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Sicboy Bio

Sicboy
Band members
John Tate - vocals
Ant Valenzisi - guitars
Larry Settembrini - guitars
Drew Trudeau - bass
Chris Trudeau - drums

Genres

To understand the history of a band it is crucial to understand where they come from and who they are. There is a place called Stamford, Connecticut, a place whose only claim to fame at the moment is being the birthplace and home to the WWF (or WWE as it is now known). Stamford is in the southwest corner of Connecticut. It's about a forty-five minute drive outside of New York City. Stamford is very much a "little America." It's got a little bit of everything. It has a city, a middle-class suburb, a ghetto and enough mansions to make Hollywood proud and Greenwich jealous. Its landscape is made up mainly of trees and a coastline that sits on the Long Island Sound. But basically where there isn't developed property, or buildings, there are trees. The highways that run straight through Stamford make up its divide, like north and south boundaries. The people of Stamford are as diverse as its physically divided neighborhoods. Its diversity makes it a great place to live, but a hard place to make ends meet (since the cost of living is greatly effected by the popularity of Fairfield County and its rich and famous), and currently it's an impossible place to grow as a band. Stamford has no direct avenues for the arts, no music venue for all ages, and caters to the denizens of dance clubs and Irish pubs. But within Stamford there can be found a few inklings of original live music, where a few small bars have opened there doors, and if one cared to walk through them, inside you'd find a wealth of young talented bands that stretch the gamut of music. One of these bands goes by the name Sicboy and this is their tale.



Its safe to say Sicboy is a reflection of their environment. Sicboy is as diverse as the place in which they grow. And they are as complicated as life has proven to be in a place where the average household income is way above average and steadily increasing. There have been no handouts for Sicboy and they expect that the only way they'll ever make their dreams a reality is to work as hard as possible, and keep the dedication a constant.



They dream to take their music to the forefront and they have all the confidence they can. Its all about time, dedication and hopefully a few lucky breaks.



Starting Line



Sicboy unofficially formed in 1995. The early state of the band was comprised of Chris Trudeau on drums, brother Drew Trudeau on bass and a friend Kevin Jones, on guitar. This early trio was the roughest form but the earliest evidence of the band. It was not long until the band found their next addition, Drew met Anthony Valenzisi through mutual friends and began jamming on the side, soon thereafter adding Anthony into the mix as a second guitarist. They tried out a couple of singers, but no one that ever truly worked out. Kevin soon left the band for personal reasons, ending the pre-Sicboy era. Its safe to say the early days were basically a trial and error period, where the band tried to sort out their style of music, figured out how a band works as a team, and got a grasp of the writing process.



And They're Off



It wasn't until 1996 that Sicboy grew out of its infancy. John Tate, an old friend of Chris' picked up the mic for Sicboy, and thus finally gave the band a voice. That year was one filled with a lot of growth. Chris and Drew were still growing with their instruments, Anthony was learning to adapt his alt-rock/blues influences with the band's heavy rock style, and John was semi new to singing after spending much of his youth playing bass for garage bands. Sicboy was a bit disheveled at first but things soon began to gel.





They practiced relentlessly, four times a week for countless hours, not including the time the band spent individually working on the band. John spent a great deal of his own time working on lyrics and vocals, and recording over songs the band put to tape. The other members constantly worked at their instruments and continued writing music whenever they had a chance. Their earliest tracks "Channel 14" and "Closet" were loose but gave hints to where the band was headed. The sound was dissonant yet melodic and showed a diverse range of sounds, Anthony's distinct guitar tone was set against a simple aggressive rhythm brought about by Chris' drumming and Drew's bass. John topped the songs off with vocals that were raw and youthful, with abstract lyrics which would become a reoccurring theme.



A Tangle in Webs



Around the same time that the band began to emerge musically Chris and Drew also began on what would become the sole form of promotion for the band, their website. The band's website has remained an intricate part of Sicboy's voice. Since its early premature days the website has always been their main source of communication between them and their fans. Chris and Drew have teamed up to create every website the band has used, with additional help from friends and band mates. Chris focuses on the html, coding, and structuring of the site, while Drew designs the layout, graphics and overall look. The website has come to grow with the band's music, constantly becoming more mature, classy and professional. The fans have come to rely on the website for the wealth of information and music that the band has made accessible through it, so it is very important to the band that the website is constantly up-to-date.



Hitting the Streets



The first shows that the band ever did were at friend's parties. Their first show ever was performed acoustically because of uptight neighbors who would have surely complained of noise, safe to say the performance was fun and one they're not likely to forget. The band began performing around the Connecticut area on a more official/professional level in late 1996 making jaunts all over the state playing small clubs, teen center shows and mini-festivals. Throwing in the occasional cover song, the band slowly but surely began to write more and more songs incorporating various influences and styles, eventually finding a voice of their own. A close friend of John's, Rick, entered the fray, and played rhythm guitar with the band for several months before moving out to LA to pursue musical interests out there. The addition of a second guitarist was something the band had always toyed with, it gave Anthony more flexibility to be experimental and added a darker tone to the rhythm. Shows were more or less met by the audience with interest, but hesitation because of the rather unique dissonant sounds eminating from Ant's guitar, and the abstract way the songs were created and performed.



For the Record



The band holed up in a local studio, the Carriage House, in April of 1998 to record a professional demo under the guidance of engineer Andy Katz, and laid down 4 tracks. This would become the band's ‘calling card', as they shopped it around, handed it out, sent it to local stations and into the hands of anyone who cared to give it a listen. The recording process was something the band would come to fall in love with. Being at the Carriage House gave the band its first taste of a professional studio and instantly began a love affair between the band and the process of putting music to tape. Sicboy has spent a great deal of their time recording, they record during practices whenever they can with the guidance of Anthony, who also wishes to pursue a career in the recording industry. Recording their first demo was a unique experience, and if given the chance, an experience they would like to repeat countlessly.



