The Wag
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The Wag

Middletown, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | SELF

Middletown, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1998
Band Pop Rock




"CD Review 2: Ordinary Day"

The Wag's music as well as their attitude is just so refreshingly enthusiastic that it's infectious. Their music is guaranteed to get the most unrythmic foot tapping and even replacement hips swaying. And now, that charm has been captured in a new c\CD from the group, called "Ordinary Day". After spinning the disc, we've discovered how wonderful ordinary can be. - TriCity News

"CD Review 3: Ordinary Day"

This CD features four of the happiest Beatles-meet-Cowsils sunshiny-day popsters you could ever hope to encounter in a dank, smoke-filled, booze-stinkin' Jersey bar. Such 80's radio icons as Walter Egan, Holly & the Italians, The Go Go's, The Waitresses, Squeeze, and Elvis are fondly recalled on this infectiously upbeat collection. - Aquarian Weekly

"The Wag: Rockin' Out in the New Decade"

The Wag is a name to watch for in 2010. The Middletown, New Jersey-based quartet are not newcomers to the music scene. This hard-working traveling band have been together for over eleven years. They are seasoned professionals who have opened for a long list of rock and roll notables such as Rick Springfield, Ex-Monkees' Peter Tork, Jefferson Starship, and John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band twice at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. They continue riding the wave of success; making the rounds on local TV and radio appearances and playing in clubs, theaters and festivals. Their newest CD is entitled "Returning Traveler." It's their full-length follow up to their previous CD, "Soundtrack to a Silent Movie" on
which Alicia Van Sant graces the cover with her viewing a filmstrip with popcorn spilling on the floor!

The new album features the artwork of artist, calligrapher and cartographer Daniel Reeve, ( who is famous for his impressive work on "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy. Alicia and Brian O. were headed to New Zealand for a week for a "The Lord of The Rings" tour. Before they went, they e-mailed Reeve to ask him if he'd like to help them out by supplying the artwork for their new CD and he agreed! "We told him that we were an unsigned band from NJ, and asked if he'd like to help us out with our new CD. He said yes!" "We were very pleasantly surprised." "Another different and interesting thing about this new CD is that, there are a fair amount of acoustic songs on "Returning Traveler", which is great because we are currently focusing on acoustic shows." Van Sant stated.

With three alternating lead vocalists, there's a diverse feel to every song. The Wag features Brian Mowery (Drums), Alicia Van Sant (Vocals/Keyboards), Dan Corboy (Guitars/Vocals) and Brian Ostering (Bass/Vocals). The band will be filling up their calendar in the new year; currently on their schedule to close out 2009 is a Christmas show this Tuesday December 22nd at 7 PM in their hometown of Middletown, New Jersey, at the Middletown Arts Center.

Alicia is the only female member in the band. She said it has its advantages being a role model for female fans. "From the perspective of the four of us, I don't think it would make any difference what gender any of us were, as long as we could do our jobs in the band. "From an audience standpoint, there aren't many bands that are all male with the exception of one female, so that makes things interesting." She continued, "I've had lots of girls - little ones, especially - come up to me & tell me how much they liked seeing a girl singing & playing in a band. If I can be any kind of inspiration to a little girl (or anyone!) who wants to be in the arts, I'm all for it!"

Their unique sound has been compared to the likes of progressive rockers; The Grateful Dead, The Moody Blues, and ELO. Still, the band manages to maintain their own individuality. "I don't think we're a cross between any 2 bands; we have our own sound, that's for sure! When people ask us what style of music we play, it's really hard to answer, because it's sort of all over the place. We have some pop songs, some rock, etc. We kind of cover most genres."

Van Sant and Ostering met in college where she majored in music. "I come from a musical family. My bandmates were all previously in bands, and I know that at least Brian O. also comes from a musical family."

