|Gian has a lot of cassette tapes from his childhood. And if you were to delve into the collection of tapes belonging to this half of the Gearhead Freaks you would find most of them to be compilations of music. Many different genres, flavors, styles all seemingly smash into one another.|
|Frank Zappa segues into Steely Dan which then turns into XTC. Maybe it's the Beach Boys that precedes a piece from the Blade Runner sound track. Or Maybe Monk comes after a Mary Poppins tune and Stravinsky. This is how I would like to put together an album. Always a surprise to hear what comes next he would say to himself. In even earlier days, GianÕs tapes would have mostly Jazz and Bebop on them. He was pretty convinced that any other kind of music was crap. His musical palette definitely opened up over the years, but this kind of snobbery did help in his jazz trumpet studies - in his high school and college years, he would go on to play with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Lionel Hampton and Tito Puente. This made his musical parents very proud, but the highs also made it difficult to study the Gregorian chants that he would need to memorize at Stony Brook University. Ironically, some of the songs on Giano's tapes belong to the other half of the Gearhead Freaks, John Tabacco.|
|John Tabacco is a composer and graphic artist who has made a living (theoretically) recording and mixing music for hundreds of musicians both locally and nationally.He has produced over 15 cds worth of original material, some of which surfaces on the Gear Head Freaks CD.|
|He is also a co-owner and co-developer of Sound Archeologyª, a cutting edge analog to digital process. His biggest achievement thus far is avoiding a 9 to 5 job in order to pursue the varied self indulgent musings he has planned for his musical universe. The Gear Head Freaks is one of those musings. Now in his formative musical years, back in the day when he wouldn't talk to many folks and refused to take off his jacket in mixed company, John would be locked away in his bedroom for days at a time playing all the instruments on his first sound on sound efforts utilizing a little Akai 1/4 track reel to reel. Or maybe he was gurgling water while jumping up and down and screaming to get the right effect. Who knows? No matter. The fact was that it was all the same to him.. It was all part of a bigger picture. Ultimately, having the same kinds of eclectic musical taste made it all the more tempting for Gian and John to work together. As time would go by, the two along with a couple of mutual friends and Giano's wife singer-songwriter Marci Geller would pool their resources and open a small recording studio in the house they shared called Sonic Underground. They all had hopes of making a living recording/producing clients, jingles, soundtracks and their own projects. Oh, Gian and John dabbled here and there through out their 15 year friendship, one song then became two and then three... before they knew it an album was coming together. Sure it was diverse, sure some of the pieces were called Nacho Collector or Aluminum Pennies while others were about aliens or unrequited love, but there was a commonality there. Each piece was becoming connected in theme or texture. It was all becoming part of a bigger picture. Still convincing themselves that this was for their own personal enjoyment they would continue forward just because they were having fun - a welcome change from composing the very structured local and national jingle spots they would write from time to time. Sure it was all fun and they didn't really care what the public would think about their indulgences... or did they? As a duo they would brave the Long Island folk open mic scene and test the waters. I don't know, some of these folks almost lynched Dylan for the whole electric thing... they are just gonna love us, Gian would say to his partner. They performed the maximum two songs they were allowed - one would be fun and stupid, the other had to be more grounded, Just to show them that we aren't complete idiots they would assure themselves. An overwhelming thunder of applause would later follow each piece. But it was the comments afterward that would give them the confidence to release what they had been working on. A long time folky would tell them how much she enjoyed them, some high school students in the back asked if there was a CD coming out... hmmm maybe there was something for everyone. It was full steam ahead from there to finish the CD. As their studio got more equipment it was able to satisfy some of the more grandiose ideas they had for the Cds production and some pieces were redone. Finally, the project is complete. The sublime (Simple Pleasures) gets juxtaposed with the simple (Good-bye). The touching (Lazy Lyla) flows into silly (Ordinarily). The fun (Roll Off Kabloona) segues into the bittersweet (Fantasies are Safer)...The more the listener immerses themselves in Not a Pretty Picture, the more the layers will be revealed... Rock, Jazz, Pop, Zydego, Samba, Parlor... it's all here somewhere and yet all of the pieces are connected coherently with a sound that is uniquely the Gearhead Freaks. Just like Giano's old tapes, it is unpredictable but one thing is for sure - Not a Pretty Picture provides tasty morsels for all.|
FREAKS. Not A Pretty Picture. Sonic Underground SUPS 1030.
