Black Diamonds
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Black Diamonds

| Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Pop


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"Haverhill kids rock in Berlin"

HAVERHILL — Many a teenager aspires to become a rock star.

A local band named Black Diamonds is getting an early start to achieving this distinction.

The average age of its members is 10, and they've already achieved a measure of international fame.

Lead singer AJ Marks and drummer Nick Calnan are 12. Guitarist Henry McIntyre is 10 and bass player Wolfgang Burger is 8.

It would be a mistake to describe Black Diamonds as a bunch of "cute little kids playing cutesy little songs." These guys play with power and precision. They performed July 23 at a major festival in Berlin, the 50th annual Deutsch-Amerikanisches Volksfest. The festival began 50 years ago, when the United States armed forces still occupied a sector of Berlin.

The purpose of Volksfest is to promote friendship between Americans and Germans, said Nancy Burger, who operates DeAngelis Studio of Music and Arts in Lafayette Square with her husband, Mike DeAngelis.

This cultural event is popular in Germany. The U.S. ambassador himself, Philip Murphy, spoke for several minutes, Burger said.

"They had to inspect the stage with dogs," she said.

Black Diamonds partnered with a music school in Berlin to arrange the trip, Burger said. The school, Rock-Pop-Schule-Berlin, invited the band from Haverhill, she said.

Unfortunately, Henry McIntyre was not able to join his bandmates because his mother underwent a medical procedure. So they contacted a band in the Frankfurt area and found Sebastian Nieraad, who took Henry's place.

"We practiced in the youth hostel," Burger said. "They had a blast."

Black Diamonds' trip to Germany included a diplomatic mission for their hometown. They carried a key to the city provided by Mayor James Fiorentini, who also wrote a letter to his counterpart in Berlin, Klaus Wowereit.

At Berlin City Hall, they were greeted by the city's foreign affairs minister, Gerd Kronmuller. Wolfgang, Burger's son, presented the key to Kronmuller.

"We were treated like royalty," Burger said.

AJ Marks, son of Dennis and Amy Marks of Boxford, has been singing since he was 4. He's about to enter seventh grade at Masconomet Regional Middle School.

"Whatever comes," he said when asked if he aspires to be a professional singer some day.

"I loved hanging out by the Berlin Wall," he said.

Nick Calnan, son of Joe and Sherry Calnan of Haverhill, is headed for seventh grade at Whittier Middle School. He hopes to follow the path of Gene Krupa and Ringo Starr and play the drums professionally.

Wolfgang said he hopes to become a professional musician, as well as a professional hockey player.

One of the highlights of the trip for both Nick and Wolfgang was coming face to face with a tiger at the Berlin Zoo. Fortunately, several inches of glass separated them from the beast.

The Black Diamonds' trip to Germany was sponsored by Zildjian Cymbals and The band practices regularly at the DeAngelis Studio of Music and Arts.

• • • - Eagle Tribune

"Haverhill, Massachusetts Kid Band, Black Diamonds - First Music Video!"

Aug 18, 2010 – Haverhill, Massachusetts: DeAngelis Studio of Music is happy to announce Black Diamonds' first music video! How many 8-12 year olds can sing like this, play like this, and be "camera cool" too!? - Not many!

Please find out for yourself - go to Youtube, watch this video and let us know what you think! Not only do Black Diamonds have more cool songs in the works but all of the DeAngelis Studio bands are hard at work with many more!

"Almost Famous" the story behind the song is as true as it gets. Dream big!!
- Pr log

"Meet the Black Diamonds"

Monday, June 28th, 2010 by Chris

A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon an article in the Globe spotlighting a pre-teen rock band from Haverhill named the Black Diamonds.

Clearly, these dudes were cool and since The Feeve is all about focusing on what is cool in this city – I just had to find out more.
HF: Who is in the band and just how old are you guys?

AJ: Henry McIntire on our lead guitar (10), Nick Calnan on drums (12), Wolfgang Burger on Bass (8), and I sing lead vocals (12).

