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By Gary Wien

"Make sure you tell them that this was the women's bathroom," yelled Brian Saint, of the band Republic, as we shot the picture found on the cover. I'm not sure exactly why he wanted that information to be known, but you can tell him that you read it here.

For some reason the location of the shot seemed to make a lot of sense at the time. Maybe it's because when you're trying to write about a band with a cult-like following you know you have to do something different. And, for the time being at least, Republic has one hell of a cult following.

Several months ago, I had a first hand glimpse into the world of Republic. The first thing you have to know about these guys is that they just might be the most commercially viable alternative band I've ever heard come from Asbury Park. Their songs owe more to bands like U2 and Garbage than they show influences of Bruce Springsteen. So while they have a large fanbase in the area, the base is somewhat comprised of people who don't follow the normal Asbury Park music scene too closely. For them, Republic is where the scene starts and ends. Anyway, a few months ago Republic opened for dada at the Saint. Just last year dada sold out the club in a matter of days - something relatively unheard of. But on this night, the crowd was entirely there to see Republic. And outdrawing national acts is becoming the norm. As the band works on their first studio record, their hopes are that the release opens up that audience far and beyond the Jersey Shore region. The revolution begins now.

"We have a specific sound and nobody else has it," explains Brian Saint while exuding the confidence of someone who believes it's just a matter of when and not if the band will make it to the next level.

"Every time somebody hears us they come back," he continues. "It started out obviously like any other band does with our friends, but then they bring their girlfriends, and the girlfriends bring their sisters and their sisters bring their cousins and their mothers. We get a lot of moms."

The distinctive sound largely stems from such diverse influences as U2, Stone Temple Pilots, Led Zeppelin, Garbage, Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam. All of the Republic members help in writing the band's songs and since each person brings a slice of their own personal influences, the overall sound comes out as something truly unique.

"For the most part, we're really trying to work at writing together," said Saint.

In addition to the music, the band makes a definite effort to bring their fans to each show through a lot of foot work and by utilizing their network of friends.

"We pay all our friends to come see us," jokes Joseph Savio. "We're in the red right now."

It's easy to understand why the fanbase grows with each show. Lead singer Brian Saint is one of the most intense (Bono-like) frontmen in the area. The band makes every song sound like it's the last one they're playing tonight - simply bursting with an energy that begs to be noticed. Regardless of whether you came for Republic or came for the headliner, as the band roars through their set you're bound to be converted as well.

The band started playing out around two years ago. In addition to Saint and Savio, the other band members include Michael Scotto and Mike Thompson. They largely play clubs in a steady mixture of Asbury Park, Hoboken and New York City. They've also done mini tours of Boston and Pennsylvania.

If the band's name sounds unfamiliar to you, it's probably because they play clubs like Jimis more than they play the Stone Pony - something that aids with the cult band profile. While Jimis is a great club, few people outside of its inner circle ever know what's going on there. For Republic, it's a club that offers them the freedom to do whatever they want. If they feel like playing an all acoustic show, they'll do an acoustic show. If they feel like rocking out, they can do that too.

"It's a little underground," said Saint. "I've known Jimi for six years. My old band used to play at his place The Moon Rock. I've been working at Jimis so we figured we might as well hang out there and play a couple of times. It's a good place to play. It's more relaxed than other places in town."

Republic's upcoming CD is being produced by local singer-songwriter Mark Prescott, who's a good friend of the band.

"He's actually trying to get his producer chops up," said Michael Scotto. "We're huge fans of his music and he's a fan of our music. We're sort of the guinea pig for his venturing into producing and, of course, we'll take that.

"He knows us very well and he knows the music. He has a lot of ideas that we didn't think of. So we're going into the studio with him and he's doing a lot of the engineering himself. He's got an ear and he knows what he wants to hear. We just show up and play our songs and whatever he tells us to do we try it."

If all goes well, the band will have the new record available by early summer. June is the estimated date of release right now. The record is being privately backed financially - one of many favors the band expects to have to pay back in the future.

"Everyone's being very, very nice to us," said Scotto. "I want to make something of ourselves, but to also be able to help out and say thank you in a way. Its an ode to all of the people that have helped us. People that no one has ever heard of. We get a lot of favors - It's karma! It's got to be karma! I believe in that shit... the karma police will get you!"

If karma is working its magic behind the scenes, it may have been behind Colie Brice's return to the area. Colie is an old friend of Brian Saint who has recently set up a record label in Asbury Park called Aeria Records. Republic has been one of the bands contacted by Colie and the band is strongly considering the offer.

As the band reads through the fine print, they're continuing to plug away at finishing the record. They all know that the disc is what will ultimately make the biggest difference in the next six months. They're anxious to get back on the road again; returning to places up north and then adding more cities along the way.

"We want to just do it the old fashioned way," added Scotto. "I mean, nobody's gonna walk in and say 'I want to sign you guys.'"

Nobody except Colie... Maybe there's something to this karma thing after all.

You can catch Republic on March 11th at 7pm as part of the Benefit for Ssgt. Maurice Craft at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.

For more by this author, click here

Daniil Trifonov performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in NJSO debut
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in his NJSO debut, January 25–27, in the final program of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Winter Festival, “Music Speaks.” Music Director Xian Zhang conducts the program, which also features Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the NJSO premiere of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Performances take place on January 25 at 8:00pm at NJPAC in Newark, January 26 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and January 27 at 3:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Audible and NJPAC Present "Jazz in the Key of Ellison"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Audible have announced the first three national performance dates of “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” celebrating the musical world of the esteemed African-American novelist, critic and scholar Ralph Ellison and his remarkable collection of jazz recordings.
Centenary Stage Presents Michael Davis and the New Wonders
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center featuring three musical guest artists throughout the month of January. The series launches on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Michael Davis and the New Wonders.
Billy Joel to Celebrate 70th Birthday at MSG
(NEW YORK, NY) -- The Madison Square Garden Company announced that the 64th consecutive show by legendary musician and MSG franchise, Billy Joel, on Thursday, May 9, 2019 takes place on his 70th birthday! The  show will be Joel’s 110th all-time performance at The Garden.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Presents Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has extended Motor City Live: A Tribute to Motown through the month of December with a special Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas. Along with your favorite Motown classics, you’ll hear some Motor City versions of your favorite Holiday songs sprinkled in like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from The Temptations, Aretha Franklin’s “Winter Wonderland,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson’s “Jingle Bells” and much more.

Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
The holidays bring many special things and, for me, one of the best is the music. It sets a mood, invokes memories, soothes the soul and provides a seasonal soundtrack for my life.
An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!
PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.

Event calendar
Saturday, Dec 15, 2018


DOWNSTREAM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

LIFE OF AGONY/SICK OF IT ALL @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 6:30pm

JOHNNY O @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

WEIRD SCIENCE @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

The THE BAND Band @ Darress Theatre, Boonton - 8:00pm

Brian Fallon @ Crossroads (Garwood), Garwood - 8:00pm

KASHMIR THE LIVE LED ZEPPELIN SHOW @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

Holiday POPS! @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 3:00pm and 6:00pm

TAKING BACK SUNDAY @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

The Beat Tells @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm

The Metropolitan Opera: La Traviata @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 1:00pm


Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm and 7:00pm and 7:30pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 7:30pm

Peter Pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 7:30pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm


A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 8:00pm


Louie Anderson @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre with special guest Sweet Honey In The Rock @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm


Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert Live to Film @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

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