is truly inspired.

– Drago