Four95: The "Big Kids" on the L.I.E.
by Derek Grosso
Four95 is [from left] J. DeMeo (Drums and Percussion), Jim Brosnan (Guitars and Vocals), Dave Christopher (Lead Vocals), Mark Vellante (Bass Guitar and Vocals) and [missing from photo] Mike Elefante (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals). Originally called Tenth Avenue, Four95 re-formed in the spring of 1998 as a drummerless foursome. Jim and Dave are the only founding members left. J. came on board as the first and only drummer for Four95 in the summer of 1998 and it all took off from there. The band has seen numerous setbacks from personnel changes, physical injuries, and just some bad luck over the last six-plus years. They reached their peak in 2001 playing 27 shows, including the Long Island Music Festival, the Hamptons Festival, and The LI Fall Festival. The following year, they played their only out-of-state show to date, traveling to the EAT’M (Emerging Artists & Technology in Music) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada and played as a threesome (because their bass player quit three weeks before). The past two years the guys have played sparsely due to work schedule restrictions. This has recently changed and they look forward to an ambitious 2005.
Where were you all born and where do you currently reside?
DAVE – Born in Glen Cove, resides in Wantagh
J. – Born and currently resides in Huntington
JIM – Born in Smithtown, resides in North Babylon
MARK – Born in Waltham, MA and resides in Bethpage
MIKE – Born in Plainview, resides in Farmingdale
Tell us a little about your new CD and the type of music you guys play.
J. - We play original Rock/Pop. We have a wide variety of influences, which steers our music into a wide variety of styles. We range from heavy hitting to funky, to poppy ballad. The new CD tries to capture that range.
JIM - The new CD is our first release in four years, after a double release in 2001 of a studio EP and a live album. It's definitely an extension of what we've done in the past. Our previous efforts have been primarily of a pop-rock nature, but in the past four years, our sound has gradually hardened and developed an edge. This album is mostly newer material, written in the past two or three years, but with a couple of songs pulled from the archives, dusted off, and given a new coat of paint. The sound that we have is still a little less 'alternative' than what you might hear on a regular basis; we tend to lean more toward classic rock than cutting-edge alternative sounds. More of a blues feel than an in-your-face metal sound or a moody alt-pop sound. We write rock music. Not "interesting tales about teenage angst" or "hard, shredding licks." Rock music, like what we grew up on.
DAVE - Having spent just about seven years together is unusual for an original unsigned band, especially on Long Island. The advantage is that you get to know each other musically in a way that many other bands never have the opportunity to do. We have been able to evolve into musicians that not only have the ability to write great songs, but also to collaborate. The result is our upcoming CD. It is a product of our time together as bandmates, but also brings to light our individual influences spanning over 35 years of rock and roll. The album is, in my mind, a musical documentation of who we are today and where we've come from.
Let us in on a funny/interesting story you have about one of your gigs.
Which one? How about the time we went to play at SUNY Stony Brook and found a topless girl on stage? Or when we played in Rockville Centre and we were shut down by Nassau County Police Department? Playing Vegas, playing NYC a month after 9/11, or the four-show three-day weekend tour of Long Island? We don’t know where to start...
What's the best thing about being in a band?
JIM - The music.
J. - Being on stage and riding the wave - just the feeling of being in sync musically with everyone else and producing something enjoyable for our audience.
DAVE – Knowing that you are able to connect with so many people whether you know them or not. There is a great feeling when someone says to you that one of your songs really meant something to them.
What's the worst thing about being in a band?
JIM - Lugging gear.
J. – Trying to get everyone to agree.
DAVE – Unreliable/untrustworthy club owners.
Who were your Superbowl picks this year?
J./MARK - The Patriots
JIM - The Eagles in an upset
Most dynamic duo, real or fictional?
J. - Eddie and Alex
JIM - Ace and Gary
DAVE – Gene and Paul
The macarena or electric slide?
J. – Neither
JIM – The Funky Chicken
DAVE – Horizontal Mambo
You're in a time machine that can take you to one place. Where do you go?
JIM - Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963.
DAVE – The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, September 28th 1962. (Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter and Joey... The Rat Pack Live!!!)
J. – LA 1974-78 when Van Halen was on the club circuit.
What is your favorite restaurant?
JIM - Vincent's
J. – Roasted Pepper
DAVE – Peter Luger
J. - Sleep
JIM - Playing Guitar
MARK- Watching Movies
DAVE - Playing
Favorite local sports team?
J. - New York Islanders
JIM - New York Mets
DAVE - New York Yankees
MARK - New England Patriots / Boston Red Sox
Favorite place on Long Island?
JIM - Montauk Point
DAVE – Anywhere on the North Fork east of Riverhead
J. – Fire Island
Most recent book read or movie seen?
JIM - "The Teeth Of The Tiger" by Tom Clancy
MARK - "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown
DAVE – "Night Fall" by Nelson DeMille
We would like a lifetime subscription to ______ magazine?
Historic figure you would most like to meet, living or dead?
JIM – John F. Kennedy
DAVE - Sinatra
Who are some of your musical influences?
JIM - Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, Richie Sambora
J. - Van Halen, Huey Lewis and the News, Extreme
DAVE – Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Billy Joel
Who would you like to see run for President?
JIM - Mat Stegner
DAVE – George Carlin
You can play a gig anywhere in the country. Where is it and give us the details?
Madison Square Garden - NY
What's the wildest place you've played on Long Island?
J. - Summer Beach Club was pretty cool. Wildest show was probably Molly Blooms (LIMF Semi-Finals).
JIM - The Funky Munky
DAVE – Wee Scotty's in West Babylon.
Memory of growing up?
JIM - Driving to Hampton Bays in the middle of the summer.
DAVE – First paying gig. I was 14. I discovered that the lead singer gets the girls. I've been a lead singer ever since!
Favorite vacation spot?
JIM - Italy
J. - Hawaii
DAVE - Las Vegas, NV and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
MARK – Cape Cod, MA
Favorite local secret?
The Ocean Parkway at rush hour
What has been the band's greatest/proudest accomplishment thus far?
Our Longevity. Almost 7 years is a pretty long time for any band and it has been a lot of work to keep it together.
What don't you want our readers to know about you?
We're all closet rap fans. Word.
What makes Long Island special?
Probably being so close to the greatest city in the world yet really so far away... and beer that's SHTANKIN' cold!!
Four95's self-titled CD is available for sale. For more on the band, visit www.four95.com.