Jim Hayes and The Buddha Brains
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Jim Hayes and The Buddha Brains

Hawthorne, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Hawthorne, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Rock Blues


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



"Buddha Brains: Ramapo Valley Brewery LIVE Show Review, Suffern, NY 8/22/03"

It’s not every day that you catch a real classy act in a small town bar. Take the Ramapo Valley Brewery in Suffern, NY. A great place to grab a few micro brews, maybe a bite to eat, or play a game of pool or darts, the pub also boasts live music on the weekends, more often than not some local hard rock or metal band, many of which start to sound alike after a while. Not so on the night of August 22nd, when the Buddha Brains made their triumphant return to the pub. Sporting a sound that can best be described as a mixture of hard rock, funk, R&B, and alternative, the Buddha Brains, led by the talents of singer/guitarist Jim Spinella, played a solid two sets of music culled from their first two CD’s, plus a few new songs, in front of a sparse but loyal crowd.

If you can imagine a blend of Lenny Kravitz funk rock, Led Zeppelin’s power riffs, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s blues technique, and the hard rock-meets-jam muscle of Gov’t Mule, than you have somewhat of an idea what Buddha Brains are all about. Bassist Frank LaPlaca and drummer Tom Parsells consistently keep a locked in groove over which the guitars of Spinella and Joey Serrone lay their meaty licks over. Songs like “Such is Life”, with it’s searing wah-wah guitar leads and screaming sax solo from Dave Roman, or the Henrix-vibe of “Hot Tub”, sound so professional and so full of purpose, yet the band demonstrates them with a certain sense of fun and lightheartedness, which is good to see. Other tunes take on a real bluesy tone, like the raging “Whole Damn Thing”, the Bad Company sounding “Bring Me More”, or the blues-meets-funk-meets-jazz of “So Cruel.” The latter two are new tunes, and if tonight was an indication of how the next CD will sound, we are surely in for a treat. Of the other new songs played, the heavy “Rhythm of Life” is a definite winner, mixing metal guitar riffs with a soulful groove.

The whole band seems destined for bigger things, as they have the stage presence, the songs, and the attitude. Spinella especially has “star” written all over him. The guitarist/singer plays a mean axe (although he overuses the wah-wah pedal a tad much) without showing off, has a killer voice, and is all over the stage in perfect front-man form. Do yourself a favor and catch the Buddha Brains while the lines to get in are still short-my bet is that won’t last for long.

- Pete Pardo, Editor, Sea of Tranquility www.seaoftranquility.org

"The Buddha Brains “Songs From the Open Road”"

This East Coast five-piece called The Buddha Brains have put together some interesting styles on their second release Songs From the Open Road. Combining hard rock and metal guitar riffs, funky rhythms, strong vocals, and jazzy saxophone, The Buddha Brains bridge the gap between many genres, yet display a keen sense for melodic songwriting to go along with their solid musical chops.

The opening title track features crunchy guitar riffs from Jim Haze and the soaring sax lines of Dave Roman, while "New Mexico" is a definite anthem with hard driving rhythms and a catchy chorus. I was reminded a bit of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" on the rampaging "Revolution Gone", a heavy groove tune highlighted by Haze's gutsy vocals and equally meaty guitar riffs. The band goes for a more rootsy sound on the haunting "I Tell You It's True", and mixes acoustic guitars with heavy thunder on the Gov't Mule sounding "Without Warning." After the acoustic blues of "Nevermind", the band goes for the juggular on the crunchy "Whole Damn Thing", a song that will get you thinking about the state of the world these days. With thick, wah-wah laced guitar licks reminiscent of Warren Haynes or Frank Marino, Haze really shines here, as does Roman on the sax. "All My People" sees the band settle down for some dark, heavy blues rock, with bassist Frank LaPlaca laying down some heavy grooves while his rhythm partner Tom Parsells flails away on the drums. The CD ends with the dreamy acoustic number "Desire", a nice way to end this enjoyable release.

This is a band that should go far given the right breaks. They have it all-songwriting skills, chops, poise, and professionalism. Think of a more talented Cry of Love with added muscle and better songs. I'll be looking to see where they go next.

