North Jersey Notes: A Clever Con, Sanitarius, Dead Fish Handshake and More!

I did some work a couple of weeks ago over at Aarius Studios in Sayreville for my buds, Joe and Crystal Cattano, and I met this ‘clever’ new band out of Central Jersey, who happened to be showcasing their goods on that afternoon. The name of the band was A Clever Con and they were amazing and quite an energetic bunch of young lads! They kind of reminded me of 311 for some reason. I went to their website (, where I got to hear the songs “Able Danger,” “Heroin(e),” and “60 Amp Disconnect,” and these songs are just as lively as the band is. I was actually lucky enough to hear another song live that they told me was called “Katy Perry’s Sex Tape.” I don’t know if that’s the actual title for it or not, but the song still rocked!

A Clever Con was formed in the summer of 2006 by singer and ‘barefooted’ guitarist, Mike Dietz, and longtime friend and guitarist Ryan Marsa. Both Dietz and Marsa went through many versions of the band, but recruited drummer TJ “Smash” Horner in April 2008 through an ad on Craigslist, which is the same way that I found my current band, BlackOcean, so don’t knock it! A Clever Con would break their stage cherry in August 2008 with a gig in Philly, which led to regional gigs in the NJ, PA and NY area. The final piece to the A Clever Con puzzle was completed just last year with the addition of bass player Tommie Riccio, whom was also found through an ad on Craigslist. A Clever Con released their debut EP, The Robot, back in 2009, and it was received with such positive feedback that it landed the band on the 2009 and 2010 Warped Tour!

You can’t miss A Clever Con live either because their trademarked black shirts and lime green ties won’t be found anywhere else! Trust me when I tell you that these guys get the music business! They understand image, music, and ways to market their product! On some weekends, you can find A Clever Con in some local bar playing a night of covers to make some money to fund the original version of the band—which is amazing! They also told me that instead of selling tickets to play at a large venue, they’ve chosen to sell their own tickets to put on their own shows at VFW halls, this way they make their own money from their own fans. I have to hand it to these guys for doing this right! This is a recipe for success and I hope many other unsigned bands reading this can follow this because, trust me, it works! A Clever Con continues to write new material and hope to post some new music very shortly. You can check them out at


I just read some amazing news on my email! It turns out the guys from NYC’s Sanitarius just landed an amazing gig at B.B. King Blues Club in NYC on May 14. I say amazing because who they will be opening for is simply unbelievable! Sanitarius will be opening for the legendary Japanese hair band, Loudness. That’s right! The band that brought us “Rock ‘N’ Roll Crazy Nights” is back! For you youngsters scratching your heads right now, just YouTube Loudness! For more info on this amazing show, log onto

My bro Rob Ferreira from Dead Fish Handshake recently posted a trailer for his band’s upcoming second CD, The Sixes, on my Facebook page. What’s even better is that the album is being produced by Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery. Yes, I said Clint “F**kin’” Lowery! So far, the clip sounds amazing and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the Dead Fish Handshake CD! For more info on The Sixes and to see the trailer, check out

And finally, Zenergy Entertainment is putting on one hell of a show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on April 28. My boy Smitty and his crew have gotten the New Jersey legends Prophet back together for one night. Prophet hasn’t performed together in 20 years and in fact, I think that one of my really old bands might’ve even opened for one of Prophet’s last shows at Studio One in Newark, NJ. Also performing that night will be Lords Of Mercy, Raftree, and Circle Of Insanity. Tickets are only $15, so be sure to get them now! This should be a spectacular event with the Prophet reunion alone! For more info on this show, log onto

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, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!

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

Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.

NJN Concert Calendar:

4/13—Christine Martucci/The Aster Pheonyx Project—Don’t Tell Mama, NYC

4/13—Merauder/No Holds Barred/G.F.Y./Unite Resist/Bottom Out/Sawed Off/Internal Warfare—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/14—Our Black Friday—The Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ

4/14—Midnight Mosaic—Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn, NY

4/14—Cycle Of Pain/Black Water Rising/Lords Of Mercy—Lucky Seven, Keyport, NJ

4/16—Steve Brown and the Fallout—Sands Casino, Bethlehem, PA

4/19—Hope Kills Fear—The Delancey, NYC

4/19—M-16/Deathalizer/FireHaze/BoundAlive/INC (Indestructible Noise Command)—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/20—Condition Critical/Evil Eye Pandas/Fistacuffs—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ

4/20—Seven Witches/Sleepy Hollow/Single Bullet Theory/Famous Monsters—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/21—Scarlet Carson/Blue Oyster Cult—Bergen County Performing Arts Center, Englewood, NJ

4/21—Subzero/Homicidal/Brick By Brick/Undivided/Troublesome—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/22—Spread Eagle—Bowery Electric, NYC

4/22—I Set My Friends On Fire/Greeley Estates/A Bullet For Pretty Boy/A Lot Like Birds—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/26—Symphony Of Malice/Mindswitch/Ashes Of Your Enemy—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/27—InDisguise/Friends of Bill Wilson/Exit 117—The Lucky Seven, Keyport, NJ

4/28—Prophet/Lords Of Mercy/Raftree/Circle Of Insanity—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

4/28—FLATUS/The Wait/Mental Decay/Lakesie Drive—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/29—Delusions/Spies Like Us/Drowning In Your Sleep/Beyond Dishonor/Sever The King/Portraits/Shake That Bear—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