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Fairfield, New Jersey, United States

Fairfield, New Jersey, United States
Band Rock Funk


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"Subcommittee @ Stanhope House"

Stanhope House
September 11, 2010

STANHOPE, NJ—The legendary Stanhope House’s explosive reopening party was fueled by the highly anticipated reunion show of area and club favorite Subcommittee. The band took the stage after an 1892 American flag was hung as the permanent backdrop for the newly renovated stage. The sold-out performance shook everything from the floor to the rafters for almost four hours.

Three years ago the band took a self-imposed hiatus due to growing families, kids and other projects. Although the band stopped playing, the friendship between Bo Bailey (guitar/keys), Doug Pearsall (bass), John Scherer (drums), Shannon Woods (guitar) and Alex Zox (saxophone) continued. Not long ago the guys started thinking about how many unrecorded songs they have, so they decided to do some recording. Things felt good and soon thoughts turned to playing live again. The reopening of The Stanhope House, the band’s home base, seemed to be the perfect time for the re-launch of Subcommittee.

Three-hundred or so long-time fans and supporters were treated to an especially energetic three set show that began with “Singing Blake Through Chinatown.” Singer Bo Bailey’s dynamic performance started at level 10 and only increased from there. Bailey and the rest of the band showed no signs of a split. The first set included “To the Bottom,” new song “Move On” and “Sound Check.” “Turner” had the crowd dancing and the floor bouncing. Shannon Wood’s vocals on “My Confession” offered a fitting contrast to Bailey’s amped singing. Where “Turner” had the crowd dancing, the electrifying “Big Bang” had them jumping with everyone singing along. The set ended with “Mango.”

The second set began with the sly and smoky “Walking Down a City Street” and continued with the rarely played “Factotum,” “New Bounce” and the new was the fun “Cesar Was A Monkey” sung by Alex Zox. The instrumental “Haitian Lady” was followed by “Missing One” and “Junco” which elevated the dance level yet again. Woods’ guitar skills were showcased in “What Goes Wrong” and the set ended with The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” Set three started with new song “Inside” and was followed by “Warrior Up Above” and “Machito.” Also included were rarities and fan-favorites “Phur-Phur” and “Midgets.”

Subcommittee played as if that hadn’t lost any time on the stage. The band is known for their electric performances and party atmosphere but this show was particularly full of what Bailey termed as “concentrated energy.” Front row ladies danced with each other and showed off moves honed at countless shows past while the guys moved with their own version of what they saw. With crutches leaning behind him against the wall, drummer John Scherer played with intensity and a broken big toe. A cinder block fell on his foot three days prior to the show but the injury seemed to have no effect on the power of his drumming. There was no doubt about the fun Subcommittee had on the stage that night and no doubt that it will go on.

—by Adrienne Hansard, October 13, 2010 - Arts Weekly- The Aquarian

"A Recap of STARS Stock"

It was supposed to be a dark and stormy Fourth of July. Much like the bulk of this summer, it was going to be another with no sun, no beach and no fun.

However, the weathermen were wrong, allowing Joey Harrison's Surf Club first ever STARS Stock to rock from early afternoon to the wee hours of the morning.

The event, reminiscent of SurfClub's famous "Surf Stock" events featured an all-day line-up of bands represented by STARS Productions, a Newton, New Jersey based company which represented the biggest and best acts in New Jersey.

Band Members could be seen walking throughout the crowd, hanging out with their fans as well as friends from other groups.

"From a promoters standpoint, it was a tremendous success. It really helped ignite bands like Good Girls Don't, Future 86 and Subcommittee," commented STARS Productions owner Steve Tarkanish.

Surf Club Promotions Manager Joseph C. Barcellona was extremely happy with the event. "The turnout was great. A large part of this was due to the participation of the bands as well as their friends, families and fans coming down and supporting them as well as the amount of promotion done."

Both parties agree that they would love to bring the event back next summer and make it a tradition. - night & Day Entertainment Magazine

"Subcommittee on Upper Lake Beach"

Rave reviews all around for the beach party in July. Great weather, great crowd, great food and drink and a kicking band made it one hot night on the beach. The whole crowd was getting their groove on with Subcommittee, a hot, local, original band. Their blend of funk, punk, Latin, reggae and rock is truly one of a kind. Our thanks go out to the band for blasting out music that was described as "phenominal," "great vibe" and "the best band I ever saw" by the music-loving upper beach crowd. Subcommittee's after-dark performance was stoked up by an amazing glow-stick fueled laser light show. - The Papoose, Sparta, NJ

"A Proposition That Made It"

It's great to see an unsigned, relatively unknown band step out in front of a massive amount of people, play a song, and have everyone cheering by the end of it. That's something Subcommittee seems to do regularly.

Touring Europe as an unsigned band is a difficult thing, as is securing tours anywhere, for that matter. But Subcommittee's unique mix of Latin, light jazz, funk and rock give them an accessibility that reaches across parrty lines and maes them easily appreciated by any crowd.

Formed over 10 years ago and currently featuring Bo Baily (vocals/keys/trombonbe), Doug Pearsall (bass/vocals), John Scherer (drums/vocals), Shannon Woods (guitar/vocals) and Alex Zox (saxophone/vocals), Subcommittee are all terriffic songwriters and harmonizers, often all joining in on vocals for many parts of a song.

Bringing many different styles of music together requires a diverse musical knowledge. It also requires a tact that few bands can acquire. Subcommittee are blessed with both, and as a result of their hard work, garnered a sponsorship with Budweiser (now that's how you do it) and have participated as a featured act in numerous outdoor festivals, games, etc.

Subcommittee recently found a temporary home at The Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ. More shows are to be announced soon on their website, - Arts Weekly - The Aquarian

"Subcommittee is in session"

It all began at Lenape Valley High School in the late 1980s.

That's where Bo Bailey, who moved to Byram with his mother when he was 12 years old after spending part of his childhood on a cattle ranch in Oregon, befriended John Scherer and Shannon Woods. The musicians discovered they shared an interest in punk, reggae and ska music and began to write songs together.
"We wanted to create music that inspired others to think, act, move and question, like so many bands did for us," said Bailey.

The friends would part for college, but later reunite, later adding Doug Pearsall on bass and Alex Zox on saxophone. They formed the band Subcommittee, a Sussex County-based group that has spread across northern New Jersey by word of mouth and now seems poised to reach a broader audience.

This year, the group released its second CD, "What Goes Wrong," and has enlisted a new agent. Subcommittee recently signed a performance deal with Budweiser's National Bud True Music that will bring it to large venues around the Northeast, including Giants Stadium on Nov. 1, before the Jets game.

Much of the band's appeal is that it doesn't fit into any mold. The group will blend funk, reggae, jazz - just about anything - and come up with a risky tune that is often danceable.
"Any style of music we like, we'll try to attack and see if we can pull it off. Bossa nova, rock, funk, swing, even bebop," said Bailey, the band's 31-year-old frontman.

Veteran producer Charles Johnson, who has worked with Kool and the Gang, Chaka Khan and Lauryn Hill, took notice over a year ago that the band was drawing large crowds while playing original songs.

"Jersey is dominated by cover bands. Subcommittee are appealing to the same masses of people through their original music. They are playing most of the same clubs as cover bands, but doing all originals.

"They are constantly working. That's one indication they have that vibe and style that really goes over with the public," said Johnson, who produced the band's 11-song CD in June 2003.

Originally a four-member group known as Death Cookie, it first played live in 1993, opening for a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion concert at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, N.Y.

A fifth member, saxophonist Zox, whom Bailey had met at college, joined the band in 1995. To play in the group, Zox, now 31, moved to Warren County from his native Manhattan, where he had worked in a jazz club. His jazz instincts offered new possibilities to the band, who were already fans of Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Charlie Parker, among others.

"When Alex came into the fold, it really blew open the doors to what we could do musically," said the 34-year-old Pearsall, who is also an information technology specialist.

It was then the group decided on the name Subcommittee, said Bailey.

"It's a title for an investigative body, which I suppose in some ways we imagined ourselves to be," he said.

Ryan Williams, a talent agent with STARS Productions in Newton, has represented the band for a year. He has already had them play the grand opening of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, a corporate ski soiree in Vermont and an international soccer game at Giants Stadium.

"We've done four states in four days," said Bailey.

Life can become pretty hectic, with the band booked at times more than twice a week and jobs to juggle during the day, said Scherer, who drives a truck for a lumber company and is a member of the Teamsters' Union.

Bailey, who works for a land surveying company, is on the brink of an even more significant date. He is waiting excitedly for his wife, Dina, to give birth to their first child, which should take place any day now.

Meanwhile, the band is rehearsing for upcoming shows at clubs and festivals, and will be heading out to play in Colorado this winter.

Williams said he feels the group's diverse sound is the secret to their wide appeal. And their swing is contagious, Zox added.

"People are really dancing to the music, and that feels great," said Zox.

COPYRIGHT © The Star Ledger 2004
Date: 2004/09/09 Thursday Page: 001 Section: IN THE TOWNS Edition: NORTHWEST By REBECCA SCHMOYER - The Star Ledger

"Breaking Barriers"

In today’s world of ultra-homogenized rock music trends and crass corporate marketing, you can still find an inspiring number of musicians whose individuality and dedication to artistic purity remains unaffected. These folks aren’t satisfied with nostalgia, fashion or hype. They inject vitality and integrity into the collapsing veins of our modern culture. Subcommittee, emerging from various sections of North Jersey, is one of these bands. After repeated exposure to their spastic live shows and Machito’s Wonder, the band’s first release, I had a few questions for committee-head, Bo, as to what makes this hard-to-describe band tick.

JM: What was the catalyst that took you from being a music fan to where you are now, actually writing and playing in a band? What made you realize that it’s important?

Bo: It’s difficult to locate a specific instance that made me say, ‘I’m going to be in a band,’ but I think at an early age my greatest influences were punk and hardcore bands that were from or came to New York – 7 Seconds, Government Issue, Reagan Youth, Agnostic Front, False Prophets – that make me think differently about the world and people and social situations, and I realized that music was a very powerful and immediate vehicle to reach people. I was very lucky to be exposed to a lot of cool and intelligent music that was conscious in one way or another, whether it be politically or socially conscious or just conscious of the unspoken elements in music that make it a way of thinking and acting justly . . . as the act of playing music well is itself an act of reciprocity and justice. It takes compassion, patience and the willingness to communicate. It was through music that I learned how to think and learned to have the desire to think. Also to touch the untouchable realms of meaning that music is privy to.

I noticed in the live show, there are a lot of mixed elements occurring almost simultaneously. How do you want the package to be perceived? What’s the most important thing for you to get across?

Well, there are a number of things I want people to walk away with. I want people to experience a real vital energy and a fearlessness that breaks through certain social habits of kind of putting on fronts and not really letting loose. I want people to come out and converse and conspire. I want people to feel free to be themselves and move – or not move, as the case may be – in whatever way they want. I mean I’m up there jumping from instrument to instrument like a freak, and there’s not any form I dance with or endorse, you know, so . . .

So you’d be happy if people came out and got nothing more out of it than dance music?

Oh sure, I think that’s fine, because it does work on other levels. You can later read the lyric sheet or come and talk with one of us. People will at times catch a word or two that means something to them and take it further. One time a guy caught the word ‘dialectic’ in our song ‘1+2=12’ and was really excited that I used it that way because he was a student of Marx or Hegel or something. I like it when people take what they hear in the music and want to take it further because they can come and talk to any one of us and we all have very distinct and different opinions and that’s what’s at the base of our music, too. You can hear it in the internal conflicts and resolutions of our ‘sound,’ which makes blatant references to many elements.

Such as . . .?

Well, there’s definitely funk in there. There’s jazz. We’ve called ourselves punk jazz because we’re a bunch of punks trying to learn jazz.

You could say jazz fusion.

Sure, jazz fusion. I mean it’s all kind of rock n’ roll when it comes down to it, too, right? We’re really a rock band that wanders around other genres a lot. People like to say ska and reggae based on certain rhythmic structures and especially the instrumentation with the horns. And in other respects there’s also a heavy Latin element. I would like people to walk out feeling differently about these categories. And I don’t mean that we try to mix them together in a homogeneous way. We live in a pretty fragmented and segregated world and I want issues of, say, race, culture and language to be questioned and re-questioned.
I’m really into Afro-Cuban music an I don’t want to disrespectfully be the kind of person that just picks and chooses from any culture at whim, as has been the case forever in the appropriation of styles as it relates to relations of power. But especially being from this area – there are a lot of different people, languages, ways of thinking, tastes, etc. and we are in dubitably influenced by all of it – at least I am. And why should that not come out in the things that we do? And why should we not put this on other people who don’t want to listen to anything but the same old shit that they safely feed us? Very simply, we try to imitate the things that we like, and in the process we find our own sound which is a dialectic, synergistic, maybe even schizophrenic approach to playing and discovering oneself.


Better to be a schizophrenic strolling down a street than neurotic on an analyst’s couch! That’s a quote from Giles Deleuze.

Have you ever thought about the long-term contributions of the human race, especially on the individual level? Do you think any of this really matters?

Well . . . I would say that contributions have to matter because this is the material that history, and likewise the future, is made of. This is unavoidable. I guess the issue is that some contributions are more covert. I think we can safely say that certain people have had more impact than other people. But I also thin that this is mandated by how history is written and what we collectively remember.

I think it’s better to have a big impact on a few people rather than a minor impact on a lot of people, which is the irony with a lot of pop groups that have come and gone – I mean the so-called super groups – they just kind of disappear after a decade, and now we laugh at them. I think that to have a real lasting impact on just one person is far more worthwhile.

That’s a cool dichotomy, I’ve always said I would rather have a small and devoted following of people worldwide who choose to support us not in spite of but because of the changes we are bound to go through. I embrace change, just as I want to reject the idea of the lasting impact of one person.

All I can think of is when I’m 75 and they fucking nail my coffin together, what did I leave that is worth something? What have I done that has affected somebody else’s life in a positive way? That’s why my whole thing is.

I know what you mean, and I’ve wondered that too. But I think I’m more interested in what we do now, I guess.

You mean life is for the living.

Yeah. Somewhere along that line – I don’t know how it happened – I just became really into the idea that the real direct, active element of playing music as an act of communication and as the embodiment of a relationship between one or more people is enough in itself. I think it’s very possible that we could do some really radical stuff and never be known for it, but yet inspire somebody else to do it. And I have to accept that that’s good enough and that recognition happens in my own soul and in the people around me. I can’t let myself care whether people remember me for it or not after I’m dead. It’s not why I do it anyway.

What you’re saying is that the most important goal of an artist is to pass the torch along and not to leave the mark of personal identity.

It’s the flame on the torch that really counts and not whose fingerprints are on the handle, right? I’m not saying that recognition is not an important thing. I’m just saying that recognition does happen if you’re worthy of it and you can look closely enough around you. Enough people encourage me to play and this is why I refuse to stop. Of course if recognition means that I could life semi-comfortably doing this, then that’s a different issue entirely. But, hey, who lives semi-comfortably anyway?
It seems to me that struggle is part of our existence and whether I’m humping furniture all day or playing music all day, I still have faith that what I’m doing is worth it, even if I’m not remembered for it. I’m in too deep, anyway. It’s how I make peace with myself and others. Sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes it seems impossible. And sometimes you just have to throw punches blindly and hope that you hit somebody in the eye.

A lot of people feel that politics don’t have a place in music, and I think it’s pretty obvious that you guys use music as a vehicle to express some political concepts. Do you think there is anything to the notion that music should stay pure in that sense, and be free of any sort of agenda?

Good question. I personally adhere to the notion that all art is political, even if it is apolitical, and carries with it connotations, implications, inherent logics, and ways of thinking, etc. I’m happy to say that the Subcommittee does not have a political agenda and this is part of our politics. Our opinions in the band very greatly from one member to another, and I think that’s what makes the songwriting and general direction and point of view so multifaceted and fertile. I still say, though, that all art is political. Listen to ‘Alabama’ by John Coltrane and tell me that there isn’t an implied politic – and there is not a single word! The Backstreet Boys or N’Sync are political as well, they just happen to be the politics of the enemy. If the Subcommittee has a political agenda, it is in the sense that we try to bring differences to the forefront and open up a space where these things can mingle in a productive way.

Obviously when subcultures get co-opted by The Man™, many times they’re exploited and discarded and no longer seem to have the relevance they once had. Do you feel there is an inherent danger in dealing with large corporations for the purpose of distributing music, or that it takes away your credibility?

I think that whenever fashions and trends are mandated from above for the purposes of generating capital, and perpetuating mediocrity and egomania . . . then, yes, there are inherent dangers. On the other hand, as musicians, we fell that being made accessible to a wider audience is the ultimate goal to attain. If attaining this goal means getting cool haircuts and homogenizing our songs, then it wouldn’t really be us that is being made more accessible, now would it? There are plenty of other people willing to be co-opted. I wouldn’t call this inherently evil, it’s just not what we’re about. Negotiating is the necessity of living and trying to survive in this world, but if we build our own shelter we won’t have to rely on big money to survive. I guess this is the idea. We’re the only ones who can take away our credibility. - East Coast Rocker

"Review of Machito's Wonder"

Where this Jersey band's song collection will take you! Starting out with "Singing Blake Through Chinatown," a trade-off of a Mr. Dynamite J. Brown groove & a smokey jazz sway (yes, they have the horns to effectively pull 'em off) you go headlong, with little warning into shape-shifting excercises in ska, Latino, funk, swing, thrashy punk and urban rap. Great display of chops, something for nearly everyone.
The thing one may risk overlooking in the vocally exuberant rantings by Bo Bailey & Alex Zox is off-kilter social commentaries and the name dropping / borrowing of influential cultural luminaries like the aforementioned William Blake, Ginsberg, Brecht, Tom Waits, et al, all courteously laid out in the discs booklet. The boys were obviously paying attention in literature class.

The most remarkable feature of "Machito's Wonder" is that the foundation of every tune was pristinely recorded live at a handful of rooms in Joy-zey (one being an American Legion hall which just kills me, having done that circuit) with a small amount of overdubbing, so you have the satisfaction of knowing they sound just like this at their show. And lookout for that hidden title track. Rev on, 42! - MusicHead Magazine

"Show Review"

New Jersey - It’s 2 am. The stage is drenched with sweat. The music bounces around the club with a mission to seduce the innocent ears that will never be the same again. The crowd, in their hypnotic trance, takes no heed to the "last call" alert. It’s not important at the moment because Subcommittee is in full swing with one of their high octane ass-shakin’ sets and there's nothing holding them back. Just when you think it’s over…SLAM!The band turns it up another notch, twisting and fondling their instruments into one giant musical orgasm. Bringing the noise since 1995, the original line up of Bo Bailey (vocals, trombone, keyboards, percussion & the occasional 2nd guitar), Doug Pearsall (bass & backups), John Scherer (drums & backups), Shannon Woods (guitar), and Alex Zox (sax, vocals, percussion) have taken on the music world and have broken down the music barriers that once separated us. If you were ever skeptical about brass and congas with your rock and roll, don’t fret. Subcommittee can pack a mean punch harder than most rock bands. So whether it’s pushing the Latin Jazz envelope or tempting the temptress with American Soul and Swing, Subcommittee plays it with more positive vengeance than anyone - -Dennis King, Pissing in the Passaic

"Subcommittee Rocks"

Subcommittee is known for breaking barriers, embracing everything from Fugazi and Bob Marley to Fishbone and Phish.

"From the beginning, we've tried to push new ground musically," Frontman Bo Bailey said. "As we've developed, we've mixed and referred to a lot of other sounds and tried to put them together in different ways."

Stylistically, that's meant performing songs in a lot of different musical genres, or segueing from one genre to another within a single song. Rock, jazz, funk, reggae, ska and punk are all equal partners in defining the group's sound. That's produced some good and some bad things. It's allowed the band to perform on bills with diverse acts, but it's also made it difficult for radio and retail stores to classify them.

"I think we're highly political even though we're not out there espousing an ideology," Bailey said. "I think we owe a lot to what we saw on the punk scene in the 80's to what we do now. We can play what we want and be individuals. People have been telling us that we have to do things differently the whole time, but we seem to be doing pretty well. Our fans stick with us, and I know that there is growth in our music."The northern New jersey band will perform Thursday in Stanhope at the Stanhope House. Mindspent, a Morris county band, will open.

"We're getting into the studio working on our second CD," Bailey said. "Hopefully we'll get this one out [sometime] in 2003." New songs include the groove-oriented rocker "Warrior Funk"; a straight ahead reggae tune, "My Confession"; the Latin flavored song "To The Bottom"; and the Brazilian-influenced "Junco." Bailey sings lead vocals in addition to playing trombone, and percussion. Doug Pearsall sings and plays bass. Shannon Woods sings and plays guitar. Alex Zox sings and plays saxophone and assorted woodwinds. John Scherer sings and plays drums.

Thirty-year old bailey, who studied philosophy and English Literature at Sarah Lawrence College, spent a year from 1991 to 1992 doing independent research in South America. He was interested in the punk scene there and became fascinated with '70's folk rock, which mixed traditional Andean music with '70's rock. "I was really inspired by my experiences there," he said. "I think people really respond when you try to do things in new ways."

Subcommittee formed as a quartet in Morris county in 1994. A year later, Zox joined the group, which recorded its debut CD "Machito's Wonder," on its own label, Hi-Test Records, in 1998. Shortly thereafter, Bailey spent some time performing with other bands, but continued to write songs with Subcommittee, which he rejoined in 2002. - Daily Record, Morris County, NJ


Machitos Wonder - 1998
4X4 Hi-Test Records Compilation - 1999
Showercap Records Compilation - 2000
What Goes Wrong - 2004



A funky hybrid of jazz, punk, rock and reggae, Subcommittee have been active players in the New Jersey original music scene since 1995. Defined by driving rhythms, sharp horn arrangements, sparring vocals and guitar driven melodies, Subcommittee have become known for the probingly whimsical and groove-laden elements of their sound-- as well as their ability to whip the dance floor into a frenzy.

Since their inception, Subcommittee have been a favorite in many New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania clubs, including CBGB, Webster Hall, The Lions Den, Maxwells, Loop Lounge, The Whiskey, Havana, Abilene, Toad's Place, and The Wobbly Barn in Killington, Vermont. With a strong home base following at the legendary blues club, The Stanhope House in Stanhope, New Jersey, Subcommittee has hosted monthly shows, networking with national acts and bringing out of state talent to the New Jersey locale. They've been the featured act at many outdoor music festivals in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maine, including Rampage on the River, The Bongo Bash, The Big Bandingo, The Hoboken Italian Festival, and the WDHA Clam n Jam.

Playing in their current 5-piece lineup since 1995, Subcommittee recorded two 4-song demos between 1995 and 1997, contributing tracks to a handful of independent compilations (Black Pumpkin 4x4 series, Showercap Records sampler). Subcommittee released their first LP, Machitos Wonder in 1998 on Hi-Test Records, a cooperative record label co-founded with producer/engineer Mike Ward of Big Blue Meenie Studios in Jersey City, NJ. Hi-Test was distributed by Black Pumpkin Records, and the album was promoted independently, performing frequently between the Tri-State area and New England between 1998-1999.

After a brief hiatus in 2001-2002, Subcommittee reinvested energy in their original lineup, continued to write new material, and joined forces with producer Charles Johnson (Kool & The Gang, Lauren Hill) to record their second LP, What Goes Wrong. Through their sponsorship with Budweiser True Music, Subcommittee has had the opportunity to expand their fan base on the East Coast, playing along the I-95 corridor in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and the Jersey Shore since 2003. Subcommittee played to a sold-out crowd at the grand opening of Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia in July 2003, and has performed at Giants Stadium, opening for New York Jets home games. They have also been a featured act at The Borgata Hotel & Casino and the Trump Marina, both in Atlantic City, New Jersey. What Goes Wrong is available in record stores throughout the region, and online at

In 2007, after 14 years and roughly 1000 live performances, Subcommittee announced an extended hiatus to "develop side projects, raise families, and explore new situations and musical avenues." Like so many artists before them, the lure of the music was too strong, and the band has re-joined forces with both each other, and engineer extrordinaire Mike Ward to work on their long, long awaited 3rd full length album - promised to be chock full of favorites that have been part of the band's live shows for many years, but never committed - pardon the pun - to any official release.

Band Members