The Mystery Tramps
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The Mystery Tramps

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In two months, The Mystery Tramps have gone from playing the middle-school dance to in-store performances at Virgin Megastore and Newbury Comics.

That's not a bad start for a rock band whose members range in age from 13 to 16.

Despite its youth, Lynnfield quartet The Mystery Tramps come with a solid stamp of approval: Greg Hawkes, former keyboardist for The Cars, produced the band's five-song EP "Nowhere's End."

Hawkes happened to hear the band play and volunteered his time in the studio to work with the boys.

It helps that he knew 13-year-old guitarist Adam Amoroso's father, former record executive and actor Gene Amoroso. Eric Grava, 16, sings and plays rhythm guitar. Andrew Leader and Martin DiLiegro, both 14, round out the quartet, which takes its name from a Bob Dylan lyric. Its music can be described as upbeat rock with hints of ska-punk.

Now The Mystery Tramps' EP is arriving in stores - and so is the band. See it for free at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Virgin Megastore, 360 Newbury St., Boston; and 7 p.m. Tuesday at Newbury Comics, 240 Andover St., Peabody. - Boston Herald | June 25, 2005



Some rock groups don't last six months. The Mystery Tramps, a band of teenagers from Lynnfield, have been around for two years. The teens, who took their name from a Bob Dylan lyric, celebrate their tenure on the scene by headlining tonight's installment of the International Pop Overthrow Festival, which has been going on at the Paradise Rock Club since last week. The Tramps will play punk-inspired pop tunes that are reminiscent of Green Day with just a dash of Hanson. The show starts at 7:30. The Mystery Tramps take the stage at 11. Tickets: $10. - Boston Globe | November 6, 2006



At 13, 14, 14, and 16, the four members of the Mystery Tramps have better riffs than many people who have been playing music for decades. Kids today have it pretty rough in terms of musicians who understand and actually care about them. Thirtysomethings like Gwen Stefani and Blink-182 work it like they are still pent-up in the high school that is twenty-years past. The lads in the Mystery Tramps probably have a few Blink-182 records and may even dig the band. What they probably don’t know or even suspect is this: They are far superior to Blink-182, Sum 41, and all the other pop-punk poseurs. The reason for this is simple: the aforementioned bands may be able to put on a convincing show, but the Mystery Tramps know firsthand what kid-dom is like.

Nowhere’s End features five power-packed tracks that are part shaggy hair, part Converse canvas and rubber, and part what sounds like a generous and liberal dosage of Mountain Dew. The hyped-up sound of the Mystery Tramps is not perfect — there’s a little stick-clatter here and a little vocal waver there — but this only adds to the simple appeal of the album. Vocalists Adam Amoroso and Eric Grava team up in the anthemic “Giving Me Ideas,” declaring “I’m just a dumb kid in a world like this,” and their ebullient, don’t-give-a-crap spirit makes the listener realize that these kids are worth listening to. The songs on this record are devilishly simple. Most of the vocal phrases end on the tonic of each song’s key, and the one-note guitar riffs lead the vocals up and down the school halls, over to the Square One Mall food court to grab some more Dew, and finally out the door before the old people even realized what happened. (Queue Records)
Contact: www.themysterytramps.com
-C.D. Di Guardia

- Performer Magazine



It seemed particularly dark within the confines of the Middle East Upstairs, but perhaps this is a comparative statement; most rock shows don’t take place on a Sunday afternoon and most of them aren’t all-ages. Middle-aged men in leather jackets stood hip to shoulder with middle-school kids in cargo pants, who stood shoulder to midsection with the ragged ball cap college crowd. The kids enjoyed a slim majority and they were all here for one reason, to see the Mystery Tramps.

The Mystery Tramps, previously seen helping other bands carry their gear on and off-stage, were now carrying their own instruments. So fervent is their young audience that they actually groove on the sound check, nodding in time to drummer Martin DiLiegro’s drumming. Guitarist/singer Eric Grava and lead guitarist Adam Amoroso did their own pre-show adjustments, testing the height and angle of their mic stands by making singing actions and strumming an imaginary guitar. Bassist Andrew Leader made some small adjustments to his bass rig and sort of vibrated off to his side of the stage.

Once the band starts in on their energetic and poppy sound, people new to the Mystery Tramps realize that they are not just “good for kids,” they are actually just good, maybe great. Amoroso, donning his Sunday best Johnny Cash outfit, cut a confident, Angus Young-style figure on the right stage, ripping out leads on his red Gibson SG with such fluid grace that he made the kid from School of Rock look like an amateur. Amoroso confidently came right up to the edge of the stage for his solos, putting one foot up on the stage monitor and leaning out over the crowd as he teasingly held his guitar over their heads for the big notes. Over to the other side, bassist Leader was all over the place, standing with his legs splayed out and hair in his eyes while pulling off some impressive jumps that must make the coaches of his high school basketball team very jealous. To the rear, DiLiegro pounded artfully upon his drum kit, never missing a beat or changing tempo. Up front, Grava hooted and shook his impressive head of blonde curls, exhorting the audience in what must be the Mystery Tramps mantra: “Here we go!” Longtime fans and newly impressed members of the audience alike were more than ready to follow along.
- Performer Magazine



A few years ago, The Mystery Tramps arrived with their mix of 1970s classic rock pedigree and 1990s birth certificates. Their initial EP release, Nowhere’s End, was a success for all its youthful drumstick clatter and simple, ending-on-the-tonic melodies. Many have been waiting with bated breath to see what they’d do next, and the answer is the multi-pronged attack of Cure for the Common Misconception, the product of a few months in the studio with producer Stephen George, who has also worked on records by Ric Ocasek and R. Kelly.


The 10-track record seems indicative of a long time spent in the studio — in terms of both style and quality. There are some straight-up rock songs and some more dance-friendly tunes such as the bottom-heavy “Rhyme and Punishment” or the minor-key, skank-reliant “Too Late.” The group plays with such exuberance one gets the impression that they are playing music that they truly love. While the music isn’t incredibly novel, The Mystery Tramps are able to place their own indelible stamp on the sound. Originally rough around the edges, albeit charming in approach, the band has matured musically, as is evidenced by the solid sound of the rhythm section, with bassist Andrew Leader and drummer Martin DiLiegro locking down the rhythm. As expected, guitarist Adam Amoroso continues his barn-burning guitar work, ripping out leads in boomer “This One’s On Us,” which also features a visceral vocal performance by the ever-shaggy Eric Grava. The band also includes an updated version of “A World Like This,” a song off their first record. But whereas the original version sounded like it wanted to be patted on the head and reassured, the new cut makes it apparent that they don’t expect that treatment; rather they offer a smirking high-five to the entire world — a high-five that the world had damned well better return, because the Mystery Tramps are more than ready to take over. (Queue Records)

-C.D. Di Guardia - Performer Magazine | July 2007



By Jed Gottlieb
Friday, August 15, 2008

Rock ’n’ roll has always been teenagers’ music. So the Mystery Tramps, a crack quartet of high school kids from Lynnfield, shouldn’t really shock anyone. But as the band’s four members rip through tunes from their new EP, “We Are the Mystery Tramps” (their third release in less than four years), it’s the boys’ composure, not their adolescence, that’s striking.

Their rehearsal room - singer/guitarist Eric Grava’s parents’ basement - is roomier than local metal stars Godsmack’s space down the road in Tewksbury. It’s filled with oriental rugs, a comfy couch in the corner and posters of the Clash, Elvis Costello and the Mystery Tramps. Not really a garage band’s humble digs.

But these guys are way more sophisticated than a garage band. Next week they headline a “Rock and Roll Dinner Theater” show at the Hard Rock at Faneuil Hall Marketplace - a venue singer/guitarist Adam Amoroso’s dad Gene, the band’s manager, has helped them pioneer as an all-ages club; the Tramps have already played most of the other all-ages rooms in Eastern Mass.

“This isn’t School of Rock,” says Adam. “It’s not the Jonas Brothers.”

Instead it’s a highly polished blend of power pop and punk, the kind of music Green Day pioneered before the boys were born. And it’s arresting how faithful the Mystery Tramps are to the catchy pop formula.

“I used to just listen to perfect songs over and over again as a kid,” Adam says.

He means before he helped found the Mystery Tramps in 2004 at age 12.

“Then I realized I wouldn’t be satisfied until I wrote one of those perfect songs,” he says.

He’s come close with “Actors.” As the band runs through the tune, Adam launches into a solo that makes it clear what distinguishes the band from the plethora of other school-age bands. His guitar work is flashy but tight and economical, like a tasteful Strokes guitar break done by a new wave Mark Knopfler.

Rock kids this young shouldn’t know about artistic restraint or subtlety. It’s a characteristic totally out of step with their high school classmates. But the band members’ tastes have never really paralleled their peers.

“If I’m at a dance or a prom or something, I’m not really dancing to the bump-and-grind music,” bassist Andrew Leader says. “I’ll just sit at a table during that stuff.”

“For us it’s about great writing, not great playing,” adds Eric Grava, who, a couple of years older than the others, is off to Berklee next week.

Ignoring Top 40 beats and focusing on pop craft helped rack up some impressive achievements: an EP produced by the Cars’ Greg Hawkes, an opening set for the Aquabats at Avalon, a gig at New York’s Knitting Factory and being crowned champions of the WBCN/Berklee Battle of the High School Bands last year. Now Gene Amoroso wants to generate some national exposure.

With SATs to cram for and Grava headed to college, it’s a little tougher to get in the van and cross the country, but Amoroso has some weekend-warrior plans for the boys.

“We’ll at least try and get to Western Mass. more often,” he says. “It’s a start.”

The Mystery Tramps, at the Hard Rock Cafe, Sunday at 7:45 p.m. Tickets: $15; 617-424-7625. - Boston Herald


Discography

We Are The Mystery Tramps (EP) May, 2008
Cure For The Common Misconception (LP) March, 2007
Nowhere's End (EP) June, 2005

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Bio

“..a highly polished blend of power pop and punk..” — Boston Herald

“The Tramps...play punk-inspired pop tunes that are reminiscent of Green Day..” — Boston Globe

“The Mystery Tramps create not just quality music, but authentic and meaningful statements of youth.”
— Northeast Performer

They have been together for almost four and a half years. That's well into adulthood in rock band terms, even though lead guitarist Adam Amoroso was only twelve when he and his mates Eric Grava, Andrew Leader, and Martin DiLiegro teamed up to form The Mystery Tramps on Halloween night, 2004, in their hometown of Lynnfield, Massachusetts. They chose its name from the lyrics of a Bob Dylan classic (Like a Rolling Stone).

Before long, The Tramps began to infiltrate the Boston music scene, regularly headlining the key venues in town, as well as playing clubs in NYC. In 2007, they were selected as the winner of the 13th Annual WBCN/Berklee College of Music Battle of the High School Bands, and, in unprecedented fashion, all four members were awarded scholarships to the Berklee College Summer Program.

The Mystery Tramps recently released their third CD, We Are The Mystery Tramps. The self-produced EP includes six original songs, and, while clearly demonstrating the maturity in the band's songwriting and performance skills, it serves as a fitting follow-up to 2007's full-length release, Cure For The Common Misconception. Boston radio stations, including WBCN, WFNX, and WXKS, have embraced the music of The Mystery Tramps.

The band considers opening for The Aquabats and MC Lars at the fabled Avalon Ballroom in Boston; working with Greg Hawkes of The Cars, who produced their debut EP, Nowhere's End; and their time spent with producer/mixer Stephen George (Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Ric Ocasek, Chris Brown) on Cure For The Common Misconception among the highlights of their young careers.