Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Bands from New Jersey

It was brought to my attention that since I live in New Jersey perhaps I should do a Top 10 Favorite Bands from New Jersey.  I never really considered myself as a Jersey Boy but I guess after living here for 14 years I probably should.  Hell, I only grew up 10 minutes from Jersey.  So I am going to embrace it starting now.  Here are my Top 10 in no particular order.

My Chemical Romance - I might actually be in love with this band.  I have been from the first time I heard 'I'm Not Okay'.  Although some of their final music bordered on stadium rock they could still brink the punk.  I enjoyed the progress from emo to punk to theatrical to stadium rock to punk.  They laced their music with metal inspired riffs and gave you a clear visual of their intent.  It was intense and inspiring.  During the Black Parade years even their B sides were made of gold.  I am sorry to see they are no more but there is still hope.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - This one is a no brainer.  You actually get a copy of Born to Run when you move to New Jersey. I didn't appreciate Bruce until my late 30's.  I guess I just wasn't ready for it before then.  He can paint a picture and make you feel passionate about it in 3 minutes. There are periods of his I am not a fan of but there are periods that I love.  Especially the new stuff.  His career has been relevant for decades and I hope it lasts for more.  My favorite era is still the Darkness on the Edge of Town.  He could do no wrong at that point.

Misfits - How can you go not pick a band that helped shape the face of punk rock music and be a major influence to bands like Metallica? Thanks to Glenn Danzig they created the sub genre of Horror Punk.  It wasn't just noise, it was good.  Real good.  You can still find their logo in every Hot Topic in America.  Glenn Danzig has said there will never be a Misfits reunion.  I hope that is not true.  I am not the only one who would love to see that.  Put down the Kitty Litter and pick up the Eyeliner Glenn.

Dillinger Escape Plan - Everytime I hear this band I think of my then 11 year old son's face seeing their energy on stage.  I had taken him to see Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan was the opening act.  They were all he talked about for the next week.  Their energy is unmatched and their mathcore sound is legendary.  I like listening to their music but if you can go see them live.  They will blow you away.

Monster Magnet - Stoner rock does not have to come from the West Coast.  Monster Magnet is my proof.  Their debut Spine of God is legendary in the ranks of Stoner Rock.  Powertrip is still my favorite and also got the band their first Gold record.  The video for 'Space Lord' was the perfect play on modern rap videos of the time and was also inspired by Dave Wyndorf's move to Las Vegas.

Naughty By Nature - C'mon, you know that you have waved your hands in the air to 'Hip Hop Hooray'.  Treach and Company brought rap with an edge and wrapped it in a pop sound with hits like 'O.P.P.' and 'Ghetto Bastard'.  The sound ruled the airwaves in the early 90's.  I was fortunate enough to see Treach perform in a small venue this past year.  It was definitely a highlight.

Dramarama - Ahhhh...80's new wave from New Jersey.  I am almost afraid to mention that their early success was originally if France.  Afterwards the song 'Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)' was picked up by legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer at KROQ-FM and it became an LA staple.  With their record advance they were gone.  From NJ to LA.  Their initial sessions produced enough material for three albums.  They lasted until the early 90's but their early 80's material brings back such good memories to me.

The Smithereens - Early on they were criticized for sounding like The Beatles and The Byrds.  I don't see it.  Sure, they have pop sensibilities but with a much heavier guitar sound.  It was pop with an edge.  You can hear the influence of Buddy Holly and Nick Lowe but you could also hear The Clash and The Who.  They had commercial success in the early 90's but they won me over in the late 80's with their album Green Thoughts.

The Lumineers - This band may be from Denver but its roots are in New Jersey.  When founders Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites started their career they originally moved to Brooklyn.  When they had trouble with the cutthroat scene...and the rent...they packed it up and moved out west.  They have a feel that is not always associated with New Jersey but I can feel it.  Perhaps that is why they are bearable and Mumford and Sons is not.  Lol.

Blues Travellers - You may be able to find all of their CD's in the dollar bin now but that doesn't diminish the music.  All that means is that everyone owned their CD's at one point.  They were able to take their jam band sound and successfully take it to disc.  I first fell in love with the song 'But Anyway' off of their debut.  I wasn't the only one as their first three albums went Gold.  Their 4th album Four went 6x Platinum and boasted the hits 'Run-Around' and 'Hook'.  John Popper and his signature Harmonica Bandoliers were known to all at that point.  Like everything else, sometimes a sound gets old. What comes around goes around.  I can now look back and enjoy it all over again.

This is my opinion.  I am sure will get some kind of flack for not listing Bon Jovi but I really don't care.  Everything is always up for discussion.  Tell me what ya got!!!

See you at the next show!



  1. I would find a way to get The Gaslight Anthem on this list but I cannot disagree with your logic.

    1. I think If I were to redo this list in 5 years they would probably make their way on the list. There is a good possibility they will make the honorable mention list!

  2. I'm a big fan of Naughty By Nature and I didn't have the slightest clue that they come from New J. Thanks for introducing me to some other cool bands too :)!
    Hope you're having a good week!


    1. Thank you Gita!!! I am binging on your blog. Have a great week yourself!!!


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