Dan O’Connor aka DanO (guitar, vocals)
Dan grew up in Ridgewood, NJ and began studying guitar and writing songs at the age of 13. He went on to study music at the Hartford Conservatory and The Hartt School where he graduated with a degree in music business and jazz guitar.
In 2008 he started “DanoSongs Royalty Free Music” which got his songs on hundreds of soundtracks such as the TV series “The Reviewers”, the documentary “Mumbai Nights” and the film “Waiting for Ruby”. His many composing clients include Disney, Harvard University and IBM.
Dan performs live in the Connecticut and New York area with his rock jam band Phoenix Tree. In 2015 he released an acoustic singer-songwriter album called the “The Other Shore” on Acoustic Seed records.
Also a life-long actor, Dan studied at H.B. Studios in New York City and appears in the films “Subject to Retaliation”, “Ovelia and Gregoria” and he produced, directed and starred in “Zedic and the Crimson Born”. He didn’t play in any bands worth remembering and his influences are Bowie, Sting, U2 and Neil Young.
Justin Virga (guitar, vocals, glockenspiel)
I grew up in Bridgewater and Danbury, CT. My influence was originally Led Zeppelin, which is the main influence of most teenage boys, then I got into psychedelic 60s rock and experimental guitar styles like Django Reinhardt and then bluegrass and country artists like Tony Rice and Chet Atkins. Soon enough I got bored of just guitar and picked up the bass and banjo and began exploring my vocal abilities. Once I began writing songs, I listened to a lot of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, they became my primary songwriting guides.
The genre of music is completely irrelevant, the most important aspects of a song TO ME are “chords”, “melody”, “feeling” and “rhythm”. Instruments used, decade produced and effects used to simulate different sounds have nothing to do with it.
Don’t be ashamed of those Donna Summer albums, Irene Cara is where it’s at, and it’s okay to blast those Bananarama records. Ted Nugent still sucks however, and so does Kenny Loggins.
Amp: VOX AC30 30 watt tube amp with one Celestian Alnico Blue, which is the world’s first (and still arguably the best) dedicated guitar loudspeaker, designed for the first guitar amps back in the 50s, with dreamy highs and thick, defined lows. And one Celestian Greenback, which has a thicker 60s british pop tone.
My guitar is a Frankenstein guitar with the body of an Epiphone Les Paul being the only original part. I customized the rest.
Pedals (in order):
1) Keeley Compressor 2) Hermida Audio ZenDrive 2 (the one with the tube in it) 3) Morley Wah 4) Voodoo lab Sparkle Drive 5) BBA Sonic Maximizer (for extra contour, like pulling a pillow that you didn’t know was on your amp, off your amp) 6) Boss RC30 Loop station, mostly just to play phrases backwards
The compressor, compresses the tone for a tighter sound, it sounds terrible in the mix but great during solos. The Zen and sparkle drives are just overdrive pedals. Sparkle is a little dirtier and screams more, the Zen drive is more like flying through clouds.
I like blending two overdrives and having one before the wah and one after the wah in the pedal train, they definitely have different sounds depending on where the wah is positioned.
Overdrive is essentially just distortion but on the lower gain end of the spectrum.
Hector O.K. Jimenez (bass, vocals)
Born in Orlando Florida. No hometown.
Played in various Nashville bands:
Dark Horse, Sherry Sweet and Stone Garden, The Hypocrites, Sweet Thing, Holy City Zoo, Tracy Brockman, Boo Boo Bunny, Alma Madre, Master Cylinder, Bad Sailor.
Early influences – Carlos Santana, Fishbone, Motown, Stax, George Clinton, Mohammed Ali
Jan Jurgielewicz IV (drums)
Favorite color: purple
Studied under: Marvin Bugalu Smith
Endorsed by Precision Drums NY & RCI Drums CT
Primary Set: 1982 Gretsch custom
Secondary Set: 1957 Premier
Cymbals: UFIP except Paiste 2002 15” hi-hats
Drummer for NYC band Loose Animals, also plays guitar, bass and producer
Influences: Cozy Powell, Gene Krupa, Mitch Mitchell & Elvin Jones
Dave Bonan (percussion)
Dave grew up in Flanders, NJ, the top house of a mountain which explains his love of cycling mountain ranges. His first instrument was the alto sax that he played from 4th grade thru college. It helped that his school system’s music program was in its infancy and by the time he graduated, it was the model for the entire state of NJ. By then, he had switched to tenor sax and played in the symphonic, jazz and marching bands as well as singing (bass 2) in Madrigals and Barbershop.
In college, he continued in voice and sax but one chance evening in his friend’s living room, alone, and on psychedelics, he picked up a tabla and the beat hit him hard. He soon gave up sax and dove straight into the world of percussion and progressed further in a short time than a lifelong dedication to the sax.
He is obsessed with multi-genre music and his favorites include Puerto Rican, Balkan, Gypsy and Middle Eastern music, with a special nod to the cradle of music and blues in Mali – Ethiopia, Senegal and Ghana. And let’s not forget Afrobeat and the Amazonian funk known as Chicha.
Dave’s style if in the groove pocket and at times like a rhythm guitarist, adding textured layers to the rhythm. But he is also very reactionary.
He’s the type who bring small percussion on his bike trips in the hopes that one day, a jam might ensue. This is particularly true in Latin nabes in Bronx summers when he bring his claves, foot tambourine and samba cowbell and beater and crashes street parties where congas are being beaten communally on stoops.
You’ve no doubt seen him with his fedora and necklace that consists of a siren whistle, duck call and samba whistle. He loves to break the 4th wall and have folks from the audience come up at setbreak and play with his “toys”. Folks shouldn’t be afraid to make noise, music is communal. You can’t make a wrong note if you don’t know what you’re doing!
Dave has played in Omin’E (jam), Rusty Skank (reggae), the Karen Johnstone Band (latin), The Red Hots (americana/blues) and currently in Phoenix Tree, The Atom Family (spoken word/jazz), Touro Blues (latin psychedelic blues), HectOsoniC (dance rock) and Hot Acoustics (psychedelic folk).
He is always on a search for new and exotic world sounds from the 4 corners of the earth that can be added to his ever-changing palette of noise. Yet it always seems something’s missing after every 10 shows and that “silence” finds him. His friends are always sure to locate items for him on their vacations that he adds to his performance collection.
He currently exists in the space between the notes.