Local Noise: Only Living Boy

Only Living Boy is a group made up of true friends, ones who grew up together and spent their lives as musical compadres. Led by principle songwriter, guitar player and singer Joe Cirotti, the band has honed its sound through extensive touring, failed record deals and a love of performing live. Joe is joined in the band by Eric Curley on bass and backing vocals and Trevor Newcombe on the drums.

“We’ve all been playing together in various incarnations our whole life,” Joe says. “We grew up together. After years of jamming and dicking around, it was very clear to us what meant the most to us in life: Playing music, particularly with each other. So we formed Rabid Roy, our first band, around 2005. After playing the New Jersey and New York circuit incessantly for about two years, we ended up getting picked up by a couple of crooks with an indie label that will remain nameless. We then changed our name to Only Living Boy and focused on what matters most: Playing shows.

“Coming out of a shitty legal situation—to put it lightly—we started recording our debut LP. The music evolved from a rock and roll, funk thing to a slightly darker more intense hard rock and blues thing. Our bread and butter has always been, and remains, our live show. There are few things in this world I am sure of but our energy and apparent love of playing live is one of them.”

Their shared background leads to a very cohesive working relationship since they share many of the same influences. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Queens Of The Stone Age, Primus, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Stooges and Radiohead are a few of the many they cite as favorites. Joe usually writes the basic song then presents it to the band. After Eric and Trevor add their input, the music has often morphed into something different, and something that Joe considers unachievable by himself. “Their musical input, energy and style are something I wouldn’t trade for anything,” he says.

One of the tracks that has become a favorite among Only Living Boy’s fans include “My Friend,” an ode Joe wrote about his dog. It speaks to anyone who has ever loved and lost a friend. Another popular song is “Demon Shuffle,” which is on the band’s recently released sophomore album. And one of the group member’s favorites to play live is the straight ahead rock and roll track “Hide Nothing.”

Joe’s motivation as a songwriter comes from things he encounters in his daily life. “I particularly draw my inspiration for songs from all kinds of things,” he relates. “Everyday hardships, love lost and found, the swollen and festering importance put on material gain, life and death, and just feeling horny. The juices flow when they want, I guess. I can’t say I’ve ever been happy with anything I’ve written when it felt forced. I’ve always felt my style was more literal than abstract. They can be interpreted in different ways, but the emotion and vibe behind it is pretty plain and easily understood. It’s very in the ‘now.’”

The group plans on touring extensively in support of the new album, including some dates with some good friends. Paul Ritchie, the guitarist and songwriter with The Parlor Mob, produced and engineered “Hide Nothing,” and became close with the band, and has invited them to share the stage at venues such as the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

The group’s moniker actually came from the classic Simon And Garfunkel song “Only Living Boy In New York.” Strangely, even though they don’t share a sound with the legendary duo, the song struck a chord. “It just came on the radio on the way to a gig, and we looked at each other and said, ‘yup,’” Joe recalls. “It always instilled a feeling of solitude and empowerment, which is exactly what we all felt at the time of our botched record deal. Plus, I thought it just plain sounded cool. We don’t sound anything like Simon And Garfunkel, so I thought it was okay to use it.”

Touring and the hardships that often ensue can drive a band apart but, in the case of Only Living Boy, it has only cemented their relationship and made them more determined to reach their goals. “The road is usually somewhat of a blur,” laughs Joe. “Our trailer full of gear was totaled by a drunk driver in New Orleans though. T-boned at an intersection in the French quarter. Spent the next two and a half weeks packed like sardines in the van with all the equipment. Our plan is to take this thing as far as we can go. We want nothing more than to be able to play music for the rest of our lives. Everywhere, anywhere and all the time.”

To get more information about Only Living Boy, and to find out more about their music and upcoming tour plans, you can access the usual places, as Joe explains. “You can find us on Facebook, MySpace, iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, BandCamp.com and virtually any of the Internet music sites,” he says. “But our shows are where I’d encourage you to pick one up. And we do play shows. Over 100 from New York to Chicago to Austin to the Deep South last year alone.”

You can also check out onlylivingboy.com or contact the band through their management at mrchyb@gmail.com.