Monday, June 20, 2011

Dearly Departed

Dearly Departed wound up being something of a Long Island supergroup from its outset in 2001.  It wasn't intended that way, but the early presentation of the band couldn't help but lean in that direction with ex members of Inside, Scarab, Tension* and Helen of Troy all being advertised.  The band would outgrow this, and forge ahead with a style that was outside of what most of their contemporary bands were doing.

Mike Mallamo was the former singer of Inside and he had been jamming on and off with Ryan Albrecht.  Jeff Bodzer, guitarist of the recently split Helen of Troy was looking to join something very different from Troy's structured chaos and Mallamo had asked him to play.  Concurrently, Joe Rubino of Tension* was looking to put something together with Danny Lopez whose band Redshift had just broken up.  Joe asked Mike to play and as he was already planning on something with Ryan and Jeff it all came together.

The band went through several different names, playing their first show as Io with RC Driver at Someplace Else in Farmingdale.  I do recall drinking heavily that evening, but I remember enjoying the band's set, remembering the song "The Masquerade" since it sort of recalled Inside, and I liked the name Io. I can't say I remember much else and I don't remember RC Driver's set at all, even though I do remember watching them play.  I was surprised to see the band with all of these guys in it together at the time.

The band would briefly be known as "The Messenger" before settling on Dearly Departed.  They would quickly produce an EP called "The Remains of Marianne Mayweather" that was released on One Day Savior records in 2002.  The band gained a large following certainly drawing from the interest of their previous bands, but they delivered with powerful songs and interesting arrangements that recalled Radiohead, Codeseven, and Cave In's Jupiter.  It was heavy at times, but very atmospheric.

2003 saw the band continue to build their following locally and with tours.  The also began production on a full length album which would become "Believing in Ghosts" with former Inside guitarist-turned producer Jon Florencio.  Around this time, Labels became interested in the band and without getting into too many tangents on the business side of what was happening, things began to get complicated.  The band was having a difficult time being able to finish the album for many reasons and there was a substantial amount of strain being exerted on the entire project.

Finally in January of 2004, the band played a CD release show for "Believing in Ghosts" that was being released by One Day Savior.  The thing was... the CDs actually weren't ready.  A special edition CDr with different packaging was given to everyone that purchased a disc and they were mailed the actual finished CD once it became available.  I have to give ODS credit here, as while that sounds like a crapshoot, they made good and sent CDs out to everyone that provided an address and bought a CD.  The band played a great set highlighted by new songs like "Shadowcasting", "I reserve the right to Scream Bloody Murder" and "Dragging the Lake."

Jeff Bodzer left the band in June of 2004 to move to Florida, and your author was tapped at one point to take his place.  I can't remember if I jammed with the guys 3 or 4 times.  I loved the music the band was doing, but I couldn't tour so that removed me from being a possible replacement.  The band failed to find a replacement at that point for Bodzer, but did play a final show with him in Decemember 29, 2004 at Backstreet Blues in Rockville Centre, NY with Seer and Magnetic North.

In the interim, Mike Mallamo joined the band Novena and Joe Rubino played with Tension*.

The following December with Jeff  Bodzer back in the fold the band played a reunion show on December 30th, 2005 with a reunited Satellite Lost playing their last show, as well as With Every Idle Hour, Nakatomi Plaza, Slingshot Dakaota and Con Amore.  The band decided to continue on as a band, originally planning to record songs such as "And the Horse You Rode In On" and "Juggling Chainsaws (Look Ma No Hands)" that they hadn't had the opportunity to do prior to the breakup.

Ryan Albrecht was soon replaced by Jon Cox, former guitarist for Tension*, From Autumn to Ashes and Earth.ling Massive.  Cox brought a heavier dimension to their music and this lineup recorded the album "What Awaits Us" which was released on their own Black Tide Records in 2007.  This album featured a re-recorded version of "The Masquerade" as well as new songs and recorded versions of some of the older material as well.  It was released in At the album's completion, Cox left the band and again they were left without a second guitar player.  Ryan Luken joined, before being replaced with Derek Sessions.

