North Jersey Notes: Strive, Ronin, Full Scale Riot and More

Where have all these great North Jersey bands been hiding? I recently came across a great young band out of Dumont, NJ called Strive because I saw that they were playing with my buds from Corevalay at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ tonight (9/9), so I decided to give them a listen. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! As I listened to the songs “Cut The Chord,” “Leave It All Behind” and “Something In The Water,” I couldn’t help but to think how these kids have not been picked up yet by a label. Their songwriting is just absolutely brilliant! They have great hooks, amazing melodies, and the songs are so well-arranged, I am just baffled that they have not caught the ear of a big name. They certainly caught my attention! Unfortunately, I’m not a big name.

According to their bio, Strive started to take form around 2011 in the lovely North Jersey suburbs of Dumont. Their sound has been heavily compared to natural, guitar-driven rock bands like Foo Fighters and Paramore. In the spring of 2012, Strive would reach the finals for the Bamboozle Festival’s “Break Contest,” where they competed for a slot on one of the biggest music festivals on this side of the U.S. That summer, the boys spent their nights in the studio recording their self-titled debut EP, Strive, which they released that November. Their debut release garnered Strive a pretty decent fan base, but unfortunately, shortly after, the band broke up, which led to founding member and singer and guitarist, Ryan Flannery, going solo for a short period of time. Ryan seems to like being a part of band instead of being a solo artist, so he decided to revive Strive (hey, that rhymed!) with a couple friends from his hometown of Dumont. They were bassist Rick Maddolin and drummer Chris Reynolds.

The newly incarnated version of Strive is getting ready, if they’re not already doing so, to record their second EP this year. They also plan to take over the Tri-State Area with their live show. So, if you’re near Teaneck, NJ tonight (9/9), stop in at Mexicali Live to check these kids out! If you can’t make this show, you’ll need to check them out online at



First, congrats go out to my bro and Ronin guitarist, Steve Szucs, and his new bride, Laura, who tied the knot a few weeks ago. Wishing them years of happiness! As far as Ronin goes, they were recently added to the Trivium and Tremonti show at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on Sept. 23. They will also be performing at the Food Truck and Rock Carnival at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, NJ next weekend (9/19-9/20). For more on Ronin, visit

My bro Tim McMurtrie and his band Full Scale Riot recently had their song “I Can’t Breathe” off of their recent EP, Depopulation, added to the WSOU playlist and regular rotation. You can catch Timmy and the hardcore sounds of Full Scale Riot at the Grease Monkey Block Party in Brooklyn on Sept. 19. For more info, visit

And finally, I might have mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. So, John Kosco from Saint Caine will be teaming up with his old Dropbox bandmates, guitarist Lee Richards and bassist Jimmy P, to release a new Dropbox record in 2016. Just a refresher, Dropbox saw some success back in 2004 with their self-titled debut under Godsmack singer, Sully Erna’s label through Universal Records. John and Lee have decided to write some new material and release it as the new Dropbox. They’ve entered the studio to start tracking and are looking to their fans for support through a site called PledgeMusic, where fans can receive a copy of the new CD as well as other Dropbox swag for a simple donation. For more info on Dropbox’s Pledge Music campaign, visit

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:

9/9—Gothic Knights/Angra—B.B. King’s Blues Club, NYC

9/9—Reality Suite/Strive/Corevalay/Another Distraction/Me With Creeps—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

9/10—TOTH—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/10—Metalfier/Marty Friedman—The Gramercy Theatre, NYC

9/10—Planetrawk/One Hundred Thousand/18th and Addison—Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

9/11—Unearthly/KroW—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/12—Ken Morgan/Half Normal/Bluesfield Drive/Full Scale Riot/Causticaudio/Brother Sal and The Free Rain Band/The Test Band—FrogFest 2015, Parsippany, NJ

9/12—Robots and Monsters/Common Wealth/Moon Tooth/Unkempt Herald—Maxwell’s Tavern, Hoboken, NJ

9/12—Aurin/Adage/Lethal Affection/Flathead Sky —Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/12—Full Scale Riot—Grease Monkey Block Party, Brooklyn, NY

9/13—Battlecross/Ashes of Your Enemy/Monument of a Memory/That of a Lion—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/14—Prophets of Addiction/Blackout Stereo—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/18—End of an Era/Pop Will Eat Itself—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

9/18—Atomic Bitchwax—Bowery Electric, NYC

9/19—Full Scale Riot—Grease Monkey Block Party, Brooklyn, NY

9/19—The Festimony of The Damned/Ixion Lux/NUSE/Division 1.1/Framework/Thrashole/Killed at the Alter— Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

9/19—Anaka—Peggy O’Neill’s, Brooklyn, NY

9/19—Primadonnaz—The Boneyard Bar and Grill, Atlantic City

9/19—End of an Era/Pop Will Eat Itself/Die Warzau—Santos Party House, NYC

9/19—Food Truck and Rock Carnival Day 1—Oak Ridge Park, Clark, NJ

9/20—Food Truck and Rock Carnival Day 2—Oak Ridge Park, Clark, NJ

9/23—Ronin/Wilson/Tremonti/Trivium—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

9/25—Mirror Eyes/The Clocktown Giants/Answer Infinnity—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

9/25—Rahway/Ace Frehley/Brand of Julez/Knucklebone—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

9/26—Hometown Anthem/Aspen It Is/BeAware—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

10/1—Pralaya/The Binary Code/One Hundred Thousand—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