HF: How did you guys get started? What’s the story behind the band?

Wolfgang: Nancy ran into Henry at the school, he was leaving his sister’s dance class. Henry was the first who wanted to do the band. Nick was already taking lessons on drums for a couple of months and he wanted in. We found AJ at the school Christmas party – his sister was performing on guitar and he jumped up to the mic in between acts – I (Nancy) said he is the one, rock school frontman. We could not find a bass player, so we got our son, who just turned 7 a bass and in 2 months the band started.

HF: Who are some of your musical influences?

AJ: Um… I try to be my own person with my own voice, but if it’s an acoustical version of another artist’s song I have to mimic the way the sing it, it’s their song.

Henry: The Who (mostly Pete Townsend) and John Denver.

Wolfgang: Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Guns n’ Roses.

Nick: Disturbed, Ozzy, and Metallica.

HF: Tell us the truth – you’re just in it for the girls, aren’t you?

AJ: No, actually I have always loved to sing and I’ve always wanted to go somewhere with it, so joining this band was no argument at all.

Henry: No, no way.

Wolfgang: Also, noooooo.

Nick: No. I just like to play.

HF: What message would you have for other kids that just want to rock out but might get frustrated that their instrument is too hard to learn?

AJ: Make sure the instrument is for you, in 4th grade I played the flute, but It just wasn’t my thing (probably because I couldn’t sing to it). Now I’m learning to play piano and keyboard. If it’s not your thing, figure out how much breath control an instrument takes, and if you really like and instrument that takes more than you’ve got, train yourself to be that level.

Henry: Just practice and learn music that you like. Keep the instrument in their hands.

Wolfgang: A good teacher makes all the difference, make sure you learn the basics but tell them what you like so they keep it fun

Nick: It’s not easy, you just have to keep on trying and eventually it starts to come together.

HF: What type of songs do you guys play? Do you guys play only originals? Only covers?

AJ: I’m writing songs every other day now so we’re deciding no more covers (with the exception of like 3) and to start off with our many originals. But currently we have 10 covers and 1 original in our playlist

HF: Who would win in a fight – Zack or Cody?

Henry: Zack

Nick: Cody

Wolfgang: Zack

AJ: It depends on the argument. I like to see both sides through the person’s eyes first and try to find out why they would want this rather than what someone else wants, but I have friends who are twins and they fight a lot.
HF: What are some of your favorite places in Haverhill to go?

AJ: DeAngelis School of Music and Arts tops my list and I’m sure food stores are in there somewhere – but there are so many awesome places in Haverhill that would tie for second – I just can’t choose.

Henry: Kidsfests to play at.

Wolfgang: Chunky’s.

Nick: The stadium.

HF: Do you guys get to practice and jam more now that school is out?

Wolfgang: Lots going on in the summer, we leave for Berlin, Germany in just over 3 weeks, everyone has camping and vacations planned too so maybe even less practicing.

HF: What are your hopes for the future? Sold out stadiums? Platinum albums?

AJ: Just to have Bagel, watch TV, and sing a ton until my next gig. I’m still your normal, humble, average pre-teen until I hit the stage

Henry: Both, making music and performing. I just want to play guitar, get better at it and have FUN!!!

Wolfgang: Doing the shows is fun, keep going as long as it stays that way. Being famous and making money wouldn’t be so bad :) .

Nick: Both. I would like to be as famous as my influences.
I was so inspired by these young rockers that I’m sitting here listening to Hatebreed instead of my usual Gordon Lightfoot and Hall & Oates.

Be sure to ‘like’ the Black Diamonds on Facebook and be on the lookout for upcoming concert dates. And if you happen to be in Germany – you’re in luck! – the crew is heading out there later this summer for some shows. - Haverhill Fever

"A head start on rocking out"

Nine-year-old Henry McIntyre was strumming his guitar in the hallway outside his sister’s dance class in Haverhill when he caught the attention of a woman hanging Christmas lights nearby.

“You should come play with us,’’ she told him. That was a year and a half ago, and he has been on a whirlwind ride ever since.

