Reminder Assistant Editor
It started with blink 182. Then Good Charlotte came along. Now it's all about Fall Out Boy. Pop-punk has always been there. It just wasn't noticeable until about seven years ago.
The heart of the punk rock scene has always been local music. The Dan San Band is about as local as you can get. Frontman Dan Sanfilippo is from East Longmeadow, drummer John Tomulonis is from Wilbraham, bassist James Murphy is from Monson and guitarist Andy Laughlin is from Chicopee.
All a band needs to become local punk rock legends are three chords and a dream. Thankfully, the Dan San Band has branched beyond that basic recipe on their sophomore album, "Cockypop."
The band lists groups like the aforementioned blink 182, The Killers, Green Day, Weezer, All American Rejects and Bowling For Soup as influences and that influence is clearly evident on all 12 songs on "Cockypop." The keyboard, played by Sanfilippo, adds a dash of Something Corporate as well.
So what makes this band different? In a scene where every band sounds identical these days, not a whole lot at least to the untrained ear. When I first popped the album into the CD player in my car, I bobbed my head along to the beat but wasn't horribly impressed by the music.
I was caught off guard by a lyric toward the end of the first song, however. Two minutes and 20 seconds into "Good Addiction" I heard the line "I'd like to see more, but that stupid court order makes me stay at least 150 feet away." I laughed out loud.
That's when I figured out what makes the Dan San Band a little different. It's their witty lyrics. Think along the same lines as what Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy writes, except not as ridiculously emo.
For "Cockypop," Sanfilippo stepped back as the primary songwriter. Tomulonis and Murphy shared that duty with the frontman. While I haven't listened to any of the Dan San Band's older stuff, I can honestly say the different lyricists contributing have made this a varied and interesting release when it comes to what's being sung.
"She's Into It" is a lovely tongue-in-cheek tune written by Tomulonis that includes the lines "I thought it was lucky of you two to include me/I'm glad you both agreed that it would be all that it could be."
The Tomulonis-penned "Song About a Song" starts with the line "At the time it was a good idea." The song is literally about another song that was written for a special lady friend. It's a catchy three and a half minute inside joke.
"F'ing Punk" is a song that tips its hat to all those bands who came before, including a currently on hiatus blink 182. "A really fast beat to rattle your teeth," the song starts, "and Mark from blink would be just so f'ing proud of me."
On the band's Myspace (www.myspace.com/dansanband) the group states, "We believe that no matter what the style is, the HOOK is king." It's true. Every single one of the 12 tracks has a chorus that will be stuck in your head, especially the stereotypical "whoas," "yeahs" and "na na nas" on "F'ing Punk."
The rockingest song on the album is definitely "All Over the Place." Again, the hook is the focal point of the song.
I have a theory about the Dan San Band. The reason the album didn't make a huge impact on me at first is because it sounds like the band is holding back. The guitars could've been louder. The vocals could've been more intense. I believe the Dan San Band is a live band. I think their live shows could be 10 times more exciting than their albums.
You'll have a chance to decide for yourself when the band hosts their record release party on Dec. 8 at Club Meadows in East Longmeadow from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and the cost includes a copy of "Cockypop."
For more information on the Dan San Band visit their Myspace page or view the band's Web site at www.dansanband.com.