The Big Nasty
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The Big Nasty

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The best kept secret in music

Press


Westerly, RI
May 3, 2002
By Kate Stephens

CINCO DE MAYO: LOCAL BAND HEADS UP CELEBRATION
Determined to bring classic rock back to the musical forefront, and talented enough to have a good chance at finding success, local band The Big Nasty is scheduled to headline the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Ocean Mist in Matunuck, Sunday. Made up of members Joe Nigrelli (lead guitar, harmonica, lead vocals), Mike Thompson (drums, percussion), Phillip Agins (bass), Kevin Simon (keyboards), and Jason Daly (guitar), the band has been in the works for almost a decade, finally coming together in the current mix to begin recording CDs.

Working together the longest, Nigrelli and Thompson have been playing for more than nine years, dreaming about future success and putting together a foundation for their music. The duo hooked up with Simon at an Allman Brothers concert. About a year ago, they decided they needed an additional guitarist and began the search for Daly, who Nigrelli remembered after playing with him for only one night. After several months, and the fee for a U.S. Search, the Nasty tracked Daly down and convinced him to take a chance and join the group.

With the components in place, Nigrelli said, “everything was clicking, it was really incredible.” The Big Nasty, which has gained a following throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut, put together a demo CD featuring three songs. In June, the band plans to move to Texas in order to create a full-length CD. The five members, along with a road crew, are scheduled to move this summer and plan to stay in Texas until they complete a CD.

“We are 100 percent devoted to the music that we play,” Nigrelli said. “We all come from different places, from different lives. All we have is each other; that is what it comes down to. Despite the move, the band doesn’t intend to forget its roots. “We will be proud to say that we are from Southern Rhode Island,” Thompson said. “We have had tremendous support here. If we didn’t have those people, we would have given up already.” “We owe a lot to the people of Southern Rhode Island,” Nigrelli agreed. “I is all for them that we do this. We certainly won’t forget our roots. This is where it all happened.

MUSICAL INFLUENCES & STYLE
The band, which prides itself on playing honest rock ‘n roll, cites artists such as the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Neil Young, and the Grateful Dead as influences. “We are about classic rock ‘n roll. We are just trying to bring back soulful music reminiscent of the great rock from the late ‘60s and ‘70s. We want to bridge the gap,” Thompson said.

“We explore all sorts of odysseys of music,” Agins said. “We work with blues, funk, reggae – it’s all in a rock ‘n roll basis.” Nigrelli, frontman for the band and principal songwriter, puts together the basics for the band’s original rock, with the rest of the band participating in the final product. “No song would be complete without everyone’s input,” Nigrelli said.

“Everyone puts in their two cents for the final product,” Thompson said. Each musician assists in writing their instrumentation as well as critiquing and, if necessary, changing the original style and lyrics of the song. As a result, they create a song that illustrates the talent of the group as a whole. Playing with techniques of music, differing rhythms and beats, and adding their own unique style to the songs they create, the band puts together a sound unrestricted by a specific musical genre. They aren’t looking to make it as one-hit wonders or be known for a fleeting pop song.

“When I sit down to write a song, I’m not looking for it to be a pop hit,” Nigrelli said. “I’m looking for it to have that magical quality that sets a mood for the audience.” The songs are almost all about topics audiences can relate to in one way or another. “We want to play something that makes people feel,” Nigrelli said. “We write about life. We write what we know.”

LIVE PERFORMANCES
People definitely seem to be connecting with The Big Nasty, judging by the more than one hundred people who crowded Finbacks in Narragansett for the group’s weekly Thursday night acoustic show. With ongoing success found during their gigs and an ever-increasing following, the band’s goal is to play out, in front of an audience, at every opportunity.

“We play for people who want to hear it. We give great performances,” Nigrelli said. “You have to come see us to really understand.” The group, with a deceptively laid back and carefree demeanor, proves they are not only talented but know how to rock. From the very first chord, the audience is at rapt attention, dancing and moving to the music, cheering and clapping along with the band. Their energy is palpable and their love for their music, and what they are accomplishing, is obvious. Not only does the band make you feel, but they also share their feelings, along with their hopes and dreams, with fans.

Combining talent and enthusiasm with - The Sun


The Big Nasty
Whiskey Drunk
Viewpoint Records
By Troy Doebbler

Welcome back to the world of good old fashion southern rock and roll. Based out of Austin, Texas, The Big Nasty combines all the Blues Rock you can shake a stick at, and does it with a style and class you would only expect from the most seasoned of players. The easiest way for me to give you a taste of the band is to put Hendrix, Stevie Ray, a little Black Crows, and the best of the sixties in a blender and go to town. The licks are smooth and energetic accented with smoking guitar solos and a never wavering backbone that keeps as solid as anything you have ever heard in this type of music. With piano, keys, and harmonics a blazing, the formula holds strong and makes for some really good music. There is a lot of soul on this album, definitely drinking music based on the standards from the past, done with a new twist to keep the music alive and invigorating. From top to bottom this is a good kicking back record that will have you dancing at times, and crying in your beer at others, but good none the less to the last drop of the bottle. My favorite tunes on this disc have to be “Train Wreck,” “ Bad Luck Baby,” and the title track “ Whiskey Drunk,” all with their own pizzazz and character. All in all this is a good listen, so pick up the disc and check The Big Nasty out live, I can’t see how you wouldn’t dig it. For more info on the band hit them up at www.thebignastymusic.com.
- The Edge Magazine


