Some of my favorite bands/songwriters/composers: Elvis Costello, Black Sabbath, Freddie King, Mozart, Thelonious Monk, The Monkees, The Go-Gos, Iron Maiden, Bill Lloyd, David Conte, Kenny Burrell, Telemann, Dave Brubeck, and about a million others. I was so incredibly fortunate that I was able to major in songwriting in college. It still feels like I won the lottery, just with tuition. Since it’s my thing, I’ve written a bunch of songs for friends in the business, over the years. “Town Librarian” was meant for the great Professor Harp, “As The Sun Fell” and “That Look” for James Montgomery, the instrumental “Play This, Pete” for Neal Vitullo, as well as songs for Black and White, Ted Stevens, and Erik Narwhal. We did demos of most of them, some pretty elaborate. Imagine how gratifying it was to hear these amazing musicians play my songs! Seriously, you’ll have to imagine it, since I never actually gave them away when we were done. I have a problem letting go, it seems. The good news is that most of these will be on the upcoming D.J. Lauria Band anthology, due out in November. Most of the artists named above are still performing (with the heartbreaking exception of Erik), so I’ll probably contact them all to say, “Hey, I wrote you a song twenty years ago. Wanna hear it?” At this rate, I might get one of them recorded before I pay off my student loans.
As I’ve assembled my discography for this new web site, I’ve been ignoring an obvious problem: none of the music recorded by D.J. Lauria Band is currently available for sale or streaming, anywhere. That’s a whole decade of my life, missing like the conscience of an investment banker. I’ve been putting off dealing with it for ages, but how hard would it be to fix, really? Thanks for asking! Here’s a Q and A:
Were those songs released digitally? No.
But the were mastered digitally, I’ll bet! Actually, yes they were. To DAT, or digital tape. Of course DAT is a format supported by literally no one, not even Sony, WHO INVENTED IT, since 2005.
Didn’t you back it all up? Sure, but… CD-ROMs from twenty years ago are often full of errors, or don’t load at all, or were written in a proprietary format that hasn’t been compatible with a functioning computer since Windows XP was a tiny, crying, cyber-baby.
You knew that someday Sonic RecordNow would ruin your life, didn’t you? Yes. And so did you, if you ever used it, even once.
With all of the cassettes, CDs, DATs, and even Zip disks (!) in your basement studio, did you at least have all of the material? Stuff was just plain missing. It took ages to track down our 1994 demos from Lakewest, so I was thrilled when I discovered that the case was empty. There was a cute drawing on the cover, though, so there’s that.
I’m committed to making these songs available, for the five or six people who would still care to hear them (Hi Mom!). Follow this blog for details on the restoration and detective work, and maybe even some giveaways!
After we had performed “To Belong” for the final time last year, Alycia Tierney, a rising senior (and Vocal Ensemble president-elect) came to me and declared, “I’M writing next year’s graduation song”. My answer was something like, “yah, ok, can we talk about it in six months or so?” As it turned out, we sat down with only a title at the beginning of April, and by the beginning of May we had this beautiful song finished, with a studio-quality demo and choral arrangement. It’s so wonderfully personal, with great details about her life, while being just wistful enough to make you miss high school and your friends, even if you’re not the one graduating. It’s one of my all-time favorite co-writes. The 70s Fleetwood Mac vibe was entirely intentional, and stands as a pretty significant contrast to last year’s pop-oriented arrangement. There are great background vocals from Colby, Jacob P., Jenna, and Sam, and, of course, that’s Jacob Lauria on drums. We were severely pressed for time the day we did the tracking, so I cut the lead guitar track in one take. Sometimes we make our own pressure for fun, I suppose. Released as an online single in June, 2019.
This was a fun piece to write, and it’s one of my favorite choral works, so far. It’s dedicated to Fr. Robert Hawkins, the former pastor at St. Luke’s, and was originally performed at his retirement mass in June of 2018. The title is taken from one of his best-loved homilies. It wasn’t easy to record, since we were so scattered (Caroline literally ‘phoned’ her part in from Maryland), but as always, the vocalists of Listen Above brought the words to life. It has also been performed by the Mt. Hope Vocal Ensemble, who featured it at the Providence College Choral Festival in February, 2019. Released as an online single in October, 2018. Please check our website for tour dates and more information about the band.
I originally wrote this for my own high school graduation, but was never totally satisfied with it, so it’s been rewritten countless times over the years. Someday I’ll grab all of the demos and make one (unlistenable) EP out of them. We had an amazing audition choir at Mt. Hope High School in 2018, and they inspired me to finally finish the song and write an SATB arrangement, which we then recorded and performed for graduation. It was the first official release by Mt. Hope Music, and due to the terrible events of that year, it was also used as part of a fundraiser to benefit the Stoneman Douglas High School victims fund. Released as an online single in May, 2018.