I am a proud resident of Jersey City, NJ and I try and keep my finger on the pulse of whats going on around me. In recent years the neighborhood has grown up a lot. Restaurants, music venues, bars, clubs, shops, all these new locations sprouting up in what was once a somewhat seedy downtown. When I first moved to town a blogger named Lynn Hazan was just starting out. She saw my work and sent some note of appreciation. She told me she'd dropped out of the corporate grind and planned to grow her blog until she could cover everything that was happening in Jersey City and make a living at it. It seemed like a stretch of imagination but she never doubted herself for a minute. She began hiring me to profile business owners and artists. She introduced me to a lot of the local players including the Mayor, Stephen Fullop. The whole story of my working relationship with Lynn will most likely be a topic for another post. Most recently, however, she asked me to start contributing content to her blog on a regular basis covering rock music, events, and artists. Since this is something I do in both my professional and personal work I did not balk at the opportunity to highlight some of my friends and colleagues in this local realm. In fact, I told her there was a show coming up that weekend and I'd like to produce an acoustic performance video to promote that show. We shot 2 days later, i edits that night and this became my first contrition as a rock journalist at Chicpeajc.com.
Here it is below in its entirety as it appeared on chicpeajc.com on March 3rd, 2017:
ROCKY AND THE CHAPTER
You Are Not Mine Ep Release Promo
Written by Greg Pallante
Rocky Catanese a singer and songwriter in a band called Rocky and the Chapter. They will be celebrating their latest release ‘You Are Not Mine” this Saturday at Porta in Jersey City.
The night I met Rocky six years ago he was wearing some sort of fedora. Thats the first thing I noticed about him. I had just formed a band and I was trying to do the thing the kids do when they haven’t been active in any sort of music scene for a few years. I just started calling and messaging bands that I knew were local, active, moderately talented, and most importantly willing to call me back. Rocky had recently become the singer of the New Brunswick Post-Punk band Let Me Run. Only I didn’t know that when I asked them to come play a show in Clifton I was putting together.
I’m a product, or more accurately, a by-product of the northern New Jersey bridge and tunnel punk rock universe. In no way am I immune to the toxic romance of the scarlet underground but I also wouldn’t consider myself well informed when it comes down to what’s happening in Hub City. They did call back which was surprising since they didn’t fit into the “moderately talented” category. They fell into the “probably too talented to play this show” category and they agreed to play anyway. In the four years they’d been a band to that point LMR had an inordinate amount of lineup changes, including three different singers. So, when I saw the dude in the fedora I had no idea he was in the band, but he was a real sweetheart, sang his ass off, and told me what kind of tea was the best to drink when my throat was sore.
Over the course of the next few years we’d ply with a bunch of bands regularly and we all became fast friends. We’d book shows for and with each other anywhere we could. Rocky became the manager of the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, and with a little help from show promoter Andy Diamond, the venue remained home base to an army of thirsty young adults with an affection for guitars, bass, and drums played loudly. Good times were had and lasting friendships were formed. When LMR split in 2014, the send off was epic. I can still taste the blood sweat and tears. Thats not a metaphor.
Not long after that the Court Tavern would hire new management and quite frankly never recover from that decision. The place is still open today but the spirit is gone. At least until this point, they might as well have lit a match. And though that chapter of our lives was over Rocky just kept on writing music without hesitation. He’s one of those people for whom its not a choice. If a song writer is lucky the ideas will keep coming and if he’s talented he’ll be able to make sense of them before the bottleneck. Apparently he is both of these things. He soon began performing as a solo artist and put together a backing band of friends. That ‘backing band’ he put together has since morphed not only into a unified entity but a well oiled machine that spits out often melancholy yet always dynamically arranged rock songs. As the pieces came together Rocky and The Chapter was born and they haven’t slowed down since. If I had a nickel for every record they’ve put out in their two year existence, I’d have enough money to… play a game of pac-man (thats five). When not touring with his own band he’s usually on tour as part of the road crew for bands like God Forbid, Radiohead, and Tokyo Police Club.
Like Rocky himself, ‘You Are Not Mine’ is a part of a greater whole. “It is the second in a series of three EPs” Rocky explained, “The whole series is called the “Ours” project. Each EP identifying a point of view, like first second, third, person. First we released ‘Aye’ in August of 2016 and “You Are Not Mine’ is a lot about two person relationships whether they’re friendly or romantic. I kind of like that being the record that’s the second person, the ‘You’. And it kind of just fell that way, ya know? Along with the notion that this project required a lot of (collaboration) with the band that wasn’t there when I started. I keep saying with every record ‘this is not mine this is ours’. Meaning its not only the thing I put all my heart into but the band puts a lot of heart into and its something that I want to share with everyone and have them hopefully connect with the stories and the feelings we put into songs because that is the ultimate goals of what I’m doing.”
If you maintain any kind of routine that involves seeing live music at small to mid-sized venues, you know that they are constantly closing and opening in one place or another. While many lament that Jersey City may not be the proverbial secret garden it once was for rock music, more and more businesses, restaurants, and shops are deciding to host live acts and bands like Rocky and The Chapter are finding their way here. Porta has become one of those venues that bands like The Chapter can count on. They recently moved the stage from the dining room to the downstair bar and for me the vibe is an exponentially better fit. Don’t take my word for it, come out grab a cold one ( Is Alan Cano working? ) and see for yourself.
Check the release party for Rocky and The Chapter’s new EP ‘You Are Not Mine’ this Saturday March 4th at Porta Pizza in Jersey City.