Mike Mallamo briefly quit the band at some point prior to the release of "What Awaits Us" and the band  continued on as an instrumental band named Dead Birds Don't Sing.  Tensions eventually settled and Mallamo rejoined the band and saw it through to its conclusion.  This time there was not a show that stated the finality of the band.  The members just began to go in different directions and the last show they played was May 25th, 2008 at The Nutty Irishman in Bayshore for a Lukemia benefit with God Fires Man and Revenge of the Dragon.

Joe Rubino went on to form the Jett Black Heart Attack and 1776.  Danny Lopez would form Steady As She Goes.  Both Danny and Joe would back up hip-hop acts with live instrumentation on occasion as well. Mike Mallamo would go on to sing for the short-lived band Mt. Morning.  Jeff Bodzer would briefly play with Steady As She Goes.  I believe that Derek Sessions joined Revenge of the Dragon and is currently in Wiretap Crash as well as doing some solo hip-hop stuff and DJing.

These downloads are for the band's 3 releases:

The Remains of Marianne Mayweather:

Believing in Ghosts:

What Awaits Us:

Go to the band's myspace here:
Wikpedia entry:

The Eternity Code

The Eternity Code was started in 2003.  Bill Zanis was a fixture of the NY and LI scenes and was looking to join a band.  Through craigslist and myspace ads, the band assembled members Keith Siskind on vocals, Sean Naughton on Guitar and vocals, Lou Caravana on Guitar, Scott Bendjy on drums and Zanis on Bass.  Even though the majority of the band had more mainstream influences, Zanis steered them in an emo-core direction, and the band often wrote around the basslines.  They began playing on Long Island shortly after this lineup was put together, but Bendjy left soon after this as his job was a interfering with his schedule of being in the band.

Danny Lopez who was in Dearly Departed at the time joined the band and stayed with them through 2004 to the self-titled EP, which is also known as the "Don Fury EP" because... it was recorded by Don Fury.  Danny left the band after the completion of the EP to concentrate on Dearly Departed.

The band would then have a rotating number of drummers, Keith's brother Scott (later of Baltimore, Maryland band Vinny Vegas) filled in on occasion and the position remained in flux until the band recruited Jim Abdale into the fold to take over full time duties. Chad Hudzak (of Shotgun Rally and The Dresden) would play on the 2005  "Destined to Fail" EP,  but Jim Abdale would return to the lineup to see the band through the remainder of their time together in 2007.

"Destined to Fail" showed a heavier development to their newer songs, as well as a rocked out take on Journey's "Separate Ways."  Lou Caravana left the band after the release of the 2nd EP, and the band continued on as a 4 piece until splitting after a last show March 16, 2007.

 The band played a reunion on June 26, 2010 and played a new song called "3rd Prize is You're Fired" and an ongoing reunion seemed to be in the works, but Bill Zanis decided to concentrate on his new band with Danny Lopez called Steady As She Goes.

As mentioned above, Danny Lopez remained with Dearly Departed and later started Steady As She Goes with Bill Zanis.  Jim Abdale plays with The Anywheres.  I'm not sure of what the other members are up to.

This download is for both the self-titled EP and "Destined to Fail".

THE ETERNITY CODE - S/T and "Destined to Fail":

Other Links on the band:
Video of "3rd Prize is you're fired" here:

Friday, June 17, 2011


Redshift is a band I unfortunately don't have much information on.  They were comprised of Danos Ettrick on guitar and Ivan Gonzalez on bass (both formerly of post-hardcore band 3 Feet Deep), Danny Lopez on drums (formerly of Scarab) and Kerry Merkle on vocals.   The band was formed in the wake of 3 Feet Deep dissolving and Danny leaving Scarab. The band produced a single 5 song EP in 2000 of complex hardcore with some obvious nods to Quicksand in their music.  It is some really excellent stuff with great playing throughout from everyone involved.