- by Pete Pardo

"The Buddha Brains/Songs From The Open Road/CD9"

An exceptionally talented outfit, former Eternal Vision Head-bangers Jim Spinella(aka guitarist/vocalist Jim haze) & bassist/vocalist Framk LaPlaca are joined by drummer/vocalist Tom Parsells, sax guy Dave Roman & since departed guitarist Joey Serrone for a soulful batch (24 tracks combined) of funky, Classic rock based, nu-metal aware ultra jams that very favorably recall a heady blend of artists….
- Al Muzer, The Aquarian

"Buddha Brains Article"

You can take the boy out of the city, and in Frank LaPlaca's case, you can keep him out ... for as long as you want.


WHAT: Rock. WHEN: 11 tonight .

WHERE: Ramapo Valley Brewery, 122 Orange Ave., Suffern, N.Y. (845) 369-7827; |ramapovalleybrewery.com.


While spending a good part of the last 15 years trying to appease a Manhattan music crowd, one that sometimes thinks of itself as "culturally elite," LaPlaca is that guy you'd spot walking the streets and humming the John Pizzarelli ditty "I Like Jersey Best." From the Pinelands to the Vinelands, the 34-year-old bassist for Buddha Brains would rather say no to Gotham and yes to the Garden State.

"You can bring a busload of people to a Manhattan club to support you, then the Manhattan people say, 'Oh, Jersey filled the place up,'" says LaPlaca, a Hawthorne native who's done his tour of gig duty with Eternal Vision and now the Buddha boys. "So you can't even attract a city crowd. We knocked 'em dead at Arlene Grocery and haven't been back. We played Don Hill's and got our 11 o'clock starting time bumped to 1 a.m. - with 20 people in the place. Sometimes you just can't win."

A victory for LaPlaca and his band mates - albeit in Suffern, N.Y., "but real close to Jersey" - is tonight's performance at Ramapo Valley Brewery. LaPlaca, Jim Spinella of Hawthorne (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Tom Parsells of Hawthorne (drums), and Dave Roman (saxophone) of Wayne are far removed from the concrete jungle across the Hudson - and just fine with it.

"It's a place where we put ourselves in front of an audience and we're appreciated," LaPlaca says. "And it's a place where the owners don't ask you to play songs everybody knows."

As the elder statesman of Buddha Brains, LaPlaca is aware that time might be running out to land a major deal, or as he puts it, "displaying a ton of charisma, knowing the right people, and having a ton of luck." The rock-heavy Brains, whose influences range from the Doors, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath, don't aspire to be "the next Nirvana, the next Blink 182." They are somewhat stuck in their Seventies upbringing and quite proud to be there.

A listen to their latest CD, "Songs From the Open Road," discloses a roll-on-down-the-highway vigor a la Bachman Turner Overdrive, yet can be Stevie Wonder perky in cuts like "Revolution Gone." Forward to "All My People" and Spinella's guitar groans with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi efficiency.

"Say what you want about Seventies rock being dead, but we played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to 2,000 kids for an MTV-taped show," says LaPlaca, who retains his near waist-length hair and looks much younger than his 34 years. "After the set we were signing autographs for 15- and 16-year-olds. What does that tell you?"

It tells LaPlaca that although he won't let the music business cripple his livelihood ("I bought a house, I got married, I had kids, I have a job to buy the bread"), he will not compromise his efforts in the band. The Brains make enough money in the clubs to support their quest and recently purchased a 24-track soundboard to record their own demos.

The next CD promises to be a bit more danceable in its rhythms with a nod to funk, but won't sound repetitive. "Just the same spirit throughout the record," he says.

The same kind of spirit all four Buddha Brains have to one day get signed.

"I still aspire to be a professional musician," LaPlaca says. "I always remind Jimmy, 'Just remember why we got into this in the first place.'"



- Gift Waves
- Buddha Brains-self titled
- Songs From The Open Road
- Orphan

-"Walk With Me" Video
- Live at The Starland Ballroom, Jersey Shows BOTB WINNERS



Jim Hayes and The Buddha Brains have come together from a variety of different musical experiences. With Socially-conscious lyrics combined with blues, rock, and funk styles, they have created a soulful and explosive sound.

Their blended musical talents are reflected in their unique sound and style. Imagine Black Sabbath and Stevie Ray Vaugh jamming in Tom Waits' basement.

The Buddha Brains have performed live at many famous venues such as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Hard Rock Cafe in NYC and Cleveland, The Starland Ballroom and The Mercury Lounge. They have also opened for acts as diverse as Leon Russell, Leslie West of "Mountain" and "King's X", Tantric, and American Hi-Fi.

Most recently, Jim Hayes and The Buddha Brains competed against over 250 original bands from the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and came in 1st place to win the 2007 Battle of the Bands sponsered by JerseyShows.com .