New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

Dramarama

By Gary Wien


Dramarama was one of those bands that never got the radio attention they deserved, but developed a true hard-core fan base that never died. Thanks to the support of those fans and VH-1's "Bands Reunited," the band is back and better than ever with the release of "Everybody Dies" - the first Dramarama record in over a decade.

It's a testament to the song writing ability of John Easdale that Dramarama's latest disc contains several songs that many people are ranking among the band's best ever. And that's a pretty high standard as two very influential radio stations (KROC and WHTG) on two separate coasts had a Dramarama song named as the best song ever. Ironically, it was a different song on each coast. The west coast favored "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)" while the east coast went with "Last Cigarette."

When Dramarama was featured on a episode of VH-1's "Bands Reunited" show it introduced them to a new generation of fans and got the original band members thinking about the power of the Dramarama name.

"Honest to God, this would have been a John Easdale record even though it had Mark (Englert) and Peter (Wood) on it," explained John Easdale. "But that VH-1 thing happened and then we did a concert in California. And it was just an overwhelming show of love and support from people out there for the band. Dramarama, aside from a few moments in New Jersey when the John Easdale group would play - that was something I hadn't felt out here in California and that I hadn't felt in general.

"It was something that happened real organically in that it wasn't like I was sitting back home saying, 'It's time to break that name out again because I need to get more people to pay attention.' But rather it was between the VH-1 special and the audience reaction at that concert... we looked at each other and said there's still a power of this name. That's the main difference I guess. It was something that was decided for us rather than us being all calculating."

It's certainly been a strange ride back for John Easdale. The CD title gives a bit of a hint as to some of the things that have been going on in his life in recent years. He's seen his mother and his best friend both pass away; had the magazine he worked at for around a decade go out of business; and watched as VH-1 and a cover of an old Dead Kennedy's tune suddenly gave his old band a second chance.

"My mom got sick in May of that year (she was diagnosed with cancer) and then in June Greg Dwinnell (John's best friend) passed away. In August VH-1 came to visit and September was the KROC concert. And then about a month later we did 'California Uber Allies' and that's when we started to keep the name."

Their cover of the popular Dead Kennedy's song (with some scathing new lyrics by John Easdale about the California Gubertorial race) got them national exposure on a level few would have expected. The news about the song made its way around the Internet and into music magazines and newspapers as radio jumped at the chance to play the song mocking the California race for governor. Easdale says he still can't believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger was really elected.

"I'm still reeling from that because I hadn't ever really considered that he had a chance to win," said Easdale. "I don't know why. I had my head stuck in the sand or something, but I really didn't think we were nutty enough in this state to vote for that guy."

The current lineup of Dramarama includes three of the band's original members (John Easdale, Peter Wood and Mark Englert) - something that John is very proud of. He's always dreaded the idea of being a "retro artist" and knew the only way he would ever bring back the band was if they were creating new music. And they've certainly succeeded.

One of the most amazing things about Dramarama is that none of the songs ever seem dated. Songs from their first record seem just as fresh today as they did in the early 1980s. This may be partly due to the fact that the band was never representative of its era. And even though the songs do not sound the same, all of the songs are instantly recognizable as Dramarama - including those on "Everybody Dies." In fact, as people around the country hear the first cuts from the new disc they'll probably wonder if it's a new song or a rarity they've never heard before. Somehow John Easdale's vocals put a stamp on a song in the same vein that Bono does for U2 or Mick Jagger with the Rolling Stones. You just know who the band is.

One of the original band members that declined the offer to rejoin Dramarama was Chris Carter. Chris took part in the VH-1 special but was displeased with how the show treated him. In recent years he's become a popular DJ with a weekly show on Infinity called "Breakfast With The Beatles." He has also moved on to films and was the producer of the Rodney Bingheimer documentary, "Mayor Of The Sunset Strip." According to Easdale, Chris Carter had no problems with his former bandmates starting up again.

"He gave us his blessing when we did that KROC concert," said Easdale. "He opted out at that point.He's moved on and he does so many other cool things now that I don't think being a bass player in a band is number one on his wish list. It wasn't like he was trying out for a band all those years. I think the only band he ever wanted to be in was Dramarama and I think he outgrew it."

"Everybody Dies" is being distributed nationally by 33rd Street Records, a division of Tower Records. As in the past, Dramarama had some trouble with their label. In this case, the deal with Tower happened only a few days after the original distributor went out of business. The disc was officially released in late October. "The label had been kind enough to make the little pieces of plastic with the holes and get them in the stores and I think everything else is up to us."

This record is ironically "toned down" a bit from the way death influenced the EP "Made In New Jersey" which was a preview of this "Everybody Dies."

"That EP was made and created for one purpose - to give to a guy who was dying," said Easdale. "And I had one listener in mind. This was a little more well rounded in that there's things on there about working, about being in love, and breaking up. There are a couple of themes going on that don't have to do with death, but death is always around the corner...

"I actually had an earlier version of this record done when Greg passed away," he added. "Greg had heard it and made some comments. Some of the things that became bonus tracks were in the album itself. He was helping me with sequencing even up to the very end. He was still advising me."

Music fans owe VH-1 for bringing Dramarama back to a national stage again. They were one of the best and most underrated bands that ever came from the New Jersey area and it's great to see them back.

"I had turned down money many times to do Dramarama shows," said Easdale. "I had no interest in cashing in. It's way more about the love and the magic and the music. I really do believe in that. I have a great time every time I get up and do it. I always hope that people are having as good of a time as I am because I'm always having a blast!"



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


MUSIC

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


THEATRE

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







DANCE

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


KIDS

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

View all events
























New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.