Sidemen step forward with Great debut discGo to see any band, and nine times out of ten, the sideman is probably the most talented guy on stage. A group of longtime Boston musicians may have had the same idea when they formed an alliance as The Sidemen. Scott Janovitz and Eric Barlow had played in Jake Brennan’s band, Matt Burwell had been with the Pills and Chris Zembower with Bleu. The band soon took off, and they reformed, Voltron-like, into a super rock robot called The Great Bandini. Metro caught up with Janovitz, who is set to release his band’s self-titled new wave pop and classic rock-colored debut full length this week.
Seems like there has always been a heavy classic rock influence in your music throughout various bands. What did the rest of the Bandini guys bring to expand your songwriting horizon?
And this was my attempt at a more modern rock band. Damn. No, you can’t escape the influence of the music you love and grow up on. ... But we quickly adapted our writing to the strengths of the band. For one thing, everyone can sing. ... So, I started putting together songs with counter melodies and lots of harmonies. I can’t speak for Barlow, but I was inspired by the way Chris and Matt play to write more rhythmic, angular stuff. Choppy guitars, trashy organ lines ... If I was thinking of anything classic rock, it was more ’70s than ’60s. The Jam, The Knack, that kind of thing ... though, I guess those bands, in turn, were very ’60s influenced. I forget the question.
Seems like its been an exciting race to finish the record. Is Great Bandini always so last-minute?
We are the loosest band on earth, easily distracted, and time just seems to slip away from us. We booked a record release show in order to motivate ourselves, but it didn’t kick in until about two weeks ago, when we realized we had to, you know, finish the record. Even just by the standard of musicians, we really have to get it together. That said, it is more exciting to have a record that is fresh to us than to sit on it for a couple of months and be tired of it.
You’ve been playing in bands for a while now. How long until you qualify for Elder Statesmen of Boston rock status?
I’m not sure what the requisite number of years is, but I’ll make it eventually. Maybe someday I can present a Boston Music Award. Barlow and I only agreed to do this in an attempt to reach that level. I think we blew it by getting into a band with really young dudes.
Originally published in the Boston Metro.