The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars are an alternative rock band passionately in love with furious fuzz and wonky surf riffs. Their songs and lyrics match their personality - sarcastic and honest laced with a dark sense of humor.
"They are deceiving, deep, talented, at times aggressive and always on point. They are a living, breathing, walking music video." - Andrew "Crank" Murr of 93.5 WZBH Delaware's Rock Radio
Johnny Malone - Lead Vocals
Mick Greenwood - Guitar
Ryan Savary - Guitar
James Hogg - Bass
Steve DeBenedictis - Drums
"Life During Wartime" single (2011)
"Postcards from Purgatory" (LP) -2011
"Bad Romance" single (2010)
"This is rock." (LP) - 2008
Scene Stand wrap-up, and why I love SPR
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Last night, I headed over to the Middle East for Scene Stand, a festival-style show featuring 2 sta...Last night, I headed over to the Middle East for Scene Stand, a festival-style show featuring 2 stages, a hipster crowd, and a great variety of local indie bands. The show was run with military precision—the night flowed seamlessly from one stage to the other, as bands set up, played, and broke down on alternating stages.
I got there as Osaka Street Cutter was playing. My one issue with alt-rock music in general is the tendency towards gimmicky-ness, and yeah…I felt like the girl in the chicken suit onstage was a little unnecessary. Nevertheless, they have a great sound. Another gem of the side stage was Red Tail Hawk—I wish the side stage had slightly better acoustics, but I liked what I was able to hear. Leaders Led took to the main stage at 9:30-ish, and although I found Guy’s tie-and-sunglasses look a little, umm, can I say “gimmicky” again?, they have a really solid fan base with good reason. Their set dragged a bit in the middle, but they started off hot and finished strong.
My main reason for showing up was to see the Self-Proclaimed Rockstars. I got hooked on their demo cd and have been burning a hole through that for months now, but I’ll admit I had a hard time seeing how these guys would handle themselves on a big stage. After all, they describe their style as “surprisingly serious music from ridiculously unserious guys.”
As it turns out, they have a serious stage presence. They kicked off the set with the up-tempo “Suburban Kingpin,” also the first track on their 2011 LP, “Postcards from Purgatory,” and from there launched into American something-or-other…I WISH I had gotten the name because it was a great song. After that came a fantastic cover of the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime,” during which we really got to see the band come alive—they clearly love playing this song.
After just saying how much I hate gimmicks, I have to say that seeing Mick Greenwood play guitar with a drumstick was awesome. As was seeing drummer Steve DeBenedictis play the drums with a maraca. Or something. I’m not entirely sure what was going on, but despite the tendency towards clichéd rock band antics, they manage to pull this shit off in a really genuine, fun way. I also loved seeing singer Johnny Malone taking a backseat, playing the tambourine while Steve shined on the drums in “Fallout.”
The two new songs we got to preview are definitely making me look forward to the release of their new album this spring/summer. “Chaos and Confusion” has a sophisticated, sexy sound that you might not expect from these guys, but somehow it works. ”Pretty Baby, Dirty Momma” is fresh and irreverent, and every time I listen to it I chuckle at lyrics like, “tell me why do your baby’s Barbies smell like marijuana?” As always, SPR ended the set with “Whisky,” with Mick on harmonica, Johnny Malone’s brother Matt on stage (hey, it was his birthday), and yup, the entire band taking a shot of whisky mid-song.
So ok, I’ve completely fallen for the gimmicks, although they don’t need them, because their music is fantastic. The Self Proclaimed Rockstars make me wish I had paid more attention in music theory classes, because I just don’t have the words to describe their sound adequately. They are all incredibly talented musicians, and their songs showcase their individual strengths superbly, with lyrics that are witty and nuanced.
The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars Rediscover the Fire in Rock and Roll
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The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars recently released this high energy rocker CD Postcards From Purgatory....The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars recently released this high energy rocker CD Postcards From Purgatory. A Wakefield, Massachusetts-based power rock quintet have come up with nine hefty, uptempo, turbo charged tunes. The band members are Johnny Malone – vocals and Synth; Mick Greenwood – guitar and vocals; Ryan Savary – guitar and bass; James Hogg- bass and guitar; and Stephen DeBenedictis – drums and bare feet.
