Even for the time (1997) it was an old camera/VCR setup, and the video quality in a dingy, poorly-lit club was beyond bad. You had to bring a VHS tape and $20 in cash to get the sound engineer to hit record at that start of your set. On the plus side, though, sound was straight off the board and they took that part pretty seriously. Besides, it was CBGB, and we had no idea that we would continue to play there, so we really wanted a keepsake for that first show.
Considering how unlike the other bands we were, I something think that maybe this was the most punk thing we ever did: going to CBGB and playing a straight rock set in 1997. Clearly, the ska/DMB crowd had no idea what to do with us, but they were gracious about it, regardless. We got the recording, watched it once, then didn’t think about it again for years. John A. ended up with it and brought it to Oregon when he moved, where it ended up in a box in his basement. He sent it to me around 2010 and I promised to digitize it, so of course I threw it in a closet and forgot about it myself. When I finally dug it out in early 2023, it had problems: dropouts on the tape where the sound and video just disappeared. After some painstaking editing in Reaper all the songs were whole again and we realized that this was an album that deserved to be heard.
I only noticed it as I was putting the album together in March, but the set list inadvertently tells a story with the titles: Partners – We’re really not. Yikes, things are going bad, fast Day Before We Met – It’s over. Remember how we felt at the beginning, though? Huddleston Pond – Watching the people in a park on a summer day, trying to forget about it for an afternoon at least How Does It Feel To Be a National Joke? – Everyone needs to stop talking about what happened. Except me, obviously Time That I Forgot – For the love of Mike get up off the floor, already Public Therapy – Please stop oversharing. Please? Seen This Episode Before – DON’T GO BACK DON’T DO IT NOOOOO
The DJLB was a great live band and I’m so excited to be able to share a small piece of that history. Now if we could just get the video cleaned up…
Eliza Hope is an up and coming singer/songwriter whom I’ve known for a LONG time – she was a student of mine in high school, for starters. She has a really interesting mix of influences, with Lana Del Rey and Stevie Nicks at the top of her list, and a singing style that is unique and immediately recognizable. We started working on her EP towards the end of 2020. COVID-19 was raging, so we had several outdoor writing sessions in my backyard, with everyone socially-distanced so that we could unmask for a bit. “Show’s Over” was the first song from that batch that we finished recording. Eliza brought the original idea and the verses, and Jacob and I added the chorus and arrangement bits. We were so happy with this that we immediately released it as a single (impatience is an issue), but there’s a lot more to come and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Especially Eliza’s other former teachers, some of whom can’t believe her first single has an f bomb in the opening line.
“From the Inside, Out” is the first full-length album released by Mt. Hope Music, the catch-all for music published by our high school groups. Each of the songs were recorded at home, during the pandemic of 2020, and almost every one of the seniors in that year’s Vocal Ensemble took a turn out front, singing a solo. It’s a testament to these students and their hard work that this ended up being an eclectic, yet enjoyable, collection of music. The video for “You Love”, which was directed by Mark Bettencourt, was very popular in Rhode Island, and was used as the theme song for a fundraiser for the homeless and underprivileged, who were affected so terribly by COVID-19. Read the blog for the behind-the-scenes story of the making of this album!
Atlantis, At Last is the collected set of recordings by D. J. Lauria Band from 1993-2000. It brings together several cassette singles, the Satellite Pictures album, a few unreleased tracks, and assorted demos. It’s not even close to containing all of the music from that time period; we closed up shop just as it became cost-effective to record your own releases. Still, it’s great to finally have it memorialized, if for no other reason than that my kids will believe I once actually had a band.
Song info, in chronological order: Original demos and the “Barn Owl” single Recorded Jan-Apr 1993 at Lakewest Studios, West Greenwich, RI. Engineered by Jack Gauthier “Belinda”: Drums – Mike Stamp, Jr. Bass – Todd Stiles All other instruments/vocals – DJL Barn Owl”, “Top Cat”, “Town Librarian”, “House With Yellow Shutters”: Drums – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL Belinda was originally recorded with the Ted Stevens Band for their self-titled cassette release in 1992. We kept the drum and bass tracks for this demo, and re-recorded all of the rest. More info on the “Barn Owl” single
Live to DAT and the “Time That I Forgot” single Recorded Feb 1994 at Lakewest “Time That I Forgot”, “Previous Engagement”, “As The Sun Fell”, “Play This, Pete”, “Actual Condition”, “All I Need”: Bass – Todd Stiles Drums – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL More info on the “Time That I Forgot” single
“Another One Like Me” Recorded May 1994 at Celebration Sounds, Pawtucket, RI Engineered by a recording class, for practice (!) Bass – John Sundström Drums – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL
Satellite Pictures sessions Recorded Sep 1996 at Lakewest “Day Before We Met”, “Emergency Stop”, “Huddleston Pond”: Bass/vocals – John Sundström Drums/vocals – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL More info on the “Satellite Pictures” album
Public Therapy single Recorded Sep 1997 at The Music Grind Engineered by J. Brien “What Is It About You”, “Public Therapy”: Bass/vocals – John Sundström Drums/vocals – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL More info on the “Public Therapy” single
“Christmas Morning, 5:00AM” Home recording from Dec 1999. Remastered for this release, 2019 Bass/vocals – John Sundström Drums/vocals – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL I wrote and recorded a demo version of this for Mike Davidson’s All Star Christmas, Vol II (with Mike on drums) the year before. This was the first song I ever engineered at home, and it was a mess, so I’m particularly happy to have this remixed version ready for the twenty-year anniversary!
“Show Me An Angel” Home recording from 2001. Remastered for this release, 2019 Bass – Sean Finnerty Drums – John Andrade, Jr. All other instruments – DJL
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.