iw0kqtBethlehem, PA’s pop rock band Sandlot Heroes has scored their second #1 most requested song at B104 FM in Allentown, PA, beating out artists such as Kings of Leon, Nickleback, and The Fray. “Out of My Hands” is currently at 25 spins a week. Previously, the band’s song “So” enjoyed 5 consecutive weeks of being the #1 requested song at B104. Program Director Eric Chase testifies: “From the minute I saw and heard the Sandlot Heroes, I recognized them as a presence that could immediately be placed into the fabric of the pop culture equation that we try to create here at B104.”

“Out of My Hands” is the first single from their forthcoming full length debut “Pretend That We’re Famous” scheduled for an October 27 release date. The album was produced by Adam Richman over the past year in Coney Island. His collaboration with the band has produced a taut infectious blast of youthful rock that indicates this band is in it for the long haul.

Sandlot Heroes’ summer highlights included tour dates headlining at Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA’s international music festival that attracts one million people every year) and playing to fans at Hot Topic and the Gap stores in eastern PA. Fall tour dates in support of their release include the Dewey Beach Music Conference, AbsolutePunk.net Show at Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, PA and a two week east coast tour. An all ages hometown record release party will take place on Saturday October 31, 2009 at Crocodile Rock.

For more information contact, David Sestak, manager.
David A. Sestak
3005 Brodhead Road, Suite 170
Bethlehem, PA 18020
610-954-8118 (fax)

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By: Karli Rizzo

GrandyPhotoI sat down with one of Philly’s pioneering original bands, Grandy, where we discussed music, their upcoming album, cheese steaks, women and more. The band- vocalist and guitarist Matt Courchain, lead guitarist Laine Diaczuk, bass guitarist and vocalist Dan McHenry, and drummer Brandon Marsh- has been touring local Philly venues for nearly a year now. Grandy prefers to be known as four guys from Philadelphia playing the music they love. It is this very humble nature paired with musical prowess and stage presence, which draws one into their powerfully unique sound.  Determined to share their music, Grandy proves to be a steadfast presence among the ever-changing original music scene.  “I truly believe in Grandy’s talent, their music and their future-they write from their own experiences in life.” said Grandy’s manager, Heather Mae of HM Promotions.

Out On the Town: How have you improved since your first gig?

MATT: We focus on being as tight as possible, having good stage presence, and the maturity level of our writing has definitely been the biggest change for us. We try not to over think songs but like to fancy them up here and there too.

DAN: My first gig with the band was at the NorthStar Bar in Philly.  We’ve improved tremendously since then, the chemistry both physically and mentally that we’ve built with each other

OOT: Who came up with the name Grandy?

MATT: Grandy was never meant to be the band’s name. I was talking about my grandmother who had passed one day while on the phone with our old bassist/friend Gary. After hearing it he said we should name the band that. We were going to change it a couple times but its short sweet and meaningful.

OOT: What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you guys during or after a show?

BRANDON: When we played the North Star Bar, they misspelled our name on the website as Grady. The actually band Grady, who had not played a show in years, showed up to North Star thinking they were playing and we had to tell them ourselves that we were playing.

DAN: One time after a Phillies game, some girl came up to me and asked “Are you with Grandy?” which was pretty awesome because that meant someone recognized me.  But it ended up that she only knew me because she wanted my friend who had been at some of our show. Does that count as a groupie?

OOT: Describe your fan base.

LAINE: Sexy women

MATT: Our fan base is just blue-collar people who work and go through the same bull as the rest of us; love, loss, life, happiness, all that jazz. I try to write so people can connect with our music but I also write very personally. I try not to hide anything.

OOT: Philadelphia is notoriously a difficult town to break through musically, what distinguishes Grandy from other local original bands?

MATT: We don’t overdo the guitar solos or have a load of flare. We keep things simple but musically talented. I like the idea of being able to talk to someone for an hour and walk on stage thinking I’m no different from them and vice versa. I like the idea of that.

BRANDON: What we do is add guitars solos, which you don’t find lately, and unique drum patterns, as well as, catchy vocals.

