disband 1

Part 1  @Flosfamous

Trying to get myself and eight members of a band together to meet in a busy world has its challenges.

Between full-time day jobs, practices and performances, there’s little time to take care of the necessities — let alone the extra steps that are so important to promote one’s art. After several Facebook messages, gmail interaction, texting and an actual phone call or two, we decide to meet at Flo’s Luncheonette in Patchogue.

I arrive early to gorge on banana nutella waffles and quickly clean up any evidence of my indulgences. Dan Wendelken is a familiar face and we have known each other for several years. He is the first to arrive, complete with his laptop to video conference another of the band members.

We chat for a bit while we await on Alex Mendes, the band’s lead vocalist.

Like a breath of fresh air, the lovely Alex enters the room and joins me and Dan at our table. I introduce myself and we are also introduced to TJ Schaper via video conferencing  

We begin to talk music.

We touch on the challenges of modern living and our relationship with music and one another. I am also friends with a few other of the band members, as they all once played together in Funkin’ A a great local funk band (that’s not disbanded).

Dan, Justin Peterson (drums), Justin Marks (saxophones) were all permanent members of Funkin’ A for years. Mike Finno (guitar) and TJ Schaper (trombone) have subbed in the band multiple times.

When these gentlemen played together they were a powerhouse, and in their new project, Disband, they continue that tradition of quality music and big sound. They’ve added to the mix Mike Schuler on bass, Taylor Labriola on keys, Dan Wendelken on trumpet and Alex Mendes on vocals.

Whether you sit back and close your eyes, or rise to your feet and celebrate, Disband demands your attention.

Part 2 @BitterEndNYC

I was thrilled to see Disband was performing at the iconic music venue The Bitter End, which is the oldest rock and roll club in New York City. This legendary club has hosted some of the biggest names in the business and has helped launch the careers of countless performers.

But the 11 p.m. start time, icy weather and fear of being stranded at Penn proved to be a deterrent to me trekking into the city.

After a quick Tweet of my dilemma and a Facebook message, technology once again provided a solution.

I am stoked to find that the whole show is available through Livestream. And The Bitter End’s live link delivers a front row seat.

With the crowd primed and the alcohol hard at work, numbing inhibitions, Disband makes for the stage.

The lights dim in the audience and the spots on stage bring their attention to the performers. Disband kicks it off with Orgones’ Who Knows Who? and Mama Knows by Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds.

The set list is as impressive as lead vocalist Alex Mendes’s thick and smoky vocals. And the backup vocals from Taylor Labriola adds depth to the band’s overall performance.

The horn section fuels the excitement with a fusion of jazzy elements intermingled with soul sounds and raw funk. The guitars sing a familiar riff, warm and gritty, as the band effortlessly performs Tedeschi Truck Bands’ Part of Me.

From the Great South Bay to the Big Apple, Long Island’s musicians make an incredible impression on the NYC music scene. A modern day mix of Tweets, followers, friends and posts are all avenues in which you can support local music — even when you cannot attend. 

Disband not only garnered my support; it elicited my applause. (While I was sitting at home, mind you.)

Disband is an eight-piece band from Long Island. Its members are no strangers to the Long Island music scene. Collectively they create good times in a flourishing evolution of local music. They draw their influences from soul, blues, funk, R&B and rock. Visit their website or Facebook page for additional information. They will be performing March 4 at Bobbique.

photo credit Francesca Gagliardi 

James Skidmore music writer greaterpatchogue.comJames Skidmore is a music and arts impresario, chairman of Alive After Five and co-founder of Fathom Clothing. He believes art is a movement and has the power to change our world.