Local Band Network Member Since: June 27, 2007
Last Update: June 27, 2007
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Wisdom. Supposedly it comes with age. A lot of times, it does -- especially in music. But once in a blue moon a young band comes along that throws listeners for a loop and raises the question, “how can they possibly sound so experienced already?”
For the Capitals, age really is just a number. Though half the band hasn’t even reached legal drinking age yet, you still won't believe your ears -- that you’re not listening to a group of old, seasoned pros.
For starters, the band has already been playing together for a decade. That’s right -- do the math: friends since they were 3 years old, Nick and Pete Zamniak literally goo-goo’d and ga-ga’d together with John and Jay Pritchard, sharing all manner of formative experiences before they could even speak and before picking up instruments at the ripe old age of 9.
At that time, like many listeners their age, the boys didn’t even know what a bass guitar was. Luckily, the Zamniaks’ dad was there to recommend they listen to Paul McCartney. The elder Zamniak’s tip would set both sets of brothers on an obsessive Beatles kick that would later blossom into winding basslines, song structures with sophisticated changes to match them, and intricate harmonies.
The strange (and striking) thing is that -- even as the brothers went from devouring the Beatles to the entire Led Zeppelin catalog, then the Pink Floyd catalog, etc., the Capitals sound doesn’t overtly exhibit any of those influences. They're in there somewhere, but they add up to a whole hell of a lot more. That's not only because the Capitals don’t feel free just ripping off hallmark bands the way so many others do so, but because they have originality and inspiration to burn.
In fact, by the time the Pritchards and Zamniaks got to high school, the Capitals’ unmistakable musical telepathy had already started to rear its head. James Steele, a jazz/marching band teacher at their school -- Medina H.S. outside of Rochester, NY -- played a key role in the Capitals' development. “He taught us the fundamentals of musicianship,” says John. Steele helped them hone their grasp on concepts like building dynamics and condensing arrangements. Essentially, he taught them how to rehearse with focus.
Fast-forward to 2004, when esteemed producer Jeff Glixman (Allman Bros, Kansas, Gary Moore, etc.) also heard that intangible thing in the Capitals’ sound that says “this band is like no other.” (Glixman, in fact, came up with the band name.)
You expect a certain symbiosis and unspoken groove between two pairs of brothers -- especially if their bond pre-dates speaking. But even that can’t explain how the Capitals successfully blend signature sounds from three or even four decades and come up with something entirely their own.
While the band cites aforementioned rock monoliths like the Beatles and Zeppelin, they somehow channel the power, raw energy, and trailblazing inspiration of difficult-to-classify acts from that critical hinge period between the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, when the boundaries between musical styles seemed to be melting away and new styles abounded -- bands like Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the J Geils Band, John Cougar, the Small Faces, etc. Additionally, the Capitals throw straight rock and roll, roots and country, psychedelia, and even soul in the mix.
Here, the band's wisdom comes into play in spades. Check out the harmonic finesse and supple shifts in "Eight Times" -- things you might not notice because the song is so infectiously catchy and rockin'. Or the sobering lyrics in "White Lies," where the narrator -- who sounds like he's been around the block in ways that 20 just shouldn't know about -- comes to grips with a deteriorated relationship.
And there's an engaging (but not heavy-handed) sense of humor at play as well -- another aspect of the music that doesn't seem to fit with the band's age. What band -- in any age group -- could pull off a kickdrum fill as a hook with the smart-ass panache that the Capitals do on "Falling Apart"? Answer: not many.
Right now, with songs like “Eight Times” and “Falling Apart” in their back pocket -- and many more songs up their sleeve -- the Capitals stand poised to cause a minor earthquake in rock and roll. And the band is in good hands. Rather than mold the band's sound into what someone else thinks it should be, producer Robert Blackburn wants to allow the Capitals voice to grow organically, naturally -- on its own time. "I'm not interested in making their Sgt. Pepper's now," says Blackburn, "but I know they have one in them."
That may be so, but the Capitals clearly have plenty in them to keep us busy in the meantime.
Nick- Guitar and Vocals John- Guitar and Backing Vocals Pete- Bass Same- Drums
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