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"Band Profile: Living the pure life; Port native's band Endway finds a greater good for its music"

Endway may have formed five years ago. But the turning point for the band featuring Newburyport native Ben Zanfagna came this past year.

In January, Endway teamed with 10 other bands from the U.S. and South America for a tour of Costa Rica that saw the musicians playing shows at night and working with the Roberta Felix Foundation for Children by day.

"Instead of nursing hangovers and playing at dirty bars, we were doing good," said Zanfagna, the band's saxophonist.

During their journey of Central America, Endway's members discovered a way to give back while spreading their music and message.

"Living the island lifestyle, we just started to feel it," said guitarist Kevin McHugh. "We were able to spread music and have influence. There, less is more."

The band members said they incorporated the Costa Rican motto of "pura vida," which literally means "pure life," into not only their lifestyles, but their music as well. Zanfagna explained the band hasn't lost its rock 'n' roll edge. It just pairs it "with a soul or reggae flavor."

"That trip changed us. We took our rock songs and added a Latin flavor," McHugh said. "Right when we got back, we went into rehearsal and started recording."

This weekend, Endway continues its nonprofit work for two other organizations — Music Drives Us and World Against Toys Causing Harm — as part of the lineup for the sixth annual Novemberfest with Ernie Boch Jr. at Mantra in Boston.

Zanfagna and keyboardist Brian Lempert were recruited to join Endway around the time of the Costa Rica trip. Bassist/singer Morgan Dorr and drummer Scott James, together with McHugh, round out the band.

Following the tour south of the border, Endway returned to the States to self-produce its sophomore album, "Action," which was released in June and led to a national tour.

"We named the album 'Action' in part because of our nonprofit attitude," Zanfagna said. "'Actions speak louder than words' is a cliche because it's true."

Since its first release, the self-titled "Endway," the band has shared the stage with national acts, including Dashboard Confessional and Brand New, and developed its own cult following.

After MTV learned that a cast member from Boston on one of its shows was a big Endway fan, a producer contacted the band about using its songs. The result: five tracks from Endway's debut album were featured on MTV's "The Hills, "Real World Austin" and "Real World Key West," and the "Inferno 2."

"When the shows aired, we had a big party. It was pretty cool and weird to hear them on TV," McHugh said. "But they replay episodes so it's no biggie to hear it now."

James said the craziest thing he's experienced was at a CD release party for "Action" when fans started singing along to the songs, knowing all the words even before the album had been released.

Endway is in the process of writing new material and plans to record an acoustic EP this winter and a full-length release next spring. Because the band is the full-time priority for members, who don't work other jobs, members said they want to retain total creative freedom.

"We've been in talks with major labels," Zanfagna said. "It would be great to have that kind of exposure, but at the same time, we feel we can do it on our own, which is what we've been doing all along."

Added McHugh, "We've gone so long making a living with this. We're happy. We don't want some suit to come in and direct us. If we find someone that's a fit, we'll take it, but if not, we're fine doing it on our own."

One thing that the musicians know is that they want to continue playing music and living the "pura vida" lifestyle. Members hope to return to Costa Rica this winter for more gigs and nonprofit work.

"We think of ourselves as more than just a band," Dorr said. "We want to do good. Music brings people together, and we hope to be a part of that."

- Salem News / By Liz King

"Endway: Paving Their Own Way To Stardom"

If you are a fan of MTV's series “The Real World Austin, The Real World Key West,” and the “Inferno II,” then you have probably heard some music from Boston's premier rock band, Endway, (www.endway.com) like "Acoustic Song" and "Ain'y No One." These songs can also be heard on the band's PureVolume.com site ( www.purevolume.com/endway ) and their MySpace site ( www.myspace.com/endway ), in addition to their music video for their first single from their self-titled debut album, “And We Live.”

