Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

The Rogue Rock Writer, Half in the Bag, Submersed in the Scene

Archive for the ‘Ben Franklin’ Category

Recapping 2011: A Year of Singles

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Every year I do some kinda recap about how I spent my year musically. This year I entrenched myself quite deeply into the local music scene. I think its funny now when people ask me what I do the first thing that comes out of my mouth is that I’m a music blogger. Saying that used to inspire a great deal of poserism in me. I was a pretender, just trying to figure out if I could hold a readers attention. Almost three years later and hear I am watching Flash Gordon, and figuring out which tracks were the best I’d heard this year. People actually value my opinion and as laughable as that still seems to me, I’m humbled by your unwavering fealthy to local music and to you tolerance for my coverage. So here they are 10 songs I rocked out to this year, in no particular order.

Sun Tea in the House of Atreus by Hushmoney

Hailing from Detroit, Hushmoney isn’t exactly local. No matter they rock out(and it’s my blog so nah)! Sort of a mix of Epic Metal and Dance Rock. Think Everytime I Die meets Cobra Starship.. Catchy though, The Breakdown is fucking rad as shit! Listen to that lead guitar! And its free so how about you get on that!

Arizona – Black Water

Yea yea I know this Track has been out for a while. But 2011 was the year I really, started listening to Black Water. After a meeting with Adam Copeland that went sorta strange (My Bad) at the end of 2010. I booked BW with Ben Franklin at Lucky 7. Although I had apparently seen them in 2009 at Automata Chino.  Anyhow, I really got into these guys in 2011 and this song “Arizona” is one of my favs.  Back in April, I asked Copeland about the inspiration for the song… about what incident it referred to. “A fictional one. Its a reverse terrorism fantasy tale of an American whose homeland (AZ) is invaded and fights back” He told me.  It’s an intense concept and the song is just as wild.

Eat People by Deep Pockets

I saw these guys at a show in the middle of the year.  And I can’t get this song out of my head.  That guitar riff is stuck in there. Seeing them live I gotta say their mid song banter rivals that of The Press’s Mike Henry.

Teamwork by Ben Franklin

In 2009 this song was my first impression of Billy Gray as well as Ben Franklin.  In early 2011 it was released through Killing Horse Records as a B-side on the Urgency EP.  What a timely song, though it’s loosely rooted in a true story, the Newburgh Four, I think the chorus really should be the new recruiting jingle for the US military.  “Serve your country.  Do us some good, it’ll get you off the street.  Keep the fear alive keep the threat alive keep the population undercontrol.”  Just listen to the thing, otherwise I’ll have to write out the whole damn thing out.

What Would Lou Reed Do – I Am The Heat

2011 was the year I moved to Brooklyn.  I moved for several reasons some good (To embed myself into the Brooklyn Indie Scene a bit more) some not so good (I’d worked at every bar in Jersey City).  One of the Bands that really took me under their wing was I Am The Heat.  No song embodies these guys better than What Would Lou Reed Do.  This song reminds me of the end of Wayne’s World when Crucial Taunt is playing to get Mr. Big to give them a record contract.  It’s chaotic raucous and fun.  That’s how I think of I Am The Heat.

Actual/Ideal – No Pasaran!

Truthfully I can’t pick one song off Porter In The Making that I like better than the others.  It’s a faceblast furnace of rock!  The whole album should be listened to over and over again while sharpening knifes.  One thing I can say with impunity about this band in that their recordings hold up just as well as their live shows.  Be sure to catch them at the Killing Horse Records 2nd Anniversary show at Maxwells this Friday Jan 6th at Maxwells.  It’ll be the last time to catch them before they go on hiatus from Live shows (hopefully for just a bit).

Retrograding the Masses – Holy City Zoo

What the fuck can I say about Holy City Zoo that I haven’t already.  I’ll keep it simple, they belt it out and they wail!  I know this is a curveball for the band (they think that Mark your Path is my favorite).  Part of the Tiny Giant Artist Collective HCZ is crazy supportive of the local scene as well.  Traveling far and wide to help spread the good word of underground music.  I haven’t seen this much positivity in a scene since I started doing this blog.


This song has heart.  It’s a little dark and little depressing but damn I just can’t get enough of it.  It’s like a catharsis to the rest of the Imposter EP.  Perfectly placed.  I hear tell KIlling Horse is looking to release this on Vinyl!

