Standing room only - The Boston Globe
"Bridges are for wussies! Eighteen musicians are crammed into a small Allston rehearsal room, so it's hard to say for sure who has just dissed the third section in a rock song. Everyone is sweating and pumping his fists and yelling super-manly mottos like Nightlife Commando!" and "Push Push!" The mottos double as song titles, and sometimes complete song lyrics, and -- in the case of "Bang Camaro" -- the band's name. To a female visitor trying to work the fog machine and take notes while perched on a stool, the boys in Bang Camaro have melted into a single beer-swilling, headbanging mass of testosterone.
Turns out it was Steve Trombley , who didn't actually say wussy" but a word we don't print in the newspaper. Furthermore, Trombley says at a party a few weeks later, he was referring to the ancient supercontinent of Pangea, not song sections. But that's another story. More relevant -- in fact, absolutely crucial to the understanding of Bang Camaro's music, philosophy, and all-around gestalt -- is Trombley's signature mike stand maneuver, as documented at www.bangcamaro.com.
"With legs spread apart and firmly planted, the mike stand is lifted to the sky like a two handed long sword; a generous mouth full of beer is then sprayed into the air in a fine mist, emulating The Eye of Thundera calling my brothers Camaro to arms. This move truly gives me sight beyond sight."
Bang Camaro is a heavy metal band with 10 to 20 lead singers, depending on who's available. The singers refer to themselves, whimsically, as the Choir. Bang Camaro was formed 10 months ago and has played in public twice; their second gig was for a sold-out audience downstairs at the Middle East. Their third will be at Avalon tonight at the Boston Music Awards, where Bang Camaro is nominated for best new band, best live band, and song of the year. The group's explosive rise to the top of the local music scene -- orchestrated in time-honored Internet-age fashion with a fistful of MP3s posted online -- is as unlikely as Bang Camaro's gargantuan size and unfashionable sound.
The appropriate first question in the FAQ section of the group's website is: Are you guys joking? The answer is: No. Bryn Bennett and Alex Necochea , the two guitarists who formed Bang Camaro, bonded over a mutual, powerful, and dangerously uncool affection for stupid metal riffs.
We were both in indie rock bands and should have been over it," says Bennett. But we can sit around all day and say, `I like Ratt better than Dokken and here's why.' This came from love."
Thus, righteously, the Camaro was born. In addition to the Choir -- many of whom play in their own local bands -- there are three guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer. Bennett (a videogame programmer from Fredonia, N.Y., who used to play in the Model Sons ) and Necochea (a Lewisburg, Pa. , native who works in an executive recruitment office and played with Bleu and the Good North ) say that Bang Camaro is their version of pledging a fraternity.
Truly, the dude energy is intense. They hug and scream at rehearsal. They exude a one-for-all, all-for-one vibe that's weirdly heartwarming and contagious. Bennett says it's like a really drunk We Are the World," but with cooler music. Bang Camaro doesn't believe in verses, just choruses and guitar solos. Only the lighter-raising stuff. After years slogging it out in Boston's indie-rock trenches, where good humor is frowned upon and fun is a four-letter word, the guys know why Bang Camaro is so appealing to so many.
It's liberating and awesome," explains Necochea.
Among the Camaro's avid fans is Adam Moyer , director of photography for the Discovery Channel show American Chopper ." A friend took him to the band's first club date, opening for Bleu (a charter member of the Choir and contributing songwriter) at the Paradise in June. Completely unexpected happiness" is how Moyer describes his reaction. After the show he tracked down Bennett and offered to direct a video for the band, pro bono.
I see so many shows and the feeling I get from this band, it's rare," says Moyer. I know they're new and don't have money to spend, but I see their passion and I really wanted to be a part of it."
The Push Push (Lady Lightning)" video, taped last month at the Middle East, is in the final editing stages and will be posted on the band's website and MySpace page later this month.
Meanwhile, amid the beautiful metal mayhem, reality is rearing its ugly head. As the band's profile expands, so do Bennett's and Necochea's workloads. The pair estimates that they put 40 to 50 hours a week -- that's on top of their day jobs -- into the band, which doesn't yet have a manager, publicist, booking agent, or income stream. The challenge of the moment is figuring out which of the members would be available for a Northeast tour, and for that matter how on earth they're going to finance, and transport, such a massive expedition. Right now, Bang Camaro's 10 songs are only available online. They hope to make a CD, and soon, because there's a nagging little question: What kind of shelf life can a novelty like Bang Camaro possibly hope to have?
"They've created a legacy off of three shows," says Shred , local music director at WBCN -FM (104.1) . It's an incredibly cool shtick. But even when you're [the animated supergroup] Gorillaz you have to reinvent yourself."
Bennett and Necochea know it, and their approach seems to be strike while the iron's hot. A filmmaker follows them everywhere. A feature-length Bang Camaro documentary is in the works, to be packaged, in a full-on media blitz, with their debut CD.
"We know we have to get it together pretty quickly," says Necochea, because I think a large part of our success has been the spectacle. We don't want to wear out our welcome."
"We're not," Bennett concludes, "the next Bob Dylan."
High Noon Saloon
701 E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|