The band reveals how their music was chosen to be featured on the MTV series. "We met one of the cast members and became close friends and now he's an Endway lifer. He gave our CD to the MTV music producer and [who] loved it so much that we've been on three total MTV slots – “The Real World Austin,” “The Real World Key West,” and the” Inferno II,” and hope to be on more shows in the future. We would love to have the opportunity to include our music in more TV series, among movies and movie soundtracks."

Endway, whose members Morgan Dorr (lead vocal/guitar), Kevin McHugh (guitar/backup vocals), Chris Burns (bass, backup vocals), and Scott James (drums), released their self-titled debut album in 2006 and have been gaining momentum with their live shows. Their mixtures of acoustic sets and hard rock propulsions have a melodic, sonorous reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World, Dredg, Three Doors Down, and Hinder. Endway is a band of friends as well as being rock musicians, which may explain why they chose to do this interview as a collaborative effort rather than as separate individuals. Their atmosphere is friendly, energetic, cheerful, and contagiously positive.

"Morgan, Kevin, and Burns all grew up in a small town right outside of Boston (called) Watertown, Massachusetts. Scott grew up in Prince Frederick, Maryland," the band relates. They describe how they met and began the band. "The band formed in 2001. After graduating from high school we all found ourselves in bands that were unfulfilling to our craft. So a couple of phone calls to old friends brought us all together. We were doing well for ourselves, but we knew that with our constant struggles with drummers, we hadn't formulated the final line-up. After we hired our 3rd drummer, we went on a 2-month tour of the US. On that tour, we came across a small town in Maryland where we found our missing link, a drummer extraordinaire Scott James. Morgan, Kevin, and Burns promptly praised him, “His arrival brought us much success and we haven't looked back."

Their name, Endway, was chosen after a collaborative discussion, which they all agreed fit them. "It was really our ultimate form of expression," they claim. "We all felt that the name wasn't just a name, it had a cool ring to it and an unimaginable amount of meaning. We are four guys destined to make our musical journey a true testament to ourselves as people. Endway is a way to the end. To live everyday to the fullest and the music we make will prove that by showing everyone our true selves."

Making music and being in a band has a deeper meaning for Endway than simply becoming famous. It is something they realized early when they each developed their musical skills. "Morgan, Kevin, and Burns all started playing music around the age of 11,” they share, “where they played with different friends throughout the town. We all took a couple of lessons to start off. Morgan's father was in a band when he was our age. You could say that he is the reason why all of us play music today. All of our families have musical talent in them and have in some way influenced us into making our musical journey." They also cite artists like Green Day, Lagwagon, Weezer, Bob Marley, and Queen as early musical influences.

Although it was their musical experiences through their adolescence which seemed to make them bond together when they narrate, "In their first band, Kevin and Morgan were in Tenor Giraph. They were elected to perform at the WBCN high school Battle Of The Bands. A year later, Burns' first band The Abnormals were elected to play the same show. We both lost," they frown glibly.

Not ready to accept defeat, Morgan, Kevin, Burns, and now along with Scott, left the past behind them and are giving Endway a chance to mean something more to them. “This Town Forever,” their first original song, "was a song that was written in our subconscious. We knew that the music itself gave us a good feeling and with that good feeling came a way out." They add, "Out of this town, forever."

It's not that they hated their hometowns, but they needed more than what a suburban life could offer them. They recognized that need when their audiences became progressively larger, and they wanted to make a positive impact on a large crowd.

"In the beginning, we were basically taking any shows we could get our hands on, from dive bars to birthday parties in someone's backyard. We've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people who offered us gigs. The shows just started getting better and better. I remember a conversation I had with Morgan concerning the fact that we knew nobody and couldn't fathom how we would ever be in a constant circuit of live performances. But today, we are really happy with the way things came together in that department."

In the last year, the members of Endway have gone from being spectators at music festivals to performing at festivals. "Ya, we've played some festivals," they note with pride, "One at the Pepsi Arena in New York with Dashboard Confessionals and New Found Glory. One or all of us usually attend the Warped Tour which is always a lot of fun."

