Local Noise: The Boomers: Not Quite Dead Yet

“The Boomers play ‘AmeriComica’ music, original classic rock with humorous lyrics dealing with issues of older Americans,” laughs Joe Grillo, the visionary of the new band known as The Boomers. “Think the Beatles-meets-Frank Zappa. We combine absurdity, rock and roll and multimedia for a truly unique visual, aural, and intellectual experience. We¹re too young for Medicare and too old for chicks to care. We’re the Boomers and we¹re not quite dead yet!”

Indeed, for aging rockers that aren’t ready to pack it in, The Boomers present a show they can both relate to and laugh to. In a sense, their new CD has created a new genre. “Reactions have been great,” says Joe. “People really love the music because the sound of it brings them back in time to their youth, while the lyrics are pertinent and funny today. The band is a ton of fun and people really have a different experience due to the fact that we use multimedia to reinforce the jokes.”

Joe’s musical history dates back to his early days on the New Jersey music scene. He started his career playing Polish weddings at local Elks Clubs and backing up animal acts for the traveling circus de jour. As he puts it, he dropped out of art school in the ‘70s and became a “full-time non-working musician.” After several rock band successes and disasters, Joe decided to move to Atlantic City. There he met Dennis Carmella, a well-known drummer/comedian and house painter. Joe and Dennis toured all over the continent of Greenland in 1984 with Sam The Band, playing music and painting igloo basements. When the work dried up they returned to the U.S. Joe started a Bar Mitzvah band and Dennis became the lead singer of the Party Animals. During this period, Joe invented a new style of Klezmer clarinet technique while Dennis spent most of his days dressed in a banana costume and handing out free candy to underprivileged college students.

In 2003 Joe met keyboardist Bobby Brescia playing accordion at a mob wedding that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. Joe instantly fell in love with Bob’s fluid approach to Tango and modern Guito, and immediately asked him to join his Klezmer band. When the Klezmer band’s drummer died from swine flu, Joe asked Dennis to fill in. One night after coming home from an unusually annoying gig, Dennis suggested to Joe that they put together a new band and do nothing but complain about everything. Joe thought, “That’s a really stupid idea, I like it,” and the Boomers were born.

Dennis called his friend Joey Lafragola and asked him to leave his lawn care day job and join the band. Joey didn’t want to give up the benefits, but joined the band part time anyway. “Joey plays fabulous rock and roll guitar, and it’s such a pleasure to have a talented musician like him who can play great licks and give you valuable lawn care tips,” comments Joe.

Dennis called another old friend, Guy Peterson, and asked him to play bass. “We really don’t know much about Guy because he is a very private person and rarely answers his phone,” says Joe. “We don’t know his work experience, medical history, favorite color, sexual preference or his marital status. We do know that he’s one smoking musician and a great singer.”

The Boomers made their debut recently at McCloone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park and have a number of appearances scheduled throughout the area. Thus far, a few of the songs have gotten a particularly strong reaction. “People really seem to like ‘I’ll Never Retire’ and ‘Losing It,’ Joe relates. “I’m kind of fond of them myself. Also, ‘Little Blue Pill’ is very danceable. Lyrically, I never run out of ideas because I’m living the farce every day. Most of my songs lampoon all the trials and tribulations of getting older.”

Joe is the primary songwriter in the group. “I usually wake up about 3:00 a.m. with a stupid idea,” he laughs. “I try not to wake up my wife and go into my studio and write it down. I usually write the lyrics first, and then write the melody. I actually score the melody so that I don’t forget it and I really suck at piano. Then I come up with the chords and write a basic chord chart. I try not to make too much noise because by the time I get to the music it’s usually about 4:30 a.m. and my son gets pissed if I wake him up that early.”

As far as the future, The Boomers have a straightforward goal. “We want to totally dominate the active adult community circuit,” states Joe. For further information about the band and to order the CD and check on upcoming dates, check out seetheboomers.com.