In his formative years, Kenn Rowell learned music by ripping off his older sister's Beatles, Sex Pistols and Angry Samoan albums. Now, several years later, he is a seasoned veteran of the New York music scene. Having written over 250 songs, including one for a motion picture soundtrack, his music has graced the airwaves here in the USA, Europe, Canada, South America and in the Middle East. As a founding member of the NY-based band The Baghdaddios. He finds himself fronting a tight-knit, professional group who has starred at some of New York's finer venues including headlining spots at CBGB's, The Hammerstein Ballroom, and a featured set at the last five NYC Marathons.
Knocking around the NYC scene for the last few years, all four members of the band bring something unique to the table: Kenn's eclectic background and varied influences (everything from Beatles to Green Day!) forms a nice umbrella under which the entire sound is packaged. Lead guitarist Jim Ievolella lends a classic rock-tinged touch to Kenn's self-penned "fast, furious and fun" songs. Drummer Paul Zlotucha's veteran hardcore background provides the cutting edge foundation and energy from which the tunes are launched and bassist Steve Strauss provides the perfect compliment to the rest of the band's pop-punk "oomph". A throbbing bass line, with kick-ass drumming, buzz-saw-like guitar riffs and tasty sweet guitar leads, coupled with Kenn's on-edge vocal styling and radio-ready melodic hooks add up to a show that blows even the most complacent of audiences out into the streets.
Almost from their beginning the group has been amazed at how easily they've been accepted into high-profile gigs, regional television appearances, readily embraced by local, national and even international print and Internet exposure. Just when you think that you've seen and heard it all you discover a new radio outlet in the outer reaches of the planet which has just respectfully requested the band's latest release. To date The Baghdaddios have released one full-length CD (their late-December ‘96 debut: "Willie Horton Hears A Who"), a punk rock Holiday single ("Christmas At C.B.G.B.s", ‘98), a do-it-yourself home video of one of their critically-acclaimed C.B.'s shows, a celebrated soundtrack contribution to the award-winning, independent film "Crimson Lights" and their heavily-played, anthem-like tribute to late-night, nationally-syndicated, sports-talk maven Scott Ferrall (76 major U.S. markets, Westwood One Radio Network!). The year 2002 has been especially fruitful for the band. Scoring both an indie film soundtrack credit for the movie "UFO Fever" and the theme song to Manhattan cable's "NYC Live" TV show, as well as appearances on two other public access cable shows, (one which is syndicated nationally).
Although being originally from the suburbs surrounding New York, The Baghdaddios have prided themselves on being in the middle of a vital, thriving underground New York City club scene that has already spawned several mainstream acts. At various times they have shared the stage with such eventually-signed talents as EMI recording artist Patti Rothberg and Arista Records' "Johnny Bravo" (whose members attended neighboring high schools). In addition, they shared disc space and stage time with fellow "Crimson Lights" soundtrack recording artists "emmett swimming", who would later be signed by Epic.
Now, with the release of their brand-new, four-song EP: "That Should Hold ‘Em", The Baghdaddios are anxiously awaiting new and exciting developments. First of all, this is the first major release that marks the debut of seasoned recording veteran Bart Cennamo (Soundtrack Recording Studios, NYC: Busta Rhymes, Tito Puente, 98 Degrees, Jodeci) as producer. In addition this is the first time that the band is working with management that is coordinating the release of their CD to over 500 college, independent and commercial radio stations, across the U.S. and Canada as well several foreign markets. As recently as last week, several major international radio outlets — including BBC-1 — has requested the disc. Finally, the group is putting the finishing touches on the music video for the EP's first single ("This Job Sucks"). Among the many major outlets who have been targeted for the release: MTV, Much Music (Canada and South America), the College Television Network and the UK's independent music video network: Channel 5.
With all this under their belts, plus a major full-length CD release slated for early 2003, The Baghdaddios are fulfilling their promise as New York's best kept alternative music secret!
