PBM
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PBM

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"PBM are amazing live! Go and see them but prepare to be infected!" - Rawfish Records, UK


" They’re a rock band with horns. You can call PBM (Poor Boy Music) ‘ska’ if you want, though. Why? ‘We’ve been called worse,’ says lead singer/songwriter, Nate Castle. While deftly evoking images of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, PBM manages to weave into their tapestry of music vestiges of the Beatles, Green Day, R.E.M., the London Pops, and a little Weird Al Yankovic for good measure.

To tell the truth, one listen to their full-length album, The Overview, leaves one feeling rather…disjointed. While chock-full of catchy hooks, blaring horns, satire-saturated lyrics, there’s no underlying musical theme or style to connect with. And while many a critic would hail this as a mark of mature musicians, it can be a slight turn-off to the casual listener. Frankly, this is more an indictment of the casual music listener than it is a dig at PBM’s art. The casual listener is becoming less and less inclined to ‘getting’ tongue-in-cheek humor or satire.

Be that as it may, PBM puts on a damn good show. They’ve got the stage presence of U2 and the musicianship of the Rolling Stones; Pretty good for performing in a coffee shop. PBM’s ability to work a crowd was dazzling. That might have something to do with the fact they’ve had the better part of 7 years to become a cohesive unit. When asked what their favorite song was to perform at the moment, they unanimously agreed, ‘Whatever Sells!’

Which was just one of the songs they played to rave reviews of a near standing-room only crowd during their 3 hour stint at Cup-A-Cino: The Wired Café on April 8th. They also cycled through such staples as, ‘Superhero’, ‘Real Life (Is Nothing Like The Movies)’, ‘Overview’, and ‘Something to Consider.’ Remarkably, while there were a great deal of high school students peppering the horde of people packed into the small, smoke-filled concert venue, there was an impressive number of adults enjoying the sounds of these 7 guys, also.

- www.cupacino.com


PBM, a ska-rock band from Detroit, were far better onstage than on CD. Very tight, energetic set, much better than most of the succesful ska bands of the moment - this lot deserve a record deal! I actually hate ska, but I loved these, that says something.
Go see them live!
- Honey Records


The Lowdown: Straight outta Macomb County comes PBM, an energetic, six-piece pop-rock group that's been sharpening its chops on the college and festival circuits nationwide. Together since 1997, the band is picking up steam with a new CD, a fresh deal with well-regarded indie distributor Redeye, and its first music video. In early March, it will compete for the title of best college performer at the Association for the Promotion of College Activities' national convention in Atlanta.

The Lineup: PBM is a family-and-friends affair. Nathaniel Castle, 23, of Clinton Township is the band's founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter. His father, Gerry Castle, 50, of north Warren, is a Birmingham-based insurance guy by day, PBM's lead guitarist by night. He's got a long musical history, including a membership in the bluegrassy Balduck Mountain Ramblers. The rhythm section is drummer Tim Webber and bassist Michael Thomas. The sassy horn section is trumpeter Tom Torrento and Jeremiah Hoehner on trombone. Gerry's brother, Dan, is the band's manager. Several years back, the Castle brothers coproduced the retro musical "Forever Plaid" and the audience-participation fave "Tony 'N Tina's Wedding" at Detroit's Gem Theatre.

"I get a real thrill out of it," says Gerry Castle of performing with his son. "Our children are the second generation of rock 'n' rollers. When Nate was about 10, I showed him a few chords and he took it from there. I get a kick out of watching him perform and develop as a songwriter."

The Sound: PBM's youthful sound is complemented by a strong horn section. Because it's "pop-rock with horns, people mistake us for a ska band," says Dan Castle. "There is an influence, but it's not a ska band." The band does display a range of song stylings, from a driving, hard sound to more of a slick, boy-band vibe.

On Record: The latest, "One Sip at a Time," is PBM's third release. And yes, these guys do love their coffee, which is portrayed prominently on the CD cover. "Overview" came out in early 2003, while "The Manchester Sessions," recorded during a tour in England, dates to 2004.

Little-known fact: The band's name has evolved. When Nate Castle and his pals started a band at Warren Cousino High School, they called it Peanut Butter Mosquitos. Later, PBM stood for Poor Boy Music, reflecting Nate's sarcastic, self-effacing songwriting. Now, it's just PBM, which stands for, well, PBM.

Where to see the group: PBM appearances in metro Detroit have been rare over the past few years, due to all that touring, but the band is pumping up its local presence of late. The band appears Friday at Hatchy's Sports Bar & Grill, 7759 Auburn Road, Utica. 586-991-0408.

On Saturday, it's the big, all-ages CD-release bash and video shoot for "One Sip at a Time" at Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak. 248-399-2980.

Doors at 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m.; tickets $10.50 at the door. Joining PBM will be special guests Blend and Dealey Plaza.

- Detroit Free Press


Post holiday doldrums? Not for Nate and Gerry Castle.

In fact, they and fellow members of local band Poor Boy Music can't wait to put the holidays aside and jump back into work — and 2006 looks to be a busy year.

The band's first major event is a CD release party on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Royal Oak Music Theatre, where PBM — as they're commonly called — will debut their third full-length album, "One Sip at a Time." But that's after an acoustic sneak preview at Caribou Coffee in Royal Oak on Tuesday, and a radio appearance on WJR (760-AM) with host Mitch Albom the following day.

Then the pace really picks up, with PBM hitting the road with 20 performance dates before the end of February. So how does an independent band rival the hectic schedule of a big-label group?

"When playing music is your passion, you embrace it, and you just go out and do it," said guitarist Nate Castle, 24, of Clinton Township. "Whether you are playing for five people or 5,000, it doesn't matter because you are doing what you love to do."

Such strong commitment seems to run in the family. Nate's dad, Gerry Castle, 50, of Warren is the band's lead guitarist, permanently filling a space left open by a departing member of the six-man band a couple of years ago.

In fact, the father/son dynamic is an important element to the band, which was formed by Nate in 1997 with fellow students from Warren Cousino High School. In addition to playing rhythm guitar and providing lead vocals, Nate writes the lyrics for all the original music PBM records and performs.

Together with the Castles, PBM's pop-rock sound is created by Mike Thomas, 28, of Clinton Township, on bass guitar; Tim Webber, 26, of Rochester, on drums; and a dynamic horn section with Miah Hoehner, 26, of Center Line on trombone; and Tom Torrento, 23, of Clinton Township, on trumpet.

"It has been great," said Gerry, about his role in the band. "It has been a kick for me to watch [Nate] and listen to him grow as a songwriter and to have a hand in realizing the final interpretation of these songs."

There's been a fair amount to watch.

In 2003, PBM appeared at the prestigious South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, where they were spotted by representatives from a small British recording label called Raw Fish Records, who invited them to attend "In the City," a festival-like gathering of musical artists and executives in the musically-influential city of Manchester, England.

Wowed by the musical and cultural differences of Manchester, PBM soaked in the experience of playing to an international crowd, even taking in the opportunity to record three new tracks at the Cutting Rooms studio at Manchester City College, home of Raw Fish Records. They later released the three-song CD as "The Manchester Sessions."

"We did these three tracks and flew back home," Nate said. "I don't even think the CD was mastered. We just mixed it and put it out. We wanted it to have that spur-of-the-moment, raw feel to it."

Besides having the opportunity to play and record in a new environment, PBM discovered the English way of music promotion.

"One thing we did find is that it is a much different music scene there," Nate recalled. "It is very grass roots. You don't see a lot of posters or flyers hung up, it is more about people talking. It's a very networking kind of music scene."

So PBM networked their way through eight successive gigs in Manchester. They packed their equipment on a cart provided by the hotel and walked the streets, handing out flyers and talking to people about their shows. Their mere presence seemed to draw a crowd.

"When you're walking down the street with a drum set and three amps, people are going to ask what you're doing," Nate said.

Back at home, the band wanted to replicate that "grass roots" feel of marketing, so they developed a "street team" promotional effort, encouraging their fans to distribute flyers, stickers and promo CDs, contribute to online music chat rooms, or just talk to people about the band's horn-infused, adrenaline-pumped sound.

This year, PBM hopes to stick a little closer to home. Bookings in the highly competitive college entertainment circuit have taken the band from one coast to the other, building a fan base in places like Oregon and Idaho, for which they have been nominated best college performer by The Association for the Promotion of College Activities.

"The fact that we were able to get a regular gig doing these conferences and were actually embraced by a lot of the students ... was great, and then to hear that we're nominated not just for best band, but best overall act is a very big honor for us," Nate said.

But, Gerry added, the group recognizes the importance of developing some hometown loyalty too.

"We've spent the last couple of years playing very little in the Detroit area," Gerry said. "We are a Detroit group and want to be part of the scene here."

Nate couldn't agree more.

"It will - Daily Tribune


Name: PBM.

Formed: Fall 1997 in Warren.

Sound: Upbeat, brassy rock with punk and ska overtones and humor-based lyrics.

Members: Nate Castle, vocals, guitar; Jerry Castle, guitar; Dave Krogh, bass, vocals; Rob Ciesluk, drums; Tom Torrento, trumpet, vocals; Kristi Felkowski, trumpet; Dave Jakubowski, trombone; Jeremiah Hoehner, trombone.

Influences: Less Than Jake, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Green Day, the Beatles, the Monkees, Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Day jobs: Seven members are attending college at the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University and ITT. Hoehner is a police cadet, while Jerry Castle - Nate Castle's father - is a vice president at Blue Cross and Blue Shield and writes musical scores for existing plays.

What's in a Name?: Formed while most of the band members were still attending Cousino High School in Warren, PBM was originally known as Peanut Butter Mosquitoes. ''It was a random name we came up with; we thought sounded fun,'' Nate Castle says. ''It was during the time a lot of ska bands were big, like Reel Big Fish, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. ... We thought Peanut Butter Mosquitoes would fit in with that. Then we kind of brought it down to PBM about a year and a half ago.''

So you want to be a star: Nate Castle says the group's younger members met each other through their high school music programs, including the marching and jazz bands and the orchestra. ''We kind of got together and just started practicing,'' he recalls. Our first real show was at one of our drummer's Halloween parties, in his basement. After that we started playing out at local coffee houses and people's parties and took it from there.''

Family affair: Jerry Castle, a local music veteran in his own right via several rock, folk and bluegrass bands, came into PBM as a temporary replacement for another guitar player and wound up having a good enough time to join. His son says the feeling is mutual. ''It's great having him in the band," Nate Castle says. "He can offer us a lot of insights. He's been doing this for 25 years, and a lot of places we've played he's played before, too. He can give us a lot of advice as far as setting stuff up and songwriting.''

Favorite gig: So far, Nate Castle says, PBM has been happiest with a performance last November at the Shelter in downtown Detroit. ''We always wanted to play there, and we got a really good turnout," he says. "There were people there that we hadn't seen before singing the words to our songs, which was a great feeling.''

What's next: The younger Castle says that, 'our goal right now is for everyone in the band to be able to make a good living plying music. We would all like to be huge superstars, but the more realistic goal is for this to be our day job and to go out and tour and play as many places as possible.''

Hear 'em: PBM is about to self-release its first full-length album, ''Overview,'' which follows three previous EPs.

See 'em: PBM celebrates the release of ''Overview'' with a performance on May 22 at HockeyTown Cafe, 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. PBM will perform every Thursday at HockeyTown throughout the summer. - The Oakland Press


Ah, the perils of launching your rock band in high school. It leads to naming the group something like “Peanut Butter Mosquitos,” something that’s cute at 16, but a little juvenile for early twentysomethings.

Fortunately, the band has found a clever way around the dilemma: They’re now known as PBM, which has come to stand for “Poor Boy Music” instead. “Ever since high school, we did go with ‘PBM’ for short,” said band founder and lead vocalist Nate Castle of Warren. “We didn’t want to lose that kind of recognition with the name PBM, but we wanted to change what it stood for, because we are actually starting to take ourselves seriously.”

So is the music community. The band performed at the prestigious South by Southwest music festival in March, and on May 22, it will release “Overview,” its first full-length album as PBM, with a concert at Hockeytown Café in downtown Detroit. The show kicks off the band’s open-ended run as the house band at Hockeytown. PBM will perform Thursday nights for the venue’s Rockin’ the Roof summer concert series, according to a spokesperson for the band. Unlike the typical Detroit house band, PBM will be playing all originals. “We want to make a name for ourselves off our own music…[so] we were quite pleased that [Hockeytown] did not ask us to play any covers, because that’s usually what the bars do,” Castle said.

Formed in 1997, PBM’s lineup includes original members and Warren natives Castle, trumpet player Tom Torrento and drummer Rob Ciesluk, as well as Warren natives Kristi Felkowski on trumpet and Jeremiah Hoehner and Dave Jakubowski on trombone, Sterling Heights native Dave Krogh on bass and Nate’s father Jerry on lead guitar. Nate said his father taught him to play guitar, and now he’s sharing his knowledge of the music industry with the band. “He’s got a really good grasp of the business,” Torrento said.

Musically, PBM has developed from a ska-heavy unit to a rock band, but has retained a penchant for funny lyrics. Torrento said the band’s music today is more complex, at least in part because the members are better musicians than they were a few years ago. “When we started out, it was more a ska thing, just because during that time, a lot of the ska bands were first breaking out,” Castle said. “But we found that when we started to do our own material, the songs that we would write just would not be ska songs.”

They may be young, but PBM’s members have already learned that value of teamwork. “I think with any group, the camaraderie between the band members is much more important than how long someone has been, for example, playing the guitar or something,” Castle said. “I think it’s really important that the people in the group know each other, and that they can trust each other.”

- The Warren Weekly


Hailing from Warren, the PBM gang makes music for the soul. Led by talented guitarist/vocalist Nate Castle, the band, seven members strong, mixes jazzy horns with acoustic-driven rock, and what results is a fuzzy, feel-good collection of wonderment. - Real Detroit Weekly


If the members of the band PBM have one major pet peeve, it’s the perception that they’re a ska act.

“We’re just a rock ‘n’ roll band with horns … And I think that we treat the horns [as] just as essential as a rock band would treat a guitar or a drum set or a vocal,” asserted band founder, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Nate Castle of Warren.

PBM (the initials stand for “Poor Boy Music”) have come a long way from their origins in high school — literally. The band traveled, by invitation, to perform in and around Manchester, England, last fall at the behest of Raw Fish Records, and recorded “The Manchester Sessions,” an EP of new material, at the Raw Fish studio.

At a bar in Macklesfield, England, entire families came for the show, greeting the American band with warmth and enthusiasm.

“The whole two weeks there was just tons of fun,” said trombone player Jeremiah Hoehner of Warren. “I mean, it wasn’t like a vacation. A lot of times, we were walking our instruments over to venues, or we were packed in these little tiny foreign cars, which doesn’t work well because two of our guys are 6-foot-5. So it was a lot of work, and we’d play a show and tear down and walk back to the hotel. But it was so much fun, it was worth it.”

Besides Castle and Hoehner, PBM includes lead guitarist Gerald Castle (Nate’s father), drummer Steven Danio, trombone player David Jakubowski and trumpet player Thomas Torrento of Warren, and new bass player Garth Grawburg, a Grosse Pointe Park native who now lives in Clinton Township.

Recently picked up by OnCampus Booking, the band has played several college shows around the country and hopes to tour this fall.

Hoehner said young audiences are especially receptive to PBM’s melody-driven songs.

“We’ve been playing colleges here in Michigan, and those go over really well,” Hoehner said. “Kids our age — the young 20s and the late-teens — are the ones that are really picking up our music and are relating to it.”

On May 27, PBM will celebrate the release of “The Manchester Sessions” with a concert at downtown Detroit’s Hard Rock Café. It’s a rare local gig for the band, who, as Torrento noted, would like to play more Detroit shows, but have trouble finding venues.

“You basically have two different kinds of bars [in Detroit],” Castle said. “You have bars that want cover bands, Top 40, oldies, that kind of stuff, and then you have bars that want the punk rock, garage thing. And we really don’t fit into either of those categories.”

Over the summer, PBM may start recording a new, full-length album. The more visible the band becomes, the easier it will likely be to shake the ska tag. But ultimately, winning over fans is PBM’s goal.

“As long as somebody comes and checks us out and likes us, I guess they can call us whatever they want,” Torrento said with a laugh.
- C&G Newspapers


Even though he is at least 20 years older than his band mates and the father of the band's founder, PBM guitarist Gerry Castle doesn't go out of his way to dispense his wisdom or serve as a father figure.

As far as he is concerned, the six other members of PBM (Poor Boy Music), all in their 20s, don't need his advice. They are mature musicians striving to create a high-energy brand of horn-soaked rock 'n' roll.

"Hopefully, there's some mentoring going on there, but we all get along pretty well and I just happen to be a part of it," Castle said. "I learn as much from them as they learn from me. They're energetic, and I pick up on that."

PBM, formed in 1997 by Nate Castle and a handful of aspiring musicians at Cousino High School in Warren, performs 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Roseville Theater at Gratiot and Utica Road.

The band has been referred to as "ska," but Castle described the music as a fresh take on classic rock 'n' roll, comparing it with Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago's early work.

"It's rock 'n' roll, but you got the horns in there, which gives it a different sensibility," he said. "Maybe one or two of our songs could be called ska because of the horns and we've played with ska bands, but we're not a ska group."

Castle, 49, welcomes the trumpet and trombone sounds complementing, not supplanting, his guitar riffs.

"I grew up playing in a lot of rock 'n' roll bands in the '70s," he said. "That was the era of the guitar player. There was almost too much playing, too many long solos. I'm not much into the long solos."
The group plans to release its third CD -- "One Sip at a Time (a java reference)" this spring. Other releases are a three-song CD, "The Manchester Sessions" from last year and "Overview" in '03.
PBM has attracted attention in Europe, signing a deal with an English record company, Little Giant Records, with songs appearing on several compilation CDs. PBM toured Europe for two weeks in fall 2003.

The overseas interest, Castle said, can be attributed to the band's entertaining live performances along with its Detroit-area roots.

"There's kind of a Detroit mystique over there," he said. "They know about people like the White Stripes, Eminem and Kid Rock."

Only Nate Castle, 23, the songwriter and lead singer, and trumpeter and vocalist Tom Torrento, 22, remain from the band's original members. Joining them are Dave Jakubowski, 23, who plays the trombone and sings; Miah Hoehner, 25, on trombone; Mike Thomas, 27, plays the bass guitar and sings; and Steve Zdanio, 21, on drums.

All the band members live in or near Macomb County and are primarily full-time musicians, and two of them studied music in college.

When not touring, Castle works at his brother's insurance office. Graduating from Cousino in 1974, 26 years before his son graduated from the same school, he has been a musician since his teens. He quit rock 'n' roll for 20 years to play bluegrass and folk. He also has written music for the theater, produced and promoted shows and wrote a McDonald's jingle in the early 1990s.

Despite his writing experience, Castle leaves the songwriting to his son. Many of the songs make cultural observations, often pointing out hypocrisy.

Castle, who joined the band two years ago, said he isn't tempted to push his wisdom of experience on his son.

"He's an adult, and our relationship has moved to that level," Castle said. "I watch him. I'm a support player."

- The Macomb Daily


Discography

US Releases:
-"ONE SIP AT A TIME" (2006; Distrubuted nationally through RedEye)
-"OVERVIEW" (2003)
-"MANCHESTER SESSIONS EP" (2003)
-"THE BLACK EP" (2002)

PBM appears on the following UK Compilations (2003-2005):
-"UNEARTHED"
-"RF14: WAIT UNTIL THE RIDE STOPS"
-"RF13: CLICK AND ENJOY--MULTIMEDIA"
-"RF12: PLAY THINGS"
-"RF RECORDS: THE WHITE ALBUM"
-"RF RECORDS: BRITISH AT MIDEM 2004"
-"RF11: TURN AND ENJOY"

PBM's songs are also available on iTunes.

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