Great Caesar
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Great Caesar

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2002
Band Rock Alternative




"Brooklyn's Great Caesar - self titled EP, out today - stream here!"

Have you heard of Brooklyn band, Great Caesar? Well if not, start paying attention… The band’s single “Don’t Ask Me Why” has over 250,000 views on Youtube and they just came off of a national tour to play a homecoming show at The Knitting Factory this past Saturday. Great Caesar’s been described as Arcade Fire meets Avett Brothers. But come to your own conclusion by taking a first listen and streaming their new self titled EP below. - Tristate Indie

"'Don't Ask Me Why': Great Caesar's Music Video Proves Love Conquers All"

Does love really conquer all? How does love, for example, triumph over homophobia and racism? Great Caesar premiered its new music video for “Don’t Ask Me Why” on Upworthy today, and the band gave us answers to those questions and more in a powerful new video.

The music video introduces the audience to three young couples. The first is a mixed race couple that falls in love in the segregated America of the mid-twentieth century. The other couples — who are also dating outside of their races — experience what it is like to navigate high school and home life while being gay.

“Don’t Ask Me Why” is a beautiful testament to the power of love, but it is also a jarring reminder of the potential consequences of expressing that love. A group of white males beats the young black male with a baseball bat, the football player is harassed and beat by his teammates, and one young woman is kicked out of her home after revealing to her parents that she is in a relationship with another girl.

We won’t spoil the ending for you, but we recommend that you grab some tissues.

If you’re looking to get involved with a worthy cause this Martin Luther King Day, then one thing you can do is blast this video out on all of your social media networks. If you want to get involved to fight racism and homophobia, check out the action widgets below. - MTV act

"Remember when music videos used to mean something? Some still do."

Any way we could make this mandatory viewing for everyone who thinks other people need their approval on who they fall in love with? - Upworthy

"Great Caesar - EP Review from Music Emissions"

...I can tell you that "The Tale of Buck Byron" is the kind of song that can make waves. The brass creates punctuation, flair and a sense of class behind the fairly straight-forward rock catchiness. The intro definitely seems to take a page from Ennio Morricone, and the entire track may be a modernized tribute of sorts to the legendary composer. More than likely, though, is that the song is just a great time, a tongue-in-cheek tale of a man taking extreme measures to save a kidnapped daughter. The vocals have the oomph needed to accompany such a sound, and are pleasantly reserved enough not to force attention away from the meat of this and the rest of the songs. "Sweet Banana" seems far less serious in theme, but in tone it has a bit more punch, a bit more underlying darkness to it. Lyrics are borderline ridiculous, and one gets the feeling that was intentional. This one ends on a steady anthemic build, a real sing-along section that must get fans in a bit of a frenzy live. "Mouth Erratic" is much more jazz-based than the rest of these songs, and it goes a great deal to showcase the other half of the fusion element Great Caesar incorporates to much pleasure. "Youthenized" has a bit of college-nerd broodiness to it (college-nerd music, while not an actual genre, may be an apt description for this sound to anyone who gets what I mean by it), and is much more guitar-driven than you'd expect. Very decent solo work on this one, this band has talent it can keep in reserve from track to track. "Everyone's a VIP to someone" is bouncy, hip to it's own groove, replete with the sort of lyrics that fit right in on the college circuits they seem to favor playing. "Tango" is maybe the best of the bunch, a perfect melding of all of their songwriting and instrumental flair, a song to close an eye-opening show in a smoky NYC jazz club. One to leave you wanting more...

...and that's where I am, wanting more. A proper LP might or might not be in the works (haven't been able to find any info on it), but it seems that Great Caesar may not even have to go that route anytime soon. An ensemble-type band like this, with their fusion elements, is almost strictly reserved to being best experienced live and in person. Reviews quote as saying they create a lively atmosphere, and they've had success enough to share stages with the likes of The Decemberists, Deerhoof, and even Third Eye Blind. Yes, my review might not do this band the proper amount of justice due to my unfamiliarity with their style of music, the general gist of it should read like this: if you like rock, and like jazz in your rock, and like the jazz-rock you like to be fun, then go on over to their website and pick up on what they're laying down. -

"Hot Music For Hot People: Ska Makes a Comeback"

...the men of Great Caesar hold it down like your stepchild never could. Big, heavy breakdowns punctuate blazing guitar solos and the capricious, soulful voice of lead singer John-Michael Parker. - The Wordbird

"Stop, Hey, What’s that Sound: Great Caesar"

If you like Sublime, Modest Mouse, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, then I would recommend Great Caesar.

Take a fresh and unique perspective on the rock genre, add an extremely talented group of high school friends and you get Great Caesar. If the name rings a bell, it should—formerly known as Great Caesar and the Go Getters, the band has been featured at Quinnipiac on more than one occasion, gaining popularity and recognition across campus.

The seven-man band mixes rock with alto and tenor saxophones, trumpet, piano and trombone to produce more of a jazzy, big band feel than just the traditional indie rock sound.