March 2004
The Big Nasty

The true origin of the band’s name The Big Nasty is left to anyone’s imagination. Depending upon which band member tells it, “the big nasty” was either a crazy drunken Irish chef in a Boston pub called the White Horse Tavern they frequented in college or it was a sex-rated woman hitchhiker they picked up once upon a time on the turnpike. My bet’s on the second version. With blues, rock, country, gospel, and jazz running through their veins, The Big Nasty toured relentlessly throughout their native Rhode Island and into neighboring Boston and Connecticut throughout college. Honing their chops and packing clubs with their contemporary alt-rock influences mixed with quintessential southern rock fare, The Big Nasty developed a large, dedicated fan base that followed them up and down the coast of Rhode Island and Connecticut before they loaded up a truck in July 2002 and left chilly Rhode Island behind for warm n’ sunny Austin, Texas.

What are the names of each member and what they do in the band.

Joe Nigrelli is on lead vocals, guitar, and harmonica. Lead guitar is handled by J.R. Parks, who also contributes vocals. Bass guitar is Phil Akins and on the album, he adds some slide, acoustic, and mellotron. Mike Thompson manhandles the drums and percussion and Kevin Simon or “Dirtbag,” as we call him, plays a Hammond B-3 and anything else with a keyboard.

How did the group come together?

Four of us grew up in Rhode Island and J.R. is from Arizona. Joe and Mike first played together as teenagers in the small Rhode Island town of Westerly. We had an east coast surfer party band and we made a pact back then to stay together. We feel like we have been preparing for this moment for over ten years. Our youngest member is Phil Agins who was only a freshman in high school in Westerly when he met Mike, who was a senior at the time. Phil and Mike were both members of the highly coveted jazz band at school and the groundwork they laid in those early years provides for one formidable rhythm section today. College temporarily put us on separate paths, but Joe and Mike still found time to get together and jam as often as possible in Boston, where Mike was attending Berklee School of Music or playing in pubs and clubs on the Rhode Island coast. Phil was still a senior in high school when we went looking for a replacement bassist and we were soon this power rock trio we called The Big Nasty. We had been talking about wanting to add some roadhouse boogie-woogie keyboards to the group when we ran into Kevin Simon at an Allman Brothers’ concert. Kevin is from Providence, on the other side of the state and he and Joe had some senior classes together at the University of Rhode Island. They never knew they had music in common until the fateful day we ran into him at the concert. We asked him to come jam with us and he soon gave up classical piano in order to learn the Hammond B3, buying one off the Internet before he actually ever seen one. After moving to Austin, we wanted to add a lead guitarist badass enough to steal the show. We finally found that in Josh “J.R.” Parks, an Arizona transplant who answered our ad in the Chronicle. Twenty two year old Josh is an old hand on stage, playing with numerous rock and blues bands since he was sixteen. He was performing in clubs he was too young to be in without his parents.

What made you guys came down from Rhode Island to play in Austin Texas in 2002?

Several reasons. We were growing impatient to test ourselves in a more challenging musical domain and we were tired of the relentless harassment from the local law in Westerly, RI, who didn’t want a loud rock n’ roll band living in their town. All the band members began to be stopped daily and searched for drugs and jailed without cause and harassed. We chose Austin after deciding against New York and L.A. as too big.

Your music sounds like it would fit right into Austin. Have you run into any obstacles that were unforeseen?

Soon after hitting Austin we landed an opening gig for Pat Travers at the Back Room, played gigs on 6th Street, and even headlined at Antones. With all the guitar players in Austin, it then literally took months and months of searching to find the perfect guitarist we were looking for. Another surprise was figuring out that whether you make it or not in the music business, does not always depend upon whether you’re the best musicians or not.

You recently released your debut album Whiskey Drunk on Viewpoint Records. How did your CD release party go?

The party went very well. We were certainly happy with the turnout and the reception we received from all who attended the show. We were fortunate enough to play a great venue like Antones, and to have such great fans come out to support the release of our first disc. We’d also like to thank the club’s namesake Clifford Antone for showing up to the gig, it meant a lot to us.

Who produced Whisky Drunk?

Jack - The Edge Magazine


Kevin Simon, of the Austin based blues rock band The Big Nasty, was chosen as "Best Keyboard Player 2003" in The Edge Magazine's Readers Poll. www.theedgemagazine.com - The Edge Magazine's Reader's Poll


Discography

Whiskey Drunk
Viewpoint Records, 2004

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

With one foot anchored in Southern blues rock and the other boldly planted in sexy, sweaty, bad boy rawk—the music of The Big Nasty is a working-man’s answer to what is missing from popular music today. With four band members originating from Rhode Island, The Big Nasty has been performing together since high school, touring throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts and regionally throughout Texas since 2002.

Delivering a full-out energetic assault to the senses, the solid and powerful grooving rhythm section of Phil Agins on bass and Mike Thompson on drums provides the ballast for the powerful and moody sounds coaxed from the Hammond B3 organ by Kevin Simon. Powered by Texas guitar virtuoso Grant Weaver and led by energetic frontman Joe Nigrelli, The Big Nasty is blue-collar soulful rock for the workingman, who has lots of bills and too little pay.

Anchored in Southern roots rock traditions but fleshed out with pure rock n’ roll attitude, The Big Nasty’s debut album Whiskey Drunk was unleashed in February 2004 by Austin based Indie label Viewpoint Records.