M.A.D. Wednesday Interview Series: Weathered Sol

joe zorzi continues the M.A.D. Wednesday series with the band Weathered Sol …

Weathered Sol is: Matt Gentile –- vocals; Devin Crosby -– guitar; Dave Allen –- guitar, harmonica; Frank Dunzello –- bass; Mike McGuire –- drums

We Formed In: 2009

We’re Based Out Of: Middletown, N.J.

Find Our Current Music (online, in stores at): New EP being released today (July 27)! Get your copy from the band!

New Record To Be Released: Today is the EP Release Party!

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: old-school blues, Allman Brothers Band, etc.

Awesome Bands We’ve Performed With: Kings Highway

Bands You’ve Seen Us In Previously: This is everyone’s first band.

Pop-Break: How’d you guys get involved with the Downtown and the M.A.D. Wednesday series that they put on?

Matt Gentile: Well, I think Dave’s aunt knows Music Director Jeff Raspe from 90.5 the Night, who does run the M.A.D. Wednesdays, or is somehow associated with him. So, that’s how we became associated with that. I guess his aunt talked to him about it and told him about our music and whatnot; he took a liking to it, gave us a shot to play there back in January, he liked it, and we got booked a couple more times there including back in late May to early June. And then we got this date as well, so this will be our third time playing there this coming Wednesday.

PB: So you guys have played there a lot. Have you played in Red Bank at other places too?

MG: Uh, no but we did do an open jam at Jamian’s on Sunday night. Just a couple times we did that but we haven’t been in Red Bank at any other place, just the Downtown.

PB: And the show’s going to be your EP release party. How long has this album been in the works? What was the whole plan behind it?

MG: Well, we recorded it at Pete Andrew’s house by Middletown Train Station. We did it back in mid-February and our goal was like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna go in there, record this, and we’re going to put this out no later than April 1st.’ Considering this was the first time we’ve actually ever gone into a studio and recorded we were like, ‘Oh, it shouldn’t take that long’, you know … if you get everything done quickly and get everything done, mixing and stuff like that.

Well, it was a really frustrating process because we wanted to get it done as soon as possible. We kept pushing it back, pushing it back, pushing it back. So, it’s been in the works since the middle of February and Dave just got the copies, a thousand copies mailed to his house last week. It’s gonna be well worth the wait, but it was definitely frustrating because we wanted to get them as soon as possible.

PB: Since you guys have never been in bands before, has it been hard for you guys to get everything together?

MG: Well, luckily we all grew up together. Frank, myself, and Mike, we went to elementary school together and then we went to middle school together. And in middle school we met Devin and Dave. And then Frank, myself, Devon, and Dave all went to Middletown North together. Mike went to St. John Vianney [in Holmdel, N.J.] , but we’re all very familiar with each other. It was good to have that basis to start off with instead of just these five dudes who had no idea who each other were. We weren’t just a bunch of guys that played music. Me and Devin played Varsity basketball together for four years, you know, so we all were familiar with each other.

PB: You already had your chemistry there. And your sound has got a very old school sound — compared to what else you’d hear around Jersey these days. There’s a lot of soul in it. There’s a lot of overproduced stuff these days, not as much soul and feeling. What really influenced you guys to put this stuff out there?

MG: The way we all got into blues was Devin, he’s the one who influenced the band members to get into blues. But I mean, I guess to put it out there like that … I mean, I don’t know. We just believe in what we do, you know what I’m saying? I don’t really think there’s any other music better than the blues, in my opinion. It’s authentic, it’s real, it’s the basis of American popular music. I mean, you go back a hundred years, a hundred and twenty years, it’s jazz and blues man. That’s the basis of American music. Everything you hear today, the root is from jazz and blues and I don’t think there’s anything else better in the world to be honest with you. It’s soulful, it’s expression. It’s everything you want in music. And it’s free, and that’s what the bottom line is.

PB: Who would you say is most influential for you guys artist wise?

MG: I’ll start with myself. My vocal influence is definitely Jim Morrison and Frank Sinatra. Those are my two top guys. For Devin I’d say it’s certainly the Allman Brothers. Dwayne Allman is definitely, I’d say, his root influence. He’s [Devin’s] definitely developed sounds from other guys, but he really developed his sound from Dwayne Allman. Dave was a huge Bob Dylan fan. And the rest is pretty much the same for everybody else. Mike was more of a metal drummer when he started out. He took lessons for I think about like 10 or so years. So, he had more of a metal background for himself, because his brother-in-law actually plays in the band called Burnt By the Sun, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them. And Frank, he’s a very funky kind of bassist, but he’s able to incorporate that into a blues context which actually really helps out a lot because to have that bass lay the foundation down is very, very important. It’s a very underrated instrument. It gets overlooked a lot. But especially in his case, he’s very important in holding down the rhythm and holding down everything in the song, so he does a great job at that.

