4th Place Winners of the Beantown Meltdown
By Debbie Catalano
Photo by Kamal Asar
nothing like the warmth of acoustic music - and even in a rock band
competition, acoustic guitars are strong enough to catch ears - at
least that's what finalists Peace Music proved in the recent Beantown
Meltdown. Don't get the wrong idea, however, Peace Music - who at press
time just changed their name to Not Broken - is not just an acoustic
band, even though that's where their roots lie. The band mesh those
acoustic grooves with electrified, harmonious rock with pop-like hooks.
Spirited yet grounded, Not Broken have a loyal fan following as their
live show attendance and CD sales attest to. The band, which consists
of founders Michael Finochiaro on lead vocals and David Torrisi on
guitar, with newcomers Frank Palmisano on bass and Brian Belfiore on
drums, recently recorded a demo in Orlando, Florida entitled The Florida
Sessions produced by Jay Stanley, formerly of the band Tabitha's Secret
whose original lead singer was Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas. Not Broken
is in good company as Jay's production/recording credits include The
Bare Naked Ladies, Duncan Sheik, Uncle Cracker, and Creed.
appears that the band has grown member-wise since your 9-song
self-titled album-tell me about that. Or tell me a bit about
the background of this band.
Dave Torrisi: Our
first album was primarily a studio album that Michael and
I decided to make. Over the years we did a lot of writing
and wanted to get those ideas out in a full band sound.
We really didn't have a band so we did it on our own. On
the first album Michael performed all percussion and I
layered all the guitars. A friend of ours, A.J. Pappas,
currently in the band Eve to Adam, laid down the bass.
During this time we had a two-man acoustic act playing
around the Boston area. With the album close to being finished
we knew that we needed a band to perform this music. Also
at this time Michael and I were ready for a change. When
we started jamming with Brian and Frank everything started
to click. We grew up with Frank and jammed with him many
times previously. Brian, also a friend, loved the music
and his drum playing fit our sound like a glove.
SCM: Your latest
CD, "The Florida Sessions," reflects a more electrified
sound (while still keeping with the acoustic vibe/sound)
- with the new members was this a conscious decision to
change the sound a bit?
Dave: I really
don't think it was a conscious decision, I think it just
happened. But, there are a few factors that might help
explain the genesis of our current sound. First they're
four individuals in this band that bring their own energy
to the new materials as well as the old. Although Michael
and I bring songs to the table, the finished product is
a complete band effort. The second reason is that over
the past year, Michael started playing acoustic guitar
in the band. This gave me the opportunity to focus on the
development of my electric guitar sound, which helped us
get that bigger electrified sound. The first album we wanted
to keep more acoustic because that's what we were doing
then (playing out acoustically). Now, with the full band,
we've been able to expand our sound.
SCM: Why or
how did you end up going to Florida to record this?
and I went to high school with Jay [Stanley] and played
in a band with him at that time. When we found out that
Jay was producing bands we immediately reconnected with
him and sent him a demo. Not too long after we sent the
demo he called us back and invited us down to Florida to
do some recording. Since then we have been down three times
and are planning another trip in the spring.
quite a compliment that Jay Stanley wanted to work with
you. How was that experience?
Dave: The experience
has been amazing. The band is very appreciative of the
opportunity that Jay has given us.There's nothing like
recording with Jay down in Florida. It's completely laid
back and hassle-free. We just hang out at his beautiful
home all day and record music. Brian made the comment on
his first trip to Florida that Jay's place was a "musician's
playground." If you factor in the Jacuzzi, the beautiful
pool, and the two state-of-the-art Pro-Tools in-home studios,
I don't think Brian's statement was at all inaccurate.
In fact, Creed recorded their latest album Weathered at
his in-home studio, so just the fact that we were creating
music in the same space and atmosphere that Creed did was
quite an honor.
That sounds like it was a great, positive experience. Now,
will he help you out with the finished product in getting
it out to people in the industry?
that's the plan. In the meantime we're trying to make our
mark up here so we can give Jay more fuel for our resume.
SCM: So I have
to ask, what made you decide to record The Commodores' "Easy
Like Sunday Morning" for this CD?
Michael Finochiaro: When
Dave and I first stepped foot in Jay's house it was quite
a shock. Being the humble musician Jay is, he really didn't
tell us the capacity of his success. So we were excited
to see Matchbox Twenty plaques all over the walls and very
happy that our friend invited us to record and share in
his success. I spontaneously just started to sing "Easy
Like Sunday Morning" out loud. It was basically a
description of my happiness at that moment. Jay heard me
and said, "Why are you singing that?" I said
that I just felt incredibly happy to be there, and I sang
the line again. At that point Jay said, "That's weird,
I've been working on that song recently." He proceeded
to sit down at his baby grand piano and played the intro.
He asked me how I felt about doing a cover and I gladly
accepted. He spun me a copy and I rehearsed it for a solid
day and a half over and over, then I nailed it.
SCM: Wow - I
didn't expect such a sort of magical story to be behind
that answer! That's cool. O.K., let's talk about the Beantown
Meltdown - how did you end up competing in that?
Brian Belfiore: Well,
we had played a couple of shows at Goodtimes Emporium over
the summer and had heard that there was going to be a competition
in the fall. From playing there previously we knew what
a first-class venue Goodtimes was for a band to play at.
So we were psyched at the opportunity to showcase our material.
We knew the atmosphere and hype would be good. We thought
this would be an excellent way to gauge how our band is
progressing. It was a good opportunity to see how we stacked
up against some of the better original bands in the Boston
area. In the preliminaries we realized that most of the
bands in the battle were heavy. We thought this would benefit
us because we knew our style of music was so different
that this would probably make us stick out a little more.
Our fans seemed to be energized because we were involved
with this. They were tremendously supportive.
SCM: How did
you find the overall experience to be?
it was an unbelievable experience. We ended up meeting
a lot of great people. The competition also benefited us
greatly as far as exposure, and hopefully it put us on
the map in the Boston area. Making it to the finals inspired
the band to keep practicing harder and keep writing new
tunes. In fact, we have a few new tunes that we're anxious
to debut at some of our upcoming shows.
excellent! What are your future plans?
Dave: The band hopes
to finish up recording with Jay within the next year and
release our second CD. In the meantime, our goals are to
keep practicing, writing, and performing. We are also working
on building our fan base every show while approaching radio
stations for airplay.
else you'd like to add?
just want to give a shout-out to all of our fans that have
supported us in the past year. Without you guys we'd be
playing to the walls! The fans are our inspiration for