Didn’t Rome Do This?- Tsunami Rising
Here it is! A little music video I edited together to showcase my friends from Tsunami Rising. Filmed on January 7th, 2011 at the World Cafe set to the unmixed, unmastered release of one of Tsunami Rising’s new songs to show up on their forthcoming album to be released… I really wish I knew when because I want it soooo badly.
So, I’ve known Tsunami Rising for almost 7 years now. The original band formed back in 2003 as a trio. Ryan Barron, Jeff Calhoun, and Tom McAteer started out on their ridiculous adventure as a punk-ska band formed in the back of a high school classroom, then within months were hitting the local party scene with a vengence. This is the Tsunmi Rising I first met. Ironically, Dave Bakey (their future guitarist) and I were in a band named Trellis during these years. We played some shows with this original version of Tsunami Rising. Hilarious, wild, and energetic shows; between us, we were the “kings” of the Gloucester City / South Jersey music scene. Though their sound was different from what it is today, it was none the less just as solid. They quickly stormed the scene and began getting local gigs all over Philadelphia / New Jersey becoming known as one of the premier punk bands in the area.
In 2005, Tsunami Rising met its first line up change. Drew Daniels, also a GC alumni, joined the band and infused a vastly different musical mentality into their sound. Among his many influences the most prominent were reggae, rock, and country. His infusion of politically relevant and shockingly charged lyrics only amped up Tsunami Rising’s musical sex appeal to listeners.
From here the band embarked on a yet another journey. They catapulted past most local New Jersey acts and began playing larger venues with more exposure: the Trocadero, the Grape Street Pub, and the North Star Bar to name a few. Almost all the bars dotting the Jersey Shoreline, including Atlantic City were becoming accustomed to the evolving sound of Tsunami Rising. Even New York City was beginning to crave a little Tsunami as they rocked the Knitting Factory a few times. All the while producing and recording a formal album, The Exploration for an Explanation in their home town of Gloucester City, New Jersey.
With the release of their album and its definite success in the tri-state area they organized their first East Coast tour in the summer of 2007. This tour exposed their unique onslaught of reggae infused punk rock to listeners from New York to Florida. Among the many cities hit along the tour Baltimore, Maryland ate Tsunami Rising up like a sweet candy. This tour also introduced them to many up and coming, hard working, road-slaving bands like Among Criminals, Murphy’s Kids, Celtic Thunder, and Soja. Forming fast friendships these bands created a network of combination gigs from New York to Florida.
The band’s final line up change occurred in 2009 when Ryan left the band for personal reasons. Left without a guitarist the band quickly began the search. Naturally their eyes fell upon Dave Bakey, local guitar prodigy and yet another GC alumni. Dave’s addition to the band changed their sound drastically. His heavy rock, metal, and progressive rock style added new technical elements to their music that most bands only hope to achieve. His arrival to the Tsunami was fresh from Trellis’ unfortunate break up so his influences were very much derived from Tom Morrello of Rage Against the Machine, Mike Einziger of Incubus, Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López of the Mars Volta, and Justin Beck of Glassjaw. And it is this line up that has swept up listeners on the East Coast, Ireland, England, and hopefully Panama into the cataclysmic deluge cascading from the Tsunami of their musical genius and diversity.
I recently had some time to travel with the band to a show in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I arrived at Dave Bakey’s house with a guitar in the late afternoon. He let me into the house and we talked to his parents for awhile. I, just having arrived to New Jersey from Panama a couple days before, hadn’t seen Dave nor his parents for 5 months. Meanwhile, Dave had just returned a week before from a 35 day tour in Ireland and England with Tsunami Rising, Celtic Thunder, Keith and Rebecca Harkin, and the Durty Stopouts. Needless to say, we had a lot of catching up to do. It was amazing how down to earth he still is despite the band’s growing success. As we sat on the porch of his house working on a song that I had been writing that just needed that “Bakey touch” it was amazing to see him in his neighborhood. The sun shining down on the Gloucester City streets, children running and riding their bikes on the street as car after car passes down Hudson Ave. His younger cousin came up with his freshly pimped-out bike to show Dave his bronco and bunny hopping skills. All the while, Dave gladly watches and cheers him on, me practicing the riff he had just written into my song, and his sister Liz popping her head out of the front door to let him know that Lucas had just burned Nathan badly in One Tree Hill.
About this time a large white United Methodist Church van pulled up along Brown Ave. The back doors of the van open and out steps a young man in a white tee and jeans. A tattoo imprinted on his left shoulder and his usual brown dreads hidden under a beanie hat. Drew slaps hands with Dave and I, we exchange our hellos and load the equipment into the van.
I stepped into the maroon interior of the van, with two long 3 person seats in a row to see a myriad of faces. Full house, I thought, and we still have to pick up Tom. In the back sits Drew next to his roommate and best friend Brad Daniels (no relation-although they like to pretend that they’re cousins. I believed it for years) I sit myself down next to Lupo: a purebred Gloucester City man, crazy to boot, loyal as a dog, and loves his drink. And Dave seats himself down next to me. Jeff, dressed in his typical straight brimmed hat, starts the car back up and we leave to pick up Tom.
Two blocks down and a couple houses Tom’s tall, skinny frame steps into the car with 2 plums and an I-pod. He greets everybody as usual and seats himself behind Dave in the last row.
