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by Brittany Sturges


They started back in 2003, with one honorable intention -- to help bring the rock music back to Philadelphia. Since then, with an 8-track EP and another album in the works, Polymer is helping bring back the rock scene, one show at a time. Taking some time out from recording, the band (Ben Weldon, Dan La Porta, Jon Aldinger, Candice Harris and Matt Fonda) chatted with me about meeting their goal, the Jersey music scene and umm... the mob.

Okay, so let's start at the beginning. You formed back sometime in the year 2003, with the intention of "bringing rock music back to Philadelphia" as noted on your website. What was the music scene like at the time and since then, how has it evolved? How has Polymer helped in the evolution?

Ben: Hmm… Well, back in 2003, the music scene in Philadelphia was a barren wasteland of seedy bars, in which aging thirty-something bands wearing leather pants and similarly ridiculous Eighties rock frippery played to a handful of overweight men in hunting hats, who would repeatedly yell, "Play some Skynyrd!!" and then snicker uncontrollably. Since our inception into the music scene, Polymer has turned this city around. Philly bars began hanging our signs that read "Please Leave All Leather At The Door" and "We Don't Bring Our Guitars To Your Woods, So Don't Bring Your Hats To Our Bar." Polymer's crowd is usually hand-selected by our street team at local malls, where our street team members set up kiosks inside the trendiest clothing stores. No one without pre-ripped jeans or freakishly high cheekbones is admitted to any of our shows. During a Polymer show, you will find only Polymer-approved bartenders, who make drinks the way you like them, in Super Big Gulp cups with a wide variety of bendy straws provided by our good friends at Straws, Twigs, and Other Big Bad Wolf Supported Products, Inc. Other improvements are on their way but for marketing reasons, I can't reveal them now -- I'm sure you understand. But I do have one word for you: waterslides.

Ahhh, what a way to start an interview -- I can't believe the rest of the band keeps letting me respond to these. Anyway, when we started the band, we had a number of goals in mind. We wanted to be a band that earns the attention we get. It's not enough for us to be just another rock band. Philadelphia, much like any city, has hundreds if not thousands of bands trying to be successful in the music industry. We wanted to up the ante though and take everything we do to another level. From our live show to our lyrics to our interaction with the fans, we wanted to make sure that we pushed ourselves to go beyond what your average Philadelphia music fan expects from a band. When you come to a Polymer show, we want it to be an experience, something that you look forward to and can enjoy every time you come back.

Dan: Nice one, Ben.

Matt: When we started playing, hardcore was the only thriving scene. I've always been a fan of metalcore and the like, which is where I think we've derived our high energy live show. I think we've shown our fans that any genre of music can and should be played with the fierceness of energetic music, because if you're not going to rock out playing your own tunes, go home, and take your Barbra Streisand records with you.

Image - Polymer 1

With Jersey being big on the rock scene and a lot of bands making it pretty big over there, do you think that the Philly rock scene has been drastically underestimated? What can we fans do to help revive it?

Ben: Jersey does have an excellent scene and often times we find ourselves on the banks of the Delaware staring longingly into the Garden State with its rock scene and its cheap gas prices and its amusement-filled boardwalks, wondering aloud, "Why couldn't we have been from New Jersey?" Honestly, I don't have the answer as to why Philly's music scene is in the state that it's in. We've heard every explanation you could think of: "There aren't enough venues," "Cover bands are the only thing that makes money," "Record labels aren't interested in Philadelphia bands." I would say that there's probably a little truth to all of these complaints. I can say that there are certainly plenty of talented bands in Philadelphia. In general, when we started playing, there was a weird emotion that seemed to settle in among the fans at Philly shows -- a kind of emotion that you don't see in other cities. There was always a lot of poker faces and crossed arms, and just a general feeling of apathy that made it seem like fans weren't necessarily unhappy to be at a rock show but they would be just as pleased anywhere else. We made it our goal and our responsibility to get people enjoying themselves at our shows. We want the fans to be a part of the fun we are having doing what we're doing and if in the process we help to create a "scene" in Philadelphia, then bully - Ink19


Campus Philly Newspaper

by Brittany Sturges, Temple ’08


Quick: what is the definition of "polymer"?

Dictionary.com says, “Any of numerous natural and synthetic compounds of usually high molecular weight consisting of up to millions of repeated linked units, each a relatively light and simple molecule.”

I say that the second and more important definition is, "A Philly rock band with great music and an amazing sense of humor—the latest band you should know."

Back in 2003, five Philadelphians had their hearts set on one goal—to bring rock music back to their city. Armed with musical talent and catchy lyrics, these five people (Ben Weldon, Jon Aldinger, Candice Harris, Matt Fonda and Dan La Porta) formed Polymer.

The five band members (who attend Drexel University) released their first EP, These Mediums, back in 2004. With eight songs, the EP was a success for the band, selling over a thousand copies. Since then, the band has taken to the studio once more, this time with Philly producer Phil Nicolo (who has worked with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Anthrax).

Ben Weldon, vocals, said, “We wanted to make sure that this album goes above and beyond what people are expecting…We wanted to create the type of album that you always come back to as a staple in your album rotation…We also put a $100 check in each one, so you’re going to want to pick one up.” (Note: Checks will not be honored.)

Did I mention that every band member has a great sense of humor?

Instead of trying to categorize them in a specific genre, Polymer would rather you concentrate on their music. Due to the wide range of influences the five members draw from, it is difficult to label them as anything specific—unless you go with “positive rock.”

If the name 'Polymer' sounds familiar to you, it may be because you heard them playing at the Grape Street Pub or at a show at Drexel or UPenn.

In addition to aiding Philly’s Rock Evolution, Polymer would also rather “stiff the status quo and make the music,” as put by Matt Fonda. If they weren’t in the band, they would “be working as low-level enforcers for the mob,” Weldon jokes.

So, wait—where did the name come from? According to Weldon, the band heard the word in a song by Bluetip (Dischord). They deemed it catchy, and the name stuck. Later, they found out the actual definition and since then, they have tried to incorporate its meaning to the band.

In order to help bring rock back, Polymer supports local bands, and lists links to hometown favorites on their website. They have made it their responsibility to get people out to shows to have a good time.

One thing’s for sure: Polymer is helping to bring rock music back, one show at a time. polymermusic.com

You can contact Brittany Sturges at brittany.sturges@temple.edu - Brittany Sturges


1) EP, 2007 Recorded in NYC, produced by Polymer

2) Polymer- Full length, 2006 Recorded at Studio 4- produced by Phil Nicolo and Polymer

3) Polymer- "These Mediums", EP, 2004



The band, Polymer, formed in early 2003 with the intention of doing just that. Their music has been given many different titles over the years, from “shiny alterna-pop” to “completely unique and captivating,” however, it seems the definitive label has been elusive. The members of Polymer are more concerned with producing unforgettable music than relying on genres to describe them. Armed with their dedication to telling a story through strong songwriting and their passion for energy-infused rock, the band doesn’t care what the title is as long as the result is as guitarist Matt Fonda puts it, “an honest and passionate expression of who we are.”

“Every time we play, and with every song we write, our goal is to make the listener experience something that they’ll never forget,” says front man Ben Weldon. That goal has been accomplished time and time again, as the band has amassed a fan base whose loyalty and dedication to promoting Polymer’s music has been so integral to their continued success. After the release of their 2004 EP “These Mediums” Polymer focused their energies on playing as many shows in as many places as possible. A year later, after their whirlwind tour of the east coast resulted in over a hundred shows played, a thousand copies of their EP sold, Polymer welcomes the growing throng of fans who know that they are a part of something big.