Lady Abortion – Cinema Cinema

Talk about a wall of noise!  First off the video is great!  EV and Paul are animals!  This song is like combining Motorhead and the Rocketeer!  And Live?  Fuck, I’ve seen these guys play their hearts out for like 3 hours.  Thats fortitude!  The whole Shoot the Freak EP is like a night in county jail, that is to say you should experience it with your eyes and ears at the ready.  You’ll be surprised, but at least you’ll be ready.

International – Lost Gloves

I have slept of these guys for WAAAAY too long.  The album has been on my ipod since just a little before Brick City Sound Riot and this song jumped out at me the other day.  The intro is great the melodic backing vocals contrast the main vocals perfectly.  Importantly you can dance to this!  The chorus just makes me feel like this song should be used in a commercial or as the intro to a sitcom.


The First Time I Killed Someone – Wyldlife

My favorite song off the much celebrated LP.  These cats are in store for big things mark my words.  The story behind this song is kind of great as well.  Back in 2009 Dave Feldman, was looking for a lil extra money.  He tried his hand working as a cook at Lucky 7 with me… it didn’t take.  (Dave Feldman doesn’t cook burgers he sings rock n roll.)  Well, the guy that got his job also got his room in his apartment.  I’m not sure of the exact details, but this song is a lil murder fantasy about his old roommate.  You’re a dark dude Dave, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


I had a terrible time narrowing this list down, but I firmly believe that ten is a good cut off and I couldn’t even stick to that.  That said, here are some other excellent songs I loves this year.  I listened to them on the train or while I was writing, friends passed them around, and they are all on my playlist at home.

Unprofessional – Nico Blues

Maps – Front Bottoms

Co-Workers – Meet Pause

Big Boss Little Boss – The Press

PBR Song – The Porchistas

Carter (Daniel, You See?) – They Had Faces Then

Club Sedition – Meltdowns

Location – Nikki Sue & the Bad News

To Ben Franklin: A Farewell but Never a Goodbye

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Apologies if this comes out strange, it’s the first time I’ve had to write one of these.  Today I got some pretty heartbreaking news, and I’d be doing an injustice to both the band and the reader if I didn’t react in some manner to it.  As Rocker Tycoon, I’ve long walked a line with bands as a trusted friend and a trusted ear not to mention a journalist.  I wonder if my next step is the right one often, I’m hoping that, in this, I err on the side of friend over journalist.

Today Ben Franklin officially broke up.  Typing that last sentence was possibly one of the harder things I’ve done since I started this blog over two years ago.  One of the bands that really helped put my faith in this scene, they’ve all also been excellent friends and many times confidants to me.  I guess I should start by telling you about how I came across these kids.

It was at Boro 6 Fest at Teirney’s Tavern when I first met Billy Gray.  Totally enthusiastic, and had apparently been reading about what I do for some time, I gotta say I was still dealing with my new found rock blogger status and wasn’t quite sure what to make of him.

A month or two later he came and personally put his new LP in my hand.  I listened to it later that night and pretty much didn’t stop listening to it for a solid month.

Billy invited me to come see the Press and Ben Franklin at Public Assembly.  Barely acquaintances at this time I was just happy to get out and see some bands, and hang out with folks in a new social circle.  The fellas in the Press and I had several run ins and things were set up for a great night.  There wasn’t a hugh crowd (it was a Monday) but I can tell you I was screaming my heart out to this (at the time) threesome from Brooklyn.

In coming months Billy and Eddie invited me out to shows.  I met Billy’s girlfriend, now wife, Gonul.  And I continued to rock out at shows.  Many times inviting a date along too.  They met a lot of dates, and helped me put into perspective my love life when things took a wild turn or just didn’t work out.

I’d chat with Sarah and Eddie at shows about the scene and how we were all working on something so much bigger than we are.  Eddie would tell me about the scene on the west coast he was involved in and I would talk about New Brunswick during my time there.  They’d turn me on to new bands, and some old bands.  And helped me with ideas for the blog just by chatting with me about it.  Sometimes they were just a sounding board for whatever bullshit I was going through at the bar I was working at and how I was thinking about moving on and getting more involved with writing.

When Adam joined the band we became fast friends, his astounding love of geekery, an obvious compliment to mine.  Another action/emotion guy added to the band and my growing list of close friends by now in this scene.