Ostering was already in a band at that time, but eventually that band split up and that's when they decided to start a new one. They placed an ad in the local paper and recruited current bandmates, Brian Mowery and Dan Corboy. So how did The Wag get its name? "Our guitarist's wife, Jen, came up with it. Van Sant explained. "When we first got together, we had a gig booked but still didn't have a name." "We needed one ASAP, but couldn't agree on each other's suggestions." "Finally, Jen suggested The Wag; and it stuck."

Each member contributes to writing and performing their music. There is no official band leader in the group, but they joke that Ostering is the top of the chain of command. "He does the bulk of the work as far as promotion, booking, etc." "Brian O. & Dan are the main songwriters. Van Sant said. She added, "Brian M. also writes, but his main thing (besides playing the drums, of course) seems to be arranging. I think my main strength is harmonizing vocals." "I have written bits & pieces of music & lyrics, but never a full song. As far as decision making, no matter what the subject is, it's democratic." "We vote on everything (which can be difficult since the band has 4 members!) and everyone has one veto they can use for each decision."

Van Sant is an avid Moody Blues fan. When asked who she would like the band to open for next, The Moody Blues were at the top of her list. "Any major act is great to open for, providing our music is complementary. My personal favorite is the Moody Blues, - New York Examiner

"Dogging The Wag On Local Tour"

Taking a look around the official website of the Middletown-based band the Wag is like an archaeological dig into local club history.

The names, nearly forgotten, reveal themselves one by one: the Fast Lane and the Moon Rock in Asbury; Hooligans in Long Branch. Birch Hill, Broadway Central, Club Bene.

The point being? This little organization called the Wag — this powerpoppy foursome who uses songcraft and a smile to woo and win audiences of radically different demographics and demeanor — has outlived and outlasted entire generations in this always volatile music scene. Along the way, they’ve built up a bit of a cult following, particularly among fellow travelers in the realms of veganism and geekdom (Star Trek: TNG’s Wil Wheaton’s even gone on record as a fan).

Celebrating their tenth anniversary this month, the band consists of three Middletownies — bassist Brian Ostering, keyboardist Alicia Van Sant and guitarist Dan Corboy — along with drummer Brian Mowery of Garfield. All contribute vocals to the harmonious mix, as well as other instrumental surprises.

The doggedly determined Wag roll on, with an-ages, all-free appearance this Friday evening at the Little Silver Gazebo; a sweater-weather surprise in the post-summertime great outdoors. Next Saturday, October 4, they’ll be outside at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft for the Monmouth County SPCA’s annual Dog Walk and Pet Fair — opening for Elwood, the World’s Ugliest Dog.

Red Bank oRBit flagged down Brian Ostering at his home in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown. Here’s how that played out.

At one of the many SPCA Dog Walk events they’ve played, this one in Red Bank’s “Marine Bark.”

RED BANK ORBIT: Alright, before we get any further into it, why the Wag? Is it the dog thing?

BRIAN OSTERING: It was when we did our first gig at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch; Jacko (Monahan) asked us what our name was, and we hadn’t even thought of one. Our guitarist’s girlfriend came up with the Wag for whatever reason — we weren’t sure we liked it at first, but we went with it and, well, ten years later it may be a little too late to change our name.

The wag of a tail conveys contentment.

It can be a happy thing, sure. And the Wag name has worked to our benefit when we play for the SPCA.

You’ve become very much identified with the annual Dog Walk event, plus Alicia’s a proud member of PETA — are you like the number one band among dogs and cats?

We’ve played the SPCA thing eight times — it’s a great cause, you know; Ursula from their organization is our contact there; they’re great people to work with and we’ll do it as many times as they’ll have us.

It seems you were very visible in the clubs a few years back, then you sort of kept a lower profile for a year or two. Now you’re back, it seems, in a big way, playing just about anyplace that you could set up.

We never did take a break. We’re trying hard these days to play once a week, but for a while there it got to once every two or three weeks. Now we’re making an effort to keep visible, perform more places where we’ll get different sorts of audiences.

