North Jersey Notes: Vajra, Scars of Envy, Roy Brunston, and more

VAJRA—New York City

One of the bands I’ve been meaning to check out, but have been reluctant in finding time to, was Dave Sussman’s new band, Vajra. Dave was the bass player in Panzie* and guitarist for Bile. Well, it looks like Dave is back on guitar for this hard rocking female-fronted metal band. I finally gave the band a listen on their website,, where I got to hear songs like “3.14,” “The Apple” and “Erode The Will.” Damn, this girl can sing! Should singer Annamaria Pinna be fronting a hard rock and heavy metal band? I’m still trying to figure that out, but holy hanna! She can sing her ass off!

According to their bio, Vajra was formed by composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Annamaria Pinna, during her self-imposed exile from India. She’s the child of a former monk and school teacher, and was encouraged to learn about the world around her and to ask questions. She learned to believe that there is divinity in creativity. A little tidbit about Annamaria is that she has a neurological condition called synesthesia, where she attaches colors and shapes to sound. That’s a pretty interesting condition to have if you ask me, especially from a creative standpoint. Vajra’s music is hauntingly dark and hypnotic, weaving Eastern Indian themes with melodic, progressive rock, creating sinister yet mysterious lullabies. Joining Annamaria in Vajra are my bud and guitarist Dave Sussman, bassist Adam Louis Klein, and a dude named Gustavo on the drums.

Vajra’s debut CD, Pleroma, was released in the summer of 2012. According to Annamaria, Pleroma is an “exploration in paradoxes” i.e. East vs. West, Soft vs. Pummeling, Female vs. Male, and includes drummer Blake Fleming from The Mars Volta. Vajra is quickly generating a buzz on the music scene after selling out their first show in November 2011 at The Bowery Electric in NYC. You can catch Vajra live at the Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ on November 6. For more info on Vajra, visit


My bros from Scars of Envy are looking for a new drummer. Apparently, the drummer they were working with became a rock star without the stardom. So, they are looking for a thunderous metal drummer who can practice once or twice a week with one to two shows a month, and you must have transportation and your own gear! The future Scars of Envy drummer must also have an “A+” attitude and be a down-to-earth jokester, just like the rest of the band. If not, look elsewhere! For more on Scars of Envy, visit

Speaking of seeking bandmates, former members of Audio Empire, bassist Roy Brunston and guitarist Dan Neary, are still looking for a singer for their new project. They are looking for someone who can sing, has a pro attitude, the lead singer swagger, and dedication to be a rock star. Will this be Audio Empire 2.0? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! If you’re interested, contact Roy at

And finally, a huge show announced for Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Buckcherry will be performing their CD, 15, in its entirety to celebrate the album’s tenth anniversary, but what makes this a huge show is that my boys Brand of Julez will be opening along with my band, Rahway. The last time Rahway and Brand of Julez shared the stage together was at Starland opening for Ace Frehley last year. Well, we’ll be together again to blow the roof off the place! If you can’t make that show, the night after Thanksgiving, November 25, at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, once you’ve slept off your tryptophan, me and the Rahway guys will be opening for the legendary Joe Lynn Turner from Rainbow and Deep Purple! This show will be a sure sell out! So, get your babysitter booked now! For more info or discounted tickets to the Buckcherry or the Joe Lynn Turner show, 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:

10/7—EDEN/Elohim—Webster Hall, NYC

10/13—Malevolent Creation/Incantation/Dying Eyes Of Sloth—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/13—Combichrist/All Hail The Yeti/Panzie*–The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY

10/14—SavFest 2016 (feat. Rahway, BoneDevil, MamaKidd, King’s Chamber)—Whiskey Tango, Philadelphia, PA

10/14—Michael Graves/The Flux Machine/Endall/Rochambeau/Criminal Syndicate/Empire in Descent—Blackthorn 51, Elmhurst, NY

10/15—The Fiendz/I.D.K./Satterthwaite/The Accelerators—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ

10/15—SavFest 2016 (feat. Mark Evans of Heaven’s Edge, Morningside Lane, Swampbox, Wretch, Power Theory)—Whiskey Tango, Philadelphia, PA

10/19—Jersey Campfires Production Presents Strive/Sunday Brave/Our Fears—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

10/21—Steve Bello Band—Half-Time Sports Bar, Newark, DE

10/22—The Black Clouds/Will Wood and the Tapeworms/Experiment 34/The Production/Vivi Noir/Gisella Rose/Amanda Zeiher—Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

10/22—Matt O’Ree/Whale Blue Eye/Cosmic American Derelicts—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

10/27—Puddle of Mudd/New Day Dawn/Knucklebone/Strange Eclipse/ELI – The Band—The Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ

10/29—Robots and Monsters—The Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ

11/2—Jersey Campfires Production Presents Robots and Monsters/No Kings Among Wolves—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

11/5—Borgo Pass/John Wilkes Booth/Half Ton Session/Share the Burden—Revolution Bar and Music Hall, Amityville, NY

11/6—Vajra—The Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ

11/18—Barren—R Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

11/19—Incognito Theory/Ryder/Endall—QXT’s, Newark, NJ

11/20—Old James/Anaka/Metalfier/Diamond Head—The Marlin Room at Webster Hall, NYC

11/23—Buckcherry/Rahway/Brand of Julez—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

11/25—Joe Lynn Turner/Rahway/Fragile Sky—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