Frank Viele
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Frank Viele

Hamden, Connecticut, United States | SELF

Hamden, Connecticut, United States | SELF
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"Frank Viele: Ready To Bring Da Funk!"

"As a student at Saint Gabriel in Milford, Frank Viele played in the band and used to dream about making it as a musician.

""I took some lessons and messed around a little, and by the time I was 15 or 16, it was definitely what I did best,"" Viele says. ""Music became a passion and a release for me. When I started playing, the goal was to play it for myself, but it made the people happy and it was a snowball effect.""

A dozen years later, the 26-year-old Viele fronts the popular six-piece pop/funk band Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, which will play Stage One on Feb. 3 as the opening band for the New Orleans fave Papa Grows Funk.

""We're going to be doing acoustic funk and leave it all on the stage,"" Viele says. ""We're going to stay away from our slower stuff and just throw everything on the table and have some fun.""

Viele and his band have played the theater before, most recently opening for the Wailers for two nights last fall.

""A lot of national acts want us to open for them, but a lot of times funk bands will have us strip down. With Stage One, because it's a small stage and you can't put two full big bands up there, we went up with a stripped down acoustic [last time] and that made us reinvent the songs a little bit,"" he says. ""We really liked how it sounded and we recorded a number of songs like that.""

Backed by drummer Mario Capodiferro, Rob Liptrot on bass, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Andrew Mericle on trumpet and Pasquale T. Iannelli on saxophone, Viele brings a modern version to the great funk-infused bands of the '60s and '70s. Comparisons have been made to the Dave Matthews band or Huey Lewis and the News, but Viele's band is more horn-influenced and harkens back to more of a big-band sound.

""My reason for wanting to play big band is from my childhood of listening to Otis Redding and guys like that,"" Viele says. ""I did follow Dave Matthews around and when you went to those shows, you forgot what was around you. You were just entertained.""

When Viele graduated from Marist college he knew that he wanted to present a similar concert feel with his band. Things weren't always easy, and he had faith that his band would succeed.

""In the beginning you are almost spending money to play between driving to gigs, eating, drinking,"" he explains. ""Eventually we started gigging more and getting more opportunities and things are really starting to come together for us.""

Viele's band released its debut album, ""Neon Lights,"" last fall and it quickly became a staple on college radio and funk stations across the East Coast.

""That did a lot for us and we played 127 shows last year and we blew up,"" he says. ""That first album took three years to make. There were a revolving door of musicians for a while, but it turned out to be full of great talented artists and skilled musicians.""

A second album, the full-band acoustic EP, ""Acoustic Vudu,"" will be available in April and that will quickly be followed by a third album before year's end.

""I have been writing my whole life and most of the songs from the first album I wrote before I was allowed to drink,"" Viele says. ""I have a whole catalogue of material backed up and people want to hear new stuff because they get bored really easily, and it's so much easier to put out things now.""

Reflecting on the lack of funk in today's musical landscape, Viele believes that there's still plenty of people who want to listen to funk.

""It's out there, but no one has put a modern spin on it,"" he says. ""No one's out there making songs with hooks in today's music and that's why a single like 'Anticipation' has done remarkable for us. It's a funk song with a sax solo at the end with a great hook.""

Viele hopes to see a revitalization of the genre in the years ahead and plans to be a part of bringing the funk movement back to the mainstream.
- The Stamford Advocate: Keith Loria

"Featured Artist on Entertainment Resoure Direct"

"BIOGRAPHY - Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project began as a revolving door of talented musicians that lent their musical abilities to guitarist and singer-songwriter, Frank Viele, both on stage and in the studio. In the early months of 2005, Viele recorded a guitar track in his basement, which soon caught the attention of Label 11 Records, based out of New York City. By March of 2006, Frank's debut record, a 6 track EP entitled Blue Roses for Two, was made available nationally via channels such as iTunes, Tower Records, Best Buy and Rhapsody.

Followed by a solid year of touring and promoting with the band, a trio, a duo and solo acoustic, Frank gathered another crew of musicians to release his second EP entitled The Manhattan Project. It didn't take long before Frank's music was heard on radio stations across the Northeast and the track ""Bein' Lonely Together"" was featured on the New York Rockers For Life and Santa Fe Rockers For Life compilation albums in 2007. By early 2008, the track ""Portland Rain"" could be heard on regional college and independent radio stations.

Drawing comparisons to major modern groups including Maroon 5, O.A.R. and the Dave Matthews Band as well as classic artists including Chicago and Tower of Power, it is no surprise to learn that Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project have worked their way up the ladder. Over the last two years they shared the stage with top artists such as Gavin DeGraw, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Keller Williams, the Rustic
Overtones, Ingrid Michaelson, Nine Days and Marc Broussard to name a few. The story of this band has just begun to be written. 2010 The band released their first official full-length album titled ""Neon Lights"", which was partially recorded and mixed at Cove City Sound Studios in Long Island and features industry great Richie Cannata (Billy Joel). Now armed with a recording that truly reflects these musicians as masters of their craft, Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project are set to unleash their handcrafted sound on new audiences around the country.

More detail @"
- Jim Hall/ERD

"CIty Man Leads Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project"

"City man leads Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project, performing locally

Written by Jill K. Dion
Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:51

One blog-based music critic said the funk, rock, pop, jazz, blues, and swing produced by Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project “doesn’t disappoint,” crossing multiple genres with style, and with horns.

“Somewhere between the 1980s and today, the use of a horn section in a rock band fell out of favor,” Brian Fitzpatrick wrote on his blog “BC Music.”

Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project, which has ties to Milford, combines acoustic and electric guitar, drums, and bass with saxophone and trumpet, for a sound that really works, Fitzpatrick wrote.

The six-member Connecticut/New York City band had a big year in 2010, releasing its debut album, Neon Lights, and performing 127 shows. The band will open its 2011 full band tour schedule at The Fairfield Theatre Company’s Stage 1 on Feb. 3, supporting New Orleans’ top funk band, Papa Grows Funk. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Theatre, located at 70 Sanford St.

Viele, who grew up in Milford and graduated from St. Gabriel’s School, traces his musical influences to some big industry names, but like many Milford residents, he traces his musical education to his first guitar lesson with local instructor Bob Shea.

“I took lessons with Bob Shea at the old Fladd’s music store,” Viele said. “I saw him not too long ago after a show at Daniel Street. He stopped and said, ‘It’s Frank Viele,’ and I said, ‘Hey, it’s Mr. Shea.’”

At the age of 3, Viele, who’s 26 now, began playing music by mimicking the tunes he heard on television or his grandmother’s piano.

Heavily influenced by Dave Matthews as a teenager, he later created music with his own guitar, after studying under Shea for about a year.

It didn’t take long before such influences as Eric Krasno, George Benson and other jazz musicians led him to study at the summer guitar program at Berklee College of Music. Since then, Viele has been working to write a catalog of songs with an impressive band of musicians.

The band includes Viele on lead vocals and guitar, Mario Capodiferro on drums, Rob Liptrot on bass and backup vocals, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Pasquale T. Iannelli on saxophone, and Andrew Mericle on trumpet.

Last year was a great year for the band, and members are hoping 2011 will be even better.

“Garnering comparisons to everybody from Huey Lewis and the News to the Dave Matthews Band, 2010 was a phenomenal year for us,” members say on their Web site. “We found ourselves on stage with bands ranging from Bob Marley’s Wailers to Carbon Leaf, the Rustic Overtones, Hey Monday, Eric Krasno of Soulive and the Young Dubliners, to name a few.”

Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project has a list of upcoming shows, including the Fairfield performance and a smaller show at Eli’s on Whitney, in Hamden, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 9:30 p.m.

For show information, go to the band’s Web site,"
- Jill K. Dion / The Milford Mirror

"Artists You Should Know: Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project"

"Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project
on Jan 17, 2011 in Artists You Should Know by Nick

What happened? Somewhere between a generation with acts like Huey Lewis, Tower of Power, and Foreigner and today, brass all but vanished from contemporary music.

But damnit, that is unacceptable, and Frank Viele and his Manhattan Project agrees with me!

Hailing from where else? New York City, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project are a collective of masterful musicians. Frank Viele lends his smooth voice and guitar work to an infusion of Mario Capdiferro on drums, Rob Liptrot on bass and vocals, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Pasquale Ianelli on tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones, and Andrew Mericle on trumpet, and you have a fiery brass section that kicks ass and takes names.

Although already touring together for the past few years, Frank and the boys released their debut album, Neon Lights last July, and it’s already dominated my iTunes play history for its ability to inject energy into the psyche. The disc is a collection of salty brass solos, punchy drums, and smooth vocals that may be the greatest funk release of 2010.

On the music world map, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project are residing somewhere between the islands of OAR and Dave Matthews Band. Sharing a similar formula, the band is skilled in juxtaposing the idiosyncrasies of a horn section with a solid rock groove that makes for a very strong cocktail. In a world, it is intoxicating.

This is summertime music, and it’s keeping me warm in this desolate permafrost called Pittsburgh. When I pump up tracks like Turn Around and Cards, Right, Tonight, my body is sitting in my shades-of-gray cubicle, but my mind is jumping up in down in the front rows of a summer music festival. Lights are splashing and enveloping my being, and the scents of smoke, sweat, and fog-machine juice ensnare my sense of smell.

Okay, I’m being a dramatist. But rightly so. These guys remind me of the summertime.

Neon Lights is only 9 short tracks, and I am crossing my fingers that these guys will cultivate a strong discography with future releases. The sound is still a little immature, and shows many signs of under-production: poor track compression, mediocre mixing, and perhaps a tad to much chorus effects on lead vocals. These guys will be served well by a growing fan base sponsoring higher production quality.

Either way, they are brilliant, and I recommend them whole-heartedly."
- Mystery Tricycle Music Blog

"Hamden's Viele lands opening spot at The Wailers' shows in Fairfield"

"By Sean Spillane, Music Editor

Local singer-songwriter Frank Viele has released two EPs in the past five years, but as he nears the July release of his first full-length album, ""Neon Lights,"" with his band, The Manhattan Project, he's having a hard time controlling his emotions.

""I'm flipping out,"" he said in a recent phone interview from his Hamden apartment. ""This thing has taken a long time, about 2 1/2 years. We started recording in Shelton (at White House Productions) and then we got the opportunity to bring it to Cove City Sound Studios on Long Island.""

That's the studio founded by Richie Cannata, the saxophone player for Billy Joel's band from 1975 to 1981 and a longtime member of The Beach Boys' touring outfit in the 1990s.

""This studio is where Billy Joel's `River of Dreams' album was recorded, so I'm sitting there playing on the exact same piano that Billy Joel played on `River of Dreams,'"" Viele recalled. ""And there's all these gold records on the wall: Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Dream Theater, LL Cool J -- just everybody you can think of. It was kind of crazy.

""And the guys at Cove City were such big fans of what we were doing that they took care of us. They gave us a deal we needed to be able to afford it. And Richie Cannata was such a big fan of the album he even played a (sax) solo on one of the tracks, a song called `Turn Around.'""

""Neon Lights"" is the culmination of a life spent loving music, from tinkering on his grandmother's piano as a young child, to singing karaoke as a first-grader at his stepfather's restaurant, Christopher John Michael's in West Haven. In his teens, he became serious about the craft of songwriting.

""I've always loved it,"" Viele said of his connection to music. ""It's always been a positive. By the time I was 16, I really dove into writing my own songs and it just kind of became second nature to me. It was a good release and, over time, music became a bigger and bigger part of my life.

""It wasn't a planned approach, like, `OK, I'm going to be a professional musician.' It just kind of became a part of my life. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is grab my guitar. The last thing I do before I go to sleep at night is play my guitar.""

Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project has the plum assignment of opening concerts for reggae legends The Wailers Tuesday and Wednesday nights at StageOne at the Fairfield Theatre Company. But Viele still remembers the gigs he used to take when he was a guitar player in friends' bands.

""It's funny, looking back on it now where we're opening for The Wailers and doing festivals and all of this other cool stuff, but I started in absolute dives,"" he said. ""We would do these four- or five-hour bar marathons in the summertime.

""I played in a bunch of bands. I was just one of those guys that loved to write songs and loved to play and sang in the shower. I didn't want to sing in front of people at first. Finally, I had to put up or shut up. I had to learn how to sing these tunes.""

Now ready to sing in front of crowds, Viele started playing solo shows.

""I did a lot of solo stuff when I would come home from college. I would play this little lounge every Wednesday and sit there and cover Dave Matthews songs all night to make money to pay for textbooks.""

Another gig -- at Blues Pizza in Hamden -- paid off in a different way.

""I did my first-ever solo show there and I actually ended up doing their radio jingle and television commercial, as well,"" Viele said, with a laugh. ""I was the voice of a talking saxophone.""

Viele and his bandmates -- Mario Capodiferro (percussion), Rob Liptrot (bass), Eddie Arjun Peters (lead guitar), Pasquale T. Iannelli (sax) and Andrew Mericle (trumpet) -- have drawn comparisons that range from jam bands such as The Dave Matthews Band and O.A.R. to older acts such as Tower of Power and Chicago.

""We get a lot of those comparisons because of the horns, obviously,"" Viele said. ""There are definite influences because all four of those bands have had an extreme impact on how horns can add to rock music.""

Those bands also are known for keeping the audience focused on the music, which is hard to do when you're a young group playing the club circuit, especially in Connecticut, where cover bands generally do better than original artists.

""It's tough, but my band's been really lucky,"" Viele said. ""We've gotten a really good rap for putting on a good live show. We don't play many covers, but we've gotten good at picking the right spots to mix one in to keep the crowd interested.

