Craig Manganello Band - Band Interview

"FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT" Interview with Craig Manganello of the CMB Band By Don Sill

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Craig Manganello spent 12 years as a backing singer and lead guitar for a local band and after being laid off he decided he would take his stab at a solo project. He already had his own music studio and began to get serious about the writing and recording process. "It wasn't like I hadn't written a song before," he says, "but, it's different when you have 24 hours a days to work on it." So, The Huntington based Manganello made the move and began work on his solo project. He crafted a musical style that derived from the 80's rock sound that he admired so much as a kid growing up on Long Island. Bands such as local boys, Zebra, (whom he saw just about every week at Bay Shore's old Sundance), remain a solid influence. He also added a more folkish and acoustic slant to his sound with the help of his bandmates. (Kevin Wood, Dave Arntsen, Frank Lento) While Manganello is still working his tail off to complete his debut, he has released a 3-song CD which includes his first single, "When It All Comes Back Around" has been released. Also included are two other tracks, a ballad, "Until Then" and an upbeat song called "Like A Man". All three songs will also appear on the completed album. The CD is available at his live shows and through his web site
In your own words, how would you describe your overall sound?
Manganello: Our sound is derived from my background growing up as an 80's child listening to 80's rock, seeing Zebra every week at Sundance, and hooking up with my old band helped me become more folkish and acoustic.
How do you come up with the music and the lyrics?
Manganello: I'm the type of writer that comes up with the hook of the song first, music and words usually simultaneously.
What inspires your music?
Manganello: Life, Love, and the pursuit of not having to go back to work ;) and stay writing great songs 24/7.
Why should someone go out and see you guys live?
Manganello: I think its important for people to realize that if and when they come to see us we pull no punches. We are there to play original music that will have you walking away humming and singing the hooks and melodies. That's actually one way I know I've written and performed good material. When I get off stage and someone comes over and says I really like the song "If She Believes" it tells me that the hook was strong enough for them to have remembered the name of the song. It seems that I never have enough CD's to sell or give away.
What can we expect to see at your live performance?
Manganello: Your going to see four musicians that really know how to play and hopefully a songwriter that you can't live without hearing.
Favorite place to play?
Manganello: Well without a doubt right now our favorite place is Munchaba Lounge. The atmosphere there is so right on for what we do. But we definantly like playing bigger venues like The Downtown and The Kings Club and would love to open up for some national acts at the Vanderbilt.
Any crazy club stories?
Manganello: I would say the craziest night came when we filled an empty slot for the Long Island Music Festival. I got a call from Rich the Good Times editor who asked if I would fill in as a third band at a place called The Kings Club. We had no idea the other two bands were going to be freshman college level, screaming, thrashing rock bands. We went on last and blew the roof off the place. Here is four 30 something's following up these college kids and our music seemed to shine like a new dime. But we also had a big surprise for these kids. Kevin (Wood's) grandfather, 90 year old Al Gallodoro, known as the world's greatest sax player joined us on stage for a 5 minute blues jam that inspired me so much that I wrote a song a few days later called "Walk This Life". When Al got on stage and started playing it was like he dropped 60 years off his age. It was amazing and after the show many of kids came over and told us how much they appreciated seeing this guy play because it was like nothing they had every seen before and probably will never again. Just 5 musicians who knew how to play there instruments and rock the place.
Any rituals before you go onstage?
Manganello: Usually we all meet at my place and rehearse for about half hour then we climb into Kevin's mini-van, with the big FSBO decals on the side, and laugh from my house to the club. Nothing gets you more prepared for a gig than to laugh so hard your belly hurts and these guys can do it to ya!
What other local bands do you think rock?
Manganello: Well playing the local open mics I see many acts I think are talented. I would have to say off the top of my head for appearance "Super Genius" and for song writing "Blake Ian".
What are your ultimate goals?
Manganello: Certainly the "ultimate" would be to get a record deal and tour but realistically I would love to get a writers deal and eventually do some producing. I know my songs are extremely strong and catchy and "Radio Friendly" but I also know there are thousands of bands and the music industry isn't always about talent.
Whats next?
Manganello: Next the band plans to finish a studio version of a new song called, "Walk This Life", inspired by Kevins grandfather, Al Gallodoro who has made a living playing music. Additionally we are going to continue to gig around the tri-state area, playing 2-3 times a week, spreading our music to as many people as possible and hope that we can catch someone's ear at the record labels.
Visit the bands website.