Once you get past the rather graphic front cover on the cd, the music that unfolds is nothing like you'd expect. To be fair, I was getting myself ready for an earful of heavy metal, but it was not to be. GHF's are more like a
cross between Level 42 and Steely Dan, especially the latter. Gearhead Freaks consists of Gian DiMauro, and John Tabacco - that's it! The sound they produce here has you doubting this as it's a full and rich one. Because the guys have taken the time with this album, the results are better than your average debut. Indeed, the styles they cover, from jazz inspired through to rock, is eclectic and incredibly refreshing. Fifteen tracks with very few getting below the level of superb. Aluminum Pennies, Roll Off Kabloona, Lazy Lyla, Simple Pleasures and Goodbye are cracking songs and whilst, as I've already said, there's the general feel of Steely Dan (which is no mean thing) the Freaks manage to entice with a sound that is definitely their own. Hell of an impressive outing. More info, and sound samples, can be had at www.sonicunderground.com.
(Dave W), Modern Dance Magazine Issue #31.
Gearhead Freaks -Not A Pretty Picture
Freaks is the brainchild of 2 Long Island, NY guys whose collective musical
vision has no boundaries or restrictions. This CD is a total departure from
anything familiar or popular, yet it documents fragments of pop music from the
last 35 years or so ("Ordin'airely"), and that's what makes Not A
Pretty Picture such a damn good record. This 15 track CD is an eclectic
mixture of rock, pop, soul and jazz that'd make Frank Zappa proud
("Aluminum Pennies"). In addition to GHF's multitude of influences,
they show the capacity to arrange a near perfect song. With firm grasps on mood
and feeling and a keen sense of musicianship ("Lazy Lyla", "Down
Time") these boys from Lawng Eyeland hammer home singable melodies with
excellent precision a la Steely Dan ("Wherever You Go"). If you like
quirky music that has chock full of brilliance, then check out Gearhead Freaks.
- MikeSOS, Ear Candy
Gear Head Freaks - Not a Pretty Picture
One of the most ambitious, funniest albums I've heard since Zappa decided to die. But this isn't progressive, it goes all over the map, from the now to the 30s, from the dancing guitar of 'Keeps on Turning' to the weird start song 'Nacho Collector', from the beautiful ballad 'Lazy Layla' to the highly satirical 'Ya Gotta Retype It', about tv writers who have to come up with a great original idea before the song ends. Impressive album that makes Supertramp seem like a 1-song Oasis. 15 songs and 70 minutes, a full evening's entertainment. Especially if you try out odd ducks like 'Aluminum Pennies' first. Probably the single best cd I've heard this year. But you have to have a sense of humor.
Ben Ohmart, NZone Magazine
www.thenightguide.com by Liz Smith
Gear Head Freaks: Not A Pretty
Picture Sonic Underground Productionshttp
Genre: rhythmic jazz, ska, bossa, rock
"Not a Pretty Picture" is a wonderful example of Pop/Ska/Funk/Jazz music with 15 great tracks of dance-able, singable tunes. I love the energy, the harmonies, the horns and the percussion. I would like to see this band live. In the meantime, this CD is a great party album- an energizer. My son and I were disagreeing on what the album sounded like. Then we agreed it was a ska album especially after listening to "Aluminum Pennies" a highly energetic ska tune. But then with further listening to each track, the music took on a bossa nova beat and then I could have sworn I was listening to Steely Dan. Lead singer, Gian DiMauro sounds like Donald Fagan. The musicianship is very professional and tight, the complex harmonies are impeccable, especially in "Ya Gotta Retype It". If you like Steely Dan then you will like Gear Head Freaks. If you like music with a world flavor then this is it!
Gearhead Freaks Not A Pretty Picture By Terry Allen
Seemingly a duo based out of the US, Gearhead Freaks will certainly seem a little eccentric a name for a band until you heard their music & then it all seems to make sense somehow. Cross referenced in their bio, the band cite such earlier influences as Frank Zappa & XTC among a number of others & the end product is certainly a result of those influences as well as a definite style that seems to emerge as the album moves along. The band have an excellent way of surprising you with each new song, but there's most certainly a theme of underlying funk in the lower edges of almost all the songs, ranging from the opener "Nacho Collector" to "Ordin'Airely". The closer however, takes a different
turn, far removed from the more modern sounds & harking back to the old blues styles of the mid 1940s or so. One of the real surprises hear is the 3rd track in "Aluminum Pennies", which is a real combination of styles, running from the aforementioned funk style, to a real Zappa-esque speed / slow sort of feel. The pick of the whole album for my liking is the great "Same Ole Feelin'", which again returns to the good bass heavy funk that propels many of the songs here. Definitely something for almost any music listener here. For more information, write to Sonic Underground Productions, PO Box 352, Stony Brook, NY 11790, USA or
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