Self-Proclaimed Rockstars bring rock and roll back to its era of explosive energy and serious drive. Opening with “Suburban Kingpin,” these boys waste no time unleashing their edgy guitar rock sound. Blistering lead guitar burns in the forefront while a determined rhythm section bang out a bracing wind of high octane, hard driving, muscular rock. Lead singer Johnny Malone has a cool, drawling vocal and he belts it out with gusto.
“Haymaker” takes its time paying out a hard rock groove. The guitar skims the surface of the rhythm so lightly to give off a distorted undercurrent. This keeps the intensity boiling just below the surface and that makes it more dynamic. As vocalist, Malone shows his smoother side and he graces the lyrics with a hip, modern croon.
“My Crazy” gets its muscle from its skittish guitar rhythms and its definition from its penetrating lead. It is amazing the dissonance these guys get from briskly rubbing those guitars up against each other. The lead guitar often has the nervous tension of a high wire act. The sound keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering where they’re going as their song races forward.
“Whisky” is pure, driving power rock. Malone adeptly handles verses that wrap tightly around a bumpy groove. Playing in such a locked in rhythm, Self-Proclaim Rockstars knock this one out of the ballpark with a ride everybody will want to go along with. “No Faith” is another of these pure energy, driving rock tunes. The bass and drums bump things a bit more and that gives the tune more a distinguished lift.
Malone and the boys get down and funky on the irresistible, beat driven “Pretty Baby, Dirty Momma,” a tune crafted to make people want to follow the hip twists and turns in the lyrics and groove. It is amazing how much mileage these guys can get out of a head bobbing rhythm.
“No Purple Hearts For Self-inflicted Wounds” may be an unusual song title, but the song rocks right out. The dual guitar approach of this band is in full-throttle and on fire. There are guitar spikes inside the guitar rhythm that already has the song layered with pure dynamite.
“Fallout: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Purgatory” may be another lengthy, eccentric title, but it’s also another kick ass song. Drummer Stephen DeBenedictis hammers out a persistent aggression here, and he moves the song forward with a variety of rolls, fills, and cymbal work. The lead guitar phrase is incisive as a laser beam and you can almost picture the guitarist disintegrating people science fiction with his high frequencies.
Malone mellows out enough on “A Cold Sleep” to show how much character he has in his vocal approach. He has something that goes way beyond just his tone and timbre. It’s in how he uses his self-restraint to march the band up several notches in intensity.
A hidden bonus track features Malone changing his expressions to a low down drawl while the players behind him put their sophisticated stamp on modern rock idioms. Eerie synthesizer melody fills the backdrop with goofy fun, showing the Self-Proclaimed Rockstars can play with excellence without taking the whole thing too seriously.
The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars - Real Guys Playing Real Music
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We love technology, there's no doubt about that. But we particularly like and appreciate artists and...We love technology, there's no doubt about that. But we particularly like and appreciate artists and bands who do not use it as a crutch. That may be what makes the music recorded by The Self-Proclaimed Rock Stars so appealing and real. Postcards From Purgatory features pure direct shots of guitar-based pop/rock delivered with class and style. The band is comprised of Johnny Malone (vocals), Stephen DeBenedictis (drums), Mick Greenwood (guitar, vocals), Ryan Savary (guitar), and James Hogg (bass). Rather than sounding like processed cheese, the tunes on this album sound like a real group of guys playing real music. The songs are extremely melodic and accessible...and could easily appeal to a wide cross section of people. Not a bad cut here...but our initial favorites include "Suburban Kingpin," "Haymaker" (a particularly strong cut), "No Faith," and "A Cold Sleep." Good solid stuff.
The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars - Postcards from Purgatory
Remember when music actually had style and was well-made? This is another example of that.
Artist Spotlight: The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars
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Hey everyone! Kicking off Tuesday with this week's edition of Artist Spotlight! This week for you...Hey everyone!