So we’re off. Now, as you may have already guessed, shenanigans ensued. To understand what it’s like to be in a van with Tsunami Rising and the odd mixture of their best friends you honestly have to go through it. They have these potentially annoying games that they play on each other throughout the night. Thankfully, its always done in good jest and it ends up being a great time. Any night with the guys from Tsunami is great. Some of the more amazing quotes have been: “Take off your clothes girl. I’m feeding you this cup cake.” Priceless memories at parties, Dave to Tom: “You owe weird money.” Some so hilariously shocking that they can only be referred to by one word: “airvents.” And don’t forget you can never touch Lupo, especially when he asks for a high-five, you might get the “Lerpies” (a form of the herpies that Lupo carries when drunk).
So, back to the games. The first one is simple. They’ll flick you, twirl your hair, or slap you and the trick is, don’t react. The more your react the more they fuck with you. Lupo’s absolute favorite was to stick his bare foot somewhere near Jeff’s head or body while he was driving. This eventually led Jeff to lighting his foot on fire with a lighter and such shenanigans as that. I feel that this picture of their time in Ireland captures the general atmosphere in Tsunami Rising:
The van itself is full of stickers. Tons of bands grace the walls providing an accurate array of just how large the underground scene of music is on the East Coast. There must have been at least 40 different bands scattered about the walls and floor of the van. They told me that they’ve played a show with almost all of them at least once. This does, however, bring us to their second game. The unstuck stickers quickly become a new method to fuck with people. They peel off the stickers and place them very carefully on somebody in the car. Then they begin to talk about whatever band they just discreetly placed on you. Such lines as: “I can’t wait til JackMove gets back into town.” In that case you have the band JackMove’s sticker somewhere on your back. Some can be tricky to pick up: Brad to Dave: “Hey Dave, can you give me a heads up next Echo Movement comes around?” And of course, there is the illusive hybrid: “But you know who really kicked ass? JechoMovement. They were really awesome.” Now the rule is, any sticker you inherit must be passed on, secretly, and the cycle continues all night. This game you cannot avoid, if you do not pass the stickers on, the bulk of the fuckery falls upon you.
Two hours of games and music later. We arrive at the bar. Immediately, we see the man who taught Dave to play the guitar: Bill, another GC alumni and all around good dude. Don’t let his tough guy exterior fool you.
He helps us unload and leads us into the bar. After some rounds of beer and shots, Lupo buying and wearing an large girls pink tank-top from the bar, the band is set up, loosened up, and ready to play. Tom is not exactly happy because the drums are raised and the cieling low so his head is basically through the roof, but he’s a trooper and loves the music.
A decent sized crowd in the bar, waiting anxiously, not exactly sure what to expect from the rag tag group that walked in an hour before, powerhoused some alcohol and set up an equally ragtag group of incredible, dedicated, and innovative musicians.
We commence. And what ensues was an amazing setlist that they played for us. The crowd loved it, the atmosphere was great, they loved every minute, but that setlist was for us. The one’s who came all the way up there to see them. And it wasn’t just us in the van. We met other Tsunami Rising fans from the area. A wide array of folks including a group of 16 and 17 year old sisters who came with their parents, an older man who danced in his chair the entire time, and a group of 20 years olds who came in and eventually mixed into our crowd and drank with us. All in all, it was a great drinks, great company, great music, and a great time. They played 2 sets of an hour and a half. Playing a range of songs from new to old. Opening with “Thorium Emporium” and closing 3 hours later with “Mannequins.” Complete with Drew singing the first couple of songs with a large black JackMove sticker stuck to the back of his shirt and the appropriate jeers from us in the crowd. By the time the band finished it was well into the morning. After another hour of partying at the bar we piled into the van and made the short trip home. It was an incredible, hilarious, and rewarding experience.
What’s Tsunami Rising up to now? Well, 6 days ago they played a show at the Atlantic City House of Blues with Soja. And last night a show at The Blue Moon Full Moon Festival at Joey Harrison’s Surf Club in Ortley Beach, NJ. And on March 15, 2011 they played an acoustic set at the Gashouse Sessions which is up and available for free download here. I recommend picking it up, its really incredible and addictive. You’ll find yourself singing the songs all day.
So to answer the previous question. They’re busy out there grinding… that’s what they’re up too. Keep your ears and eyes open for these boys. They’re definitely on their way to something big.
Other notable songs: “Thorium Emporium” “Manniquins” “Not Just the Chords are in Progression” “Crimes have Been” “A New Song” “Sans Testicles” “Been Here” “The Persistence of Memory Loss” “Tsunami Rising- Drew Daniels”
Playlist of the Moment:
Some older songs but they’ve got a nice flow together.
All Ur Bases R Belong 2 Us
1. Crack a Bottle (Feat. Dr. Dre & 50cent)- Eminem
2. Let it Rock (Feat. Lil Wayne)- Kevin Rudolf
3. Empire State of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys)- Jay-Z
4. Whip My Hair- Willow Smith
5. Crazy Bitch- Chuck Berry
6. All I Do is Win (Feat. Ludacris, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg & T-Pain)- Dj Khaled
7. Like a G6 (Feat. the Cataracts)- Far East Movement
8. Tighten Up- the Black Keys
9. No Love (Feat. Lil Wayne)- Eminem
10. Wouldn’t Get Far (Feat. Kanye West)- the Game
12. You Will Leave a Mark- a Silent Film
13. Rocketeer (Feat. Ryan Tedder)- Far East Movement
14. Old Time’s Sake (Feat. Dr. Dre)- Eminem
15. Miss Me (Feat. Lil Wayne)- Drake
16. I Got Mine- the Black Keys
17. Dynamite- Taio Cruz
18. Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff (Feat. Rob Swire)- Deadmau5