Henry is the lead guitarist for the Black Diamonds, a band formed at the DeAngelis Studio of Music and Arts in February 2009 as part of its Rock School program, which brings talented music students together to teach them how to play live. Nancy Burger, the woman who noticed him, and her husband, Mike DeAngelis, own the studio.

The band featured Henry; drummer Nick Calnan, age 11; lead singer A.J. Marks, 11; and bass player Wolfgang DeAngelis, Mike and Nancy’s son, who was just 7. After putting in some rehearsal time, the boys hit the stage for their first show at J.P. McBride’s, a downtown pub that shut down its usual operations on a Sunday for the occasion. The show was a hit. Since then, the band has played KidsFest in Haverhill, the Salisbury Sand & Sea Festival, and the Topsfield Fair. Last month they played their biggest gig yet, EarthFest in Boston.

And to top things off, this summer they will go international when they take the stage at the 50th annual German-American Volksfest in Berlin.

“When they played at J.P. McBride’s, I thought, ‘Wow, this is their big moment.’ Then they got KidsFest and I thought ‘This must be the big moment,’’’ said Jen McIntyre, Henry’s mother. “Then the gigs just got better and bigger. The experience has been indescribable.’’

Parents of the Black Diamonds agree that the ride has been fun for the boys, free of pressure and politics.

“It’s pure. It’s not something we tried to make happen,’’ said Dennis Marks, A.J.’s father. “People ask me about talent agents and things like that, but that’s not what we want. My son sings naturally; that’s all he wants to do.’’

Prior to joining the group, A.J. had been taking classical voice lessons. When the Black Diamonds opportunity came along, his dad said, fate stepped in.

“He didn’t find rock music, rock music found him.’’

Like Henry, A.J. has his sister to thank. A guitar student at DeAngelis, Veronica Marks brought her family along to the studio’s 2008 Christmas party. For fun, A.J. jumped on stage and sang Christmas carols. Nancy and Mike immediately offered him a spot, which he gladly accepted.

Nick Calnan was a drum student with only a few months of lessons under his belt when he was invited to join the group. Since then, his mother said, the change has been noticeable.Continued...
“Nick loves it, and it’s good for him,’’ she said. “He’s come a long way as a drummer.’’

With a drummer, lead singer, and guitarist on board, the quandary became finding a bass player, since youngsters are seldom drawn to the instrument. However, Mike and Nancy didn’t have to look far; their son Wolfgang was up for the challenge. Once they found a bass guitar small enough for him — no easy feat — he was up and running within four weeks, keeping up with his older bandmates.

“I didn’t even know he hadn’t been playing that long when we first got together,’’ said A.J. “I found out when they announced it on stage at our first show.’’

As a parent of a budding rock star, McIntyre said her life is no busier than a sports mom’s.

“I say this is his baseball,’’ she said. “But I actually do less running around than my friends who are juggling baseball and soccer schedules.’’

Marks agreed that being a backstage supporter is an easy job.

“I was an athlete as a kid, and I still say watching them play is even better than a baseball game,’’ he said. “It’s just pure fun.’’

The Black Diamonds have a growing fan base. At a show put on for a group of Cub Scouts in Hamilton, the young crowd was so enthusiastic they danced through the whole set — then rushed the stage for autographs.

“It was such a spontaneous moment,’’ said Marks. “Kids reacting to kids — it was the perfect audience for them.’’

The boys seem to be taking the whole experience in stride. When asked to name their favorite gig so far, their answers seemed in step with their ages.

“I really liked the Sand and Sea Festival,’’ said Nick. “Because we got to go swimming.’’

Henry was more torn, listing all of them until his eyes popped wide with an answer.

“The Cub Scout show was the best,’’ he said. Turning to his bandmates, he added, “Remember that awesome snowball fight we had outside before the show?’’

At a recent rehearsal, it was clear the boys are enjoying every rock and roll moment. Busting out anthems like “Eye of the Tiger,’’ “Dirty Water,’’ and “I Love Rock and Roll,’’ they were focused but not overly serious, easily breaking into laughter at their mistakes.

