North Jersey Notes: The Bangs

The BangsI recently got an email from a guy named Gary who said that he represented a band called The Bangs. Now, usually when I get an email, I would go to the band’s MySpace page to give them a listen. In this case, I wasn’t expecting what I was about to hear. It was the legendary Jersey band, The Bangs, and not some new band with the same name! So, now it looks as though Trixter isn’t the only Jersey band reuniting this week!

The Bangs, who were originally formed back in 1998 in the area, is comprised of singer Gary Roupenian, guitarists Armand Siciliano and Bob Schaffer, bassist Frank Sofio, drummer John Mansma, and saxophonist James Heath, who would join the band later on. The Bangs started their music careers out by selling out local clubs in the Northern New Jersey area, which would eventually lead them to making their way down to South Jersey as well! They would quickly become a staple to the South Jersey music scene by selling out places like the Fast Lane in Asbury Park, NJ. The Bangs got so popular back in the late ‘80s that even in a recent interview, Sayreville, NJ’s, own Jon Bon Jovi said that The Bangs were one of the bands that most impressed him in the music scene back then. After releasing their first EP, The Bangs would receive their first airplay on the old WNEW radio station, which would help them grow in popularity. The Bangs got so popular that they were asked to open for National Acts all over the Northeast region. Some acts included Chuck Berry, The Pretenders, Pat Benatar, The Stray Cats, Iggy Pop, David Johansen, etc. Unfortunately, with the constant demand for the band and constant changing of band members, they found it increasingly hard to hold it together, and broke up after releasing three EPs.

Well, after 20 years, The Bangs are back at it, and they bring their show to The Junkyard in Rochelle Park, NJ, this Saturday night, Nov. 29. For those who don’t remember The Bangs, you can give them a listen at


There was a band that I featured probably around a year ago called Shameless Children. Well, I recently received an email from the band stating that their CD, Behind Closed Doors, is finally done, and that they’re going to start gigging. I have to be brutally honest, when I first read the email, I did not remember the band at all until I looked at the pictures on their MySpace page. I have to tell you, this band went through a total makeover on their image and music from what I remember of them. They look and sound much darker and heavier. You need to check them out! For those of you who don’t remember my feature on them, they’re a female fronted band that totally rocks! They’re playing down at Crash Mansion in NYC this Saturday night, Nov. 29! Give them a listen at

There’s this band, Syrym, from Oakland, CA, who’s been in touch with me through email for the past year with constant updates about the band. Syrym features members from the ‘80s band, Babylon A.D., which is probably the reason why they keep reaching out to me, because my singer is Ray West, formerly of Spread Eagle. Anyway, their music isn’t bad at all! A little dated, but pretty good. Well, good enough to get picked up by Sirius Satellite stations like Octane, anyway! Give Syrym a listen at

And finally, speaking of my singer, Ray West, who will be doing a mini-reunion tour with Spread Eagle again in December, Ray, myself, and the rest of our Hostel Inc. brood just want to remind everyone that this Friday night, Nov. 28, we will be opening the Trixter homecoming over at Dexter’s in Riverdale, NJ (Check out my interview with the boys from Trixter). Buy your tickets now if they’re even still available at I know, a couple of cheap plugs! Who cares! We need to sell tickets! Or you can simply email me to get these tickets if they’re still available! Other than that, have a Happy Turkey Day and don’t drink and drive!

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!