I checked your schedule and you’ve been doing things like private block parties, fairs, coffeehouses…

We’ll play a library in Old Bridge, and then turn around and open for John Cafferty at the Stone Pony. I like getting jobs at fairs — Oceanport, the Monmouth County Fair, Thompson Park Day, the Clearwater Festival. I like playing outside; there’s a built-in crowd.

We’re family-friendly and non-offensive — all ages enjoy it, so it works for things like the Little Silver concert series. I would say that our audience ranges from children to people in their sixties.

Probably a whole different set of people than you’d draw at a club like The Saint. How about when you do a coffeehouse gig; is it acoustic or electric?

When we play the coffeehouse circuit, we’ll get a certain group of people who’ll follow us around from gig to gig. For those sets we’ll use two acoustic guitars, bass, percussion — no electric keyboard. Alicia’s picked up the flute for these shows, and our drummer plays ukelele and accordion.

On the banks of the Navesink — actually inside the Internet Cafe, one of many venues they’ve outlived due to healthy choices and positive outlook.

So it’s a radically different arrangement on the same material that you play out in your electric sets.

We mix it up; different arrangements of our originals plus popular things like Springsteen, the Beatles — we’re big fans — newer material from people like Jack Johnson, that sort of thing.

I understand that you recorded one of your CDs with John Noll at Retromedia Sound in Red Bank. How’d that pan out for you?

That was our CD Long Story Short — we were very happy with it. John offered a lot of ideas and help even though he wasn’t producing it personally. But we do have a home studio now — which is good, because it allows us all this extra time ins - Red Bank Orbit

"Middletown band takes on the Jersey Shore"

MIDDLETOWN — The Wag, a township band known for its upbeat, psychedelic rock, has changed its musical direction on its latest release.

The band’s third compact disc, "Long Story Short," is expected to be released March 1 on the Internet and in local stores such as Jack’s Music, in Red Bank, and Laird Stationary, in Fair Haven. "It’s a little different than our last release, which was mostly upbeat, positive pop music," said bassist Brian Ostering, Middletown.
The band’s sound expands from pop into blues and other heavier music on the new CD, said guitarist Dan Corboy, Middletown. "I guess this album kind of shows what we can do from one end of the spectrum to the other," Ostering said. "It’s a big sampling of what we can do."
The band is searching for a manager to help pitch its music to record labels, he said.
The band was formed when its members responded to an ad in a local music publication in September 1998, and played its first gig three months later at Long Branch’s Brighton Bar.
The group has stayed together by remaining friends, Corboy said.

All members contribute their ideas to the band’s music, Ostering said. "There is no leader," he said. "We all take turns at the reins and all have the same goal — to make music."
"And to ‘make it,’ " said keyboardist Alica Van Sant, Middletown. "Dan and Brian are traditionally the songwriters of the band," said drummer Brian Mowery, of Garfield.
"What I try to do is help out rhythmically and arrangement-wise, given the parameters put forth by the songwriters."

In August 2001, during Wag’s set at the Clearwater Festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey music legend Bruce Springsteen bobbed his head along with the rest of the crowd after playing a surprise acoustic set of his own. When Springsteen called for other local performers to share the stage with him, Ostering did just that. Then, Van Sant gave Springsteen a CD. She asked Springsteen to return to watch Wag’s performance, which he did. "It was exciting to play for somebody who’s been in the business so long," Ostering said. The band was excited when Springsteen told them he enjoyed their music, Van Sant said. "He was really nice to us," Mowery said.

The band has played more than 100 gigs at venues including the Saint and Stone Pony in Asbury Park and the Broadway Central Cafe in South Amboy, where the band will appear on Feb. 20, Ostering said.
It has been on television and radio, and has opened for national acts including Rick Springfield at the Stone Pony.
"We received so many e-mails from people who hadn’t seen us before from that show," Van Sant said. "It went on for weeks."

