The Struggles and Successes of Local Bands

We all know that Bruce Springsteen truly believes that, “Down the shore, everything’s alright,” but, our local bands are what really make the Jersey Shore so cultured, lively, and all the more entertaining. While there is a significant amount of well-known artists and bands that have originated from The Garden State, being a local band is nowhere near as easy as it may seem.

Anthony Trilli, a junior health studies student and lead guitar for the band More Than Acquaintances, said, “I think what makes a New Jersey artist is staying true to your roots. NJ people have a lot of pride in their state and where they live. Whether it be North Jersey or the shore, we are prideful of where we live and it is shown through our music.”

Trilli’s band, More Than Acquaintances, is fairly new to the scene, starting up nearly a year and a half ago. After learning guitar, Trilli and his other bandmates decided their true talent was Red Hot Chili Pepper’s covers–and so the band was formed. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds, Trilli said, “With none of us having any knowledge of music theory, we decided to just wing it. I would make something up on the guitar that I thought sounded good and then I would show Mike (Trilli’s younger brother) and he would make a bassline followed by Joe (Trilli’s other brother) coming up with the drums.”

More Than Acquaintances’ most recent accomplishment was playing The Meatlocker in Montclair, NJ; successes such as playing a local venue can spark conversation about what success is or is determined by. Dr. Aaron Furgason, Chair of the Communication Department, said, “What is success? Is it Bruce Springsteen or is it existing for 25 years? Success is different to every person.”

To that extent, it’s important to recognize that students’ success in the music industry has flourished since the start of Monmouth’s own, Blue Hawk Records. “Blue Hawk Records does a great job at signing and bringing in talent,” said Furgason. “A lot more bands have started because Blue Hawk has the structure to make it happen. With that, the artist can continue to communicate to the world through their art,” Furgason continued.

But, the promise of a solid structure isn’t something that always draws in local MU bands, Connor White, a graduate student of English and lead singer of the band, Couple of Guys, said, “In NJ, especially in the Asbury Park area, there is great support for local music. People in that area want to hear bands that are from around here, and it’s really a great thing.” White contined, “However, the hardest thing for a local band to do, not even from just around here but bands in general, is dealing with the reality that nothing is going to be handed to you.”

“I read a quote somewhere that said 90% of garage bands don’t get heard because their music isn’t being played for anyone outside of that garage…at some point, you have to take that jump and put yourself out there and be vulnerable. It’s the only way to get anything done.” White said.

With Blue Hawk Records, artists are able to grab hold of these opportunities such as release parties and in-house event opportunities as well as access to our own WMCX Radio Station. But, there’s always something more. Trilli said, “MU can make these music opportunities more known and bring awareness to more people and what they are all about in regards to local bands and helping out students around MU that play music to come out and play. Maybe they can have different bands from the school or locally play here on campus for some events.”

Local bands have a tough go of it in general, but as for Monmouth, the opportunities keep pouring out from radio plays to song compilations and recording time in a real studio.

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