Troop 47


Troop 47

Troop 47 is an American contemporary rock band, predominantly known for its wild stage antics, catchy pop rock, lengthy jams, and a penchant for substance abuse, which led to popularity with the college-rock scene from 1999-2005.

Band history

The band was initially formed in 1998 on Long Island, New York by vocalist Frank Gabriel and guitarist/singer/songwriter Erik McCormack, who had developed a friendship as working actors in New York City. The two performers rounded up the members that would make up the initial incarnation of Troop 47. These were: Bob-E Tis, an accomplished drummer and audio engineer and Steven R. Lucas, the former baritone saxophone player from the punk/ska band, Skandanavia. For the new project, Lucas instead played bass guitar. These four members started writing songs that would go on to be fan favorites for the life of the band, namely, "Jesus Stole My Weed", "Wash Your Feet", "Warm-Up" (which would later morph into "Adam's Lament,") and "Alright."

In September 1998, the band recorded their first demos at Look Studios in New York City in one night, with producer Dave Patello.

Eventually, the band found guitarist Mark Wise, an accomplished music theorist, and keyboardist Jeff Tascarella, who had played in the past with the drummer. Happy with their demo, the band began playing in New York City and Long Island and quickly developed a large following amongst the college crowd.

The shows became known as hedonistic free-for-alls, with the band openly advocating illicit drugs and sex. Good Times Music Magazine referenced Jim Morrison and Perry Farrel of the alt-rock band Jane's Addiction when speaking of Gabriel. Aside from his bizarre vocals and convulsions, the band was also becoming known for its extended and intricate jams, and in addition to the college party scene (and legions of young girls known as "troopies"), they also began to attract a Phish or Grateful Dead-like audience who were taping and trading the live shows.

In August 1999, Troop 47 recorded their first album "Rivington" at New York Hed Studios in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Mixed by Matt Verta-Ray of Madder Rose and Speedball Baby, the album was recorded in only 7 days, and the lack of a budget and experience resulted in a mediocre effort that did not capture the band's early energy. "I don't consider it an album," said Lucas, "It's a piece of sh*t." (New York Music Review, August 2000). The album was saved, in a way, through the mixing talents of Joe Blaney, who had worked with Blues Traveler and The Clash.

Disappointed and disillusioned with the direction of the band, McCormack quit the band for a career in acting. After a brief stint with replacement Mark DiCarlo from the group Fuzzbubble, the band settled on acoustic guitarist Dan Raimondi. Lead guitarist Mark Wise also left the band, citing "creative differences", and was replaced by Chad Goodstein, an accomplished player who had worked with Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and The Cranberries.

With a new lineup in place and with quite a different sound, in August 2001 the band traveled to Argyle, New York to record their second album, "Monsters and Marbles" with producer Ted Marotta of the Ominous Seapods and The Lo Faber Band. A summer in the woods seemed to have influenced the band greatly; the resultant album was organic and mellow, reminiscent of Tom Petty or early Wilco, with much more of an emphasis on shorter compositions and less on experimentation. However, with the state of the declining music industry, record executives questioned the release, wondering what the potential "hit" was. When industry persona questioned Bob-E who the intended "audience" would be for the record, he smugly replied: "Human beings." In addition, the band returned home to New York just in time for the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and cancelled all touring plans.

In 2002, the band continued to play and build their following, when in April, they were approached by Vh1 to be the subject of a new reality show, "Undiscovered Genius." The show was to follow the band for a year through their performances and private lives, and at the show's conclusion, present the band with a record deal. Troop 47 put all other projects on hold and filmed "Undiscovered Genius", only to see the show cancelled before it even aired.

During this downtime, Gabriel and Tascarella formed the comedy side-project "The Children's Skeleton Workshop", along with singer/songwriter Paul Wenzel. Their live shows met with great acclaim but they never recorded an official album, choosing to instead focus solely on Troop. Their popular songs "Penisbutter and Vajelly", "Apocalypse Girlfriend", and "Frank, Please Don't Hit That" became internet hits in their limited release.

The band decided that as a last hurrah, they would work with Jim Sabella, who saw success with Public Enemy and Marcy Playground, to record what would be their final album, "Remains of the Radio." With Bob-E and Jeff taking over production duties on the record, the band put out a slick, rocking album of 12 pop-rock tunes. It would be the fans' favorite of the releases, the best-selling, but still was unable to solidify a recording contract for the group.

The band began to peel away one member at a time. Dan Raimondi left for personal reasons and was briefly replaced by the original member, McCormack. Jeff Tascarella left the band citing creative differences. After personal issues within the remaining members reached a boiling point, they called it quits in August 2005.

Aftermath

In October 2005, Goodstein, Lucas, and Gabriel joined up with drummer Steve Greco to form a new group called The Restaurant

In Late 2005, Bob-E Tis hit the road as a sound engineer with the Derek Trucks Band.

In early 2006, Erik McCormack formed the novelty band, "The Craptasticks", which is a popular act in the Catskill region of New York State.

Dan Raimondi has quit the music business, and Jeff Tascarella has started a boutique adult-store chain.

Mark Wise went on to study music at NYU and in the summer of 2002 formed [http://woundedbuffalotheory.net Wounded Buffalo Theory] with friends from high school and college, leaving the group in July 2004 to pursue other endeavours.

Discography

Albums

* "Rivington" - (January, 2000)Tracks: E.W.A.K -Stick -Daybreak -Little Jones -Beth -A Song -Cover -China White -Anne-Marie -Smoke

* "Monsters and Marbles" - (February, 2002)Tracks: Sandals -Beautiful -Song For Kathy -Good -Remember? -Brighton St. (Celebrate) -Monsters & Marbles -Sincerely Yours -Broken -Adam's Lament -Root Round -Better This Way -I.L.O.V.E.U. (Unlisted)

* "Remains of the Radio" - (March, 2004)

Demos

*"Look Studios Sessions" - (September, 1998)Tracks: Missing You (Original Version), Beth (Original Version), Alright, Warm Up

* "Five Towns Sessions" - August, 2000Tracks: Missing You (Version 2), Last Battle, Constellations

* "Sabella Demo Sessions" - September, 2002Track: Believe

hort Film

* "Frank Gabriel And The Strange Relationship With Christopher Walken" dir. by Lawrence Baglio, 2004

External links

* [http://www.troop47music.com Troop 47 Official Site]
* [http://artist.modernrock.com/troop47 Troop at ModernRock]
* [http://www.myspace.com/troop47 Troop 47 on MySpace]


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