Paperback Radio
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Paperback Radio

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By M.C. O'Connor

Elvis Costello once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture, it's a really stupid thing to want to do." I was reminded of this quote one night in August while at The Wonder Bar to see Paperback Radio. I came to fully understand it as the newly formed, Rick Barry fronted, Asbury Park band took the stage and began to play. I could elaborate on the experience and what I heard, but to use cliché words and contrived phrases to describe a sound that is so entirely new, I'd be doing the band's music a great injustice. The sound is so fresh that there's barely a categorization for it, or a genre fitting. With profound and cutting folk lyrics, set to lively rock and the use of a Moog synthesizer, slightly reminiscent of the Pink Floyd sound, the best I can describe their music in my own words is radical folk electrock.

The band has put selflessly put aside playing shows solely for the sake of gaining notoriety and instead its members have invested themselves in breaking musical barriers. This is a band with determination. As band member Jeremy Korpas said, "No one's making a statement in music, no one's putting their foot down. I'd rather take the biggest artistic chance that I can and fail then to do nothing at all." Together the bands five members draw up upon their many influences without trying to duplicate them and they do it well. You can hear their predecessors as well as their contemporaries and the influences they've had on the band, without distinctly being able to recognize each.

In the song, "Too Distant For Warmth," Rick Barry sings, "Darling that's what gives us life, we're all just combinations of who came before us. Equations of x or y is all that makes us who we are." Paperback Radio has taken the x's and y's of all who've come before them and successfully "given life" to an unused sound. Theirs is sound that's isn't familiar upon hearing it, yet after listening to just a few songs, becomes and acquaintance. They're a yearling band, it's a young project as they only played their first show about four months ago. They're currently writing and working on putting together their first album. With the brilliant, international award-winning lyricist Rick Barry at the helm, and the very talented members of the former Days Awake backing him, it's a CD that is sure to become and old friend in no time.

As I talked with Rick and Jeremy after the show, they each spoke of how difficult it is to transition fans of Days Awake, which had a large following. They each said that people just don't like change and breaking through with a new sound is a big change. Although they fear losing loyal fans of the Days Awake days, they're very optimistic about fans making the uphill transition. As well they should be. Outside after the show, as I sat at a table to collect my thoughts, I met two women from Rhode Island. They told me of how they had originally been Days Awake fans after hearing the bands music on Upstage Radio. Michelle LeRoy and Nikki Vanasse made the impressive 250-mile pilgrimage on a Friday night in August to see Paperback Radio for the first time, and were very impressed with the show. With fans willing to make a four-hour trip to support Paperback Radio, the band may have less to worry about than they think.

Paperback Radio will be working on writing and recording this month.
They have a myspace which is

- The Rag - September 2007


Paperback Radio is currently writing songs for an upcoming recording project in the summer of 2007.



Days Awake has become one of the most respected bands in the storied history of the Asbury Park music scene. For more than three years they thrilled audiences with a high energy blend of epic-scale rock and roll, with a little bit of soul mixed in for good measure. In the process, they won eight Asbury Music Awards, including nods for the coveted Best Rock Band award twice.

In the meantime, a young singer/songwriter named Rick Barry was making his way up the ladder in the same Asbury Park music scene. Audiences were immediately drawn to Rick’s fearless nature, and the uncommon honesty of his songs. He recorded two acclaimed albums, the full band “Small Town Politics”, followed by the solo acoustic “Declaration of Codependence”, and won three Asbury Music Awards while he was at it. In 2006 Rick won the Grand Prize in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

The members of Days Awake and Rick Barry became fast friends, recognizing in each other a deep devotion to the music, and to the fans. When the band made the painful decision to part ways in early 2007, three members, guitarist Jeremy Korpas (three-time Asbury Music Award nominee), keyboard player Eric Safka (two-time Asbury Music Award winner), and drummer Sarah Tomek (three-time Asbury Music Award winner), decided to stay together. Somehow it seemed only natural that they should team up with Rick Barry to create something altogether new, and with the addition of Asbury Music Award nominated bass player Justin Bornemann, the new band was complete.

So Paperback Radio was born and their high-profile debut has been scheduled for the 2007 WAVE Gathering in Asbury Park. The band has been rehearsing and writing together in preparation for the recording of their first album this year. Expect great songs. Expect intense musical interaction from players with prodigious chops. Expect to be blown away by the live show. Expect the unexpected.