North Jersey Notes: Uncle Freak, A Midnight Tragedy & Human

Uncle Freak—Plainfield, NJ

This week, I’m going to do something in this column that I haven’t done since I started writing it nine years ago, and that’s feature three different bands instead of writing the same updates every week. Besides, I had no updates emailed to me this week. Anyway, the first band that I’m featuring is called Uncle Freak. I got an email from bassist Hal Peddie, recently, giving me the lowdown about the group.

It turns out Uncle Freak is a newly formed original rock band based out of Plainfield, NJ. All five of its members have been playing in cover bands for years, and finally decided to give original music a chance. They’re about to drop their debut CD, At Large, this coming March, and seem really excited about it. The members of Uncle Freak have a wide age range that spans from the young age of 23 to as old as 45 years of age, but age is just a number when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll! Making up Uncle Freak’s line-up is singer Gary Source, guitarist Joe Smolinski, bassist Hal Peddie, keyboardist Jeff Rufalo, and drummer Chris Fuentes.

I did go to Uncle Freak’s MySpace page to give a few of their songs a listen, and they weren’t bad. I would consider them a little bit more classic rock sounding. My favorite track was a song called “Cardboard Box,” which I can totally see a video for. Another song that caught my attention was a song called “Canivor.” It was a simple guitar riff and was lyrically about some whore. How can you go wrong there? Check out Uncle Freak when you get a chance to get info on their upcoming CD At Large, and to find out where they’re playing next.

A Midnight Tragedy—Kearny, NJ

My second featured band this week has made quite a name for themselves already with spots on the Vans Warped Tour and the prestigious Bamboozle Festival. The name of the band is A Midnight Tragedy, and from what I’m listening to right now on, those slots that they earned on those festivals were well deserved. Their songs “The Devil Wears White,” “The Last Slow Dance,” and “One Last Chance” exert so much energy that I got tired just listening to them. An A Midnight Tragedy live show must be exhausting! Am I getting too old?

A Midnight Tragedy formed in lovely Kearny, New Jersey, back in 2005 and their catchy and enticing music has really made them a force to be reckoned with on this North Jersey music scene. Their songwriting style really gives them no restriction as to where their music can go. Since their incarnation, A Midnight Tragedy was able to make a name for themselves outside of their home territory of New Jersey by booking their own New England Tour in 2007 and then a full East Coast tour in 2008. This hard working bunch of lads, A Midnight Tragedy is singer Dallas Destruction, guitarist Ryan Tragedy, bassist Johnny Venom, keyboardist Dave, and drummer Danny.

A Midnight Tragedy is currently in the studio working on the follow-up to their EP, Reinventing The End, with producer Will Francis of the Seattle-based band Aiden. Keep an eye out for that one, which should be out by this summer. For now, you can listen to A Midnight Tragedy and find out where they’re playing next!

Human—Bronx, NY

My third and final featured band of the week is out of the Boogie Down Bronx simply called Human. I have to tell you, after listening to the energy of A Midnight Tragedy and then going over to listen to Human, who listed themselves as a progressive metal band, I fell asleep. The music of Human wasn’t terrible, but the vocals were so monotone that it just bored me to death. Then again isn’t prog-rock supposed to bore you to death?

Human is the brainchild of guitarist and singer James Kalevas. James wrote many songs through the years, but wanted to make sure that he had the right musicians in place to play them, and who would also appreciate the direction that he was headed with the music. Drummer James Jones played with Kalevas in a previous project, and was whisked away by Kalevas to join Human the second he found out that Jones was available. The duo began writing and recording in the summer of 2007. It wasn’t until the end of 2007 when they added bassist Dennis Torrent to the band after many people auditioned.

Human completed their first CD, Tragic Paradoxes, in 2008 with songs like “Idiot Child,” “Jesus Christ Freak,” and “Live For You.” Maybe singer James Kavelas wrote those songs with such undertones that not even I can understand, but someone who gets his style of music will. Human might not be for me, but you guys might like it. Give them listen.

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! Also, if you haven’t checked out my podcast yet, do it now at

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

NJN Concert Calendar

2/24—Steve Brown—The Copper Bottom, Florida, NY
2/25—Apathy—Crocodile Rock, Allentown, PA
2/25—Silent Civilian—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJAA
2/26—Trixter/Lipstick Magazine—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ
2/26—Black Water Rising—Juggs-N-Strokers, Merrick, NY
2/27—Diablo Royale—Crash Mansion, NYC
2/27—(Damn) This Desert Air)—Sounds Asylum, Goshen, NY
3/3—Uncle Freak—The Whiskey Bar, Hoboken, NJ
3/5—Black Water Rising/Moth Eater/Piston Driven/Brand New Sin—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
3/5—ZO2/Kix—Crazy Donkey, Farmingdale, NY
3/5—Uncle Freak—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ
3/6—With Daggers Drawn/God Forbid/Kittie—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
3/6—John Rango and Friends—The Mason Jar, Mahwah, NJ
3/10—Charetta—Ace of Clubs, NYC
3/13—Uncle Freak—The Crossroads, Garwood, NJ
3/12—Black Water Rising—Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY
3/13—Rahway—R Bar, NYC
3/13—Apathy—Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ
3/14—A Midnight Tragedy—Velocity 17, Maywood, NJ