Kicking off Tuesday with this week's edition of Artist Spotlight! This week for you guys, I have a band out of Wakefield, Massachusetts called The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars! The band consists of Johnny Malone on lead vocals, Mick Greenwood on guitar, Ryan Savary on guitar, James Hogg on bass, and Steve DeBenedictis on drums. The band has a straightforward, bare bones conventional rock style that gets straight to the point with no frills attached and clearcut, melodic guitar riffs that are designed to get you primed and in the mood to enjoy a worthwhile and fulfilling listening experience! I had the pleasure of checking out these guys in concert a couple of weeks ago at McGann's in Boston and I can tell you that they were well worth the price of admission! It was just amazing seeing these guys get up on stage and playing just a regular, melodic blend of rock and having a strong rapport with the listening audience, which is extremely important in any concert dynamic. These guys show that you can have a kick ass show with just simple structured tunes and the full and undivided attention of your audience to keep everything in place! Some of my favorite tunes from these guys include "Whisky" and "Hollywood".
To check out the music from The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars and the latest upcoming tour dates, point your browser over to http://www.sprband.com/ To become a fan of them on Facebook, head on over to http://www.facebook.com/sprband To follow the band on Twitter, head on over to http://twitter.com/sprband
Rockin’ the holidays with the Self-Proclaimed Rockstars
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BMS is delighted to host our second annual Holiday Concert to benefit the Toys For Tots Foundation o...BMS is delighted to host our second annual Holiday Concert to benefit the Toys For Tots Foundation of Greater Boston on Thursday, December 9 at Hennessy’s Hooley House. Each day this week, we’ll catch up with of the performing bands to get their thoughts on the holidays: everything from gifts to carols and egg nog. Besides asking what to expect from their set on Thursday, we get their opinion on the age old question of who wins in a fight: Santa Clause or Frosty the Snowman.
Today, we catch up with the guys from Self-Proclaimed Rockstars, who rocked a residency at Precinct in October after spending most of the summer working on new material. Here’s what they had to say:
Boston Music Spotlight (BMS): What’s been you all-time favorite holiday gift?
Mick Greenwood (MG): When I was in the first grade I fell asleep Christmas Eve on boring old blue sheets. I woke up Christmas morning on Super Mario Bros / Legend of Zelda sheets. Given that I’m still an insomniac to this day, I figure either my parents drugged me or there is a Santa Claus.
Ryan Savary (RS): The looks on my family’s faces when they open the gifts I bought them.
James Hogg (JH): I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said, “Hey, smoke up Jimmy.”
Johnny Malone (JM): I would say when I got my first snowboard in 8th grade. Wasn’t anything top of the line but I loved it.
BMS: What about the worst gift you’ve ever received?
MG: My great-grandmother gave me a stick of deodorant when I was nine. I know what you’re thinking and no, she wasn’t senile, she was just a cunt.
RS: The year my grandmother died, my mom told me she just went away for awhile and she’d be back for Christmas. Needless to say, she never came back. They laughed and they laughed. So, that year, every gift I got was the worst.
JH: What about it? It was a $50 gift certificate to Ames, oh yeah, they had already gone out of business.
JM: I’ve been lucky enough not to get too many shitty gifts but I know some wack clothing has been given to me.
BMS: When do you start shopping for presents?
MG I wait till the last minute for most people. I give everyone as much of a chance as I can to earn their way on or off of my shit list.
RS: Usually very late. Last year my brother and I went to Target at 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
JH: The Friday before Christmas, so that my meager pay check clears direct deposit.
JM: Usually a few days before Christmas, but this year I at least have one person done.
BMS: What’s been the best gift you have ever given someone else?
MG: When I went to college my mom was sad and said she missed hearing me play guitar in the basement. So I recorded a bunch of acoustic instrumental Christmas songs and gave it to her.
RS: I give everyone Bibles. There is no better gift than salvation.
JS: The gift of a child’s laughter.
JM: The gift of love…
BMS: Egg Nog = delicious or disgusting?
MG: Delicious. Especially when it’s spiked.