When Eric Moeller of SPILLPEAK Media invited me to a show in New Brunswick to see them at McCormick’s I couldn’t turn it down, and I met several new friends in the Tiny Giant Artist collective.  Ben Franklin played their only show they didn’t end with Fren Banklin that night.

The list of intimate moments between myself and the band could go on for weeks.  I’ve written about every show I’ve been to of their’s.  That’s a sort of amazing blessing that I have the ability to look back and see this band grow over the last two years with me.

With the disillusion of the band we have Sarah going on tour to return one day on a white horse like Gandolf at the end of Two Towers.  Adam is in Black Water, a highly awesome band that is every bit as great as Ben Franklin.  That leaves my buds Billy and Eddie.  If this break sticks (and a lot of us are praying it doesn’t) I can’t for a second imagine that these two very talented, very dynamic fellows won’t continue making music.  I look forward to either option and they both know I’ll make their first shows come hell or high water.

So, here I am at the end of this and I’ll admit, I’m fighting back the tears.  In fact, I’m not really doing a very good job of that.  Adam, Sarah, Eddie and Billy I know I’ll see you all soon, together or separately.  I love you guys, I appreciate the hell out of all your support and everything you’ve done to inspire the rest of us in the scene.  I’m gonna miss those glances and nods you guys give me from the stage as I’m standing in the front singing along.  I guess I’ll leave you with a final note, keep in your hearts and minds how important your music was/is to a lot of us out there, not to mention each other.  When you look back at Ben Franklin, look back with pride, smile and see if you can still see me singing my voice out in the front.

I wish you all the best of Luck.   I don’t really know what else I can say….

Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

Written by rockertycoon

September 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Groove on Grove: Ben Franklin, Meet/Pause, Bad Parts

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“So yea watch the cussin’, fellas.” I tell Scott, Sean, Keith and Graeme of Meet/Pause. It’s their first Groove on Grove, I figure I might as well get that out of the way.

“So, Zac, I’m gonna pull you on stage and you can talk about what you have going on and introduce the bands and stuff.” Dancing Tony Susco, who runs the Groove on Grove events, tells me. A small amount of fear washes over me, because I really hadn’t prepared for this moment. He let me book the bands and help promote the event so naturally he’d want me to come up and be the center of attention for a part of the evening. I just hadn’t prepared.

Eddie Garza of Ben Franklin appears, “We’ll probably steer clear of ‘Teamwork.'” He refers to a B-side off the band’s latest release, The Urgency EP, which has glaring use of the F-bomb. It’s a family oriented event so they geared their set toward not pissing off potential new fans and tainting young ears.

My head is still spinning with thoughts of my impending speech as The Bad Parts are rocking out. Ska infused rock, trombones and all, the Bad Parts are James Burns (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Garcia (Drums/backup vocals), Charles Potenza (Bass) John Sequiera (Trombone/backup vocals) Rob Miranda (Trumpet/backup vocals) and Daniel Palmer (Alto Sax). The kids on the grass mat were tearing it up. There was a little guy in the crowd wearing a “Nevermind the Bullocks” Sex Pistols shirt that was putting the groove in Groove on Grove.

The Bad Parts finish and Tony intros me to the crowd I say a few words about the Brick City Sound Riot and talk up Meet/Pause then they begin playing. Like a doctor after a shot, Tony could tell I was a little nervous, but my first appearance went well, “That wasn’t so bad.” He smiles and moves to the front to get the crowd stirred up.

Meet/Pause is from New Brunswick. I met them a few months back and thought they had something unique going on. It was apparent that I was spot on, because after their first song there was a crowd of toddlers with balloon swords having a massive Jedi battle as they played. Watching from Backstage with the other members of Ben Franklin, you could tell Meet/Pause was digging the scene as well. The played through their EP “Cluster Cascade“. and threw in a few older tunes as well. After their set they were all smiles, GonG has this really positive effect on how bands see Jersey City.

Tony motioned me back onstage, I was feeling a lot more confident now. We talked about the burgeoning music scene here, and about Uncle Joe’s and the void it left in said scene. Then he asked me about Ben Franklin. If we weren’t pressed for time I could have told the crowd about Ben Franklin for hours. I know almost as much about the band as I do the historical figure, perhaps more.