Kenn Rowell - Lead vocals/guitar
Jonesy - Lead guitar/vocals
Jessica Carmen - Bass/vocals
Willie Horton Hears A Who (LP)
That Should Hold 'Em (EP)
Christmas At CBGB's (maxi-single)
Autopsy-Turvy (LP - coming soon)
From Florida To Baghdad
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During the recent war, I looked for Middle Eastern-themed groups for my Goofy Band Name Of The Week ...During the recent war, I looked for Middle Eastern-themed groups for my Goofy Band Name Of The Week competition. My favorite was The Baghdaddios. Kenn Rowell, the New York-based band's prime mover, saw the name mentioned and sent me his band's 1996 release, Willie Horton Hears A Who. I'm not in the habit of reviewing older albums but I can't resist this one: it's a cool keeper. The Baghdaddios are a cross between college rock and punk pop; They Might Be Giants meets The Ramones.
"Welcome To New York" is a great intro to the album and that city. It's a lively and rude shout-out to some of the reasons why The City That Never Sleeps can't get any shut-eye. (If you're making a movie in The Big Apple, this belongs on your soundtrack.) "Abbie Hoffman" is a folky, heartfelt, harmonica-laden tip of the hat to the Yippie founder which manages to never get mawkish. This six-minute song is a far superior tribute to Hoffman than the hammy indie film "Steal This Movie." The jangling and nerve-jangling "Neil's In Rehab" is something to play for anyone close you to who needs to take steps towards a program with 12 steps. I have to give a rare nod to Dubya: if he hadn't needlessly invaded Iraq, I might never have found The Baghdaddios. -- Tony Peyser
Willie Horton Hears A Who
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Kenn Rowell leads the Baghdaddios through 12 mostly slashing titles that are sometimes self-explana... Kenn Rowell leads the Baghdaddios through 12 mostly slashing titles that are sometimes self-explanatory — "Abbie Hoffman," "The Stupidest Man in Nyack," and "My Iowa Wife" are a few examples. "Bottom" is indicative of the work, Rowell spitting out the poetry over a Sex Pistols-style beat about the bottom having dropped out. "Neil's in Rehab" is one of the saddest and funniest of the tunes. Sad because it is so true for anyone who has ever befriended a drunk or a junkie; funny because the Baghdaddios spout it out matter-of-factly and don't care about the consequences. The band is tight with buzzing guitar lines, and they aren't adverse to utilizing four letter words whenever. "Get up and Go" is another pop rocker, like the Ramones these dudes find a style and stick with it leaving little room for exploration. You won't find much diversity in the material, though "Fat Bastard" becomes a barroom sing-along with fake Cockney accent and insults. The strongest song is the ballad, "I Just Wanna Go to Sleep," and the Baghdaddios would do well to bring the pace down a bit as on this tune. It's in the pocket, has a groove, and defines the talents of this group eloquently. Produced by the band and Gary Solomon, there's lots to like about Willie Horton Hears a Who, though no title track, which might've really been interesting. The tune about Hoffman is like a rock & roll version of the Moody Blues' ode to Timothy Leary, while "Love to the Highest Bidder" merges rap with punk and is an interesting sentiment. "I Just Wanna Go to Sleep" and "Neil's in Rehab" would make an interesting double-sided single, and shows the band in their best light. — Joe Viglione
Christmas At CBGB's
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This three-song CD single/maxi EP by the Baghdaddios, Christmas at C.B.G.B.'s is fun, but much too s...This three-song CD single/maxi EP by the Baghdaddios, Christmas at C.B.G.B.'s is fun, but much too short and sweet. "You 'Da Man (Ferrall on the Bench)" works the best, the punk attitude of the band verging on heavy metal with a repeating chorus that sounds like "do the bird, ferrall on the bench" and plays like feral tigers howling in a snowstorm. It's a Kenn Rowell original, as is "Christmas at C.B.G.B.'s," the band sounding more like the Dickies than on their Willie Horton Hears a Who full-length CD. One problem with these maxi-CDs is that the opportunity is there to expand understanding of the group by including college radio interviews or live performances. As the CD seems to be in demand maybe later pressings will include interviews and/or outtakes. Robert Burns' famous composition "Auld Lang Syne" is given that new wave treatment á la Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band when they spiffed up "All I Have to Do Is Dream." Christmas at C.B.G.B.'s — the song and the CD, with its chorus of "it's good to be back home," solid guitar playing, and awning of that famous nightspot on the front cover — is a nice holiday treat. On that level, it works. — Joe Viglione
Get Up And Go
Neil's In Rehab
This Job Sucks
Been A Son (Nirvana cover)
Welcome To New York
My Fat Face
Piece Of Mine
Trailer Park Bitch
I Ran (Flock Of Seagulls cover)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.