North Jersey Notes: Only Living Boy

Only Living BoyI was recently turned onto this band out of Hackettstown, NJ, called Only Living Boy through an email from a friend of mine. They’re a great band with some excellent songwriting skills. After listening to songs like “Worthless,” “My Friend,” and “Homesick,” over and over again, I thought that Only Living Boy kind of reminded me of Pearl Jam a little bit. I don’t mean older Pearl Jam, but the kind of band Pearl Jam turned into, which is a more blues rock sound with softer undertones. Okay, I guess you can call it folk rock!

Lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter, Joe Cirotti, drummer Trevor Newcomb, and bassist Eric Curley have been playing together in different incarnations of Only Living Boy as they honed in on their skills in basement jams. It wasn’t until 2005, when they started gigging under the name Rabid Roy, that they would perform hundreds of gigs throughout the New Jersey and New York region. Three years later in 2008, the band reinvented themselves and took on the name Only Living Boy, after the 1970 Simon & Garfunkel song, “Only Living Boy In New York.” The name change represented a change in attitude, songwriting, and musicianship. Only Living Boy would release their self-titled debut CD in August 2008 with a steady diet of tour dates to follow in support.

Only Living Boy released their new single, “Worthless,” just this month and is currently on tour to support their latest effort. You can call your local rock station—oh, yeah, there are none in NYC—so, call WDHA and request “Worthless” by Only Living Boy today or log onto to find out where the “Boys” are playing next!

A couple of weeks ago, I ventured down to my favorite North Jersey haunt, Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ, to check out a great line-up put together by WDHA’s Scott Evil, which was supposed to celebrate the release of Black Water Rising’s self-titled debut CD. Only problem was that the boys from Black Water Rising were not releasing their CD in April like they had planned. After speaking to singer Robbie Traynor before the show, I found out that Black Water Rising is in the final stages of inking a deal with a major label that I don’t want to mention right now because I don’t want to be a jinx, but this will give BWR the world wide distribution that they were looking for. Unfortunately, this pushes back their CD release to July. So, needless to say, this night was no longer a CD release party, but Black Water Rising’s set was still strong and tight as always! Catch them at The Trash Bar in Brooklyn, NY, on May 2 or catch up on Black Water Rising news at

Back to the great line-up put together by Scott Evil: The night was opened by my new favorite North Jersey band Piston Driven! How can you not love that name? Especially with my old drummer Scotty O on the throne! Anyway, Piston Driven came out with their guns blazing and full of energy! This was actually the first time that I would see these boys live and this would be the first time that Dingbatz would get to see Fern as Piston Driven’s frontman. Joey “Smokes,” AJ, J Heintz, and Scotty O, to me, were quite the surprise of the night as they turned on their “A” game and rocked it! I think that Fern is a great addition to the band and will take these guys even further! Give their new song, “No Win, No Out” featuring Fern on vocals, a listen on

And finally, making their return on this night was Saint Caine. John Kosco and his boys haven’t played in this area in about a year since the departure of guitarist Joey “Smokes” Wilkinson of Piston Driven. Saint Caine made their return with the debut of their new guitar player Vince, whom I found out later in the night, was playing onstage for the first time ever! Yes, Vince was a performing virgin and what a night to pop your cherry! He played well and it was good to see John Kosco, John Freeman, and Chris Hamilton on that stage again! The night’s line-up definitely lived up to its hype and it would be great to see more bills like this! That was a hint, Scott Evil!

That’s all for now! And remember, 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!

NJN Concert Calendar:
4/23—Queen V—Don Hill’s, NYC
4/22—Mercury Morning—Court Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ
4/24—Rahway—The Cup, Linden, NJ
4/25—Steve Brown and The Fallout—Shannon Rose, Clifton, NJ
4/25—Eve to Adam—Milly’s Tavern, Manchester, NH
4/25—Rosewood Ghosts—Bitter End, NYC
4/25—Atom Strange—Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY
4/25—Spoiler NYC—Ding Batz, Clifton, NJ
4/28—Hybrid Dawn/Shadows Lie—Crash Mansion, NYC
4/28—Atom Strange—Corio, NYC
5/2—Black Water Rising—Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY
5/9—Ippy and the Project—Dublin Pub, Morristown, NJ
5/9—Rahway—L’Amour, Staten Island, NY
5/9—Mercury Morning—The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY
5/14—Only Living Boy—Bar 46, Hackettstown, NJ