Catch The Hit Men Live In Madison NJ!


Just last night I was talking about how lead singers of bands usually grab much of the spotlight, but what about the guys who actually played the music? There’s been so many classic pop and rock groups through the years whose popularity still endures, and the demand to see and hear it performed live is still there. Think back to your favorite groups. Maybe you really dug the guitarist, or the guy on the keys. Perhaps you were a obsessed with the drummer or maybe you were such a huge fan of the band that you even became a fan of the band’s producers. These are the band members who may not have got the same type of notoriety that the lead singers did, but they are just as accomplished and in this case, even more! Comprised of various performing and recording members of groups like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Elton John and others, The Hit Men are the Super Friends of classic pop music. Let me run down The Hit Men roster:

Lee Shapiro – One of the Four Seasons and co-produced the score to Copacabana the Musical with Barry Manilow. Inventor of Rock N Roll Elmo for Fisher Price.
Don Ciccone – Only Don can say he was a Critter, a Four Season, a Shondell with Tommy James and then enjoyed a solo career as well.
Larry Gates – As a composer, lyricist, and studio vocalist Larry has collaborated with a slew of familiar names. Gates has worked with Rick Derringer and co-wrote songs with Desmond Child among many others. His talents can also be heard on local and national commercials including Hasbro and Toys R Us.
Gerry Polci – You know this drummer and former Four Season as the lead vocalist on The Four Seasons mega hit “Oh What a Night.” This graduate of Montclair State University is a music teacher in New Providence, NJ.
Jimmy Ryan – The former lead guitarist and vocalist for The Critters has worked with Carly Simon Jim Croce, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Kiki Dee. He has scored 38 films and 2 NBC documentaries and all kinds of music you hear while channel surfing. You know that “Gotta Go to Mo’s” Jingle for Modell’s Sporting Goods? You can thank Jimmy for getting that stuck in your head!
Russ Velazquez – Emmy nominated singer, composer, arranger and producer who has worked with Sting, The Ramones, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Korn, and Paula Abdul. In addition to working on TV theme songs and Sesame Street, Russ had a #1 record on the children’s charts and Radio Disney for his track “2BA Master” the Pokemon CD title song.
Check them out at Madison PAC in NJ on 11/19 and Mexicali Live in Teaneck on 12/16
Head to their official site:
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Download their music on iTunes

12 Songs My iPod Spit Out Today


My iPod picked out quite an awesome set of music for me during my morning commute to work today. This shuffle leans heavily on rock and manages to slide in some ’80s classics as well.

1) Try it Again – The Hives
2) Undone – Weezer
3) Shockwave – Black Tide
4) Back to Paradise – .38 Special
5) New Girl Now – Honeymoon Suite
6) Hot Girls in Good Moods – Butch Walker & The Let’s Go Out Tonites
7) Getting Away with Murder – Papa Roach
8) I Want You – Kiss
9) Fallen Angel – Poison
10) Now is the Time – Damone
11) Rockaway Beach – The Ramones
12) Guitar – Prince

Butch + Stone Pony = Good Time

After having minor surgery to my lower back on Monday April 2nd I hopped onto the Garden State Parkway and headed south. It was time to go to the Stone Pony for the Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites show. It was a cold, foggy night down the shore but I had a feeling what was in store for me in the next few hours. That special Asbury feeling was present although it’s weird to see half the town under construction. I actually prefer the dilapidated buildings and ruins because it reminds me of Jersey’s version of ancient Rome. I admit that I do look forward to the day that Asbury Park regains it’s prominence.
As always there were annoying people I overheard on line who were discussing that Butch somehow has done special shows only for them and how much they love Butch because they liked him for X amount of years, and they saw him X amount of times. Oh man, it kills me to be on line with some of these people. They complained that the doors weren’t opened yet and it was too cold out. They even asked Butch if he can get them to open the doors as he stepped out of his tourbus for a minute to get a water. Leave the freakin‘ guy alone, Jeez! Is he the f’n doorman? Through the utter disgust I was experiencing, I kept in mind that Butch puts on an awesome show so I kept freezing my ass off waiting in line, being pelted with sporadic drops of rain, and standing through 2 opening acts…yeah that was all great.
The first opening act, Rocket, from L.A were actually pretty enjoyable. They are an all girl band that seemed like a mixture of The Go-Go’s, The Ramones, and The New York Dolls. They appear very youthful and had tons of energy. The lead singer, Lauren Rocket (all their last names are Rocket), equipped with a red keytar, seemed like a Lindsay Lohan on Courtney Love’s crack. Pretty cool stuff. The next band up was The Honorary Title who merely deserve the title of “honorary,” rather than an actual title. It took them like 9 hours to setup their equipment and do their sound check. They were bland and their music did not leave an impression on me. You can hear some emo, The Killers, and U2 influences in their music. Most of their set list was pretty slow and somber but I prefer upbeat.
Butch blasted through a ton of fan favorites from his Marvelous 3 days as well as a bunch of songs from his latest album, “The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go-Out-Tonites.” Butch apologized to the Stone Pony staff and to anyone else for seeming too cliche before ripping into a big mother cover of Bruce’s Born to Run. The place exploded for Butch and his ballistic assault of “Light’s Out” during the finale. Then he ran into the crowd and sparked the audience into a frenzy. Butch Walker turned a dreary, cold Monday in the ruins of Asbury Park, feel like a Friday night in a legendary shore town.