(Asbury Park, NJ -- May 6, 2004) -- Nearly 10 years ago, Dramarama played their final show as a band at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Last Saturday night (May 1st), the band finally returned to the city as the surprise guest headliners for the Upstage Magazine benefit show at the Wonder Bar. Even though the band had played a show the night before, Dramarama gave the crowd a full 21-song set that went from 1:15am until 3:30am.
Interest in Dramarama may be at its all-time peak thanks to being part of VH-1's show "Bands Reunited" which attempted to bring classic bands from the 1980s back together. The show managed to get the original lineup of Dramarama back on stage for the first time since that Stone Pony show. The success of the VH-1 special and the release of a new Dramarama record brought the band back on tour.
Dramarama consists of John Easdale, Mark Englert, Peter Wood, Tony Snow, Mike Davis, and Craig Ballam. Chris Carter, an original band member who is now a popular DJ in California, chose not to rejoin the band for this tour. In essence the band is a combination of original Dramarama band members and members of the John Easdale west coast band.
Leading off the show with "Stuck in Wonderamaland", Easdale and the boys ripped through a mixture of Dramarama classics, rare nuggets and new songs. Playing before a crowd of between 100-125 die-hard fans, the band gave the crowd a private party they will never forget. Songs included the popular live numbers "Incredible", "Until The Next Time", "It's Only Money", "Steve & Edie", "I've Got Spies", "No Regrets", "Work For Food", "Haven't Got A Clue", "Scenario", "Last Cigarette", and "Anything, Anything". Highlights of the night included a blistering version of "Everybody Dies" from the band's latest CD and the band's first ever cover of "Knocking On Heaven's Door" with guest vocals by the legendary Jersey Shore rocker, Lance Larson.
The show was a benefit to help raise money for Upstage Magazine, a New Jersey publication that focuses on the arts. Over 20 bands showed their support of the magazine by taking turns on stage. Artists included Dramarama, April Smith, Bobby Strange, Bruce Tunkel, The Trio (Josh Zandman, JPAT, Tommy Anton), Eystone, DIBS, StereoSoul, Audiot, Bob Burger, Jason Shain, Chrisie Santoni Band, D.W.I., Matt O'Ree, Robert Dye Band, Melissa Chill, Wendie Wells and the Wonderboys, Ken Shane, Days Awake, Danny White Band, and The Ayes. Special appearances were made by Josh Zuckerman and the Dave Peel Project.
"Upstage Magazine focuses on giving a voice to many arts organizations that cannot afford to advertise," said Upstage publisher, Gary Wien. "We try to give everyone a chance to have their voice heard. This benefit helped us raise some money to cover our operating costs and be able to continue promoting the arts. In the seven months we have been publishing Upstage, we have helped sponsor film festivals, music events, and art shows. We've donated thousands of dollars of advertising space to help promote local benefit shows and it was good to see the support of the artists when we needed help."
Upstage Magazine is distributed for free in New Brunswick, Princeton, Trenton, Asbury Park, Red Bank, Long Branch, Toms River, Point Pleasant and various towns along the Jersey Shore. In addition, each issue is put online at http://www.upstagemagazine.com . Advertising in the magazine ranges from $25 for a business card ad to $300 for a full page ad. Full advertising information is available online at http://www.upstagemagazine.com/advertising or by calling 732-280-3305.
The Wonder Bar is located across from Convention Hall in Asbury Park at 5th and Ocean. It is being restored to its original look of the 60s and 70s where it was a fixture on the local music scene. Bruce Springsteen fans know the bar as the place where Clarence Clemons used to play and where Bruce filmed the video for "One Step Up... Two Steps Back" from the "Tunnel Of Love" record.
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.