North Jersey Notes


One of the most insane bands I’ve seen in quite a while actually comes from Bloomfield, NJ, yet I’ve never written about them. Not that I can recall, anyway. The name of the band is The Donner Party, named after a group of American pioneers who migrated to California in a wagon train from the Mid-West. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846 to 1847 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where some of the migrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating the bodies of those who died due to starvation and sickness. So, now that I gave you your history lesson, on to these hardcore heroes. 

The Donner Party, who bill themselves as the Tri-state kings of crossover, gained a notorious reputation worldwide for brazenly celebrating the rowdy and riotous days of the eighties crossover scene, where hair swinging thrash metal was fused with hardcore punk by groundbreaking acts like D.R.I., S.O.D., and Suicidal Tendencies. Since forming in 2009, The Donner Party has been hard at work serving up their own high-speed, circle pit-inciting renditions of hardcore to a whole new generation of hungry metal maniacs. The Donner Party was initially formed by singer and guitarist Ross Snyder, drummer Matt Yar, bassist Mike DiPisa, and original guitarist Stephen Rasczyk. They quickly gained a name for themselves in the thrash community with the release of their debut EP The Spawning, a 15-minute, 7-song sonic blast of lightning fast riffs and head bashing breakdowns. After the departure of Rasczyk in 2012, The Donner Party soldiered on as a tightly-wound trio and returned to the studio to work on their follow-up album, Chain Reaction, which they released in March 2013 on both CD and a limited-edition cassette containing 3 bonus tracks. They scored a minor college radio hit with the song “Liven Rising” which was spun in regular rotation on several local stations and became one of the Top 5 most requested songs of 2015 on WSOU. Soon, the band found a kindred spirit in a second guitarist named Matt Troost from the bands Mortician and Mons Pubis. 

In 2017, the band finally released their long-awaited follow up to Chain Reaction called Pizza Patrol by way of RaptorKill Records. Pizza Patrol captured the bands return to more traditional, hardcore-inspired crossover as well as a new, more sarcastic and fun approach to the lyrical content. The band is currently back in the lab writing material for a brand-new album. I love the fact that they are taking the old school approach to hardcore thrash metal. At this point, it’s so original, it’s fun! For more info on The Donnor Party, visit or catch them live in a couple weeks at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ on March 17 with Lich King, Reaper and Mindrazer. 


My boys, Brand of Julez recently released a new live video on YouTube for their latest single “Take It All Away,” which is their number one song on Spotify. The video was shot at my favorite rock club in Lancaster, PA, the Chameleon Club. It also features guitarist Nick the Kashmanian Devil on the talk box at the beginning of the song. It’s a killer tune that I dare you to check out. For more info and upcoming dates from my little brothers, Brand of Julez, visit

My buds from Dinosaur Eyelids released their new album Sticker Famous for streaming and download this week, wherever the kids are streaming and downloading these days. A physical release hits the streets at the band’s April 25 show at The Fire in Philadelphia, with the bands Ganto Barn, Erotic Novels, and Spooky Forest. For more info on the new Dinosaur Eyelids record, Sticker Famous, or to find out where they are playing next, visit

And finally, the show you won’t want to miss this weekend is happening on Friday night, March 6, at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ featuring Black Water Rising, Vessel of Light, yours truly with the band Rahway, and Black The Sky. This will be the first time I’ll get to see the reunited original lineup of Black Water Rising, get to hear Dan Lorenzo’s Vessel of Light, and share the stage once again with Black The Sky. This will be an amazing night. So, if you’re in the Long Branch area, you need to stop down at this show at the Brighton Bar. For more info, visit 

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.