Since its beginnings, the band has become more focused on writing as a group rather than having one person compose its music, Ostering said.
"I think that gives us more of a Wag sound than an individual-person sound," Van Sant said.
Three-part vocal harmonies make the band stand out from the large pack of local bands in the Jersey Shore music scene, Corboy said. "I think it’s kind of a Wag thing now," he said. "We have three-part harmonies on most of our songs. That is a big way that we stand out from other bands."
All of the members, except for Mowery, sing lead and backing vocals. This adds variety to the music, with three different voices, Corboy said.

In the past three years, the band has been nominated for an Asbury Music Award, which is judged by local promoters, as best pop band. The band has received air play on Brookdale Community College’s radio station in Lincroft. The station played the band’s version of the 16th-century Christmas carol "Riu Chiu" on Christmas day.

Fans used to Wag’s upbeat sound may be surprised in future recordings and performances.
"Although we have a bunch of songs that are positive and upbeat, we do approach other subjects that aren’t necessarily as light-hearted lyrically, and we try to complement them musically as we see fit," Mowery said.

By: Josh Davidson - The Independent

"The Wag's Long Story Short CD Release"


Every local scene has their favorites, bands who make their marks and fans assume will eventually be discovered by the outside world. The Asbury Park area is fortunate to have a wealth of talented acts who build a following by performing at the Pony and other area venues, developing their sound and adding to its music legacy. One of the best young bands around, The Wag, opens for one of their predecessors, John Cafferty and Beaver Brown Band, this Friday, July 23. The Wag, Dan Corboy (guitars), Alicia Van Sant (keyboards), Brian Mowery (drums) and Brian Ostering (bass), have released several albums over the past five years they've been together as a band, and plan to release their latest this Friday at the club. The newsletter interviewed three members of the band about the new album, hearing themselves on the radio, playing our legendary stage and what they need to do to quit the day jobs.

The Stone Pony: You’re holding your CD release party here at the club on July 23rd. Start off by giving your best pitch for the new album to our readers. What’s it called, how would you describe the music and why should people have it in their cars and CD players this summer?

Brian Ostering: Our new CD is called "Long Story Short." We describe the music as diverse; it covers so many different styles. It's got rock, pop, blues. It's sort of a showcase of some of the different kinds of songs we can write.

Dan Corboy: "Long Story Short" is the next level of Wag. We're getting better at every stage of the process: songwriting, arranging, recording. There are many different styles of music represented here. We are known for our upbeat pop. That's still here, but now we are also showing our dark side (laughs) and our soft side; weird side; leave me alone ... oh yeah, and it totally rocks. Also, it really sounds good because we shelled for a good studio.

Alicia Van Sant: There's some "weird" stuff on there, too. It's a fun album! People should have it in their cars and CD players because it's different from everything else out there. It has songs you can drive to in your convertible down to the beach, and songs you can light the incense to.

Where was the CD recorded and how long did the process take? Does the band generally enjoy the recording process, and do you tend to go into the studio with fully-formed musical ideas that you want to get onto tape, or does the creative process take place in the studio?

Brian: It was recorded at Retromedia Studios in Red Bank. John Noll, the owner and engineer, also took on some producing duties. It took about a year from start to finish. We totally enjoy the recording process! You never know what you may come up with in the studio that you'd never thought of before, especially when you have "outside" help, in the form of the engineer.

Dan: Retromedia. It took a long time. The better we get at it the more we enjoy it. It can be very hard work. On this CD, the music was almost completely written before we got to the studio. The one we're working on now is definitely more fluid, and that is probably a result of a combination of things: the fact that we are more comfortable in the studio and the way we've been writing and arranging as a band more.

Alicia: We go into the studio with fully-formed ideas, but open minds. As Brian said, you never know what could happen in the studio. And John had some very good ideas and helped us a lot.

You’ve been very prolific as a band, releasing roughly an album per year, which is unusual output for a local group. Do you think it’s important to consistently have new music out there, and have you gotten more comfortable with the recording process over the course of the four albums?

Brian: It's important for us as a band to have new music out there, because it's what we love to do, and also for the public to listen to. It's also important to have fresh music for the radio stations to play, and to send to record labels in the hopes of getting that big break.

Alicia: We've definitely gotten more comfortable with the recording process over four albums; each time, you learn something new, and you try new things. That keeps it fresh, but at the same time, you're more comfortable with the process.

Dan: I love being called prolific. Yes, we are always writing and growing as a band and as individuals musically. Several of us are learning new instruments and we are experimenting with different styles of music.

You’ve performed at the Pony before, as well as most of the other important rooms in this area. Can you remember the first time you performed at the club, and does the band feel a connection to Asbury Park’s musical legacy?

Dan: Yeah, the first time was great because it feels like you've arrived. All our friends were like: "The Pony, Alright!" Alicia bought us all coffee mugs and every time I use it I think of - The Stone Pony Online Newsletter

"CD Review: Soundtrack To A Silent Movie"

The Wag - Soundtrack To A Silent Movie
2008, DABB Music

The Wag are troubadours. They meld themselves from song to song based on the style, tempo and mood. You can almost convince yourself as you listen to Soundtrack To A Silent Movie that there are several bands within the band. One vocalist sounds vaguely like John Linnell of They Might Be Giants. In all there are three lead vocalists in WAG and each could front a band of their own.

On top of three top notch vocalists, The Wag has some serious songwriting chops. If all of this talent creates a bit of an identity crisis in the sound at times, it's a problem that any band would be happy to have. Soundtrack To A Silent Movie opens with the funk-laden Everyday. Listen to it. I dare you not to tap your feet. You just can't do it. Already Gone has a Spin Doctors groove to it, with crunchy guitars and sweet harmonies. I Know Now is one of several favorites from this disc. Vocalist Alicia Van Sant is a presence with her powerful alto. Long Years is another personal favorite, and Everybody Said is a definite keeper.

Writing On The Wall has a J. Geils feel to it, and Barely Legal is a fun little tune caught in a 1970's time warp. Fear is an instant classic as well. This is one of those albums that is so wide ranging that it's a little bit difficult to classify. Listening through it I was a little bit on the edge of my seat wondering what style The Wag would pull out of their collective hats next. This is the same sort of enjoyment and mystique that followed bards from town to town in the middle ages. Soundtrack To A Silent Movie carries a sense that there's something magical to be discovered around each turn. The Wag are purveyors of high art in the form of some classic rock and roll. This album is a must have - A Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc!

Rating: 5.0 Stars (Out of 5)
- Wildy's World

"CD Review: Long Story Short"

The WAG are a four-piece from Middletown, New Jersey with three lead vocalists and penchant for pop purity. We’ve previously reviewed their most recent album, Soundtrack To A Silent Movie, and were so impressed we thought we’d go back and take a listen to some of their older material.

Long Story Short

Busting right of the gate of Long Story Short is I Got The Girl, an energetic romp through the world of a player. The Wag then jumps right into Snap, a delicious 1970's flavored rocker replete with poly-chromatic harmonies, a walking bass line and bar chords galore. Even Paper Cup, a country flavored acoustic rocker displays a distinctive energy and winking sense of humor. The WAG doesn’t take themselves too seriously on Long Story Short, and the fact that they had fun making this record permeates every song. Other highlights include She Hides, the southern rock influenced Ain't Nobody and the bluesy Record Man.


Long Story Short - 4 Stars (Out of 5) - Wildy's World

"CD Review: Ordinary Day"

Ordinary Day opens with Hold On (The Leaf Blower Song), which sounds like early Rolling Stones material. The song is catchy with a great melody and a killer bridge. Tonight relies on one of the filthiest guitar hooks you've ever heard and a strong 1970's feel. Often may be the most intriguing song on the disc. It starts out at sort of a drunken musical stumble and becomes a song that rues the breakdown of a relationship. There is a low-fi, recorded live feel to this song that might give a clue to what The WAG sounds like on stage. Far and away my favorite song on the disc is I Still Love You, a good old fashioned rock and roll tune with a 1960's flavor. Ordinary Day closes with Ballad #2, an optimistic song that might be fitting for a class reunion. There is an Americana flavor to this "What If" song that feels very comfortable.