Billy Gray (guitar,vocals) Sarah Tomek (Drums), Eddie Garza (bass, vocals) and Adam Copeland (guitar) are damn near family. Heavily involved in the music scene incredibly supportive, not to mention talented (and hey let’s throw in good looking while we’re at it) Ben Franklin is almost more of a force majeure than a rock band. That said, the crowd went bonkers for them.

I confess I haven’t been to Groove on Grove since they changed the location of the stage. I have to say I really like it. More room for the food trucks and vendors, and this set up, I believe, sort of forces folks to see the bands. I turned to the crowd at one point and realized the crowd was one of the largest I’d seen for these events. A line of folks from the PATH station just standing there watching the band. They finished out the set with “Tell Us How You Really Feel”, a personal favorite of mine off their LP Optimist, which is free at bandcamp . Tony called for the all too obvious encore and they busted out with Fren Banklin, the band’s signature battle cry. It’s about the fictional, and sometimes science fictional, exploits of their namesake. Everyone got into it.

After the show, I hunkered down over a few beers with Billy. We talked about the show, about movies and comics. He confessed, “I forgot my entire verse in Fren Banklin was not even close to kid friendly. I had to make it up on the fly as the event horizon of my part came up. It looked like I didn’t know the words.” We laughed I thought he did a fine job, though I did laugh at the times they had to switch words. I’m pretty sure only I noticed anything out of the ordinary, and I was too busy cackling to care.

Written by rockertycoon

September 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

Brick City Bios: Ben Franklin

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Billy Gray, Eddie Garza, Sarah Tomek and Adam Copeland are gonzo rockers Ben Franklin. If you could personify a breach of etiquette and then translate it musically, you’d fall short of the mark of attempting to describe the subtle rabble rousing these four are responsible for. Imagine Red Sonja, Hunter S Thompson, Greg Ginn and Ron Paul wrote music together. Rumor has it there’s a new LP in the works.  In the mean time, sharpen your senses on there previous LP “Optimist” or their newer EP “Urgency”.

Written by rockertycoon

August 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Road Trip: Ben Franklin, Nico Blues, Meet/Pause and

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Remember that song Holiday Road from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies?  Well everytime I get into a car to go to a show that song plays in my head.  It makes for an interesting car ride.  Sadly, I don’t even have that song on my ipod and most folks still don’t have hookups for iPods in their cars.

That’s all sort of besides the point though.  I noticed that Ben Franklin was playing a show in my old home of New Brunswick at McCormick’s Pub.  I had never actually been to McCormick’s and I’d heard it was shutting down so I thought to myself this is a perfect time to hitch a ride and check it out.  (I normally move to a town just after the local scene spot closes down, New Brunswick was the Melody Bar, Uncle Joe’s in Jersey City and even Head Biter’s closed on rt 45 just before I turned 18.  There’s nothing worse than that look of disappointment you get when people find out you never went to a scene spot, so I figure I’d circumvent that hideous mouth agape look forever and head down to NB.)  After a quick inquiry on Facebook Eric Moeller of SpillPeak Media offered a ride.  I met him in Hoboken and we hit the Bruns for rock, college pay priced drinks and grease truck sandwiches.

We entered McCormick’s Pub, which looks like any house I threw shows in town during the earlier part of the decade.  Upon entrance, it pretty much looked like it.  Basically, McCormicks is what would have happened to you house had your dad and mom never met.  Bar in the front 15ft or so, then juke box and pool in the back.  (The pool table moved to the side for the bands).  Random paraphernalia of times past scattered about the place.  Including but not upto a picture of Elvis left handed that Adam of Ben Franklin pointed out.  After internet inquiry we surmised that it had to have been printed backwards.  The only instance of Left and Elvis on the internet was that “Elvis LEFT the building.”  We ordered our drinks and folks began to shuffle in as Civil Suits started up.