""I'm a singer-songwriter and I've got a personal catalog of 150 to 200 songs and a lot of them are the heart-on-my-sleeve slow songs, but you won't really hear me play a lot of those in the clubs. I've got the horn section and the backing band and having those guys allows me to take my music to a different level, sound-wise and energy-wise. We keep it upbeat for the crowd. We need to entertain the crowd and make it a show.
- CT Post (May 25, 2010)

"Sounds Like: “An Afro-Funk O.A.R” (Album Review)"

Now, my personal feelings regarding O.A.R. aside, I was highly skeptical when this came into my inbox. While young white men with a little jazz or soul influence have done exceedingly well in the music industry (John Mayer? Dave Matthews? Jason Mraz, anyone?), one has to wonder if ANYONE backed by an extremely talented, diverse band, could be a hit? Personally, I’m going with no. And Frank Viele seems to support my theory. Afro-Funk this is not. However, his husky voice and both the musical strength of the band and their skilled arrangement makes the album come alive, and makes it worth listening to. The title track “Neon Lights” is a sort of sweeping, Western-influenced epic. It draws you in, stops just short of taking itself too seriously, and doesn’t draw on too long. The sax-heavy “Right in Front of Me” starts out syrupy, but opens up into a pleasant little light jazz love song. The band is currently touring extensively on the East Coast supporting the Wailers, but anyone who is a fan of the artists mentioned above would do themselves a favor to make a point to seek out Viele and crew. It’s a fresh and frankly higher-quality take on the phenomenon.
- SFCritics

"Album Review in Origivation Magazine"

"Album review by Jason Sendaula

A funk-tastic good time is what you will find in Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project's debut album Neon Lights. The band's combination of horns and percussion makes for a dance party on its own. When you add in the well-placed guitar points and Viele's voice which goes from rough and gruff to smooth, you are left with a group that is made to make it. It brings us back to a time when bands like Chicago used their horns for something other than elevator muzak. There is no not getting your groove on to Viele's music, dig it."
- Brian Cronin

"Album Review by Blogcritics Magazine"

"Somewhere between the 1980s and today, the use of a horn section in a rock band fell out of favor. I'm not sure how or when, but we went from awesome sax solos and trumpets in songs like ""Urgent"" from Foreigner, ""Who Can It Be Now?"" from Men at Work, and Huey Lewis and the News when they toured with the horns of the Tower of Power. Sure there are a few groups like the Dave Matthews Band who still use a trumpet or sax now and then, but it's not quite as integrated into the whole rock experience as it used to be.

Now bring in Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project (from where else, but the New York City metropolitan area) - a six piece group featuring Viele on vocals as well as acoustic and electric guitars, Mario Capdiferro on drums, Rob Liptrot on bass and backing vocals, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Pasquale Ianelli playing tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones, and Andrew Mericle on trumpet. Add to that mix Richie Cannata playing sax (from Billy Joel's band) on ""Turn Around,"" Jason Hirth on keyboards on six tracks, and Ben Golder-Novick helping on the alto sax on six tracks... and where having a strong horn sound can sometimes overwhelms a band, these guys sound amazingly well together.

They've been touring together for a few years now and Neon Lights is their first full-length album. It doesn't disappoint, crossing multiple genres (funk, rock, pop, jazz, blues, and swing) on nine great tracks.

What blew me away was the title track - ""Neon Lights"". It opens with a bass line that has stuck with me like few recent songs, reminding me of the way the bass line in ""Running Down a Dream"" from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers wormed its way into my head to the point where I can't help but sing along. Layer that with Viele's rough voice, the backing horns, and some sweet lead guitar and it is tough to get me to stop listening to it over and over again...

Like most great bands who write their own songs, the lyrics for ""Neon Lights"" tell a story as well. A modern tale of wanting the best for an ex- with drug and alcohol problems... ""Then my hip starts buzzing, you're on the telephone / But Honey you know they're wrong and that you don't want to stay..."" It's not quite a plea for her to come back (after all, in the first verse they say she ""ain't coming home""), but you can tell he's worried.

Read more:"
- Brian Fitzpatrick


Still working on that hot first release.



Growing up in the suburbs of Connecticut, Frank Viele began his music career at the age of 3 by mimicking TV jingles on his grandmother's piano. Touring as an acoustic singer songwriter with his unique rhythmic style of songwriting, he eventually attracting a group of exceptionally gifted like minded individuals…The Manhattan Project.

As lead singer and writer for band Frank and guitarist Eddie Peters will play as a duo.

Frank Viele has shared the stage with George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic, Average White Band, Tower of Power, The Wailers, One Republic, Hanson, Spin Doctors, Ryan Cabrera,among many others.