Working a large crowd demands songs that not only keep the public's interest but actually gets them excited, and Endway went into the recording studio with that mission in mind. About their self-titled debut album, “It was recorded at a few places. We tracked all the basics - guitar, bass, and drums at Mad Oak Studios in Allston/Brighton. The rest - vocals, lead guitar, and mixing were done at Briggs Brother Studios in Framingham. We self-produced the record, but would have our friends - musical and non-musical come by and give their opinion on what they thought. For the overall sound, we knew we wanted something big, so when someone puts it in their stereo, their eyebrows blow off."

Endway made an album that people would enjoy and want to buy as well as one that expressed their own personal reflections. It's an album not only made for their families or for a record label to mass market, but it has mass appeal simply by being upbeat and relevant to life that is happening now.

"Our songs come from a variety of different inspirations," they relate. "Whether it be a piece of literature, a movie, a drunken guitar lick, or any life experiences. The reason why we write these songs is the same reason a chef might take years to develop his own menu. Everyone has a personal taste. These songs make us feel great when we play live and can hopefully attach people to them, giving us a bond found no where else except lying in the majesty of song."

Something very unique about songs is that their greatness is only measured by the number of people who resonate with it. Queens’ "We Are The Champions" will outlive the band because it continues to resonate with burgeoning generations of music fans, and oddly, no band is ever able to foretell if they have a song that will do that to people, including Queen when they composed that song. It is what Endway is aiming for, but found that their greatest challenge is finding a common ground where everyone agrees.

"The toughest thing," they agree, "is to get four guys together in the same room day after day and work on the same songs. Having everyone feel the same about each note, chord or melody being played is no easy feat. So, we've learned a lot about each other as people, and have been together long enough that most of the time we're on the same page and have the same goals in mind. It's important to really listen to one another. Communication is one of the most vital lessons we harbor."

Since the release of their self-produced debut album and a succession of live performances and tracks featured on several MTV series, Endway have additionally experienced the anxiousness that comes with showcasing for record labels. “We have played in front of a number of major labels as well as some Indies. Sometimes you don't get a warm fuzzy feeling," they muse, wishfully. "One label that stuck out to us the most is Black Heart Records in Manhattan. They feel like friends and ride on the same wave length."

Black Heart Records ( www.blackheart.com ) is the record label formed by Joan Jett and her long time producer, Kenny Laguna. Though the band cannot confirm that they have signed with anyone, they have continued to work on tracks for their next record. Their plans for 2007 are to "make a really different record, half of which is already written," they admit. "Play the Warped Tour, develop even further as individual musicians, and get more people to join us through communication and our open hearts."

They are adamant about "staying the course, keeping everybody motivated even when there is little or no money/rewards. Being a musician is the only job that doesn't have Christmas bonuses, benefits or anyone putting you on their back as often as you need it. The only thing we look forward to is people singing along and MySpace comments," they chuckle.

Endway is also looking forward to making more music videos. "We have actually made a video for the first song on the record 'And We Live.” Video is something we have a lot of fun with. The only thing is coming up with a fun idea that translates a message of a song." They wonder, "Does MTV even play videos anymore?"

Luckily, Endway does not need to only depend on MTV to bring their music to audiences. They list PureVolume, MySpace, and iTunes as additional means where their music and videos are played. "The Internet is what it's all about," they rave, "We've never been that good at making our Internet presence shiny and polished but it still makes you accessible to everyone in the world, which is a tool that everyone is utilizing now."

Endway are beginning to explore whatever means are available to them that will bring their music to audiences. For bands who are just starting out, Endway recommends, "Do it with your friends, make sure you believe in it and always remember that money may come and go, whereas the times and memories that you make will last forever. Be smart with your choices and find a way to stay motivated towards your goals."