Pat Sigmund (Lead Guitar),Karthik Rao (Vocals / Keys / Guitar), Karan Nair (Bass / Vocals) and Ben Rose (Percussion) are native to New Brunswick.  Like a Roadhouse Grunge band they had a good crowd of youngsters jamming out.  I got a video and some pics.  They were the first to play and thusly the first to take on the wrath of the owner.  Who I think was just being an asshole for show.  Something about clearing a way for the fire lane, hey I know what it’s like running a show in this town illegally, I can only imagine that legally the fuzz is that much harder on you.  So I get his anal-retentiveness about everything.  Billy Gray of Ben Franklin just laughed, “I think this is his thing.”  I wasn’t sure but fuckit, I wasn’t playing what did I care?
Meet/Pause played second they had learned from the previous bands hazing and went directly into their set, noting the short time for each set.  There was little banter and only a few stops for letting everyone know who they were.  Scott Thompson (guitar, vox, keys) Graeme Gardner (drums, backing vox) Keith Laviola (guitar, keys) Sean Favre (bass, backing vox) make up this New Brunswick indie rock gang.  They’ve been making their way around VFW’s and even up to NYC a few times kinda sounds like Devon Williams fronting for Mars Volta.  Check out the video!
Ben Franklin got up after a fair share of free liquor.  If you’ve been reading the blog as of late, I’ve been borderline stalking these guys.  That said, they can’t fucking get enough of me.  or wait switch that reverse it!  Self described gonzo rock, that’s a great visual.  Billy “Dr. Teeth” Gray (vox, guitar), Sarah “Animal” Tomek (drums) Eddie “Sgt. Floyd Pepper” Garza & Adam “Janice” Copeland (I hope Sarah and Adam can take a joke)  are Ben Franklin.  Fresh from the release of their new E.P.: Urgency Killing Horse Records is putting these four to work!  If you check out Had it Coming you can totally see that electric mayhem ensued!
Both Mike Sylvia of KHR and Eric Moeller talked up Nico Blues.  I was introduced to Reed Adler (guitar) as I entered the Pub.  These dudes have some balls!  And a hell of a stage presence!  The Owner got back on the mic for what I thought was another “hassle the band rant”, but nope instead he informed us that the ladies were looking to dance and that we oughta oblige them.  This monologue took on a life of it’s very own as Nico Blues’ Nodded to each other and went into a birthday classic that I think was called “GET OFF THE MIC!”  They went into Unprofessional a song that the chorus kinda mocked the owner on, “This is not for you.”  Well played!  I picked up some video of  Weighed Options!  Look to hear much more about The Nico Blues as I find out more.
After the show, Eric looked like he was gonna pass out from starvation.  I suggested he hit PJ’s Grill!  I haven’t had a Fat Knight in years.  Suffice it to say.  They are still just as tasty as ever.  Cheesesteak, Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Fingers and fries on a hero roll… that’s a meal any five year old can get behind.  Sated, we made our way back to North Jersey.  It was a good night for the rock scene, it appears it’s still alive in The Dirty Bruns!
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Written by rockertycoon

March 30, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Disc Deconstruction: Ben Franklin – Urgency

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Where do historical figures come from? The answer is simple, the question seems quite stupid once you hear the answer, in truth. If I were to tell you that Ben Franklin is Billy Gray, Sarah Tomek, Eddie Garza and and Adam Copeland, you’d think I was insane. How can one man be four people? More questions! And suddenly the whole mess becomes a deconstruction of not just the man, Ben Franklin, but the concept of him as well. Pretty soon, there you are, questions filling your head. Questions like: Has the Rocker Tycoon lost his mind? Who are those people that the Rocker Tycoon was talking about? And is this not a rock blog?

I’ll answer all those questions and more. Firstly, This is a Rock Blog! Damnit Man! have you been reading? Have you been listening? Have you been to the shows? Fuck there I go, more questions. Let’s assume you have been reading and listening. Then you know that Billy, Eddie and Sarah as well as new comer Adam are a BAND called Ben Franklin. Indeed, then you know that I have not lost my mind. I’m sober as a judge.

Hark! Then if those questions have been answered then you must know this: Ben Franklin will on the first score and fifth day of February (that’s the 25th) have an E.P. release party for their new upcoming album, URGENCY. Knowing this myself (This is what I do after all) I hit up Billy Gray (who knows way more dirt about the women in my life than the women in my life do). I said to Billy, “Billy, man, If you don’t let me check out your new E.P. early I’m gonna write a blog about my first girlfriend, then I’m gonna make you read it… in front of me at the bar during your E.P. release party.” Billy complied forthwith, what else could he do?

I’ve been listening to it everyday since. Listening to it in the shower, on the way to work, when I’m at home writing, and sometimes when I’m sleeping. The songs are embedded into my skull. I can’t get them out. I would if I tried. It’s an E.P. so I’ll break down each song for you. The whole thing start to finish.

