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Makin Waves Song of the Week: “If” by Tom Kanach

By Bob Makin

originally published: 12/10/2021

Makin Waves Song of the Week: “If” by Tom Kanach

Veteran indie-rocking singer-songwriter Tom Kanach and his crackerjack band — bassist-producer-engineer Joe Rowley, drummer Steve Buzbee, and guitarists Pete Wood and Johnny Rao are the Makin Waves Song of the Week with the new single “If.” PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM KANACH 

The loss of COVID has been devastating to families who just want to spend a little time together, especially during the holidays. 

But some good as come out of the bad, including the new Tom Kanach single, “If,”  the Makin Waves Song of the Week, the video for which makes its media premiere here:

As the Makin Waves Song of the Week, “If” also can be heard between 6 and 8 p.m. on Dec. 10 on “Radio Jersey” at

“‘If’ is a song about loss,” Tom said. “My Dad died of COVID, and although we loved each other, we had a complex relationship. I was thinking about how I wish things could've been different, and I wrote ‘If.’”

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The powerfully forlorn Lennonesque jangle ‘n’ funk tune is one of several the prolific band will premiere live on Dec. 11 at The Saint in Asbury Park in anticipation of a forthcoming album, Tom’s fourth since 2017. 

The Saint gig also is the debut of new guitarist Johnny Rao (Sylvain Sylvain, David Johansen) as a full member of a band that includes bassist-producer-engineer Joe Rowley, drummer Steve Buzbee, and guitarist Pete Wood (Dramarama). 

Last time the band played The Saint on Aug. 14, they were joined on stage for a blistering set of old punk nuggets by Jersey-raised music industry legend Matt Pinfield. Here’s what Matt had to say about the band after that show:

“New Jersey has always been a hotbed for some of the greatest musical talent that this country has to offer. From the Four Seasons to Springsteen to My Chemical Romance, some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll of all time was born in the Garden State. 

“This brings me to one of my favorite new bands from my old stomping grounds, the Tom Kanach Band. I knew Tom’s talent from one of his first bands that I supported, Well Of Souls, who were a powerful fixture on the Jersey Shore. But it is his new band that has gotten me excited about the Jersey scene once again.

“Tom’s love for all things music led to early brushes with greatness on the international punk scene, where he forged lasting friendships with the legendary Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, and Brian James of the Damned and Lords Of The New Church. Those early longterm relationships  connect the dots to Tom’s current band, as the great guitarist from Dramarama, Peter Wood, is now in both bands. Speaking of East Coast legends, the latest addition to the group is later New York Dolls/original David Johansen lead guitarist Johnny Rao, who brings his undeniable rock swagger to the band and their incredible live performances. Tom’s right hand is the super talented bassist/co-writer/producer/engineer Joe Rowley, who has been a mainstay on the Jersey scene working with many artists in all those capacities. The lineup is rounded out by rock-solid drummer and percussionist Steve Buzbee, who used to play with former members of UK band The Wonder Stuff and has been a fixture on the NJ/NYC music scene.

“Tom’s songs come from an honest place, which inspires, and is evident in, the narrative of his lyrics about navigating life changes -- emotional, romantic, missteps — and digging down for his and the listener’s own personal strength. I suggest checking out his songs, EPs and creative video vision any way and anywhere you consume and enjoy music that moves you. And make sure to see the band live as well.  The Tom Kanach Band will connect with you -- if you give them the chance.”

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Unlike the previous sold-out Saint show, it hasn’t been announced whether Matt will make another appearance on Dec. 11. But joining them once again will be his old pals from New Brunswick’s Melody Bar: DJs Pete Santiago and Ed Wong. Also sharing the stage will be New Brunswick indie stalwarts The Fletchers. 

For tickets and more info about Tom Kanach Band, visit

Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at



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