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Travis Tooke Resurfaces As Indigo Planet Records Returns

By Gary Wien


Imagine your band is just about to release their first album on a major record label. You're driving back home to Florida after a successful showcase at New York's legendary C.B.G.B. club when your van has a tire blow out on Inter-state 95 somewhere in Georgia. The next thing you know the van has overturned and you're looking at two of your best friends and your tour manager now dead. It may seem like the script for a movie of the week, but that's what happened to the mid-90s band For Squirrels.

Less than a month before For Squirrels released their debut album, a tragic car accident took the lives of the band's lead singer (Jack Vigliatura), bassist (Bill White), and their tour manager (Tim Bender). Guitarist Travis Tooke and drummer Jack Griego survived with various injuries and kept the band going as the single "Mighty K.C." received solid airplay on modern rock stations across the country. The two went on to form Subrosa, which would release one more album and then fade from memory.

One fan who never forgot about Travis and his former bands was Dave Kosciolek who founded the label Indigo Planet Records several years ago. That label worked with many local and regional artists and is probably best known for releasing the debut record by April Smith. The label had been inactive for well over a year, but after Kosciolek was able to find Travis Tooke he convinced him to have his next record relaunch the record label.

"Speaking both as a fan, and a label, I cannot begin to say how excited I am to be working with Travis," said Kosciolek. "Many people, myself included, have been wondering about Travis the last eight years. I'm happy to say that he has never stopped writing music, and we are anxious for the world to hear it."

There are a lot of reasons why Tooke stopped making music. In addition to losing his friends and having to live through the car accident over and over in his mind, Tooke also became very cynical of the music industry after problems with the record label and his manager led to a lawsuit that wiped out his bank account.

As they approached the band's second record, Tooke changed the band name to Subrosa. The label wanted the band to remain as For Squirrels. When it was clear the band was going to change its name, the label wanted to place stickers on the CDs to tell people that this was the new evolution of For Squirrels, but Tooke didn't agree because he felt the music was headed in a different
direction. This led to friction between the label and the band, which ultimately led to the label dropping Subrosa.

Around this time, Tooke's manager started pushing Travis in ways he didn't like. Eventually, Tooke told him that he no longer wanted to work with him.

"I just wanted to go hibernate and do my own thing and he sued me falsely," said Tooke. "He came over here and garnished $60,000 or something - basically all of the money I had. The courts let him take it away from me because they said I didn't defend myself. At the time, I thought it was just a bunch of nonsense. I was like, he can't just say I owe him money when I don't. I'm not going to even deal with this, which turned out to be the wrong idea. The people I had originally trusted were all turning on me."

The accident took place on September 8, 1995. This time of the year makes the memories a bit stronger and getting back into music will mean having to talk about the accident again. Ironically, that's not really a bad thing for Tooke.

"In some ways it seems like it's rough dealing with it because it doesn't really come up that much," he said. "It seems like the band has kind of faded away in some eyes. I just wish we had gotten more of a chance than we did. I wish those guys had a shot to still be part of it and bring whatever light we could with music."

The release of his upcoming CD, "Artichoke", contains titles like "Lonely and Not Alone", "Would You Burn", "Broken Record" and "Wrongsong" - titles that Travis admits are deeply personal songs. One song called "Two Arm Army" has Travis wondering about his musical future.

"That song came about from the feeling that I really haven't gone anywhere and just because it seems like it's wrong doesn't necessarily make it wrong," he explained. "I was practicing one night and feeling the sort of draining feeling about where have I been? Where am I going? Why is my music still stuck in my room with me?"

His music might have remained hidden if Indigo Planet Records hadn't found him. Tooke is putting his faith into Dave Kosciolek. After being burned in the past, trust wasn't something immediately easy for Tooke, but Kosciolek's passion for the project clearly showed.

"At first I was like are you serious? Why me?" recalled Tooke. "And he was like why not you? He told me how I had inspired him and had this great impact on him with my music. I believed him because I was touched by his honesty and the way he arranged his thoughts were very much like a fan and a music lover. I never thought I could do it on my own again. I never thought that I would be able to get my music out and actually tour and try to get back into it, but he installed new confidence and hope in me again."

"Artichoke" is expected to be released sometime before the end of the year and his next record is already being mastered. There are plans for Travis to do a tour including dates in the New York / New Jersey area. For updates on the CD, go to www.indigoplanetrecords.com



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NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.
Idle Wave To Hold Record Release Party At Asbury Park Brewery
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"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
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Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!










Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

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

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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