Track 1 URGENCY:

Billy’s voice grains in after Eddie’s bass starts it off Sarah sets in with the drums and Adam’s lead melding with Billy’s rhythm, “There’s a sense of Urgency drowning in the frequency, in our headphones.” This song has a few solid and timeless themes. Sibling rivalry, Man vs Future, Struggle against Isolation, and the fight to become what you were meant to be. Basically its a song about getting your shit in order and living your short life with a little purpose… and that your sister is sort of a slut.


One thing you can’t say about Ben Franklin is that they make tongue and cheek political references. I think I may have said this once. I was wrong. No punches are being pulled here. The message is clear, i think it’s clear at least: Join the military if you want to contribution to the faceless masses of imperialist conniving fat cats that control everything from the food you eat to the information to take in. They’ll sell you a romantic dream or heroism but at the end of the day TEAMWORK will only get THEM ahead. Musically they posit that war is a side effect of over population, and a large game of RISK played at the leisure of the world leaders. I could be totally of base here though. My belief is thus: It’s an anti-propaganda propaganda song.


Eddie takes the vocal lead on this track. I’d be upset with BF didn’t include one song that centers on relationships. Things slow down a bit this is one of the mellower tunes. The title is the chorus, “No pleasing you, and no reason to.” It’s about giving up on someone. Just finally coming out of the haze and saying, as Eddie puts it, “FUCK IT DUDE! (Let’s go bowling).” That moment of change when you realize this not worth it anymore. There are better thing to concern yourself with and just getting on. The song ends abruptly, which is a nice little touch.

Track 4 SMILE

Smile starts out whimsically enough, Billy is back on lead vocals. This is a great sing-a-long. I can almost feel the how crowd swaying and chanting the chorus. This is definitely a love song. I’m thinking its one of those, I can’t create a song for you, but I can for everything else deals. Why? You ASK! Well cuz you’re too god damn special to sum up in a few chords and some words. I could have totally missed the point here but that’s my guess. I’m sure Ben Franklin will comment on who close or far away I came on a scale of nuclear disasters the scale ranging from K-19 to Chernobyl.

In conclusion, I can’t get some of these songs out of my head. It took a while for Teamwork to grow on me, now I can’t get it out of my head. Oh and the Answer to the first question… HISTORY, dumbass.

Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon


Written by rockertycoon

February 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Killing Horse Records One Year Anniversary Show

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Friday Nights have become a night I normally work. I’ve taken over a bar in Jersey City, and that’s a bunch of fun, but it means that I’m busier working lately than I am getting out for shows. I say all that to say this, when Mike Sylvia of Killing Horse Records hit me up to come out for the KHR one year Anniversary Party I had to accept. I changed my schedule around and made sure I was off for what was sure to be a night built with me in mind. The line-up looked killer: Ben Franklin, No Pasaran!, Invisible Lines, and Secret Country. Couple that with the fact that in the two plus years I’ve taken over the mantle of Rocker Tycoon (The day an old wizard in a cave had me utter the magical words FUCK YEA!) I’ve never been to Maxwell’s in Hoboken. I know, lecture me if you must, laugh at my ignorance, but it’s been my mission to cover rock in places that the coverage is most needed. Hoboken is covered quite widely. That said, Killing Horse deserves a post over at RT, so here it is. Photos and words… all in one spot for your rocking convenience. I’ll keep this simple and give you my thoughts as I wrote them at the show.

If Minor Threat‘s Ian Mackaye did drugs you’d have something close to Ben Franklin. Punk anthems, slow jams but mostly strong catchy rock. You can’t help but sing along to. Recently they added Adam Copeland (Guitar, Vox) of Black Water fame. Billy(Vox, Guitar) Eddie(Vox, Bass) and Sarah (Drums, Vox) There’s a lot more happening here, and it still throbs and pulses. Some new songs made their way into the set. I can’t wait til Urgency comes out. Title track is an evolved Ben Franklin. They ended the set with their classic history tale Fren Banklin, always a crowd fav. It was likely the best version of the song I heard to date… I might write a verse for them to include, or maybe just storm the stage and grab a mic and talk about Ben Franklin’s important role in the Maniac Mansion sequel Day of the Tentacle.