RS: Oooooooooh, yeah, see, Egg Nog is unbelievable. Mind you, the Garelick brand sucks. Hood is awesome. I like to dilute it with some milk, for no other reason than that it’s just a little easier to enjoy that way. It’s an amazing name for a drink, too. Very obviously British; they never make any sense. On its face, it just doesn’t sound appetizing. I’d think if you had a product that good, you’d name it something classy or gastronomically appealing. Anywhere else, that’d be the case. But not in the UK. Egg Nog. Good enough. I mean, it’s entirely possible that this question — delicious or disgusting — would never need be asked had its nomenclature been decided by more discriminating minds. They should have commissioned the Australians to name it. Their names are always so much fun. Those crazy fuckers can get people to eat the residual yeast extract from beer production. Vegemite. Yum. Honestly, imagine for a minute just how popular Egg Nog would be if it had a quirky Australian name like Dunglebydoo Milkityfrumble. It wouldn’t even be seasonal! Everyone would want it with every meal! Because, at its core, Egg Nog is absolutely fucking delicious.
JM: Love it but only the Hood kind. Respect.
BMS: Who would win in a fight – Santa Claus or Frosty the Snowman?
MG: I’m giving the edge to Frosty. He’s like Jason or Freddy – I watched him die and then poof, one cold breeze and the fucker is back on the prowl.
RS: Let’s see, Santa has magic powers, a team of flying reindeer, and a standing army of tens of thousands of elves with nothing to live for and nothing to lose. Frosty has a magical hat and a classroom of elementary school kids. However, Frosty could easily sacrifice his own life by instructing the children to throw his old silk hat into some kind of heavy duty shredder that could grind it up into a fine powder, then throw that powder into an artificial snow machine, stolen in advance from a ski resort. Thus, each snowflake would come to life as a tiny snow virus shooting from a cannon, which Santa and his evil army would breathe in and promptly die. Frosty would die, but he would be remembered by snowmankind as their greatest hero.
JS: That’s like asking me to choose between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kirsten Dunst in a “hot body, weird face” contest, it can’t be done.
JM: You would think Frosty but Santa has a lot of boys so you know they would jump in and melt Frosty’s cold ass.
BMS: Christmas Carols = A great way to get into the season or annoying background noise while shopping?
MG: I think it depends on the artist/song. Bon Jovi doesn’t stop sucking because he is singing about Christmas, nor does Bob Dylan start sucking because he is singing about Christmas.
RS: If I can listen to them on my own terms, I love them. Even the bad ones. But if conditions aren’t absolutely perfect for Christmas carols, it’s fucking torture. Especially Bob Dylan. Bon Jovi, on the other hand, not so bad.
JS: For once, I agree with Mick.
JM: Well there’s this brand new Mariah Carey song called “All I want for Christmas is You” that I enjoy because its so new and fresh. As long as the radio doesn’t play it too often, I think I’ll continue to enjoy it.
BMS: Any favorite holiday traditions that you spend together as a band?
MG: Yes, we have an annual Christmas Sweater Jamboree that Johnny (the singer) and I have had going since we started our first band five years ago. It gets bigger every year and this year it’ll be at the House Of Blues Foundation Room on December 18. It’s a shit show, most of our fans get a party bus for it to enjoy it to the fullest.
RS: We pretend to be Salvation Army Santas in front of supermarkets and then use the money to buy drugs.
JM: Christmas Sweater Jamboree! Always a great time for us and our fans. We have it at the Foundation Room in the House of Blues every year and it continues to kick ass.
BMS: What are you hoping Santa brings you this year?
MG: Plane tickets, almost all of my friends from college have moved away and I’m hoping to see some of them in 2011.
RS: I am in full-tilt Charlie Brown mode right now. I genuinely don’t care what I get for Christmas.
JS: It’s green and has dead presidents on it, that’s right… a moldy set of Encyclopedia Britannica.
JM: I would love a nice pair of headphones.
SPR typically plays sets that range in length from 50 min to an hour and 15 min. However, they have been known to accept larger gigs and have played up to four hours on their own.
The band's most recent show featured the following setlist:
1) Chaos & Confusion
2) No Purple Hearts for Self-Inflicted Wounds
3) Life During Wartime (Talking Heads cover)
4) All Smiles
6) A Cold Sleep
7) American Debt Slave
8) Bombs Away
9) Suburban Kingpin
E1) Where is My Mind? (Pixies cover)
E2) Let's Get Naughty, Baby (Let's Get Nautical)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.