In the cleverly named Demo: The Album, White Plains band For the Hutch has made a surprisingly polished and catchy debut. Steeped in the East Coast punk scene, the group delivers a disc that is given to influences ranging from Husker Du to Urge Overkill to Ugly Kid Joe. Songs like “Opposite Tuesday” and “Bermuda Love Triangle” demonstrate a wit that is nonetheless backed by solid musicianship. While the liner notes imply that the band has more hangers-on than the Gorillaz (“Ben Jammin Fortney”?), one hopes that For the Hutch can stay focused and build off this respectable rookie effort as they head back into the studio to record their own Born to Run, Joshua Tree, or Rocket to Russia.
– Rob Kirkpatrick, author of “1969: The Year Everything Changed” and “Magic in the Night: The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen”
For the Hutch isn’t pretentious, brooding or artistic. They’re a no-frills rock band with driving grooves, big hooks and witty sing along lyrics.
The quartet is led by Mark who sings lead, plays rhythm guitar and calls for the crowd to “say hey” in unison. Joe plays lead guitar, adding a virtuosic layer to the two-guitar assault. Mike is the bassist, his calm demeanor contrasting his lightning quick finger picking and poptastic vocal harmonies. Liam rounds out the lineup as drummer, with booming beats and a dominating stage presence.
The band officially began in 2005 when Mark Intentionally recruited members of his former group, Team 13, including drummer/percussionist Johnny Rumbles, and started recording demos of old and new songs with an extended roster of local musicians and guest stars. Hutch was originally intended to be a studio-only project, but eventually a rotating live lineup, anchored by permanent lead guitarist Joey Balls, started playing out in the New York metro area. The original batch of demos, warts and all, was collected as “Demo: The Album,” released independently January 2008. “More of the Same, Vol. 1” followed in 2011. A live album, “Say Hey!” recorded in 2010, was released July 2013.
The current lineup of the band solidified last year, scheduling a one-state, one-show-a-month world tour and working on new material for the first time since 2010. Mark and Joe recruited their mutual college roommate, “Die Hard Liam” McKiernan, to play drums. Mike “Viv” Verdino, who had played with Mark in their high school band, The Cake Eaters, signed on as bassist. The boys are all from Westchester County, N.Y., the suburban county just outside of New York City which reportedly houses the most CEOs per square mile of any county in the U.S. None of the band members are CEOs.
– Press kit biography
Blog: How’d you get into music?
Mark: I remember being a little kid watching the scene in “Star Wars” where there’s that alien beatnik band playing in the Mos Eisley cantina. I knew from the moment I saw that scene what I wanted to be when I grew up: a Jedi. I’d spend my mornings trying to move the cereal box using the Force. That didn’t work out so well so when I was about 15 I learned to play the guitar instead. That was in the mid-1990s.
That whole Nirvana thing was big in those days and then came Green Day so pretty much everyone in my high school played in a band. All the members of Hutch these days went to private, all-boys high schools so without girls around there was really nothing else to do besides form a band. The only problem was since there were no girls we had no one to write love songs about or play them for. I had a thing for my calculus teacher but she wasn’t very fond of me I don’t think. I was never much of a calculuser.
Blog: What are some of your proudest moments in music?
Mark: For a few years we would have our own outdoor summer concert festival except it would be indoors and without any festival aspect. In fact, we’d be in small dive bars where we’d have to bring our own P.A. Ozzy had Ozzfest and Motley Crue had Cruefest so we had The Hutchcapades. Maybe it’s time to bring that back, except on ice of course the way we always dreamed it could be.
Blog: What cool stuff is on the horizon for For the Hutch?
Mark: We’re recording at this place in Bronxville, N.Y. called The Loft. N*Sync has done some stuff there so we are excited. We kind of look at ourselves as an N*Sync that no one loves and that smells like cheese.
– Excerpted from a March 2013 interview with Mark for a pop culture blog.