No Pasaran! should really be called We Don’t Waste No Fucking Time. They barely slowed down in-between songs to get the lead out. Eric (Guitar/Bass, Vox) Tom (Drums) and Romel (Vox,Guitar) are a well oiled machine. They are on a mission, like Arnold in the Predator: to kill it. And kill it they do. It’s no bullshit basement rock at it’s most striped down and raw. They pummel striked through their set squeezing in every thing they could. You gotta respect that, even the second they stopped to switch around a few things was filled with Eric’s pen-ultimate middle set talk, “Uhh… Witty Banter, Inside Joke and Shout out to friends.” One thing I totally love about these guys is that they are here to rock. They don’t even halt for applause.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Invisible Lines is driving music. Long stretch getting it done 80’s movie montage driving music. To what end probably to kill vampires or fight the high school bully… it doesn’t really matter. This band makes the journey the most important part of the movie. Being a Buddhist, this concept totally appeals to me. And makes me feel like the Road Warrior (who is securely not a Buddhist, if you’ve seen the films, to which I’m pretty sure the Passion of Christ is a prequel).  But I digress, their e.p. Wise Up has been recieving some serious buzz, I emplore you to get your hands on it.

Inbetween sets I spent my time bullshitting with Adam Copeland and Gonul Askoy (Gonul & What Army). The topics ranged from brown liquor, Dr. Who and Karaoke. Beers were drained and the Secret Country loaded in. Full on Country get-up big band style. There was plenty hooting and haltering. Yan Izquierdo (Violin/Mandolin) Joe Hart (Lead Guitar/Vocals/Trumpet) Tim Siegle (Bass) Eric Mason (Guitar/Lead Vocals) Jay Monaco  (Acoustic Guitar/Lead Vocals/Harmonica/Tambourine/Ukulele) Matt Siegle (Drums/Vocals) make up the band.  That’s a lot of rock on one stage… I couldn’t imagine having to be their roadie.

Written by rockertycoon

January 18, 2011 at 7:55 am

The Press and Ben Franklin at Public Assembly

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September 16 2009: I took the Path to 14th and 6th ave then the L to Bedford Ave in Brooklyn to see my old friends The Press and Ben Franklin. Public Assembly is a pretty neat venue. That said it’s a Venue! It’s an honest to god place to play and see live music. That’s refreshing! The place itself is large enough for a reasonably large band with an unreasonable number of followers to play. The placement of the bar is Ideal if not perfect. I really can’t say how happy I am to be at a place with a raised stage, Even if it makes my job a little harder. Ultimately this isn’t about me anyhow, it’s about the bands the venues and the journey getting back and forth.

The first band sets up and sound checks, as the DJ (a seemingly adept fellow by his assault of the craft) sets the mood for the bar. A bit much? Nah, the live music hasn’t started yet and people are starting to come in. I say it’s working! Good job, Public Assembly! Set yourself up for success, then just ride the lightning til you’re successful, I always say. Columbus didn’t half-ass it, and look how far his bravado got him. Way to bring it on a Wednesday night!

Ivan and the Terribles’
drummer is the band’s exclamation point. She punctuated each snap and beat with a gusto I haven’t seen since I saw the Vandals back in ’02. I head over to the bar as Eddie and Billy of Ben Franklin scuttle in with their gear. We have a laugh about finally getting me out to see the band live and spotting an A&R scout (the only guy in the crowd old enough to be my dad, dressed like it was lunch hour at Goldman and Sachs), or someone up way pasted their normal bed time. I had the house’s $6 combo special: PBR can and a shot of well whiskey. For the record, Fleischman’s Whiskey has an aroma of burnt linoleum that doesn’t betray itself once it hits the palette.

The Courtesy Tier began shortly after. A great compliment of guitar and drums. These two fellas have a great chemistry together. The lyrics are of a redeeming nature and they sound much larger than they are. You’d think without seeing them that you were watching a full band with a separate vocalist. That’s the power or multi-tasking for you! After their set the guys gave me a CD and some stickers. I’ll definitely be giving the CD a look soon.