"The band got started as a jazz trio," explains guitarist Mike Farrell, a sophomore media studies major. "Tommy Sikes joined on guitar, and they started moving toward playing rock music."

By the time Farrell joined on guitar a few years later, the band was ready to rock with a full lineup.

Farrell says much of Great Caesar's inspiration comes from the band members' "wildly different musical backgrounds," and their ability to coalesce their styles into something up and coming.

"When we write, all of our influences tend to come out at once and combine into something that sounds totally new," said Farrell.

In the song "Everyone is a VIP to Someone," the group takes a risk with crude, honest lyrics. If "shut up I say/ get in my bed/ it's all you're good for anyway" doesn't get the point across, then I don't know what does. The song, incorporated with a catchy beat, is both an anthem for anyone who's been betrayed by a lover and the kind of tune that makes you dance around and sing at the top of your lungs.

Great Caesar has won WQAQ's Battle of the Bands two years in a row, and opened for the radio station's spring concert twice. Last year the concert featured Minus the Bear and Manchester Orchestra this year. They also placed third in Yale University's Battle of the Bands and will be playing at the Yale Spring Fling concert on May 1. The band is opening for Girl Talk, N.E.R.D., and The Decemberists.

Keep an ear out for Great Caesar, a band with a modern sound that confirms the fact that our generation indeed has talent. - Quad News

"Cymbals Eat Guitars / Great Caesar / Art Decade"

"It didn’t take long to see that Great Caesar definitely puts out a vibe. During the performance, they were able to transform the Space from a casual Connecticut venue to a jazzy New York night club. With the help of a brilliant brass section complimented by the full bodied vocals of singer John-Michael Parker, Great Caesar produces vibrant and catchy melodies." -

"On the Verge"

“Anthemic, lush, brass-fueled, choral,” is how John-Michael Parker (vocals/guitar) describes his chamber-rock band Great Caesar. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based outfit aims to place themselves somewhere among their influences: Arcade Fire, Beirut and Dirty Projectors. The group played their first show as a trio in the fall of 2002 at a party in Madison, Conn., where they attended high school. While studying Shakespeare in freshman English class, the longtime friends had an inside joke about saying, “Great Caesar” in a funny way. Formerly called Great Caesar & The GoGetters—“which fit perfectly in the ska scene we used to run in”—they played in various bands and configurations until moving to New York. This year, they released a music video for their popular song “Don’t Ask Me Why.” Combining art and activism, it challenges viewers to take a stand for equality. After working with Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut, Modest Mouse) on their forthcoming EP, which will feature the track, Great Caesar have their sights set on creating their first full-length album and conceiving “one entire cohesive musical statement.” As far as touring, they’re excited to break onto the festival circuit. “When we get all of us up there on stage, people can feel that. They can feel the camaraderie that comes from playing with your best friends forever, and they get swept up in it. We’re careful to structure a set that comes out swinging, takes people through a few ups and downs, and ends with exuberance and release. The goal is transcendence.” - Relix

"Great Caesar captivated audience at Rough Trade"

Great Caesar recently played an incredibly entertaining show at Rough Trade, keeping audience members on their toes using a unique variety of horn instruments and the captivating vocals of John-Michael Parker and Niki Morisette. With pure joy on their faces and a real love of the music they’re performing, the band has developed a loyal following across the country, largely due to their widely popular, kickstarter-funded music video for the song “Don’t Ask Me Why”. The show was full of dancing and excitement up until the very end when, to cap off the night, the band played in the middle of the audience. The members of Great Caesar give it their all and it was a truly moving show. - The Wild Honey Pie

"Still Love Premeier"

As we inch ever closer to the Christmas season (although one step in any retail store will have you thinking we're already there), it's always lovely to have a reminder to stay close with the ones you love, and Great Caesar's heartwarming new video for 'Still Love' does just that. Portraying the relationship between a young son and his grandmother, the pair take care of each other - she bandages his injuries and he keeps her young by going to theme parks and even forming a cute little band.

'Still Love' is from their self-titled EP, which you can pick up over at their Bandcamp. - The 405


Great Caesar EP - 2014




Great Caesar aims for the heart with a vulnerable blend of brass, voice, and indie-rock, drawing from acts like Arcade Fire and Beirut to create music that confronts the things that really matter: love, legacy, and the complexity of human relationships.

The NYC band’s 2014 debut single phenomenon, "Don’t Ask Me Why", combines art and activism in a video that juxtaposes the civil rights movement of the 1960s with today’s fight for sexual equality. Supported by figures as varied as Russell Simmons, Deepak Chopra, Arsenio Hall, and Superbowl champion and LGBT advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo, the $50,000+ Kickstarter-funded video has already challenged hundreds of thousands to take a stand for love and equality. The video has reached over 250,000 views on YouTube with over 2,000 likes from YouTube users, and is gaining hundreds of positive comments.

The band’s most recent studio offering, a self-titled EP, was released on October 7, 2014. It was produced by Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut, Modest Mouse, A Hawk and a Hacksaw). They recently completed a month-long national tour, and are gearing up for a full-length release and supporting tour in the spring. 

Band Members