Fistful of Fifties
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Fistful of Fifties

Fairfax, Virginia, United States | SELF

Fairfax, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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



"Local sound rocks Laughing Lizard"

They were loud and raw, as the fuzz box guitar and bone rattling bass leaked out onto King Street. It was the rock ‘n roll of Fistful of Fifties, a Fairfax-based rock band with influences from the ‘90’s rock groups and regulars on the play list at the Laughing Lizard.

In the land of cobblestone streets, gas light lamps, and ‘George Dined Here’ signs hanging on every corner, The Laughing Lizard is the only venue in Old Town for hard rock bands, and Fistful of Fifties seems to have found their niche for locals on a monthly basis.

“They’re one of our favorite bands, they create a great vibe for us,” said Lizard bartender Kelsey Mishkin.

The secret to Fistful of Fifties is their rough around the edges attitude and appearance, which exudes a very laid back feeling. The band consists of Joe Achtzener on bass, Matt Matis on vocals and guitar, David Saylor on lead guitar and Josh Pearson on drums. They’re all from communities dotting Northern Virginia and frequent the bar scene in the City of Fairfax and Herndon as well.

Their first show was at Laughing Lizard on Sept. 3, 2004, and now they are regular features on the band list. At their last show on Saturday, June 3, they found out 15 minutes before show time the warm up band didn’t show; but it was no big deal, they threw all their cards on the table and played their whole repertoire of cover songs and originals.

“We’re pretty laid back,” said Achtzener.

So laid back in fact, that one of their hit songs, “Killing Me,” about a friend stealing one of the band member’s girlfriends, doesn’t conjure up ill feelings. It actually happened to lead singer Matt Matis and he still talks to the other guy. “We worked past it,” Matis said. It’s one of their favorite songs even.

Another favorite is “Affluenza,” a song about materialism and the temporary good feeling you get from buying stuff. That feeling wears off though, and the ups and downs of the song reflect that feeling. “It changes feel from verse to chorus,” said Saylor. Those two songs were played on DC 101 radio station, and the band is using that to catapult them into a recording contract.

Fistful of Fifties has one CD produced and is working on their second. They plan to throw a CD release party this summer as well. For now though, they’re looking forward to the next show, which is at the Celebrate Fairfax Festival, June 8-10.
- By Mike Salmon - Alexandria Times - June 7, 2007


Fistful of Fifties (EP) - 8/2006
Your New Best Friend - 8/2009
TBA - (Summer 2012)



Formed in the Fall of 2004, Fistful of Fifties has been rocking the Northern VA, DC and Maryland area with their familiar but unique sound. Their high energy songs have been influenced by 90’s alternative rock bands such as Nirvana, Cake, Staind and the Smashing Pumpkins.

Joe Achtzener (bass), Matt Matis (vocals/guitar), Josh Pearson (drums) and David Saylor (guitar/vocals) combine catchy lyrics, melodic vocals, killer guitar solos, mind blowing bass licks and monster drumming to create what has been deemed “the up-and-coming sound of what has come to be expected in the clubs of Arlington and Fairfax counties” (Burke Connection, November 2006). Having played the metro area consistently for the past two years, Fistful of Fifties have become regulars at such venues as Laughing Lizard Lounge and TT Reynold’s while also gaining recognition as Fire Station 8’s Band of the Month for October 2006, Cue-la-palooza Battle of the Bands winner, and placing first in the first two rounds of the Bodog Battle of the Bands. Fistful of Fifties have been featured in the Washington Post’s Fairfax Extra and gained local notoriety through air play on Locals Only Radio and DC101’s Local Lix (Clear Channel Broadcasting).

In the summer of 2009, Fistful of Fifties released their first full-length album, "Your New Best Friend", recorded at Nothing But Noise Studios. Not a band to let their influences put a strong hold on their music, Fistful of Fifties are continuously writing new songs ranging from the occasional softer ballad to hard rock, allowing enough diversity for their on stage antics to reach every type of fan.