“The boys have learned how to work together and really put in the time,’’ said Marks. “Show after show, you can see their style emerge.’’

Next up for the Black Diamonds will be this year’s Salisbury Sand & Sea Festival, on June 27. They head to Germany next month, although for that trip Henry will stay behind, putting the lead guitar duties in the capable hands of 12-year-old Nikki Arsenault.

In talking about their increasingly impressive booking schedule, the boys revealed no sign of nerves and every sign that they’re ready for whatever comes along. When asked what they think about playing for larger and larger audiences, they simply smile and shrug, leaving Henry to sum it up best.

“I just want to play guitar and have fun.’’
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company. - Boston Globe


First music video for their original song, "Almost Famous"
released Sept 2010:



Black Diamonds is a teen band from Haverhill, MA that started back in February of 2009. In the past six and a half years, they have accomplished tours across the US, Canada and Germany, as well as performances at the House of Blues in Boston, the Boston Hard Rock Cafe, Earthfest, and the Topsfield Fair.

After originally forming as a cover band, AJ Marks, 17-year-old lead singer, Henry McIntyre, 15-year-old guitarist, Wolfgang, 14-year-old bassist, and Nick Calnan, 17-year-old drummer, have progressed to writing and recording their own original songs and plan to release a body of work in the near future.

The sound pays homage to the 80's rock-n-roll they started off covering with a modernized twist, mixing that sound with modern harmonies, pop-centric guitar and vocal riffs, and atypical lyrical themes. Songs such as "Live or Die" and "My Religion" highlight the group's hard rock format with thick, meaty guitars and soaring vocals, while the tracks "Out For Me" and "Medicine" keep the sound of the band, but accentuate the brighter side of their catalog that could fall in line with pop radio just as well as it could with rock stations.

With over half a decade under their belt, the chemistry between the boys, made up of all original members, proves an undeniable brotherhood between the four non-related musicians. In every one of their performances, the stage presence is very apparent and it's clear that Black Diamonds is a stage act that demands attention from the audience. Whether it be a packed rock club, a small bar or a music festival, their three-digit resume of shows is undeniably impressive.

Their Show history from 2009 to present includes:

Haverhill Kid’s Fest
JP McBrides
Salisbury Sand & Sea Festival
Haverhill Rocks
Topsfield Fair
Rockingham Mall
The Claddagh
Haverhill Kid’s Fest 2010
92.9 Earthfest Boston
Salisbury Sand & Sea Festival 2010
Berlin, Germany
The Sad Cafe
Lego Kidsfest Boston
Topsfield Fair 2010
Hard Rock Cafe Boston

Wolfgang Burger, Bass Guitar – 9 years old.
Wolfgang began learning Guitar at age 5 and when asked to switch to the Bass Guitar in December 2009 to complete this project, he excelled. Greatly influenced by Guitar Hero, he loves Rock from the 80’s especially Black Sabbath, The Clash, Guns n’ Roses and Bon Jovi.

Henry McIntyre, Lead Guitar – 10 years old
Henry started taking lessons and playing at age 7 and he already enjoys writing his own music. He was influenced by Guitar Hero, loves Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam and is guitar idol is Pete Townsend. Henry also loves to sing and handles the group’s back-up vocals.

AJ Marks, Lead Vocals – 12 years old
AJ has taken 3yrs of vocal lessons and regularly takes part in at least two recitals per year. AJ loves all styles of music but this project is his first in the “Rock” genre. In the past AJ performed “Aladin” from Moonlight Productions at the North Shore Theater and regularly takes on rolls with local theater groups.

Nick Calnan, Drums – 12 years old
Nick decided to become a Drummer once he learned his grandfather played Drums and has been taking formal Drum lessons at DeAngelis Studio for just over a year now. He has excelled greatly in the Rock School setting. Nick loves all Rock n’ Roll, especially Ozzy Osbourne.

Band Members