Chatting with NYC rock band The Energy

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent

Rock At Night is very pleased to introduce rock band The Energy, hailing from New York City. The band has been active for about a decade and has offered support for bands like 3Doors Down, Vertical Horizon, Eve6, and were the headliner for the 2011 New York City Marathon.  They are having a CD Release Party for When We Were Young at Webster Studio, New York City, on April 23rd.

Members: Adam Wolfsdorf (vocals), Ian VanderMeulen (guitar), James Clifford (bass), and Zachary Thomas (drums)

The Energy performs at Gramercy Theater, NYC. December, 19, 2009. Copyright © 2009 Chris Owyoung. All Rights Reserved.
The Energy performs at Gramercy Theater, NYC. December, 19, 2009. Copyright © 2009 Chris Owyoung. All Rights Reserved.

ROCK AT NIGHT:  How long has the band been together and how was the group formed?

We’ve been a band for over 10 years.  We started as a cover band named Furious George.  Then a guy named George said he had the name and tried to sue us.  We figured that rather than getting into a legal battle, we’d change our name and become an original act!

ROCK AT NIGHT: What are your musical roots?  What bands did you listen to growing up and who are your influences?

U2, REM, classic rock.  The good stuff!

ROCK AT NIGHT:  Who does the songwriting and how would you describe your music? What message are you trying to get across, if any?

We write really collaboratively.  Usually one of us will come up with an idea and bring it to the group.  Then we’ll workshop it and collaborate until we hit the right groove.  Because we’ve known each other for over 10 years, we have gotten good at predicting what types of melodies and sonic feel we are going for.

ROCK AT NIGHT: Do you have any upcoming tours planned? Have you ever played outside of the U.S.?

Big CD release show this Saturday, April 23rd at Webster Hall in NYC.  We’re playing a private show with Nikki Menaj in May.  CD release shows in Boston and DC coming, too.  And some summer festivals.

ROCK AT NIGHT:  Since I play music, I’m always interested in knowing about gear. Do you favor any kind of guitars, amps, or effects?

For live sound, my bread and butter is a Gibson Les Paul Standard, with the older vintage-style pickups, through a Vox AC30 reissue. The thickness of the Les Paul and the high end sparkle of the Vox seem to balance each other out and give the variety of tonal options I need. In the studio its a different story, we use all types if guitars and amps depending on the tone–telecasters for added bite, Gretsch for more color in the overtones. As far as amps we like the usual, Marshalls or even Mesa Boogie for *really* heavy sounds, but we’ve also relied on Bogner amps a lot on each of the last two records.

ROCK AT NIGHT:  Who is an artist you have always wanted to see in concert but never had the opportunity?

I don’t know, do you think Hendrix might be secretly alive somewhere, waiting to make a comeback?! In all seriousness I’ve wanted to see Steve Vai for the longest and just never gotten out for one of his shows. The whole G3 phenomenon, the annual tour that Joe Satriani organized with Vai and other top-shelf guitarists had a huge impact on my as a developing player and I got to see Satriani during that time but never Steve Vai.

ROCK AT NIGHT:  If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

That’s a tough one, because it’s hard to know, if you’ve never met someone, who might be super difficult to work with. Right? Like the stereotype of the creative genius who is also insanely controlling has some truth to it. Over the years we’ve definitely learned that working with people musically has as much to do with personality as creativity. Matt from Vertical Horizon is someone we know a little who would probably be a great match–just a great songwriter in a similar vein who is also incredibly down-to-earth. Kings of Leon, although we’ve never met them, seem like a fun group of super talented guys, but they’re all brothers and cousins, right? Pretty tough to get in the middle of a group like that!

ROCK AT NIGHT: What is the best thing about being a musician? What is the worst thing?

The best thing is just having a creative outlet and be able to express something common to human experience, whether that’s something about intimate relationships or political frustration or whatever. The worst part, at least for touring artists, is just taking time away from loved ones and close friends. So many rock songs are about just that, like our ”Return to You” off the new album.

ROCK AT NIGHT: Do you have any interests or talents that people would be surprised to know?

Well, I have a conservatory degree in classical trumpet, though I don’t play so much anymore (there is a little trumpet on our album Realize Your Sin). Adam and James are both black belts in karate and kind of sports nuts as well, they like to argue about Patriots vs. Jets or Red Sox vs. Yankees (I’ll let readers guess on that one). We’re also all teachers in one form or another–like, we’ll school you in how to rock!

ROCK AT NIGHT: What do you do for fun when you are not playing music?

Are you kidding? Music IS our “fun”! Seriously though, I think we enjoy a lot of what other people enjoy–eating good food, traveling, enjoying a film or some great music. “Real life” as it we’re is important for us to stay grounded and it’s also what inspires our music, ultimately.

ROCK AT NIGHT:  Is there anything you would want people out there to know about the band or its music?

Just that we hope the music inspires people and we hope to meet some new fans in the coming months! We consider ourselves pretty down-to-earth guys, so if you see us at a show sometime soon, come say what’s up!



Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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