North Jersey Notes: West Gate

West GateI found a pretty cool band on Dingbatz’s website, of all places, recently. The name of the band is West Gate, and they’re a hard rock band out of South Orange, NJ, who without a doubt has the chops to run with the best on the North Jersey music scene. I logged onto West Gate’s page to hear what they sounded like, and I really liked what I heard. They would sound great on K-Rock. Songs like “Escape Artist,” “Falling Farther,” and “Redemption” all have that commercial feel to it and not to mention are riff-tastic!

The members of West Gate feel that they can fit in just about anywhere, especially in a music scene that is saturated with VFW-playing emo kids, chic indie-rockers, and uninspiring Metal and cover bands. West Gate feels that they create a mix of interesting guitar solos and powerful vocals with a driving rhythm section with catchy hooks. West Gate’s debut EP, Selah, was produced by Grammy Award winning producer, John Seymour, helping them dig their heels even further into the music scene. The band formed in November 2006 when guitarist Kurt Andrews and bassist Rob Struck searched for a side project to work on. Kurt gave singer Pete Kelly a demo of this new project with the intent to find a new singer. Pete liked the demo so much that he recorded vocals for the new track that same day, and played the track for drummer and mutual friend George Roskos. Later that day, they were both in the band. Before you knew it, West Gate went from side project to primary focus as Rob and Kurt watched their former bands fall apart. They finalized the current West Gate lineup with finger licking good new guitarist, Ken Abel.

West Gate’s energetic live shows have been the driving force behind their growing following. For the past year and a half, West Gate has rocked the stages of NYC’s Knitting Factory and Arlene’s Grocery, Asbury Park, NJ’s legendary Stone Pony, and Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ. Here in 2008, they earned an opening slot for national act, Flaw, over at Dexter’s in Riverdale, NJ. Look out for West Gate because you’ll be hearing more about them before you know it. Check them out at


There was a big gig just added to the Piston Driven MySpace page, For those living under a rock, Piston Driven is the new North Jersey band featuring Joey Smokes from Dropbox/Saint Caine, Scotty O from my old band Smoke Star, and AJ from Marc Rizzo/Connected. Turns out, the boys have landed themselves a show down at the House of Blues in Atlantic City opening the night for the New Breed Fighters, which is an M.M.A. amateur fighting league. That sounds like an amazing night! Piston Driven has also posted a newly recorded and mastered version of their song “What’s It To Ya,” and it’s just simply ear candy! Go over to to check it out for yourself!

There’s some sad news coming from the Split Vision camp. It looks like after less than a year of gigging, writing, and recording together, Split Vision and their singer Christian have parted ways leaving Split Vision once again singer-less! The split was amicable due to the usual thing; musical differences, of course, but both parties feel the move was for the best. If you’re interested in singing for Split Vision, then contact them at, or just go over there to hear their music to see if you have what it takes to sing for this powerful metal band!

And finally, has anyone heard the new Black Water Rising tracks on MySpace? Did I mention that I loved these guys? The new songs are called “No Halos” and “Burn It Down,” and they totally kick ass! Singer Robbie Traynor sounds great on these songs. It’s no wonder these guys are getting the attention that they are. It’s all deserved! They work their asses off, write great songs, and really know how to market themselves! Best of all, they’re all nice and cuddly! Now, will you guys just release your CD already? Check them out at

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey and you want some exposure, send your demos and press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424. No cover bands, please!

Just remember, we’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts.