Formed in 1986, THe Hammers are one of Northern New Jersey's longest running rock'n'roll bands. With influences steeped in blues,rockabilly and R&B, their unique sound is the gumbo of three distinctly different musicians:singer/guitarist/songwriter Ira Spinrad, bassist Dom Zarrillo and drummer Bob Masucci.
The band is road-tested,having played just about every
venue,bar,restaurant and roadhouse in the area. They make their formal recording debut with Newark Fried Chicken.
Released in September 2006, the disc draws on the group's varied backgrounds. Spinrad is an R&B and soul fanatic who lists Chuck Berry, Big Joe Turner and Jerry Lee Lewis among his creative inspirations. Zarrillo adds a blues element to the equation, while Masucci is strongly influenced by rockabilly,jazz and the Jersey Shore sound.
Together, they have satisfied many an audience looking for a great band to drink beer and dance to. The group mixes and matches their influences superbly on Newark Fried Chicken. Recorded at Coyote Studios in Brooklyn,N.Y. the set is mainly comprised of inventive Spinrad originals that connect contemporary sensibilities with classic influences.
Witty,sardonic blues tunes like "You're Right(Married Life),"and "Subsidize Me" are interspersed with vintage-flavored rockers like "Rippin and Runnin," "Since You Messed Up My Mind" and "Cause I Can't Have Her." The band also proves adept at rockabilly on the sweltering
"Hot Hand," while the soul groover "Lookin For A Girl" sounds like a long-lost Stax Records gem. Of further note is "Downtown Lament" a vibrato-laden intrumental that evokes a late-night feel.
Also included are two well-chosen covers:a dizzying version of band-hero Carl Perkins' "You Can Do Know Wrong" and an impassioned take on the early-Fleetwood Mac blues burner "Something Inside Of Me."
The sound is augmented in the studio by four friends. Legendary New Orleans drummer Charles Otis (Professor Longhair, Lloyd Price, Fats Domino and countless others) adds percussion, and also produced the album along with the band. Jim Beckerman(ex-Voodudes) adds rollicking piano
on several tracks. Both add a markedly Crescent City vibe to the CD. Rounding out the studio lineup are Michael Blake(Lounge Lizards) on tenor sax and Jay Rodriguez(Groove Collective) on baritone sax.
In addition to their work with The Hammers, Spinrad and Zarrillo both spent more than a decade with popular swamp-blues combo Barbecue Bob and The Spareribs. This involved heavy gigging up and down the east coast as well as three well-received CDs. Masucci enjoyed a similar tenure with R&B combo Better Off Dead,recording two CD's with
the Hudson County group. The Hammers will be playing numerous gigs in support of Newark Fried Chicken. For more details, check out the band's website.