North Jersey Notes: The Briar Patch, Rutherford, NJ

I recently received an email from avid North Jersey Notes reader, Johnn Ventimiglia, telling me that he loves reading the column and that he appreciates that I keep readers like him updated on new bands on the Jersey music scene. Well, thank you, Johnn, for reading every week! That wasn’t all Johnn had to say, though. He did tell me that he’s been in and out of bands, and he’s finally in one worthy of a review, so I decided to give them a listen. The name of the band is The Briar Patch, and they’re not bad! If you were to ask me for a description, I would say that they sound like a garage rock band with a retro feel. I loved the groove on the song “Money Train,” the feel of “Rude,” and the arrangement and vocals on “Put You Down.”

The Briar Patch is a fairly new band, forming early last year by a bunch of guys who love to do two things in life—to rock and to party. The band is made up of some of North Jersey’s more talented musicians who thrive on putting on the greatest performance that they can in every live show. The Briar Patch is singer Martin Dull, guitarists Johnny Ventimiglia and Mark “The Groove” Hill, bassist Steve Padelski, and drummer Alex Zetelski.

The Briar Patch hasn’t found it easy to be a band from North Jersey trying to make it in the big city since there are an infinite number of bands trying to do the same thing across the Hudson. Apparently, when The Briar Patch takes the stage it’s somewhat of an anomaly. Audiences have said that by watching them you would feel like you were in a ‘time-warped Capricorn hit machine’ because of their shaggy hair, careless beards, worn-in look, and retro rock sound. You’ll have to check it out for yourself at to hear what they sound like or to find out where they’ll be playing next.

North Jersey Notes Updates

The guys from Ghost And The Big Sky recently received some good news! Their music will be featured in an Indie film called Laid Off, which was written and directed by Morristown native John Launchi and stars my former KTU co-worker, Mike Ryan. The film recently won an award at the Garden State Film Festival for “Best Comedy Film,” meaning that the movie is headed for some great things. Check out the trailer for the film at If you want to catch Ghost And The Big Sky live, you can see them at the Peapack All Day Music Festival in Peapack, NJ. For more info on this event and updates on Ghost And The Big Sky, log onto

Uncle Freak has released a video for their song “Cardboard Box” off of their CD, At Large. The song is one of those great feel-good songs that you can totally hear on the radio, obviously about a homeless man. You can catch the video on very soon.

And finally, does anyone remember that band Mikell’s Plot? Back when I started writing this column they were all over the place and then they disappeared. Well, the band has overcome their hardships, health scares, member changes, and have risen again under a new name with new music and a new guitarist. The band is now known as MK-Plot and you can check them out at to give them a listen or find out where they’re playing next!

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424 where you can also let me know where you’re performing next. 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

5/14—Long Gone Day—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
5/15—Bern And The Brights—The Lakeshore Inn, Hewitt, NJ
5/15—Downshallow—McKeages, West Milford, NJ
5/15—John Rango and Friends—The Mason Jar, Mahwah, NJ
5/15—Beside The Throne/Mainstream Rockers—Washington Theater, Washington, NJ
5/18—Eve To Adam/Black Water Rising—Santos Party House, NYC
5/21—ZO2—The Edge, Rocky Point, NY
5/22—ZO2—Rocks Off Concert Cruise, NYC
5/25—Killcode/Diablo Royale—Santos Party House, NYC
5/25—Bern and the Brights—Van Gogh’s Ear Café, Union, NJ
5/27—Evan Toth—The Brown Room at Congress Hall, Cape May, NJ
5/28—Uncle Freak—Casey O’Tooles, Wayne, NJ
5/29—Ghost and the Big Sky—Peakpack All Day Music Festival, Peapack, NJ
5/29—Will Killmore—Fiesta Cancun, Nanuet, NY
5/29—Black Water Rising—The Vibe Lounge, Rockville Centre, NY
6/4—Will Killmore—The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY
6/5—Christine Martucci—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ
6/11—The Briar Patch—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