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The Porchistas: DIY Rockers

By Gary Wien

This article was originally designed to be read in the October 2014 issue of
New Jersey Stage magazine. To read it in its original format, click here

Many bands complain that there aren't enough places to play in New Jersey. The Porchistas aren't one of those bands. They not only developed a great relationship with a local club, but they did the ultimate DIY thing and turned their own home and backyard into venues as well. They're proof that sometimes artists can control more than they think they can.

On Saturday, November 1, the Porchistas will celebrate the release of their latest CD "Shoot It At The Sun" with a space-themed Halloween party at Tierney's Tavern in Montclair.

"The first song is called ‘The Garbage Corridor' and it explores a future elevator into space that shoots garbage at the sun," explained Alan "Sucia" Smith, a former Newark police officer and firefighter who plays guitar in the band. "The whole record is 13 songs relating to or exploring outer space in some way or another. A lot of the songs are connected to each other; many are pretty serious and deep, and some are just silly and fun.

Along with Smith, the band includes Adam "Devil Hands" Falzer, Gerry Griffin, and Jonathan Riordan. Together, they've found a home away from home at Tierney's, a landmark in Montclair that has been run by the same family for 80 years. Smith says the family's investments in the sound system over the years has turned it into a very good sounding room. But it's the arrangement the club offers bands that makes it a truly unique venue.

"One of the great things about Tierney's is that the bands take the whole door and the bar takes the bar," said Smith. "It's one of the few places where if you put a good show together - say a 3 band show where we charge $10 a head and are able to get 150 people, that's $1500 we can split for the bands. It's a very rare thing in independent rock to be able to do that."

Successful shows at Tierney's have led to bands across the state contacting them for gigs, but Smith warns that bands have to be honest. If they aren't going to be able to bring a crowd - and a crowd that will drink alcohol - they won't be a good fit.
"Fortunately or unfortunately, that's the only way the bar can make money," said Smith. "To their credit they give us the entire door. It's the epitome of the local saloon. It's Montclair's local bar."

The Porchistas see music and art as community building endeavors. They describe their sound as lyrically driven folk, punk, throwback, rock with a strong hippy spirit. They've often performed as part of fundraisers or benefits for various organizations over the years. You don't have to visit Smith's Sustainable Living Education Center in Costa Rica to see how important social and environmental causes are to the band. Despite hoping to keep their schedule clear so they could finish the CD and get ready for their own party, the band couldn't say no to playing a trio of benefit shows in October.

On October 11th, they were part of "Dog Walk of the Dead" at Erie Park in Montclair. This was to help raise money to keep a local animal shelter open. On Saturday, October 25th, they will be part of "The Ghost of Uncle Joe's Masquerade Rock & Roll Ball" at Harsimus Cemetery in Jersey City.

"They have an annual Halloween party where they ask different original bands to come do a cover set," explained Smith. "Jim Testa (a writer with Jersey Beat) asked us to do a Bob Dylan set with him. I wouldn't turn that down."

Prior to becoming a cemetery in 1829, Harsimum Cemetery was the site of Revolutionary War skirmishes in the 1700s and an active ammunition bunker during the War of 1812. Thousands of soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII are buried there. In order to maintain the grounds, the cemetery has come up with rather creative ways to raise money - the annual Halloween fundraiser being one example.

The Porchistas also will be lending a hand to's Annual Spondylitis Benefit which runs October 17 to 20. The benefit features live performances by more than 70 bands on the internet radio station.

But on November 1st, the focus will be on The Porchistas and their latest release. The band considers it to be their most ambitious project to date. It's also their first recorded in a professional studio as opposed to their living room.

The night will include a space-themed costume contest (for the most artistically creative costume) and a couples' dance contest (one song from each band so get there early). The entrance fee is $5 to enter either or $8 to enter both. Cash prizes from all proceeds will go to the winners who will be chosen by Tierneys' staff.

Bone & Marrow, a duo comprised of Daimon Alexandrius and Jennifer Mustachio (formerly of the popular band Elevator Art) will open the show. Following The Porchistas will be The Defending Champions - a Montclair-based band whose unique combination of Ska, Pop, Gypsy, catchy, horn driven dance numbers will keep the party going all night.

For more information on the band visit

For more by this author, click here

South Jersey Pops To Present Holiday Shows On Sunday & Monday
(CHERRY HILL, NJ) -- The South Jersey Pops, the area’s own non-profit orchestra, will take a world view of this magical season as it presents “Celebrate: A Global Holiday” on Sunday, December 16 in Medford. The second of its four performances during its 49th season, the program will feature holiday carols from around the globe including France, Germany, and Spain, local music to warm the hearts of Philadelphians, along with Hanukkah songs and popular and timeless holiday classics.
Experiment 34 To Hold CD Release At Asbury Lanes
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Experiment 34 will celebrate the release of their debut full-length album, "What Dying Feels Like," on Saturday, February 16 at Asbury Lanes. E34 are a hard, heavy, aggressive mix of punk, funk, rap, metal and psychedelic rock with an inventive chemistry and explosive bond to which audiences of all kinds react well. Tickets for the CD release show are $15 at the door and $12 in advanced. Admission will include a free copy of the CD. 
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.

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
Sunday, Dec 16, 2018


CHRIS GULLACE BAND - A BENEFIT FOR ST. JUDE @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 2:00pm

SOLAR CIRCUS / DOOBIE DECIBEL SYSTEM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

ELEVEN ELEVEN @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 2:00pm

SUNDAY JAZZ @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00am

Joy to the World: A Christmas Suite @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 4:00pm


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

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

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

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Peter pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 1:00pm and 5:00pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

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

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

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 - 5:00pm


Cocktail Hour: The Show Featuring the B-Twist Orchestra @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City - 6:00pm

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

The Nutcracker: The Russian National Ballet @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

Bolshoi Ballet: Don Quixote @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


Shopkins LIVE! Shop It Up! @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 11:00am

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