The band didn't last long.  I remember going into a used CD store in Westbury (where that shopping center where Century 21 is now) and Danos and Danny giving me a flyer to a show which I think was at Ground Zero.  I don't recall hearing much after that and I'm not sure what led to the band's end.

After this Danny would go on to play in Dearly Departed and later Steady As She Goes.  Danos would play with Blackbeard, Pillow Theory and Muthawit as well as a host of other bands.  Ivan would join Fiftyfour with Kerry after this, and has played with Lockdown, Crime Lab and 25 ta Life.  Kerry would join Fiftyfour, Big Baby Satan and is now the singer of John Wilkes Booth.


Scarab / One True Thing

This week will be Danny Lopez appreciation week.  Danny was the drummer for several LI bands, most recently my band Steady As She Goes.  He's moved to Wisconsin for work and I'm celebrating his contributions to the scene and music with a few posts on his former bands.

Scarab was formed by Danny and Milan Milevoy in 1994.  They brought in a then 16 year old, untested singer named Melanie Wills.  The band had a post-punk, indie meets melodic rock sound at the time.  They played with punk and hardcore bands of the time, notably Greensleep and Sleepasaurus, the former of which they would go on to release a split 7" called "A Fine Proposal" on Motherbox Records which contained the songs "The New One" and "Mother".

The band eventually recruited Lee Greenman on bass to replace their original bass player, who would play on a demo featuring songs such as Dearest, Bloom and Yeast.  The last song would also be featured on the Motherbox comp "Diversified Chaos".  Lee would be replaced with Antonio Garcia (aka Antonio Longo). 

They would crossover from the hardcore scene to gather more mainstream interest in 1997 and 1998 by winning Best Local Band in the LI Voice paper and wound up bouncing around with deals from E.S.P management and Gotham entertainment.  Their sound had evolved from their noisier beginnings and was becoming more commercial.  They recorded an album with Gotham, but it never got released due to the label wanting them to sign with them to release a 2nd album with them as well.  

Danny would leave the band in late 1999 and go on to form the band Redshift, and then later join Dearly Departed, play with The Eternity Code and join Steady As She Goes.

Scarab would change their name to One True Thing and eventually released a full length entitled "Finally" in 2002 which included some of the songs from when Danny was in the band.  Singer Melanie Wills is best remembered for her singing contribution on "Short Stories with Tragic Endings" and "Autumn's Monologue" from From Autumn to Ashes. The band went through several lineup changes and included Ray Greene of Farenheit 451 on drums for their full length. Antonio would leave Scarab before the name change to sing for Taking Back Sunday, then join The Prizefighter before coming back to play bass again and then leave again when Mike Pilato from FATA joined them.  I'm not sure when the band finally decided to fold it in.

I don't have much to download here to be honest.  I had the tape of the demo which contained "Dearest", "Bloom" and "Yeast" (and possibly "Struggle" as well) given to me by Lee many years ago.  I probably threw the tape out.  I'll be perfectly candid and say that Melanie was never particularly nice to me and certainly colored my judgment on this band and still does to this day.  I'd say more, but Mom always said if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.  My wife had the CD demo of One True Thing that preceeded "Finally" and I can say with certainty I chucked that out and didn't bother converting it to MP3.  So you guys are on your own here.  If anyone has it, let me know and I'll post it up.

What I can offer is 3 tracks of Scarab - one culled from a live at the Pickle Patch comp which is untitled, a cover of "25 Green" from a Descendants tribute and "Bookmark" from Compilation Shmompliation.  I've also included the One True Thing album "Finally" as a download as well.  The versions of Dearest and Bloom are different than the originals done with Dan, but for completeness I'm including this if you were into the band at either stage of their existence.

The Motherbox split with Greensleep looks to still be available though from Merch direct here:

SCARAB - Comp Tracks:
(Link Fixed with additional song)

Here is Scarab's website from what looks to be 1997: