The Fringe Benefits
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The Fringe Benefits

Manassas, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Manassas, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Cover Band




"Gainesville band Fringe Benefits gets Jiffy Lube Live gig Thu., Sep. 4 - Members of The Fringe Benefits, a Gaines"

Prince William News
Gainesville band Fringe Benefits gets Jiffy Lube Live gig
Thu., Sep. 4 - Members of The Fringe Benefits, a Gainesville-based band, are living on the edge and loving every minute. On Sept. 6, they make their debut at Jiffy Lube Live. “We will perform in the VIP Club prior to the Aerosmith show,” said John Fichtner. “We are looking forward to working with Live Nation.” On tap that night is some of their best stuff, he promised.
Gainesville band Fringe Benefits gets Jiffy Lube Live gig
By Michelle Baker - Contributing Writer
© Gainesville Times
Members of The Fringe Benefits, a Gainesville-based band, are living on the edge and loving every minute. On Sept. 6, they make their debut at Jiffy Lube Live.

“We will perform in the VIP Club prior to the Aerosmith show,” said John Fichtner. “We are looking forward to working with Live Nation.” On tap that night is some of their best stuff, he promised.

Like Aerosmith’s song “I don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” this group doesn’t want to close their eyes because they are on a fun, wild ride.

“We have as much fun as possible while at the same time work like crazy people,” said Fichtner who, like all of his band mates, works crazy long hours and puts in huge amounts of practice time each week.

“My goal is to be great and for them to like us,” said Bruce Moore, the band’s manager and marketing specialist. “It’s a Live Nation contract, same as Aerosmith.” “If we do a good job, I hope next season, we’ll be able to get there more.”

Live Nation Entertainment is a major live entertainment and e-commerce company, comprised of Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Artist Nation and Live Nation Network.

Will Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler walk that way to the VIP tent?

“It’s kind of up to the tour,” said Moore. “Headline artists often come to the VIP.”

On Aug. 11, the 10-month-old band announced the news via Facebook to their “Village” their affectionate name for their loyal friends, family, and fans.

“Our Live Nation contract is for our band to play in the VIP club at Jiffy Lube Live on September 6 prior to the Aerosmith show!”

Patrons with VIP access may enter and see the Fringe Benefits from 6 until 7 p.m. The VIP seats for the show run from $275 to $325.

The Fringe Benefits Band hit the road with their new drummer Dirk Snider on Aug. 16 at one of their favorite local venues, Lion and Bull in Haymarket.

Drummer Drew Young left the band to focus more on family and coaching youth baseball.

The five-piece band features drums, guitar, bass, guitar synth and vocals. The group performs throughout the Northern Virginia and Maryland area for events of all sizes.

“We have a great show with songs from 60s to today including classic rock, pop and Motown,” said Fichtner, whose groups hails from across the region.

Practice in the basement at Fichtner’s Gainesville residency, performances can be anywhere from formal dinner dances at country clubs to backyard parties across the region.

The band recently helped out another local group.

The Fringe Benefits performed at a Serve Our Willing Warriors second annual charity poker run at the Bull Run Warrior Retreat in Haymarket.

The local favorites share fun, laughter and even personal moments with their fans.

Lead singer Julianna Mokarzel Smith turned 40 earlier this year and her parents flew in for the show at Lion and Bull. She celebrated with a rousing Happy Birthday song and shots purchased by a fan.

When Mokarzel Smith kicks into “Proud Mary” it isn’t hard to tell one of her big influences is Tina Turner.

Before relocating to Gainesville, she performed with several bands in the Austin, Texas area.

After taking several years off to raise a family, she returned to the stage. The vocal powerhouse is the female centerpiece of The Fringe Benefits.

She is an incredibly talented vocalist who sings with such emotion, clarity and soul. Enjoying her song lube, a “Julianna Special” of vodka, soda and cranberry, prior to last Saturday night’s performance, the cheery singer gushed about the strong support group of friends and family.

“Julianna is a star,” said bass guitarist Gregg Salles. “We try and support her.”

“They are the most validating and supportive group,” said Mokarzel Smith. “We’re really collaborative.”

She said that for her, performing is like throwing a party in a venue.

“We are not out there to glorify ourselves,” she said.

Residents who love the music scene may recognize Salles of Falls Church, who has played with such acts as Harmless Prank, Black Cracker, Ted Hovis Band, Hate the Toy, Soul Kitty 6, Members Only, Aquaspank and High Level Band.

Boston natives may have caught his vibe when he was with Love Drive and Pop Filter.

His music and style draws from a range of genres from hard-edged rock to power pop to fusion jazz.

Salles who works at the Pentagon by day, practices, teaches, and works with his youth worship team at night, it is all about the music.

“We’ve had to very selective about the songs, we play,” said Salles, explaining that the group chooses not to play songs that are degrading to women and others.

“We want to be able to play stuff the kids can sing along to,” said Mokarzel Smith, a mother of two.

“It’s all fun,” added Salles.

A point Mokarzel Smith makes when she kicks off the set announcing that the initials for Fringe Benefit also stands for Fun Band.

In addition to a full time day job, nighttime gigs and practices, Salles teaches beginner guitar in local community adult education programs in Arlington County and Falls Church City.

Bruce Moore, who plays the unusual guitar synth, which plays like a guitar with sounds of organ, piano, sax mixed in.

Moore, a well-known businessman and civic leader, worked the deal with Live Nation.

Prior to The Fringe Benefits, Moore played with Griffin, a North Carolina-based southern rock band, the UVA Jazz Ensemble, Deal Wad It, Shake It Up and Easy Street.

The Manassas resident manages two local companies, PowerQuote Software and Internet Ad Management Inc.

A member of the board of directors of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory, Moore spends his free time working with Prince William nonprofits.

The graduate of Leadership Prince William is a Manassas Rotarian and president of the local Toastmasters Club.

Guitarist Fichtner, who is the more vocal of the male vocalists, is known around the community for his spirited and generous nature.

While his music interest began with a $5 garage sale guitar with three missing strings, today his collection numbers in the dozens.

Last year, he redesigned his basement as a full-size recording studio.

The Northern Lower Michigan area native performed at many venues in that area with his rock band, Black Diamond, receiving praise and air time from area radio stations.

With the younger residents, he is known as the manager and roadie for Nocturnal Rush, his son’s former band.

After Nocturnal Rush dissolved, Fichtner returned to performing with a few local bands.

The newest member of The Fringe Benefits is Dirk Snider, who made his debut at Lion and Bull last weekend to a packed house.

The drummer, who once sat in with 38 Special for a few months while a member recovered from mono, is admired by his bandmates.

“I met John through a mutual friend,” said Snider. “They are all super nice.

Fans who miss the band at Jiffy Lube Live can catch up with them locally again on Nov. 29 at local night spot Lion and Bull, 5351 Merchants View Square in Haymarket, from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. - The Gainesville Times

"Big Time: Gainesville cover band lands a gig at Jiffy Lube live"

A five-month-old cover band from Gainesville recently played at Jiffy Lube Live before the Aerosmith concert.

It wasn’t just what they knew; it had a lot to do with who they knew.

The five-member classic rock and Motown band The Fringe Benefits is comprised of seasoned musicians and a talented lead singer. They include Julianna Mokarzel Smith, lead vocalist; John Fichtner, guitarist; Gregg Sales, bass guitarist; Dirk Snider, drummer; and Bruce Moore, guitar synthesizer.

However, it was networking on the part of Moore that landed the band the gig playing at the VIP Club before the Aerosmith concert.

Moore, who lives in Manassas, is president of Internet Ad Management, Inc., and a member of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

“The guy who manages Jiffy Lube sits on the board as well,” Moore said.

He told Moore that he would find a concert this season that The Fringe Benefits could play.

“It was getting to the end of the season and the only concert left that was classic rock was Aerosmith,” Moore said.

He sent off an email reminder and The Fringe Benefits got the gig.

“We actually have a contract with Live Nation which was pretty exciting for me. I went down in person to execute it and I told the woman, ‘This is going in the scrapbook,’” he said. “They book all the major concerts and major venues in the area.”

The excitement among the band members grew as the concert date approached.

“There was all this planning and then the day of I didn’t want to get involved in anything because I had a schedule I wanted to keep,” Moore said.

Moore and Mokarzel Smith ended up bringing extra shirts along with them since they couldn’t decide what to wear.

They arrived at Jiffy Lube Live at 4:30 p.m. so they could set up their equipment. Moore said the police were turning cars away since it was too early. When Moore approached the police officer, “I told him the famous pass phrase ‘I’m with the band,’” he said.

And that time, it worked.

“It’s pretty fun when you can do that,” Moore said.

The VIP Club features tables, chairs, food and drink menus in a fenced-in area as well as an hour-long concert before the headliner. It’s one of the perks for those who buy premium seats.

The Fringe Benefits played to their classic rock audience with some Pat Benatar, Eagles and The Police songs.

“We got a good response. People were into it and they were watching us,” Moore said.

After their performance was over, the band stayed on, of course, to watch Aerosmith.

“I got an email from the Live Nation representative saying we were fantastic and they hope to book us next year,” Moore said.

Not bad for a new band.

“It was great for us. Everybody was all psyched about it,” he said.

Moore said he expected having Jiffy Lube Live on their resume, so to speak, will be good for business.

“It has already caused a lot of interest. It’s been great publicity for the band. I’ve got something to tell everybody,” he said.

For more information, visit - Prince William Today


You're On My Time Now



Lead vocalist Julianna Smith delivers astonishingly passionate performances. These experienced musicians play Motown, 80's and current hits. The band members are friends. Their positive energy goes out to the audience (and comes back to further energize the music!).

Playing mostly covers, the band's performance changes and enhances the context of familiar songs in exciting ways. A woman sings Let's Get it On? Yes- like you have never heard it before!

The title track of the bands first cd,  is the original song "You're On My Time Now" hot # 1 on the Radio Indie Alliance chart and has all the characteristics of a rock anthem. 

Lead vocalist Julianna Smith interacts and engages a crowd as only a natural born "Entertainer" can. She has the rare ability to engage an audience including women as "her sisters". Lead and backing vocals from Teejay, Vinny and Bruce along with precise musicianship are the catalyst that set her free  to "own the stage".

Vinny plays great guitar leads that tells a story and funky rhythms. He has recorded with members of Frank Zappa and a grammy winning keyboardist. Teejay plays bass and sings many of the harmony parts as well as lead vocals As the musical director for the band helps us find the best ways to approach songs. Ed is the beat that keeps us together, controlling dynamics and tempos. He is the most accomplished member of the band having been on a major record label with his former band "Modern Yesterday" and held full endorsements from Vic Firth and Sabian Cymbals. Ed had the honor of recording a track on Salt & Pepa Gold Album "Brand New". Bruce plays guitar and guitar synth- opening the band to all the sounds usually reserve for keyboard players. You'll hear, sax, piano, organ, cello live and on recordings - all from Bruce's guitar.

Band Members