It's advice that Endway has followed and seem pleased with the outcome from their choices.
- Susan Frances - MusicDish.com

"Two New Bands for Your iPod: Boston's Music Scene"

When it comes to music, I'm such an American Top 40 girl. I usually only get hooked on radio music. But I finally realized this weekend why it pays to scope out the local music scene. One: Concert tickets are way cheaper. Two: After the show, you actually get to meet the band, whose lead singer is almost always really cute. Three: When you stumble upon a talented, unsigned band, it's fun to tell friends about them, because when they hit it big, you can say you knew it all along.

My change of heart came this weekend when I visited Boston and saw two impressive bands. I found the first when I was shopping near Newbury St. (the main shopping street in Boston). I heard a guitar, bass, and the chill tunes of a saxophone, which I followed to a spot outside where Endway was playing. The five-guy band (pictured right) identifies as indie-soul-rock. Listen to "Little Bit of Love" here. What do you think? Let me know, because I see on their MySpace that they are performing in New York (where I live) in two weeks, so I'll go and pass along your messages.
- Tammy Tibbetts - CosmoGirl.com


Endway, a soulful, dance-friendly, Fedora-hat-wearing rock band that spices its music with keyboard and saxophone sounds... - Boston Globe


If you were there on 7/25 in Cambridge, MA at The Middle East than you saw history. One of the hottest bands in New England, Endway, played to a sold out crowd. Skope Live! & AMP Energy teamed up to host the Summer Bash For Autism Speaks. Endway has a tremendous following & a new CD, Action, out now!

Stoli: You guys just had a HUGE night for Skope Live! / AMP Energy on 7/25? How are you all feeling about playing to that sold out crowd?

Endway: It always feels great to play to a crowd like that. We are grateful. Boston has been good to us.

Stoli: Are you all pleased with how your fans came out to support you and your new CD, ‘Action?’

Endway: Everyone in the audience was dancing, smiling, laughing and singing along! That’s what it’s all about; having fun and thriving off of the pulsing energy in the room!

Stoli: Please tell us a bit about how Endway came together as a band?

Endway: Morgan Dorr (lead vocals/bass), and Kevin McHugh (guitar/back up vocals) formed Endway five years ago (though they’ve known each other for over 12 years); Scott James (drums) joined about four years back and together they put out a smash self-titled album. Actually four songs from that record are currently in rotation on MTV Reality TV shows such as The Real World, and The Hills. Benny Z. (tenor sax/back up vocals) joined about seven months ago and since then Brian Lempert (keyboards) became an extension of Endway as well. All five of us collaborated to create our latest album, “Action”.

Stoli: Your following in New England is tremendous. What would you say has helped to grow that base so quickly?

Endway: Playing together for a number of years, and writing music that feels good. word of mouth is key. we play as hard as we can every show, I think it keeps people coming back!

Stoli: Do you guys have day jobs and if so what are they?

Endway: None of us have day jobs. Endway is a full time operation. If we’re not recording, we’re on the road.

Stoli: There were a lot of hot women out to see you on Friday night. How do you stay focused on the music and not the hotties?

Endway: Our music is sensual. It’s meant to attract people, and we are fortunate because it’s working. Of course there are times when the ‘hotties’ grab our attention, and we love to interact while performing…

Stoli: How long did it take to write & record ‘Action’ and are you pleased with the final product?

Endway: Many of the songs on ‘Action’ have been blossoming in our minds for months, even years. Morgan refers to it as “his life’s work” for a reason. We’ve found a creative synergy that works, and we pored our hearts and souls into ‘Action’. That said, the recording process was actually fairly brief. Once the drums were mic-ed properly, and we laid down the rhythm sections, we set cruise control. Like a well oiled machine, our system worked quickly, and we’re thrilled with the final product. We engineered, produced, mixed and short of mastering, took on every aspect of the process.

Stoli: Your songs & sound are so catchy! How do you write & decide on the music as a group or does one person dominate?

Endway: Believe it or not, we are a working democracy. Morgan comes with an idea and we jam on it, and nail down our favorite version. Its a secret.