Tora, Tora, Tora



In early 1999, the band caught the attention of a fledgling independent label, Attack Records, out of Toronto, Canada. After submitting several demos, the band signed a recording contract and began making preparations for recording their first album. The band began to work relentlessly in putting together a collection of songs from their existing material, as well as writing new tracks for the album. The band was antsy in getting ready for the big trip up to TO, but made the necessary preparations for the ‘big trip'… and made what would be a very exhausting trip. After a long 12 hour drive with a Uhaul trailer full of gear in tow, the band arrived in Toronto in late August 1999, and began their recording session at Phase One Studios. Working with new found friend, Darius Szczepaniak serving as head engineer on the project, and Mark Berry handling production alongside the band, Artificial Flavors began to take shape. The band was blown away by the studio, one of the best in North America, and had their run of the place for a month, fine tuning the 11 tracks that would make up the album. The band had an incredible experience, not only in the studio, but also spending time in another country, that although not too different from the States, was still pretty different in the sense of its attitude, good nature and lack of diners. The band performed a showcase at the ‘legendary' Lee's Palace midway through their recording sessions, as well as doing their fair share of sight seeing and hanging out with the engineering staff on the project. It was an exciting time for the band, any lack of energy or enthusiasm was never an issue. Again the band's love for recording grew, as did their knowledge of the recording process. The production of the record was ultimately left in the hands of the band, which says something of its rawness and looseness, but there is a great deal of unadultered soul on the record, inhibited by youth and wrecklessness, a record that needed much more promotion and attention than it received.



Do or Die



As recording began to wrap up, Drew and Chris had to head home due to ‘work constraints', while Ant and John remained up in Toronto for another week, working with Darius on the final mixes. The album was finally finished and sent off to Sony in NYC for mastering. Now, since Attack was a small independent label, the album was met with all sorts of release date delays, and production delays etc., but it was finally released in October 2000 in North America. And the band was finally relieved, as well as excited to see it out on store shelves. They finally had claimed their little place in the record shops of North America. The band continued to play around the Northeast, opening up for a ‘national act' here and there, as the label continued to push their first single ‘Myself' to radio, getting an occasional spin. The albums future was/is ultimately decided by the mighty dollar and how many you can put behind it, it is yet to be seen whether it'll ever get the attention it deserved. Nevertheless, the band trooped on, promoting themselves via the internet and their street team. Sending out stickers, samplers, selling t-shirts and the album wherever and whenever they could. The band also recognized the fact that they needed to build on their existing sound, adding dimension.



Calling All Friends



One of the band's close friends, Todd Emmerson, did a tremendous amount of work with the band on the promotional side of things. Working on professional show posters and web graphics that gave the band a unique and jaw-dropping presentation, Todd was able to give a unique visual style to the bands promotional angle, which complimented the band's distinct sound. Todd, also had a great interest in the turntables, and the band would occasionally jam with Todd. Todd was quite a unique character, with a warped sense of humor, and odd selection of records that he would incorporate into the band's existing material. Todd's friendship and place in the band began to grow. During this time, the band began to jam with an old friend of John's, Larry Settembrini. Who happened to be in the Boy Scouts with Anthony as kids, and worked with Drew at a grocery store as teenagers. Larry brought his metal tinged influence to the band's music, helping to solidify the rhythmic backbone of the band, which allowed Ant to become more experimental. As the band started to rehearse more and more with Todd and Larry, it was time to take the show on the road, and the band began to play out as a 6 piece. The band also started to gain a little more attention in the local press. Featured in stories in the Connecticut Post and Fairfield Weekly, the band finally started to feel like they were making headway in an area that wasn't entirely supportive of original music. More and more people started to show up at shows and the response was increasingly enthusiastic.




Crossroads


As the summer of 2001 began to approach, the band felt it was time to start hunkering down and write. This was a turning point for the band because it meant writing new material with two new people for the first time. Needless to say, creative differences were starting to run rampant, and the band was not moving forward smoothly in a creative manner, and some original band members did not take well to change. Drew and Ant found it hard pressed to make the turntables an intricate part of the band. It became a frustrating process incorporating Todd's




unique instrument and style into the new material. Being one of the most difficult decisions the band has ever made, and knowing that he was a close friend, they decided to part ways with Todd. Todd was a crucial part of the band's evolution and he taught them a great deal about professional quality promotion. Their flyers will never look as good, nor will some major artist's concert posters, and that alone speaks volumes about Todd's artistic talent, unrivaled.



A Fresh Start



Now as a 5 piece, Sicboy is ready to move forward and start serious writing. With twelve new blistering songs under their wings, they have no intentions of stopping. Allowing Larry's creative influence to shine, the band's new music begins to take on a new shape, while still retaining that odd, dissonant sound, mixed in with John's back and forth melodically subdued and aggressive vocals. The band is finally beginning to feel comfortable and enthusiastic again, and a flood of new ideas and drive begins to take hold. The band began to play out more again adding new music to the sets that was well received, but more importantly the band is happy with and excited to play. Now, in 2002, Sicboy plans to work independently, again with Darius, this time as producer, and as they fine tune their new batch of songs and plan to record a new demo/EP over the summer, with the eventual hopes of recording a full length album in the near future. But one step at time. You could say the band has come full circle, getting back to its roots, writing music and loving it. It's always been about the music, being unique and original. Not changing for anyone… or any label, just themselves.



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