Julie Schreiber Band
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Julie Schreiber Band

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"Julie Schreiber Band Packed With Potential"

A few moons ago, I had the chance to see what amounts to one of the most promising acts in the Central Pennsylvania rock community: the Julie Schreiber Band. A quartet of Berklee-trained musicians fronted by singer-songwriter Julie Schreiber, a Harrisburg native in her early twenties, the Julie Schreiber Band has been gigging throughout Central Pennsylvania since Schreiber’s year-2000 return to the home front.

The Julie Schreiber Band came together while Schreiber was studying at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. After recording her debut album, 1999’s To Dreaming, with a cast of Berklee classmates, Julie returned to her native Central Pennsylvania and formed a new Julie Schreiber Band lineup with fiancé Eric Wirsing on lead guitar, drummer Ken Mettam, and a revolving cast of bass players.

Harrisburg presented an attractive alternative to Boston, says Schreiber. Here in Central Pennsylvania, the band members are able to maintain a decent standard of living on a fraction of the income required to feed and house themselves in Boston. For less than the monthly rent on a tiny apartment in a seedy Beantown neighborhood, Schreiber and company are able to live comfortably and pursue their music without taking on an excessive financial burden.

The members of the Julie Schreiber Band continue to wade through the everyday drudgery of the artistic nightmare known as the “day job.” Schreiber currently works as a photo development technician, Wirsing as a guitar teacher, and Mettam as an elementary school teacher. Wirsing and Schreiber look forward to a day when music pays the bills. Their ultimate goals for the band include extensive touring and much more studio time.

Currently, the Julie Schreiber Band has one self-released debut (the aforementioned To Dreaming) and a track on the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape compilation CD, Xpose: The Truth, available for your listening pleasure. Not a huge discography by any means, but with the band’s core only in its mid-twenties, you can expect more recordings as the years pass. By the way (shameless plug), all material is available for purchase through the band’s website at www.julieschreiber.com, and you can also find free Julie Schreiber Band mp3s at www.mp3.com.

But enough background. I’m sure that all you care about is the rock, and the Julie Schreiber Band delivers.

I witnessed a performance in Hanover at Kclinger’s Tavern, a small bar that offers an incredible array of refreshing malted beverages, nearly 600 or so by my hazy estimates.

When I arrived at the venue, Schreiber and Wirsing had begun setting up their equipment in a corner of the main room. The band had about 15 square feet of floor space upon which to rest two amps, a microphone stand, a full drum kit, and four adult-sized bodies. They may as well have been playing in a Maxima, for all the space they were allotted. This did not seem to faze the band in the least, as they proceeded to cram more rock star moves into a small space than David Lee Roth locked in a portolet.

The band kicked off their set with a blazing cover of the Rush radio staple “Tom Sawyer,” complete with Neil Pert-worthy drumming and a blazing Wirsing guitar solo. They then soldiered through a few late 1990s/early 2000s Top-40 hits, including Fuel’s “Bad Day,” Stone Temple Pilots’ “interstate Love Song,” and others. Not the greatest songs ever written, but joyously full of beauty and life when compared with the uglier side of a femaile-fronted cover band’s obligatory selections. To wit: Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch,” 4 Non-Blondes’ “What’s Up,” and the always-grating “Me and Bobby McGee.”

The best moments of the set came when the band blasted through classic hard rock songs, particularly those originally performed by Van Halen (not Van Hagar) and Led Zeppelin. These two seemingly disparate sources worked best with the strengths of the Julie Schreiber Band.

The Van Halen covers ruled, due in large part to the sick fretwork of Wirsing. The near note-for-note version of Eddie Van Halen’s signature guitar piece, “Eruption,” had my jaw in my lap, and then came “You Really Got Me” and “Jamie’s Cryin’.” Absolute, perfect mimicry of the album tracks. Seriously, the next-best thing to seeing Eddie Van Halen live has got to be Eric Wirsing shredding through Eddie’s songs five feet from your face.

The Zeppelin covers also worked extremely well. The primal force of a tune like “Immigrant Song” provided a fitting bed of nails for Schreiber’s tough-enough voice to soar above.

Sadly, these moments of slavish worship at the altar of classic guitar rock often fared better than Schreiber’s original songs, eight of which were peppered throughout the three sets. The full-band reditions of album tracks like”Rock Me To Dreaming” and “They Had It Coming” paled in comparison to most of the covers. Which leads us to rock lesson No. 4081, kiddies: Never cover songs that are stronger than your own. I remember seeing Guster perform th - Fly Magazine; by Daniel Unterberger


"Landing" - (6 song EP) September 2005

Millennium Music Conference Compilation - "Controlled" - 2004 single

X-pose the truth: PCAR compilation - "I'm sorry" - 2001 (single) This song recieved airplay throughout Pennsylvania on Clear Channel Radio.

Millennium Music Conference Compilation - "This is Me" - 2001 single

"to Dreaming" - 1999 LP Certain tracks on this album were played on Clear Channel Radio in Pennsylvania as well as MP3.com

Pulse: PCAR - "Living" and "Tears in a Jar" - 1998 singles

"Live at the Wire" - 1997 (recorded live) LP



As a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Julie Schreiber, graduate of Berklee College of Music, has been performing professionally since 1994. She has performed at numerous college campuses, coffeehouses, bookstores, bars, clubs, and festivals, and worked with such artists as: Greg Howe, Leni Stern, The Nields, Ellis Paul, The Badlees, Mary Prankster, Tom Rush, Livingston Taylor, Vance Gilbert and Richie Havens. Possessing a four-octave range and the ability to write diverse styles of music, Julie leaves audiences amazed by her vocal talent and moved by the power and passion of her music. "As impressive as Julie Schreiber’s talent in crafting an interesting, catchy and meaningful song is, it’s still only secondary to her ability to sing. Start with the clarity of a Joan Baez, but add in some infectious drive, an ability to hold a note and some occasional slithery and sultry intonations…this is post-coffeehouse, pop-influenced, rock-oriented original stuff…As a kicker, the band incorporates classics…not simply covers, but rather standards, plus some “value added” guitar work by Wirsing. Schreiber’s tribute to Led Zeppelin, her rendition of “Immigrant Song” is masterful, reverential, and full throttled" (John Train, PA Musician, March 2002).

Lead guitarist, Eric Wirsing’s extraordinary musical gift and interest in all genres of music brings forth a versatility not often found in someone his age. “...Wirsing flat-out rules the electric guitar, wailing with style and grace...” (Daniel Unterberger, Fly Magazine, January 2003). While at Berklee College of Music, Eric joined the Julie Schreiber Band and has worked with her since. “Eric adds something to my music that I had been looking for for years.” said Schreiber. "He is an amazing performer, songwriter and arranger. He’s one of the best kept secrets in music.”

Drummer Melvin Torres joined the Julie Schreiber Band in January of 2004. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Torres brings exuberance and joy to his playing that is manifest in the overall sound of the band. Melvin moved to New York City from Puerto Rico in 1992 to attend the Drummers Collective, where he studied and worked with notables such as Kim Plainfield and Christopher Parker. He moved to Lancaster, PA in 1994 and has been playing and studying his craft since. Described by Julie as the “big, lovable guy with drum sticks”, Melvin is a welcome addition to the Julie Schreiber Band.

A bass player of nearly 20 years, Mike Passariello brings a great deal of varied musical experience to the Julie Schreiber Band. Mike has performed and recorded with several area bands and is also a member of the group Wayne Supergenius. Mike first performed with the Julie Schreiber Band in October of 2004 and instantly felt a strong connection to the music. When asked what he thought about working with the Julie Schreiber Band, Mike stated, "I consider myself lucky to be making music with such talented musicians as Julie, Eric, and Melvin".

With two albums under their belt, "To Dreaming"(1999), and their most recent release, "Landing"(2005), the Julie Schreiber Band is a force to be reckoned with. “Somebody at the bar remarked that The Julie Schreiber Band was a sparkling "diamond in the rough". Marinating that allusion in my mind for a bit, I'd have to disagree. The Julie Schreiber Band is more like a finished polished gem. It lacks little but to be picked up” (John Train, PA Musician, March 2002). “Julie Schreiber must have been blessed by a higher power…She delivers songs with a passion that is one hundred percent heart and soul…There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll be the next big thing to come out of Harrisburg" (Paul Autry, Ballbuster Magazine, November 2001).

-Voted "2005 Readers Choice" for best local performer by Harrisburg Magazine.

-JSB signs liscensing agreement with MTV Networks in December 2005.