LongRoad is an amalgam of three childhood friends hailing from New Jersey (Pete Fusco - guitars, backing vocals; Tony Mussara - bass, backing vocals; Dave Rettagliata - drums) and singer Ted Ames, from Coventry, Vermont. LongRoad was formed in January 2005 when the other members met Ted Ames at the Knitting Factory in NYC and decided that the commonality of musical influence and interest among them should be explored further in the studio. The result is the band’s debut CD, This Too Shall Pass, which speaks for itself.
Band members cite influences ranging from the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Bob Dylan to Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Bon Jovi and Metallica. This broad mix of influence has yielded a sound that is alternate rock in nature with an aggressive (occasionally passive) blues core.
“The songs are the product of living our lives,” says singer Ted Ames, “they are an honest mix of storytelling and emotion based upon our experience and observation in and of the world around us.” From the anthemic and rebellious Low Ground, to the “never-have” regret underlying the upbeat Somebody’s Princess, to the forlorn feeling of loss painted in lyric in Home, the band's work is sure to ring true with its fans and critics alike.
Chatting recently with Pete, Dave, Ted and Tony - and noting that it had been stated in their press that they were all first childhood friends (whilst knowing that being childhood friends is rather like being brothers) - I first wondered if being that close within the confines of a band have had any real negative points thus far? Pete - "Not so far, other than everyone knows exactly how to push the other’s buttons so when it comes to arguments it sometimes gets a bit heated, but usually ends up in meaningless childhood banter. Having been friends since childhood has enabled us to build an environment within the band where everyone can say whatever they think about the music, ideas, etc. and we all know we are going to be talking the next day because like you said “we are brothers”. We trust each other implicitly and that fosters an incredible bond within the band. Although, Ted is the proverbial “newcomer” to the group, we could not have found a better fit although he annoys the crap out of me at times like any brother would."
And being that Ted Ames was introduced to you at a venue called the "Knitting Factory," I'm now also wondering if this creative art form is something you guys undertake as a group on wet Sunday afternoons, perhaps?! Dave - "Usually we frown upon group knitting. We do, however, occasionally weave on Saturday nights."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying the new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? Ted - "Primarily, our sound is a very driven rock with classic and alternative elements. You can also find some blues and folk influences as well. You can probably find a song for any mood on This Too Shall Pass. Not exactly a clear answer, but we all come from different musical backgrounds and really try to incorporate all of those into our music. We don’t say to each other “oh, we can’t do that, it doesn’t sound like us”, because at the end of the road, “us” will sound like whatever we felt at the time. Who knows, maybe we’ll throw a bluegrass song on the next record. Or maybe not."
Your debut album title 'This Too Shall Pass' is an interesting choice, but is it born of a more personal nature for you, perhaps? Tony - "The concept of This Too Shall Pass to us deals with the transitional period American society is going through post-September 11th. The country went to and is still at war, everyday life has changed dramatically with the threat of terrorism looming on every news station…it seems every time you turn around there is a new disaster in the news. Here we are five years later with this palpable unsettling feeling in the air, which for us is intensely personal given that we live in the New York area. We don’t stand for a feeling, however, that we are all just doomed and things can’t get better. This Too Shall Pass is, to us, a statement that “we will get through this” as we have in the past and things will be better. There is great emotion in this CD – at times it’s somewhat of a cathartic scream against all this negativity and frankly, fear. But we aren’t pessimists, thus the title. It is a rough time in America but we will make it and things will get better."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated LongRoad at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? Tony - "'Goin’ Blind.' Just close your eyes and play it really, really loud. Better yet, come see us do it live."
OK, so just where did the bands name originate ... and what else could it so easily have been?! Pete - "We need to lay a little foundation for this one so bear with us….Tony, Dave and I grew up together in Rutherford, NJ, playing in cover bands together, hanging out together, etc. (footnote: during this period Teddy was growing up in rural Vermont in much the same manner). As much as we tried to have a go at playing original music we could never find a singer that gelled with the band. So, at some point after high school we all lost track of one another for a few years and each moved in our own direction. It was not until my mother passed away that the three of us had come together again in one room – Tony had not been heard from in a while and Dave and I had taken a break from playing to pursue other things. Shortly thereafter, the three of us began getting together and playing again – slowly but surely. Then I met Ted through a mutual friend at one of his gigs in NYC and we talked a lot about music after his show (actually a few weeks before we all met at the Knitting Factory in NYC). Once we all met up at the Knitting Factory, we hit it off immediately and began collaborating on material for our debut CD."
"What we realized in the studio was that the vibe and feeling of writing and creating together would not have happened had we not gone out on our own and independently experienced life. We all returned (and Ted showed up with) a wealth of life experiences and influences upon which to draw from during the creative process of writing the CD. The time we spent in the studio together was time that we all talked about where we had been, what we had done, catching up on old times and getting to know each other again. When it came time to pick a name each of us brought in a list of about 50+ names…we could not agree on any of them…finally around 3 a.m. about three weeks later, after discounting over 200 names that we had thought of, Dave blurted out (as he so often does)… “this is a bunch of bullshit, our name should not be picked out of a hat. It should have meaning and be real.” Then frustrated he sat down and mumbled to himself “It seems like it has been such a goddamn long road to get here”…we looked at each other as soon as he said it and there it was. It had been a LongRoad for all of us to come together and find that perfect vibe that enabled us to create This Too Shall Pass."
"There were no other names we were even close to settling on. We went through over 200 other names and all were discounted for one reason or another. During the whole process of selecting a name Ted kept saying “it will come to us, it will come to us”. Fortunately, he was right (fyi - Ted is rarely right)."
If you could cover any '80s (possibly cheesy!) pop song, which one would it be ... and why?! Ted - "'Purple Rain,' because of the end of that film. You know, the part where Prince finishes the song, runs off stage and out of the club to his motorcycle and realizes after a couple of beats that the crowd is going crazy for him. So he runs back in, Apollonia cries, and there is general magic all around (pretty sure he breaks into “I Would Die 4 U” at that point). Can’t decide if that’s incredibly cheesy or incredibly brilliant . . . or both. Great song though."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! Pete - "Yes. A little bony but still good eatin’!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of LongRoad's new CD, just answer this easy question: Which venue did they play (full name, please!) when making their NYC debut this past August 7th?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: LONGROAD SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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