As students at Fort Hamilton High School (FHHS), Lou Salvaggioand John De La O always enjoyed playing the music of their favoritebands and coming up with their own tunes on their guitars andkeyboards, but it wasn’t until 2004 that the now 30- and29-year-olds formed a band of their own with another friend, AdamTrombetta, 24.
That band, called Band of Young Saints – or B.O.Y.S. for short -has grown from its original three members to five with the additionof fellow FHHS alum Alexandra Wyshosky, 26, on vocals and guitaristBrendan Winick, 27, and developed its own unique sound in theprocess, playing seriously in clubs and restaurants throughoutBrooklyn and Lower Manhattan since 2007 and releasing its first EPas a five-piece (its third overall) earlier this year.
We describe [our sound] as garage-inspired power pop, saidSalvaggio, who plays bass alongside Trombetta on drums and Winickon guitar. We have individual eclectic tastes that vary,[although] we all know what we don’t like.
It’s safe to say our musical interests are different, but whenwe’re together, we tend to make music that’s not far off the mark[for all of us], added De La O, who shares vocals with Wyshosky aswell as playing guitar and keyboard. Lou is more country [whereas]I am more punk rock, and Alex [is more into] old and jazz music.Together we have structure, more like acoustic guitar, and it makessense.
Deciding on a band name followed the same sort of naturalcollaboration and serendipity, all starting with a movie thebandmates saw about comedian Lenny Bruce wherein characters worejackets that read The Boys.
We thought that was a good name, but for legal reasons, wecouldn’t. There was an Irish folk group [and others] but we likedthe idea of it as an acronym – people say we’re going out to seethe B.O.Y.S. tonight,’ explained De La O. We would goof aroundand come up with different names; then we saw saints on a lawn andthought of the Band of Young Saints. It also works because of theneighborhood we’re in.
The group started performing at venues such as the Three JollyPigeons on Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue’s LoneStar Bar & Grillbefore booking gigs at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory and in the LowerEast Side at Tammany Hall, Fontana’s and, on January 8, at BoweryElectric.
They hope to continue performing, selling CDs and getting theirmusic to recording companies and those who book events, while theywork on recording a ton of stuff that they’ve been working on andeventually do something that’s going to show how eclectic we are,how broad we are and how many influences we have while being trueto what we sound like, said Wyshosky, noting that the band will bedoubling down on that focus in the coming months. Their latest EP,Make Your Bones, is the first step towards that goal.
This was the first whole record of songs with all of us,explained Salvaggio. Here was a chance to write new material, notcovering songs. It’s probably the fullest and most polished sound,as far as production, [which matches] what our songs sound like.This is not like [other] stuff you hear in Brooklyn. Notelectronic… we play live rock, acoustic guitar.
Make Your Bones took over a year to complete betweenrecording, mixing and everything else, said De La O, who said thathaving an incredibly detail-oriented producer also helped to maketheir first radio-ready CD. Unlike the electronica, dance andsometimes indie-folksy music making the rounds in northernBrooklyn’s Williamsburg environs, Band of Young Saints is describedas comparable to everything from Superchunk to Elliott Smith, whatyou’d get if you put The Pixies and The Beatles in a blender, andwhat could be the soundtrack to your favorite John Hughes movie orSaturday night.
Whatever the new year brings for this band of young friends andmusicians – who all have day jobs in a range of industries fromhealthcare and advertising to education and food, and note thatthey have no intention of leaving their hometowns of Bay Ridge andDyker Heights – it’s sure to be good.
Find out more about the band at http://www.facebook.com/Bandofyoungsaints.