PB: Have you guys had any big challenges as a band so far?

MG: When you say challenge … Yeah, I mean, in terms of progressing, we played the Stone Pony the first time last August which was a lot of fun. It was actually for Kings Highway’s CD release show. It was cool to be in like that venue because it’s a huge legendary venue, it was cool to get on that stage and play.

But, I think when we first played New York City back in February. I mean, I can’t speak for the whole band, I’m just going to say for myself. I would like to think we all had the same feeling. We played at this place called The Bitter End in Greenwich Village on Bleecker Street. This was like Bob Dylan’s place in the 60’s and the Grateful Dead played there. It’s a really, really sick venue. I mean, it’s not a big place it only holds about three hundred people or so. But, it was a great experience to play there. To go to the city and play there … challenge? Yeah. Because, you feel like you’re starting to get somewhere. You realize that your hard work is paying off, you know, to try and, to move on up the ladder so to speak, you know? And it was very, very good that we did that. We actually have another gig there in August which will be our third show there.

Also, writing original music is very tough. You’ve got five different guys and five different ideas collaborating with one another. But, once you get that stuff done it’s very satisfying because it’s your own sound and it’s your own ideas forming into one.

PB: And do you guys usually write with all five of you? Is that how the writing process usually goes?

MG: Sometimes. Or sometimes one of us will have lyrics and we’ll come to each other with it and then we’ll say, ‘Hey give me a jam. I’ll try to sing to it’. And sometimes it’ll form that way. Or we might just be jamming one day and we might just sit down for five hours and come up with lyrics and piece a song together and then work on it for a couple of days. So, it goes both ways. Somebody might have a song they want to work on. Or it could just happen spontaneously with a jam that we have and we’ll say, ‘Hey lets jam it out, let’s try to write some lyrics with it’.

PB: Do you guys have any more plans coming up for the fall?

MG: As of right now, we have a show scheduled. It’s mid-September, it’s at Windansea in Highlands with Kings Highway and this band from Halogen Records. But as of right now, no big plans for the fall because myself, Devin, and Dave, we’re all still in college. I have one more semester at Kean University, Devin’s gonna be at TCNJ working on his music degree, and Dave’s got one more semester up at Ryerson College in Toronto. And Frank actually graduated this past My and Mike graduated this past fall. Mike and Frank both have their degrees from Rowan University down in South Jersey.

PB: Oh yeah, I know where that is. Honestly, I had no idea you guys were that young from listening to your music. That’s really awesome.

MG: Yeah, we’re all 22 to 24 years old, man. If you closed your eyes and heard us play, and I’m not bragging at all, we’re very humble guys, we respect music. If you were to close your eyes and hear us play, you would all think we were 50 to 60 years old. These old, worn down blues guys just trying to keep it going. But, you open your eyes and you see these 22 to 24 year old guys playing blues music. And it always catches people by surprise, like ‘Wow, look at these guys. They’re so young and they’re so passionate and so enthusiastic about the blues.’ You never see that anymore from people that are our age. And it’s great to hear that from people. And it’s also great to see people our age connect with us when we play stuff like that. Because honestly if you were in a room with 22- to 25-year-old kids that were listening to 50 to 60 year old blues guys play blues, I don’t think they would be as attached as they would be to us. ‘Cause when we’ve played venues when it’s all people our age and we’re playing blues, it’s almost like they think to themselves, ‘Alright, these guys are playing blues. This is old-school music. It must be cool if they’re doing it, so, you know, lets just dance and rock out to that. It’s okay to do that.’ Whereas, if old guys were playing it, wouldn’t be cool if these young kids were like rocking out, you know?

PB: Well, they can relate to you.

MG: Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say! They can relate to us. Like, ‘Alright, it’s cool if they’re doing it, so lets just rock out too’ — you know what I’m saying?

But for the fall, no really big plans. I think the next step … At least, I’d like to think that we all would agree on that our next step looking forward, hopefully in the year or the next summer, would be to get out of New Jersey and try to like go like down South in the country for like a month or so. I mean, I would like to think that’s what our band as a unit, the goal would be. I know that’s my goal, but I think the band would like to do that as a group.

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