DAN: We pride ourselves in a great stage show and musical precision.  I lose at least five pounds every time we play from all of the energy that I exert.

OOT: What are the challenges Grandy faces, playing in a city like Philadelphia?

LAINE: All the cheese steaks

BRANDON: Obviously, creating a fan base. Playing shows on a Tuesday or Thursday night really doesn’t draw a crowd when most people work in the morning.

DAN: Having another band whose name is just one letter different than ours in the same city.

OOT:  How often are you in the studio rehearsing?

MATT: I rehearse every day. As a band anywhere from one to three times depending on our show schedule that week. We just keep getting more shows thanks to the lovely Heather Mae

DAN: We practice once or twice a week and then hold group calisthenics at least twice a week. We have to keep in shape.

HEATHER MAE: I manage a Rehearsal Studio in N.E. Philly called Branded Sound Studio. It’s a great place and has turned into a little community of multiple bands. Grandy has their own room which they can lock all their stuff in and come and go as they please.

OOT: What is the band working on now?

MATT: We’re discussing more business oriented things right now like merchandise, the album cover, how we want to sell the album, etc.

DAN: We’re waiting on our album to be completed and we’re continually writing new songs.  There’s also a Rubick’s Cube in our practice space that we’ve been trying to solve for at least a month now.  Those things are tough.

OOT: Are the songs based on fiction or reality?

MATT: I try and write as close to me as possible. It’s the only way I see a song working. There are so many bands that just bullshit their way the music, melody, and lyrics. I tend to over think everything, but if my hearts not in it, then I can’t do the song. I can’t lie like that. I connect so much more with songs written from the heart and I want that same connection with fans/friends.

OOT: Describe Grandy’s sound.

DAN: Bands are always out there trying to find the next new sound and then a thousand bands copy that once it’s successful.  I like to think that Grandy is reaching back to the music of the late 90’s and early 00’s when post-hardcore and dare I say “emo” was taking over.  It was the stuff that we grew up with and want to continue to watch thrive instead of all these bands out there these days with their tight jeans, brightly colored t-shirts, and their stupid haircuts.  It’s unfortunate that music has come to that, but Grandy is willing to buck those trends, except for tight jeans because they are quite comfortable, and melt your face off with our brand of rock.

OOT: Any upcoming gigs?

HEATHER MAE: MRoom 9/22, Whiskey Tango 9/25, Bootleggers 10/30 (Halloween show), Freddies Tavern 11/06, Kildares Manayunk 11/19

Check out Grandy on Facebook & Myspace for more information and upcoming shows. www.myspace.com/GrandyMusic and for local Original bands that are looking to play bootleggers, send me an e-mail at www.myspace.com/BootleggersWednesday

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By Rob Nagy

CHRISSIEHYNDE-STONEPONY8-09-09-4-ROBNAGYIt has been more than three decades since the “Pretenders” exploded onto the music scene. Bordering on punk and pop, the Pretenders made a huge splash in America with their self titled 1978 release.  Anchored by the brash, captivating vocal talents of lead singer Chrissie Hynde, the Pretenders achieved what few bands are able to do, establish a signature sound that has always unmistakably been the Pretenders. Now with their latest release“Break up the Concrete”, their first in six year, the Pretenders have been hitting the concert trail hard keeping the band’s name in the public eye while proving they are still capable of delivering a great song.

The Pretenders were given birth in 1978 when Chrissie Hynde met up with original bassist Pete Farndon in London, England. Hynde had been bouncing around the globe the decade prior attempting to launch a musical career without much success. Farndon was impressed with Hynde’s songwriting and started working with her. In need of a guitarist, Farndon lured James Honeyman-Scott to record an early demo with both he and Hynde.  In the summer of 1978 Hynde, Farndon and Honeyman-Scott returned to the studio to record another demo this time with Nick Lowe of Rockpile producing two Pretender classics “Precious” and “Stop Your Sobbing”.  Soon after Martin Chambers joined the band on drums and the Pretenders line-up was intact.  In 1979 the Pretenders released their self-titled debut yielding the single “Brass in Pocket”, which went to number one in the U.K. Two years later they released their sophomore effort “Pretenders II” and The EP/ Extended Play album containing the U.K. and U.S. hits  “Message of Love” and “Talk of the Town” and a live version of “Precious,” recorded in New York’s Central Park furthering the bands commercial success and solidifying their place for years to come. By the latter part of this same year Farndon’s drug addiction was putting a strain on the band and he was fired in the spring of 1982 following the bands world tour. Two days after Farndon’s departure the band received the tragic news that James Honeyman-Scott had died in his sleep, the result of drug induced heart failure.  “You don’t know what the repercussions are through the remainder of your life”, recalls Chambers. “I have missed him every day since.  He was one of my best friends. We used to share bedrooms before we could afford a real room. You can imagine the hilarity that brought on. We were Laurel and Hardy. It was just great fun. That was just an unfortunate thing three and a half years into the group to lose, for Chrissie it was her right hand man in Jimmy.” To their credit Hynde and Chambers regrouped and went into the studio a month later to record a new record, which featured the song “Back on the Chain Gang”, in honor of the late Honeyman-Scott.  Guitarist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Foster were brought on board to complete what became the Pretenders next album “Learning to Crawl”. Tragedy struck days before the release of this album when Farndon was found dead in the bathtub from a drug overdose. Out of the ashes personal chaos, “Learning to Crawl” achieved much deserved critical acclaim and commercial success, with the single “Middle of the Road” and the band continued to tour until disbanding following their 1985 performance at Live Aid. Over the next decade a variety of musicians performed with Hynde releasing some successful singles including “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “I’ll Stand by You”.  Martin Chambers returned by the mid-nineties after abruptly departing the band a few years earlier.  Touring and recording continued highlighted by an appearance at the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995. Hynde went into seclusion for a few years resurfacing with new material, which was released independently to a lukewarm response from the general public. In 2006 the band released, in conjunction with Rhino Records, a four disc box set, which included over five hours of music and a DVD of rare live performances. Chambers is quick to acknowledge that Hynde has been and will always be the centerpiece for the band, without her there is no Pretenders. “More than ever now it’s been Chrissie’s band a long time”, says Chambers. “It’s a completely different set of rules now. Chrissies is basically in charge and that’s that. She has called it a tribute band, a tribute to Jim (James Honeyman-Scott) and Pete (Farndon), which is a way of looking at it. For me, the Pretenders died in 1982, that was the end of the true Pretenders.

With the bands current release “Break up the Concrete”, they are proving that they aren’t going away anytime soon. Featuring a stellar line-up of musicians, which in addition to Hynde includes guitarist James Walbourne, pedal steel player Eric Heywood, bassist Nick Wilkinson and Martin Chambers on drums, the Pretenders have produced twelve solid songs showcasing Hynde’s songwriting backed by her vocal talents, which have not diminished as she has again captured the Pretenders sound and spirit. “She not only can sing but she’s got a great voice”, says Chambers.  Above all she’s singing her own stuff mostly so it’s a pretty good combination. There’s not many like that and she’s pretty unique. I’ve always thought it’s good never to work with rubbish so I’m glad to be working with her still.” Chambers added, We’re pretty lucky to have come full circle for a band that’s the top of the heap as far as I’m concerned. I’m very proud to be associated with it. Standout songs includes “Boots of Chinese Plastic”, “The Nothing Maker”, “Don’t Lose Faith in Me”, Don’t Cut Your Hair”, “Loves a Mystery” and the title tracks “Break Up The Concrete”.  Chambers is very optimistic when looking toward the future. “We’ve got a bit of life in us yet”, says Chambers. “It’s difficult in this business to look more than a year or two ahead but I can certainly see another great record. It’s definitely on the cards as far as I can see. It’s only a question of coming up with a few good tunes.” Chambers is aware of the bands place in history and would like people to think of the Pretenders fondly. “I’d like people to say, ‘we were a true band. That they put their priorities in the right place, that their music came first.’ We made a good noise. Had some good times and had some people that really enjoyed it and I think that’s really as far as you can go with that.”

On August 09, 2009 the Pretenders played to packed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  With the seductive presence of Hynde at the helm, the band played a ninety minute set of all the Pretenders classics, which included “Message of Love”, “Brass in Pocket”, The Wait”, “Middle of the Road” and “Back on the Chain Gang” as well as a handful of selections from their latest release. The band was near perfect, sounding as lively and as fresh as when they first conquered America three decades ago. Based on tonight’s performance, the Pretenders are going to be around for a while. Their tour, which started in the U.S. in January of this year, has since found the band performing through-out Europe. They wind things down this fall in the U.S. before taking a much needed break over the winter months.  Look for a possible new release sometime late next year. For more info on the Pretenders or to order a copy of their new release go to www.Pretenders.com

Photos by Rob Nagy


By: Krista Doran

OOT_LostPint_promoshotTo me, there’s nothing better than a band who purposely doesn’t try to fit into the typical cover band mold. There are so many of those types of bands out there, and it’s always refreshing to see a band that makes an effort to be different. Once of those bands is Lost Pint.

I first met these guys a few years ago when I was still booking bands. From the very first time I spoke to guitarist Shawn Byrne, I knew I was dealing with professional, honest people. Lost Pint is a 4 piece band based in the Warminster / Hatboro area. Love and a huge enthusiasm for music have brought these four together who truly bring something special and unique to this area. Rather than playing the typical “party rock” stuff that everyone else does, Lost Pint really mixes it up by playing Classic and Modern Rock as well as Blues, Country and Irish Music.

Lost Pint has been together about 2 years now playing some really great rooms in the area, including Squirrel Murphy’s in Warminster, which is a really fun bar with an Irish ambience. They have become a regular act there, and many of their friends and followers will pack the place when they make an appearance. One reason that Lost Pint has been able to develop such a big following is because they play so many different types of music. As drummer Tom Cashman puts is, “We try to reach at least one person with every song.” These guys put a lot into their set lists, carefully choosing songs that best fit each of their playing styles which range quite a bit, but mesh perfectly. Shawn told me that whenever they play live they “can’t help but feed off the energy of the crowd.” It’s true – I have seen it myself. A Lost Pint show is like a big get together with friends from start to finish. Each member of the band does their part by getting the crowd involved and singing along, talking with everyone in between sets, asking their opinions on the music…they genuinely appreciate the fact that people come out just to see them. As Tom told me, “everyone who comes to see us deserves the attention we give to them. After all, they could have gone anywhere, but they came to see US, and we want to make them feel appreciated.”

Lost Pint also dabbles a bit in original music and has a great song called “My Life is a Cliché”, written by bass player Phil Williams. Phil wrote this song while going through a very difficult divorce several years back when he was in the Air Force. He told me, “I was in the shower one day feeling really, really bad and just started thinking about all the normal clichés…why is this happening?…what could I have done to make it better?…if I only knew then what I know now…and the song developed from there.” Phil is now remarried to a beautiful girl named Allison, so I’ll through another cliché out there for you Phil – “everything happens for a reason.”

These guys have become dear friends of mine and I am so proud of the hard work they have put into not only getting their name out there in many unique ways, but the obvious effort they put into their playing. They truly care about the product they put out, and it shows. You can catch Lost Pint at many fine establishments every month such as Squirrel Murphy’s, The Street Road Bar & Grill, E’s Irish Pub and many others – just check out their schedule at www.lostpint.com. The band will also be performing at a wonderful charity event on September 25th from 7 pm – 12 am called Special Equestrians, which is a Forbes Enterprise Award winner and non-profit Therapeutic Riding Program located at 2800 Street Road in Warrington, PA. The mission of this organization is to improve the physical, mental, and emotional well being of individuals with disabilities through the equine experience. The event is being held at Vereinigung Erzgebirge, located at 130 Davisville Road in Warminster. Tickets are $35 pp, and include food, beer and live entertainment.

Lost Pint is Shawn Byrne – Lead Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica, Phil Williams – Bass and Vocals, Dave Rosenblatt – Lead Guitar and Tom Cashman, Drums and Vocals. Check out live YouTube video at their site www.lostpint.com and definitely take the time to see a show. You will certainly be glad that you did.

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