Stoli: Were you guys friends before Endway or did the band form the relationships?

Endway: Although we all met at different times in our lives, I think we’ve all been friends in previous lives.

Stoli: The show on 7/25 for Skope Live! was to raise $$ & awareness for Autism. Have any of you have been effected by Autism?

Endway: We give to non profit organizations whenever the opportunity arises. In our opening track, we quote “with a little bit of love, and a little bit of sacrifice, we cant take the whole world and make it better” its something we believe in and want it to spread.
We all recognize the widespread issues surrounding autism, and we feel strongly about helping to raise awareness about these issues!

Stoli: For our readers looking to get your new album, where should they go?

Endway: For MP3’s you can purchase ‘Action’ on iTunes, or Amazon. For a physical copy of the CD visit http://www.cdbaby.com/endway2

Stoli: What can we look for from Endway for 2008 & beyond?

Endway: We are committed to bringing our music, and message to as many people as possible! We aim to do ‘good’, so expect to see our names associated with more benefits, charities, non-profits, and foundations. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact us! We do write and perform for the fans! We love our friends, and family, and we’re so appreciative for your support!!!

Stoli: Thank you Endway!

Endway: Thank you, Stoli, Skope, and to all of our fans, ONE BIG LOVE!!!

- Skope Magazine


Endway - (self-titled) - 2004

Endway - (demo) - 2007

Endway - "Action" - 2008

*Over 135,000 spins on myspace, 122,000 on purevolume



Endway fuses Rock and Soul music, and is constantly on the road in support of their sophomore release, "Action", which follows their successful self-titled 2005 release. Four songs from the debut album are featured on 5 different MTV shows including The Real World, Road Rules, and The Hills.

Four life-long friends originally formed Endway in 2004. Since then, members Morgan Dorr (Vocals/Bass), and Kevin McHugh (Guitar/Vocals), joined with Scott James (Drums), and Brian Lempert (Keyboard) with the common goal of creating music that would have a unique and broad appeal.

Performing nightly, both locally and nationally, the group's dynamic live show is truly something to see and hear! Their ability to kick start a music hall is legendary. Endway has shared the stage with national acts: All Time Low, Brand New, Boys Like Girls, Hoobastank, Dashboard Confessionals, A New Found Glory, Fair To Midland, Damone, The Lost Prophets, and The White Tie Affair.

Endway believes in the power of the roadtrip and has toured the USA several times with great success. Recently, Endway played a series of shows in Central America; while touring in Costa Rica in January 2008, Morgan, Kevin, Scott and Benny worked hands on with the Roberta Felix Foundation, a charity that benefits underprivileged children with special needs.
"During the day we were helping in anyway we could," says guitarist Kevin McHugh. "Everything we were able to accomplish completely opened our eyes."

Endway will kickoff 2009 with an Eastern Seaboard Tour of the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states supporting their 2008 release, "Action" and will unveil their new free music distribution plans.

Sold over 5,000 copies of debut release
4 Songs from debut album featured on MTV
"This Town Forever" - Real World/Road Rules Inferno 2 - Real World Austin & Key West
"The Acoustic Song" - Real World Austin Season 16
"I Ain't No One" - Real World Key West Season 17
"One Lonely Night" - Real World Denver Season 18
"10 Miles Away" featured on • 411 Video Magazine Volume 4

Performed with these National Acts: All Time Low, Fair To Midland (Universal), Brand • New (Interscope), Boys Like Girls (Columbia), Hoobastank (Island), A New Found Glory (Drive-Thru), Dashboard Confessionals (Vagrant), The Lost Prophets (Columbia), Damone (Island), The White Tie Affair
Played over 200 shows in the United States in both 2007 and in 2008
Toured in Central America in 2008
Editorial Homepage Feature on PureVolume.com, over 122,000 plays.
Self-produced Summer '08 release, "Action"