I mentioned this week’s featured band a couple of weeks ago when my old bud, Mike McManamon, who used to sing for the band TNA, sent me a Facebook request and then a message about this new project he was fronting. He told me the name of the band was Cruel Season and I should check it out. Mike and I reconnected a few years back when I was playing bass for former Spread Eagle singer, Ray West, and we did a show with the revamped version of TNA. I always thought Mike had a killer voice for that ’80s stuff, but after hearing the song “Plagued,” their CD’s title track “Rise,” and a cover of the KISS classic “God Of Thunder,” it was evident that Mike’s voice is killer on modern rock too. This stuff was awesome!
According to their bio, Cruel Season “rises” from the proverbial ashes of Rockland County’s music scene and drives their brand of hard rock with something simple: their guitars! 2015 became the year that the quartet decided to raise its ugly head. And after finding out who was in the band with Mike, it really is an ugly head! Joining Mike in Cruel Season is guitarist and the CD’s producer and apparently a really good friend of my cousin Michelle, Justin Jurman from the band Autumn Hour, then there’s my bass brother, Doug Odell, who also played in the revamped TNA with Mike, Ted Poley’s Band and if I’m not mistaken he played bass for Ray West as well. And rounding the band out is drummer Roger Cohen, a Broadway and jazz veteran. The chemistry in these songs is undeniable and Mike is certainly singing his ass off.
A few weeks ago, the band released their debut full-length CD, RISE, by way of Dark Star Records/SONY. RISE was mixed and mastered by my brother, Tim Gilles, and Matt “Dasher” Messenger from Big Blue Meanie, and features guest vocals by actress Sally Struthers (yes, that Sally Struthers) on the song “Sordid.” RISE is available on CD at all major retail outlets and digital stores with streaming subscription services. You have to check Cruel Season out. It’s hard not to like these guys. No matter how ugly they are! Check them out at Facebook.com/CruelSeason.
NORTH JERSEY NOTES UPDATES:
My bud Mykill Vittoria from the band Fever Vein will be stepping in as lead singer for the band Ogre next weekend when the band performs with Generation Kill (featuring DMC from RUN DMC) at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ on Nov. 28. Mykill will be singing in place of our fallen brother Jonathan “JB” Ballard, who passed away earlier this year, to keep his memory alive. This should be an epic show for sure! For more info on this show, visit facebook.com/OgreofNJ.
My pals from the band Blameshift recently debuted their brand new single, “Tell Me It’s Alright,” which features We Are Harlot bass player Brian Weaver. The song is absolutely delicious! Singer Jenny Mann’s vocals are powerful as usual and I heard a rumor that former She Said Fire drummer Christina Vitucci is playing drums on the band’s upcoming EP. For more on Blameshift and their new single “Tell Me It’s Alright,” visit facebook.com/Blameshift.
And finally, I hate seeing venues go down, but a couple of weeks ago, we saw the demise of Philadelphia’s premier rock club, The Legendary Dobbs, on South Street. Yes, it’s nowhere near North Jersey, but it was a venue that accepted many of us North Jersey bands into their club knowing full well that it might be tough for us to draw in their club. It was also the home of many legendary acts like Nirvana, Cinderella, Britny Fox, Heaven’s Edge… the list goes on and on. I had the honor of playing at Dobbs a couple of times and on one of the nights, I remember Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain being there for a benefit and watching my band perform from the side of the stage. He looked back as he was watching me giving me the devil horns. That was awesome! Dobbs had apparently been duking it out with finances for quite some time and it finally caught up to them. Maybe some investor will come in, buy space and keep it the legendary rock club it always was. Well, good-bye for now, Legendary Dobbs.
That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!
Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!
Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.
NJN Concert Calendar:
11/20—Saint Caine/Rahway/Carry Out Your Dead/The Dirty Stayouts—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
11/21—SYKA/Dragonforce/Kamelot—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
11/21—Killcode/New Day Dawn/Ronin—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ
11/21—All Out War/Apparition/Spectral Voices/Decimate The Living/The Fallen Prodigy/Robots and Monsters/Red 100/DRAW THE LINE—Blackthorn 51, Elmhurst, NY
11/21—Gathering After Ashes/Sunday Brave/Another Distraction—QXT’s, Newark, NJ
11/21—Restitution/Rest Assured/My Flesh May Fail/Batter Up—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
11/21—Ascending From Ashes/Chevonne And The Fuzz/Seeking the Seeker/Strive/Roulette/Low roads Ghost/The Clocktown Giants/Triple Scoop/Black Out Paul/The Foxfires/Far Out Live/Brian Lowe/aReJay Ella/Upstate/Frogg Party/Lunatic Fringe/Parallel/The Subcultures—Ridgewood Elks Lodge, Ridgewood, NJ
11/22—Angel Vivaldi/Oraculum/Sleepless Empire/From The Depths/Ocean Of Illusions/Nautica Erotica—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
11/23—Dangerkids/Out Of Ashes/No Parallels/To The Skyline—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
11/24—Young Rising Sons/Night Riots/The Mosers—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ
11/27—Jersey Campfires Production Presents: Syka/Know Your Enemy/Common Wealth—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ
11/27—Old Bridge Militia Foundation Presents Comedy and Metal—VFW 575, Sayreville, NJ
11/28—Jersey Campfires Productions Presents: Rahway/Pool of Thornes/Shattered Skin/Bone Devil/Meatplow—The Boneyard, Atlantic City, NJ
11/28—Know Your Enemy/Lethal Affection/Barren/Tango Machina—Court Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ
11/28—Generation Kill (featuring DMC from RUN DMC)/Ogre—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
11/28—Wizards of Winter—Count Basie Theater, Red Bank, NJ
11/29—Jade Zero/Eels of Love/Strive/The Waiting Kids/Mikalyla—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
12/3—Atomic Beauty/Aurin/Sinsanity/Unkempt Herald/Paulus Hook—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
12/4—The Undead/Argyle Goolsby/Darrow Chemical Company/The Cryptkeeper Five/I Vampyre—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
12/5—American Angel/Ted Poley—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