The Press took stage. Mike Henry (vocals, guitar). David Schneider (guitar) and Alex Picca (bass), Chuck Davis (drums) are Brooklyn’s steady-rock quartet. One thing I love about these guys is their between song banter. I totally feel like that’s part of the experience. I like a little chatter, while I’m waiting for my next song. Not like a whole speech but just a few quick pieces of info or a joke here and there. These guys are like a good old man barber, in that respect. They asked the crowd to sign their mailing list, and promised them stickers and pins. “If you want the stickers and pins but don’t want us to email you use someone else’s and we’ll spam that guy. This is our next song, this is what Mordor sounds like.” (It’s a good thing they prefaced with that disclaimer. As you all know, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” Being that there are no trains in and I don’t own a car, I’d have never known, otherwise.) There’s nothing that a little humor and a LOTR reference won’t do for me. That’s just the band joking around between songs. The Press is a solid rock and roll band. Triumphant drums, 24-carat bass, No nonsense guitar, pungent vocals along with random asides about “Class 2 orcs” Do you really need me to spell it out? Go see these guys! They won’t disappoint.

Billy Grey, Eduardo Garza and Sarah Tomek, when their powers combine they form Ben Franklin (the band not the historical figure). Fresh from the studio these BK rockers just put out a really excellent CD called Optimist. It’s a must download and it’s free at I’ve been rocking this album for the last week so I know all the words, or at least the important ones. The Press and I gathered beneath the stage for their set. They played most if not all of the songs from their LP. I was singing and dancing along, the whole time. Sara’s drum’s and Eddie’s bass lay the ground work for Billy’s guitar to tank over and They all come through with fly by air support on vocals. It’s not just good rock music, it’s fun rock music too. They have a ton of concept without going over your head. That extremely hard to pull off.

After the show Billy, Eddie, Sara and I sat and had a couple of drinks with The Press at the bar. The conversation ranged from the power of the Internet, and it’s role in the music industry to talking about the differences of where we grew up in comparison to New York City. Billy offered me a ride back to the Path. I said my goodbyes and made my way home. I was feeling way cooler than I probably was right then, so I went home and knocked myself down a peg by falling asleep to Genesis’ We Can’t Dance album.

Written by rockertycoon

September 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Album Review: Optimist – Ben Franklin

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It was a cold Thursday in the beginning of September, when Billy Gray walked up behind me with a greeting and copy of his band’s new album “Optimist”. They had just released it a week back at a show I wasn’t able to make. Eager to get my hands on it, I sent him my home address to check it out. He in turned hand delivered it to me. I didn’t have time to even put it into my computer before I had to run out of the house. That night I got back home at 4am. There was the LP just sitting innocently where I left it. Exhausted from the night’s event I figured I’d toss it in while I slept. That was the plan anyway. I didn’t get a wink of sleep before I was rocking out!

The Album starts with a ground and pound full force drum beat that wades into Guitar and then vocals. It’s a hell of a way to start an album and it certainly got my mojo rising. I was only fifteen seconds in. So now that I was awake, albeit drunk, I started writing down my first impressions and things that stuck out. Track 2 is called Drink to Forget. It’s a phrase, as a tender of bar, that I’m all too familiar with. I’m expecting something somber and inflective, hell maybe even down right sad. It’s starts out like that, with Billy poking jabs at 9-5ers and Lemonade cleanses, then something fucking awesome happens. Its all a rouse for a much tougher song. Guitar is everywhere. Billy Gray and Eduardo Garcia Garza bounce about on vocals and Sara Tomek reigns down sulfur and brimstone from the drums.

Track 6 is Catalyst. Again this song jumps right into the fray, this time with a pseudo-political fist. The chorus is pure rage, I’m talking basement show mosh-pit danger style rage. “I’m an easy target and I’m in love with your crosshair!” then back into instrumental mayhem! Dang, that’s hot! Speaking of things above room temperature. Track 9 is Had it Comin’. This is totally my speed! I can’t tell if it’s just laying the ground rules for a one night stand or something a bit more broad, but it’s genius, because the whole thing comes crashing down in the second chorus, when the roles are reversed. It’s damn near Shakespearian. The CD’s Final track, Fren Banklin, is too much! It’s like that internet song about Washington, full of popular (and not so popular) myth about their four eyed name sake. It’s certainly a great laugh. The best part about this CD? It’s Free! You can Dl it for nothing at There’s really no excuse to not own it. One of the best things I’ve heard this year, and it cost me nothing! I highly recommend, this is a rock album in every sense of the word!

Written by rockertycoon

September 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm