Sam Berman-Cooper
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Sam Berman-Cooper

East Aurora, New York, United States | SELF

East Aurora, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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



"Wanted: Roadies"

What do you get by bringing together two aspiring doctors, an astrophysicist, a public servant, a religion expert and a stuffed dinosaur? The answer will rock your world. Literally. It all started in Eliot’s courtyard last May as a gesture to honor Lino Pertile and Anna Bensted, as the outgoing House Masters bid Domus farewell. Five guys came together, performed six songs, and regrouped this September to form Third Rail, Harvard’s latest musical sensation.

“Weren’t we just in the subway?” asked Isaac S. Shivvers ’10-’11, the “veteran” of the group, referring to the inspiration behind the band’s name. “The third rail powers all underground motion. You can’t touch it because it’s dangerous, but you need it,” explained Samuel R. Berman-Cooper ’12, the keyboardist with an impassioned voice

Indeed, Third Rail may be exactly what Harvard needs. From its Eliot courtyard origins, the band has made the rounds to various stein clubs and campus events. They’ve covered a wide array of popular artists, ranging from Coldplay to Juanes, and create a dancing crowd wherever it goes. Lead singer Barthalomew A. Sillah ’12, also a member of the Harvard Krokodiloes, stands out in his ability to tackle everything from Katy Perry to the raps of B.O.B. “Our objective is to bring live music back,” said Warren S. Loegering ’12, the resident “sex symbol” according to his bandmates.

“And world domination,” added Berman-Cooper. Lead guitarist M. Andres Camacho ’10 nodded his head in approval.

Julia Mitelman ’13, director of Harvard Student Agencies’ Talent Agency, plans to gradually introduce the band to other college campuses. Life beyond Harvard, though, is still a big question mark. “I’d like to keep on playing music for as long as I can,” said Shivvers, who plans to attend graduate school for astronomy.

“I’ll give music my best shot,” said Loegering. “If that doesn’t pan out, I’ll just join an old-man band, like my dad.”

Right now, however, only one thing is on their minds: recruiting roadies. “Roadies get an awesome show, free beers, and groupies,” explained Shivvers. - The Harvard Crimson

"Sounding Good: Unfound Sound"

If you ever wanted to be a rock star, but thought you were too young, think again.
Sam Gillam, a junior at Orchard Park High School, is just 17, but he's already making inroads in the music world with his band, Unfound Sound. The group has just released a self-recorded CD entitled, "Measure of Doubt," available at Limlite Music in East Aurora, as well as at local Barnes and Noble, New World Records, Record Theater and Borders stores. He and his dad, Edward Cooper of East Aurora, were told the CD might be a staff selection of the month next month at the Cheektowaga Borders store.
Sam splits his time between his dad's Luther Road house and the Orchard Park home of his mom, Carol Berman. Unfound Sound rehearses in the barn at his dad's house. Sam plays guitar, keyboards, bass and harmonica. Luke Hammill plays bass, Bobby Long plays drums, and the the lead guitarist is Sonny Rodo.
We caught up with Sam last Saturday by phone, and managed to squeeze an interview in before the Sabres game. We asked the obvious: when did he start playing music?
"When I was about six, I started on piano," he said, adding that it was his parents' suggestion to take up an instrument. He selected the double bass, which he loved. "I stayed with the bass, I did ECMEA (All County Orchestra) and that stuff. It was so fun. I stopped playing bass in my sophomore year.
His interest in music might be hereditary. His father plays guitar in a band call the Uncalled For. "My dad had guitars lying around the house. I think I first picked up the guitar when I was about 13."
He took lessons from Dave Constantino at Limelight Music, later taking rock piano lessons from Joe Rozler. Sam's father takes him to hear music at local venues. "There's a lot of good stuff in Buffalo that's helped shape the way I play music," he said. "Allison Pipitone is one of my favorite locals. I took a songwriting class from her at a music store." He has also been inspired by Tom Stahl, a local musician who teaches at Orchard Park Middle School, and John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey, who perform as John and Mary.
And how does he, a minor, get in places like Nietzsche's, Mohawk Place and the Sportsmen's Tavern to hear these players? He laughed. "You can get in there if you have a parent. They just put the big X on your hands."
Unfound Sound's style is difficult to describe, Sam said. "I'd say it's based on piano riffs, mostly, with a lot of guitar, heavily influenced by the Beatles, Coldplay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Strokes."
He loves performing and the connection with the crowd. "There's so much energy, so much joy from knowing that you're really hitting the songs you're trying to play, and that the audience is enjoying what you're doing."
Unfound Sound will be performing a gig June 6 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Jacobi's on Abbott Road in Lackawanna. For more information and to hear their music, visit - East Aurora Advertiser

"The kids are all right"

For publicity, call 14-year-old Jordan Pescrillo. Web master: Chris Scamurra, 16. And for lights, advertising and merchandise, contact Myles Hunt, 17.

Every band needs an entourage, you know.
And if you think the support team is young, wait till you meet the members of Red Herring, a band of 15- and 16-year-old boys.
Don't laugh. These guys are serious.
"We've been together a year and a half, and we've performed about 30 shows," says Sam Berman-Cooper, 15, founder and leader of the band. "When we play at Higher Grounds (coffeehouse), at the end of the night they always say: 'I'll give you your money as soon as you book a date to come back and play again.' "
And he's not kidding. "They're the total package in the sense that they're talented, original musicans, and they have a strong local following," says Higher Grounds coffeehouse music director Julie McNitt.
Local musician Alison Pipitone is also impressed. "Sam used to come to my shows since he was about 11," she says. "In junior high, he interviewed me for a school project and asked a lot of very perceptive questions. He's very interested in music, and not just about getting girls -- he's very serious about it."
So serious, in fact, that when Sam was a student of Pipitone's Songwriter Workshop at Keppler Music, he often kept her on her toes. "He knew things that I didn't even know," she laughed. "I would just have to play along, and say, 'Yeah, that Lou Reed record from 1972 with Joe Schmo on harmonica does sound like Pink Floyd.' "
Red Herring -- the band name comes from a book Sam read in middle school -- was formed in 2003 by the then-13-year-old with his friends Tyler Clark and Alex Logsdon. "It was a joke thing back then," says Sam.
The joke turned to serious jamming when Red Herring was booked to play at a Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo's dance, causing a change in the original lineup. "Jon (Vasey) came in when we realized Tyler didn't have a drums set," says Sam.
Brendan Finn, 16, took over Sam's role as the bassist and Alex was replaced by Tom Bowers on guitar. Tom's stay with Red Herring was short-lived.
To fill the gap, Nathan Boyer, 15, came on board as the new guitarist and also brought along his talents as a "killer saxophone player," as described by both Sam and Brendan.
> The genuine thing
Playing for audiences from 10 to 1,000, the band has been rocking out at places like Higher Grounds in Amherst, Jacobi's restaurant in Lackawanna and even the Sphere in January for the Emengenza Battle of the Bands. Nerves are not an issue. "I thought it was one of our best shows ever," recalls Brendan of the packed show at the Sphere.
Although they started off doing covers, Red Herring now plays full sets of exclusively original music, influenced by the boys' favorite bands: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, the Strokes, Pink Floyd and the Dave Matthews Band.
In an interview, Sam and Brendan trade quotes from television shows (their favorites are from "The Simpsons") and act like typical teens enjoying. They go to concerts, they learn to drive and they read Harry Potter. ("I have a tradition to read it on the first day," says Sam, who finished the latest 652-page novel in under 10 hours while Brendan admitted he "flipped to the end to see what the big dramatic ending was.")
> Killer support
The typical teens are making waves on the local music scene.
"They do their own unique style, and it's really good," says fan Arielle Januszkiewicz, 16, who has attended almost every Red Herring show has put on and had Sam and Brendan play at her sister's graduation party this summer.
Other people go to Red Herring concerts just to cheer them on. "I don't really listen to that (kind of music) but I go to support them," says Ashley Yantomasi, 18, who attended a show at Higher Grounds.
Getting people to the shows is where Red Herring's killer support team comes into play.
"I really like the music and I thought I'd give them a boost," says Jordan, 14. "(The band members) always tell me they don't know what they'd do without my big mouth 'cause I get their music out."
Chris, 16, and Myles, 17, also help get the Red Herring word on the street. After seeing Chris' Web site for his own band, Dirty Twilight, Sam asked him to make one for Red Herring, paid for in trade. "We find gigs for his band if he does our Web site. We'll let them open for us sometimes," says Nathan.
Chris agreed, and the self-taught computer programmer set up -- currently under construction but will feature "information on their merchandise and upcoming album and a lot of cool media files," he says.
Myles also learned his role through trial and error. After building two lighting towers with Brendan's dad, Myles gave it a try and found his way to help out his friends. "If it's a mellow song I use blue or green. If it's happier I use all of them going really fast, red and yellow mostly," he says.
Up next for Red Herring is a "reunion" show next Friday in the Showplace Theater and then they'll work on completing their first album, to be recorded in Brendan's basement.
After that, who knows. "The point of Red Herring is to get musical experience, get out and play and entertain our fans," says Sam.
Brendan's response: "Amen!" - The Buffalo News Inc.

"Solo CD showcases Sam Gillam's many talents"

Sam Gillam's new solo CD, "Measure of Doubt," is an indie tour-de-force that displays his abilities as a song-writer, arranger and musician. Its 10 polished tracks, mostly piano- and guitar-driven, combine different musical genres with influences from the past and present.

"The World Has Moved On" is a fitting opener to the album, introducing its coming-of-age theme. "Time has come" blends folk, blues, and rock to create an effortless unity of sound, accented by warm strains of harmonica and saxophone. As explained by Sam, "It's a two-sided look at a situation. It is about a friend with an inflating ego who is caught up in the world and moving too fast. The speaker is reminding the friend to remember who they are and where they have come from."
"As a good place" also presents a dual-sided take on a conflict. A battle between the generations is represented by angry electric guitars that mimic the opposing points of view. The bass is an understated but resilient narrator that transcends the argument and encourages the dueling sides to "see the world all at once ... escape the boundaries of your mind."

"Side by side" is the most tender song on the album. It has a beautifully simple melody, and economically communicates a surprising amount of raw feeling. Sam's vocals, breathy and emotive, need only the sparse accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. "Dreamworld" is a dark, textured song that sounds like something you would hear haunting the grounds of an abandoned carnival. It paints a twisted portrait of someone trapped within his own mind, unable to distinguish himself from imaginary characters, while distorting reality: "They're stealing your time/You're letting it drift until it's gone."
"Whatever it takes" is well-articulated punk with a funky edge; a song that makes a strong political statement without sounding overbearing. Spiky bursts of guitar and primitive percussion sound appropriately angry, while remaining catchy. The commentary is biting: "Hey billionaire I got your back, just buy me an election/I don't need to say nothing real just a 9/11 interjection."
"When all is lost" provides a rousing conclusion to the album. The song uses powerful bursts of guitar and piano in a testament to the healing power of music: "When all is lost/ Just play it again." - The Buffalo News Inc.

"A New Sound"

Orchard Park musician Sam Berman-Cooper has been a rising star on Western New York's indie rock front ever since making the cover of The Buffalo News Gusto with his former band Red Herring, whom Gusto described as "making waves on the local music scene."

That was two years ago.
Now, Sam is a junior at Orchard Park High School, has adopted the professional name Sam Gillam, and is ready to release a solo album, called "Measure of Doubt." The CD release party will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. this Saturday at Higher Grounds Coffee House, 3622 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.
Although Sam is releasing "Measure of Doubt" as a solo artist, he has joined with lead guitarist Sonny Rodo, drummer Bobby Lawn and Luke Hammill on bass to form a new band called Unfound Sound. Unfound Sound will be performing tracks from "Measure of Doubt" at the album's debut.

According to Luke, a senior at Orchard Park High School, "I think that we can make some headway into the local scene, and I hope that we will become known. I think that Sam could most definitely make a living playing music, if not also as a songwriter. The album is awesome, he's worked really hard on it, and it sounds great."
Sam has played such venues as Club Infinity, the Tralf, Higher Grounds and Sphere Entertainment Complex. "When you're performing, I feel that there is a flow of energy between you and the crowd. You push energy into them, and they, collectively, put a million times more back into you. If you do really well, people will end up having a great time and dancing around to your music. There's nothing better than watching that."
Surprisingly, Sam feels that "it's a lot more intimidating to play in front of five good friends and family members than it is to play in front of 500 strangers. Your family is going to be honest with you. If the crowd doesn't like you, you never see them again and it's not much of a problem. That is, unless you're so bad that they throw beer bottles at you."
Sam's sense of humor was apparent throughout the interview. His conversation ranged from philosophy ("I wouldn't call myself an existentialist"), to an impromptu rap involving a hamster, a policeman of upstanding character and Bernie Mac.
Sam has been building up a local fan base for some time, and promotes his latest songs via MySpace and facebook. Emily Smith, an eighth-grader at Orchard Park Middle School, is enthusiastic about the new album: "I put all his songs on my iPod! His music is so cool ... it doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard before, not like the modern artists I listen to."
Sam put together "Measure of Doubt" independently, using "my home recording studio, with an eight-track Boss recorder." His aptitude for instrumentation is impressive; he plays bass, guitar, the drum machine, harmonica and keyboard on every song. He is also the writer and vocalist for the entire album. "The music always comes first. I come up with an idea or melody, turn it around in my head for months and then return to it later. I usually have to go back after I record the song and learn the lyrics, but the music is always there. When I start out making a song, I think about my thoughts and feelings, and then I ask myself how I can turn those emotions into words without giving too much away."
Sam's musical career began long before his exploits with Red Herring; "I started playing piano when I was 5 or 6 and bass when I was 8." Sam was encouraged by his parents to pursue music. "Both my parents played music for me ... I probably wouldn't have picked up guitar if guitars hadn't been lying all over the house."
While Sam's current musical tastes include Cake, Spoon, Coldplay, Luke Doucet and the Strokes, older musicians like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin have had a significant impact on his style.
"Measure of Doubt" has a clear coming-of-age theme. Sam's album was written over a two-year period, and reflects a developing view of his own place in the world. His songs resonate with rebellion and realization; a bold call to arms for our generation. His music urges us to seek ourselves out, to harbor our own dreams against all odds. "There's a lot that we can do as individuals, especially with today's technology. We are an important generation," Sam said.
John Lombardo, formerly a member of 10,000 Maniacs and currently with John & Mary and The Valkyries, has high praise for "Measure of Doubt." "I was really impressed by all aspects of the CD; he did multilayering and all the recording himself. But what impressed me the most was that he wrote great songs, that's really the hardest thing; a lot of people are pretty talented players, but the creativity needed to come up with material like that is much more unusual. I thought it was really well-written and well-performed. There are a lot of records that you buy that have one or two good tracks, and filler for all the rest, but Sam's album created an overall vibe and was listenable, from beginning to end. I think Sam has all the potential in the world, especially considering his age." - The Buffalo News Inc.


Easy to Read LP (2004)

Invisible Breeze LP (2005)

Measure of Doubt LP (2007) -- Under the name "Sam Gillam"
- "Whatever it Takes" radio play on Buffalo's 97 Rock (FM 96.9) and WXRL (AM 1300)
- "As Good a Place" radio play on University of Illinois at
Chicago Internet Radio (

Boston Chronic (Single - 2008)



I began training as a classical pianist at 6 and bassist at 8, and was raised on my father's Richard Thompson, Michelle Shocked, and Travelling Wilburys records. At 13, I picked up the electric guitar, and made my first set of recordings, "Easy to Read." I began to explore Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and modern bands like Coldplay and The Strokes. Over the next 5 years I released two full-length original LPs, "Invisible Breeze" and "Measure of Doubt," and played dozens of shows around Western New York with a series original and cover bands. My efforts during this period twice earned Buffalo News cover stories -- once in the "NeXt" section and once in "Gusto." After graduating from high school, I took a couple years off from music to study philosophy at Harvard University. Five semesters there were enough for me to realize that music is my true calling. I gigged around Boston for a while before returning home to Buffalo to continue writing, and have recently joined Autopunch as keyboardist.