The Strungout Playboys
The Strungout Playboys are a four-piece acoustic band based on Boston's North Shore. Together, they fuse Country, Bluegrass, Folk, and Classic Rock to create unique and diverse music that is highly entertaining and engaging. This fresh acoustic quartet shares vocal duties, adding harmonies to each singer/songwriter’s leads. Their debut album, "Pushing A String," contains 13 original songs that will certainly make waves on the Boston music scene and beyond. Band members are: Glen Ahearn - guitar and vocals, John DiTomaso - ukulele, melodica, and vocals, Tony Gallo - bass and vocals, and Joe Geary - banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
When I was young, I had dreams of being a famous, professional musician. I started out playing other people's music, as I suppose most everybody did, but I knew I wouldn't get to my dream playing other peoples songs. So I started writing my own.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Three out of the four members of The Strungout Playboys were in a previous band together. We hooked-up with some contact in the music business who wanted to audition us by playing at his 8-year old child's birthday party. Now we were playing some hard-rocking music at this point and it was surreal to see all these little kids running around screaming with their hands over their ears.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Twice now, The Strungout Playboys has had the privilege of playing gigs with the very talented Fly Amero, of the band Orleans (Dance With Me, Still The One, etc.). Fly really liked us and what we were doing. Knowing what an amazing talent Fly is, and getting his appreciation and enthusiasm for our band meant a great deal to all of us.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? All of us in the band write songs and contribute to our original catalog. I can only speak for myself (Glen), but I have a workman-like approach to songwriting. When I have the time and am in the right frame of mind, I will either pick-up my guitar or pick-up a pen and start to noddle-away at music or lyrics. Sometimes I will be inspired by a phrase that will form the basis of some lyrics, but most of the time I will say, "It's time to write a song," and I will get down to the business of doing just that.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be? I am sure I am not the first person to say this, but the technology today is a double-edged sword. It allows anyone to record music and publish it themselves, without a record label. Of course, since anyone can publish, the challenge becomes being noticed above the din. Making it involves hard work, talent, and, let's face it, luck. The one thing I would ask of the music industry is for a group insurance plan that musicians can buy into. I am not suggesting that the music industry has to supplement the cost of insurance in any significant way, but by having a group policy, all musicians would have a chance to buy-in at a reasonable price, and not be excluded due to pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act should provide for this, but I am not convinced that the politicians will not find a way to totally scrap this.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Mumford and Sons. They are the ones who inspired the genre we play today, and I am impressed with the direction they gave to that genre.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Being an acoustic band we sit around a table with no amplification except for the bass and sometimes the uke. Sitting around a table we can all really hear each other. I think it helps us to properly modulate our sound, and that carries-over to the live performance as well.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
There is a song from our Pushing A String album called That Was Then, This Is Now. Tony Gallo wrote the lyrics, but we all wrote the music together, basically in one sitting. Even though it did not take us a long time, I think it was a challenge to get all of our individual and diverse musical ideas into one song, while still making it cohesive in the end. The biggest challenge was getting it to work right in a live performance. There is a wide dynamic range in the song, and some "feel" timing. It worked OK sitting around our table at practice, but it was a nightmare the first few times we played it on stage.
What's coming up in the future?
Album number two, hopefully. We have been hard at work writing songs for the next album. We all work other jobs to support ourselves and our families, however. So finding the time and money to plan-out the whole album process will be difficult, but I am hoping we will release something before the end of 2019.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
For more information on The Strungout Playboys, please visit their website.