Ordinary Day is a lo-fi exploration into the joy of making music. The Wag at this point were making music for survival and for fun, and both sets of emotional inertia are readily apparent. The live in-studio recordings are refreshing as a look back at the genesis of a band that in a perfect world would have their music played everywhere. If you want to get back to rock and roll made for the h-e-double-hockey sticks of it, then The WAG is what you need.


Ordinary Day - 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
- Wildy's World

"CD Review 2: Soundtrack to a Silent Movie"

Review of "Soundtrack to a Silent Movie," The Wag’s new CD.
David Hirsh for Bluemood © June 2007

The Wag’s new CD "Soundtrack to a Silent Movie" bends genres to their will and displays how the music of the 60's has grown along with us. This CD should be listened to, not just heard. When you listen to the CD with your eyes closed, you may think you are listening to the Continental Drifters (or Delaney & Bonnie or Fairport Convention, before them) not so much because they sound like them, but because they cover the same territory. The Wag is made up of versatile musicians and singers who clearly enjoy combining genres within one song and across songs. Part of the fun of listening to a band like this is mapping the pieces along with them; it is not easy to sound like a mix of Metallica and Richard Thompson, but the Wag pulls it off on “Fear.” Like the other bands of this sort, the Wag’s alternating lead vocals and harmonies add to the variety of sounds. The CD opens with a funky blues Match Box 20 reggae pastiche setting the tone for what is to come. Be warned if you demand genre purity in your music you will be disappointed; nothing on this CD sounds the same as anything else on the CD. They are a local New Jersey band. If you would like to learn more about the Wag or to buy their new CD, you can visit CD Baby, or through their own website:, or

In these days of easy access, it is easy to add this collection of songs to your collection - Blue Mood Reviews


Limited Edition - 1999 (out of print)
Eighteen Months - 2000 (out of print)
Ordinary Day - 2003
Long Story Short - 2004
Soundtrack to a Silent Movie - 2006
Returning Traveler - 2009
Merry Christmas from The Wag - 2013
Continuum - 2013
We Carry On - 2018



Got songs?  Got harmonies?  Got fun and unbridled enthusiasm? Then you’ve got The Wag!   Hailing from the Bayshore area of New Jersey, this 4-piece unit has been entertaining and moving audiences for almost 20 years but still sounds as fresh as it did on day one!   With 4 alternating lead vocalists, catchy melodies, and sophisticated harmonies, they will take you on a journey of pop rock delight!

“If the Beatles and the Cowsills got it on backstage at Ed Sullivan, The Wag would totally be their love child.”  -Wil Wheaton (Actor, Author)

The evolution of The Wag’s songwriting is evident on their latest recording, We Carry On. This full length release shows emotional maturity from a band that has several releases to their credit.

This upbeat high energy band are seasoned professionals.   Whether performing in local establishments or opening for national acts such as Rick Springfield, Gavin DeGraw, Phillip Phillips, John Cafferty, Peter Tork of The Monkees, and Jefferson Starship, you’re always guaranteed a ‘Class A’ performance filled with catchy melodies, beautiful harmonies, and exciting showmanship. The Wag has a monthly residence at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport, NJ, and within the few years, they have ventured out of their homeland to take part in multiple regional and international tours including Japan, England and Canada.  The Wag has also added an acoustic set to their repertoire, further diversifying their sound and allowing them to reach a larger audience.  They also perform Christmas shows and Beatles tribute shows throughout the year.

The Wag performs some of the catchiest original songs around, and also has an extensive list of cover songs and are available for any type of situation, whether it be coffee house, private parties, house concerts, or theater shows. Whatever the event, if you want a fun, exciting, family-friendly band, then you want The Wag!

Band Members