HAMPDEN – Local experimental rock quartet Humble Patients aren’t newcomers to the Western Massachusetts music scene, having played at least 150 shows since they formed in the fall of 2011. However, the band recently celebrated a milestone with the release of their debut album “Gettin’ Old in the Sea of Green.”
Humble Patients are MJ McNulty (drums), Nick Ferrara (guitar), and twin brothers AJ Del Negro (bass), and Tommy Del Negro (guitar). Three out of the four members sing on the album and also play left-handed instruments.
The band members all attended Minnechaug Regional High School, graduating in 2009 and 2010.
“As soon as we enter our practice space, it’s an equal collaboration,” Ferrara said. “Everyone’s contributing just as much. Its just sometimes there’s a guy that brings what we call ‘the skeleton of the song’ to the table.”
The 12-track album, released on iTunes on Aug. 22, weaves together songs that touch on topics considered taboo or controversial such as abuse of police powers, prostitution, drug use, and tales of bad relationships, Tommy Del Negro said.
“It means that people are taking to heart what you are saying,” he said. “You’re provoking thought and which ever way that thought might go, the point is your thinking.”
Songs such as “Your Man the Pimp,” and “Repugnant Qualities (Of Your Face)” are driven from character perspectives to reveal to the listener the ugly sides of everyday life that often times aren’t discussed in music, Ferrara added.
“[Songwriting] almost varies from person to person,” McNulty, 24, said. “Because I think what’s interesting about us is we’re not four people coming together. It’s really like four different ideas.”
Humble Patients recorded their album at the Westfall Recording Studio in Farmingdale, N.Y., during a period of ten days over the course of five weekends. The band paid for the costs to produce the record from the money they raised from playing shows.
“You have to have the business mentality but you can’t just focus on that otherwise the art suffers,” McNulty said. “You kind of got to find that middle ground. It’s kind of tough.”
The band’s influences ranges from person to person; McNulty said he comes from a heavy metal background but is also influenced by classic rock bands such as The Doors and King Crimson and experimental rock group Battles.
“I know on a personal level, when it comes to my guitar tones, I know you can hear a lot of John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” Ferrara, 23, said. “I mean, I play a [Fender Stratocaster] like he did. I like some of those fatter tones.”
Tommy Del Negro, 24, said some of his music influences include Frank Zappa, Swedish progressive instrumental rock band Samla Mammas Manna, and Holyoke based progressive math rock quintet Hot Dirt.
AJ Del Negro said one of his main inspirations is the Beatles.
Humble Patients has played shows at venues such as the Iron Horse Music Hall and the Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton, and has had success winning a Battle of the Bands at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn., last year.
“I see that a lot of the shows have success when everyone’s coming together,” Ferrara said. “The crowd is actually paying attention to the bands playing, whether it’s just us or whether there’s another band playing with us. That gets the musicians pumped up.
“And also, you go in feeling good if the venue owner or the bar manager or the staff at the bar is also working to promote the show and being fair with you,” he added.
McNulty said he thinks the band members have taught one another a lot about making music in terms of influencing one another.
“There’s a lot of different elements that we all kind of bring to the table but at the same time there’s this spot that we kind of vibe on that makes sense to everyone,” Tommy Del Negro added.
Humble Patients will be playing two upcoming shows at venues on Boston Road in Wilbraham. The first will be at the Tap Room on Oct. 25 and the second, a Halloween show, will be at the Anchor House on Oct. 31.