56th Street
Gig Seeker Pro

56th Street

Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"56th Street"

56th Street

Taking its name from a popular surf spot in Newport Beach, 56th Street is a ’70s-inspired classic rock band. Known for its energetic live performances and the wailing vocals of lead singer Jason Kraft, the members are making 56th Street their No. 1 priority.

“We want to inspire people to not just listen to music, but to play it, even if you are not talented,” Chapman University alumnus Thomas VanMelum said. “We try to put out the energy that says, ‘Lose all your inhibitions.’ ”

VanMelum and Kraft, who have been friends since elementary
school, set their education aside in favor of a music career.

“This was our first real serious band. It was the difference
between playing with friends and wanting to do it for a living,”
VanMelum said. “We were taking it from the garage to the stage.”

VanMelum met drummer Adam Mangold on Main Street
in Huntington Beach playing on plastic buckets and a cowbell.
Impressed with Mangold’s method of preoccupying himself,
VanMelum invited him to a practice session. Meanwhile,
Kraft bonded with bassist Chris Wilson on a hiking trip in
Yosemite, and with that addition, 56th Street was completed.

“At first it was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And then
something clicked,” VanMelum said. “We came together and
we said that [our] music had to be made.”

The guys recently moved into a house together in Newport
where they spend time practicing, recording and surfing. Although
VanMelum graduated in May with a communications
degree, 56th Street is his career.

“At Chapman, when I said ‘I’m in a band; I’m going to be
a rock star,’ people just laughed,” VanMelum said. “Having a
lot of people tell me trying to be a rock star is a waste of time
gives me the drive to be one even more.”

56th Street has played in many of the popular venues in Los
Angeles from The Knitting Factory to Whisky A Go-Go, but
their first outing was in Huntington at the Surf City Saloon
last March. The guys were nervous about its first outing and
the crowds response.

“When you hit the stage, any nervous thoughts go right
out the window. It’s game time,” VanMelum said. - Chapman University


March 2007: "56th Street Live" 9 Tracks recorded Live in the Studio



Did you hear that? Probably not, because for the last 20 years legitimate rock music has been waiting patiently outside the grasp of the misguided and the uninspired. Scheming. Writhing. Pulsing in the primordial pantheon that had once birthed the legends that spoke to the most fundamental of human emotions. With the fall of its heroes, rock suffered, biding its time to select a new successor worthy of the fabled throne.

And so on that fateful night in February, rock music received its modern messiah. 56th street was born to the driving rhythms of Adam Mangold, the thundering bass of Chris Wilson, the inspired six-string theatrics of Thomas VanMelum and the impassioned wail of Jason Kraft. In a studio far removed from the tired musings of their artistic contemporaries, 56th street converged to channel the roots of their revolution.

With Adam and Chris effortlessly exploring 40 years of rocks rhythmic backbone, the template was set for a style immersed in both modern and classic sensibilities. Weaned on a steady diet of Led Zeppelin and beef, and armed with a delectable balance of intoxicating melodies, creamy leads, and crisp rhythmic sections, VanMelum bulked up his chops to lay siege to the current musical trends that were threatening to undermine decades of rich guitar heritage. The sound that this trio generated required a vocalist capable of matching such a formidable sonic assault. Enter Jason Kraft. Jason’s trademark wail, coupled with his melodic sense of vocal syncopation, provided the perfect compliment to the power and subtlety of his band mates soulful delivery.

Now that the pieces fit, 56th street is primed for a revolution behind enemy lines. They are a musical juggernaut. Did you hear that? You will.