If you love something, set it free. Or, y’know, don’t.

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. 

Didn’t I used to have a band?!

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:

  1. Were those songs released digitally?
    No.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Public Therapy (single), 1998

“Public Therapy” b/w “What Is It About You?” was the final released single by the D.J. Lauria Band, and had a harder-edged sound than our earlier releases. The title tune is about talk radio, and how it was poisonous to public discourse. HAHAHAHAHA Twitter is laughing at me now. Old friend (and professor, may he rest in peace) Henry Gaffney raised a few sarcastic questions the first time he heard the mix-down: “kind of a long guitar solo, don’t you think? Well, you know your audience, I guess.” Then, later: “what’s up with all the French? Isn’t this a rock song?”
“What Is It About You?” has so much that I love: exaggerated lyrics, big guitar solo, intro in 7/4 time for no reason… Also, for some reason John S., in full Dr. Seuss mode, managed to convince a lot of people that the title was “What is it, a balue?” THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE HITS, KIDS.

Originally released on cassingle, C&D Records catalog #48-218. Currently unavailable, unless you ask for one really nicely.

You can’t imagine the captions this poster received in some of the places we used to play. You people are sick.

Satellite Pictures, 1997

Satellite Pictures collected our previous singles with three new songs for the D.J. Lauria Band’s first big CD release! (CDs were a thing at the time, trust me.) This was when we had the most label interest, and things were looking up for the band, until: Imago went belly-up, the guys in Worcester decided to put their money into online dating instead, and Global Media turned out to be a semi-scam. Typical music industry stuff. But, hey, at least we got a CD with the wrong track listing printed on it!
“Huddleston Pond” was a diary entry from an afternoon spent at a small park in Peachtree City, GA. The Providence Journal called it a ‘sweetly voiced slice of life’ in their album review, much to our delight. “Emergency Stop” was me trying to sound like Elvis Costello (yet again) by taking a metaphor and stomping every variation of it into the ground for four minutes. Which, no. On the other hand, “The Day Before We Met” started as an attempt to write like John Lennon, which didn’t work, but it became something else, pretty and sad, which did. The other songs had already been released on the exciting cassingle format, making this a sort-of greatest hits compilation, which contained no actual hits.

Originally released on CD in April, 1997. C&D Records catalog #47-193. Currently unavailable.

Time That I Forgot (single), 1995

This was a good one.
“Time That I Forgot” started as a songwriting exercise: I wanted to see if I could fit new words to an old, preexisting song, and then write an entirely new song from the lyric (I’ll never say what song I used for the template, and I’d be astounded if you guessed). Eventually, it became a beautiful bit of power-pop all on its own. It’s both defiant and hopeful, and I don’t think I’d really pulled that off before. I was humbled when it was chosen as an honorable mention in the 1997 Billboard Song Contest, and it’s still one of the songs of which I’m most proud, both for the writing and production.
At the time, I was playing an old Ibanez 12-string acoustic, the one from the 70s which, inexplicably, used a bolt-on neck. It had imploded, as most of them did, so we repaired it with a huge block of wood, hoping that would better support it against all the string tension. We were lucky enough to double-track it on this song before it blew again, for good. The Strats are doubled, too, and the whole thing sits on one of John’s finest drum tracks.
The flip side is “Previous Engagement”, which is pretty much one joke. Love the marimba, though.

Originally released on cassingle, C&D Records catalog #45-163. Currently unavailable.