Interview by Danny Coleman
“We’re 100 percent mediocre,” says Doc Rotten guitarist/vocalist Wes Dzurkoc with a loud laugh; “I’d say we are punk rock but more melodic.”
Born from the remnants of past projects, these Hamilton, NJ rockers are a great combination of humble talented personalities and attitude. “We were in a band called Too Far Gone,” explains drummer AJ Martinez; “When that ceased to exist, me, Wes and Mike (Bassist/Vocalist Romanowsky) started this band just about a year ago.”
Influenced by a variety of musical genres, styles and players, this four piece unit has caught the attention of their fans, their families and people all across the country including Joel Spielman of BlankTV in Oregon who stumbled upon a video of theirs and instantly took a liking to the band. “Joel and Smitty,” said a smiling Martinez;“Joel saw our video for,“Brass Tacks” and we exchanged some messages and then somehow I wound up calling him, I’m really not sure why(laughs) but we had this great personal conversation and we took a liking to him. The best part was that he believed in us and offered us help and wasn’t asking for money for what he was doing. One of our main influences are The Bouncing Souls and two days before one of their shows, Joel somehow managed to get us press passes and so we got to hang out with those guys and it was great! The thing was though; we were supposed to do an interview and get some footage and I totally botched it.Then we saw Jennifer Osborn and I asked if we could film a segment with her for them guys and Wes had no idea how to work the camera or even take a picture with it so he pretended but we got close; however none of them saved to the camera. Joel was really cool about it and that solidified our faith in him so we hired him to be our PR guy (laughs).”
Bassist Romanowsky, Dzurkoc and Martinez all site The Bouncing Souls as a major influence on the group; however they also count, Green Day, Nirvana, Steppenwolf, Social Distortion, the Dropkick Murphys and even Elvis Costello as a lyricist as well. Newest member, guitarist Andrew Kerris lends a totally different feel to the line up as he brings a more traditional path to the unit. “First off,” said a laughing Kerris, “I would like to say that we are actually wildly mediocre and not just mediocre; let’s get that out there right away. I listened and still listen to Tom Morello, Freddie King, Segovia and even classical music but then I also really like Bruce Springsteen too. “We have a great mix of influences and Mike and Wes are great songwriters so it all comes together really well.”
As stated, Kerris is the newest member of the band but was very familiar with the group and had no trouble sliding right into the material. The group as a whole never seems to take themselves too seriously and rehearsals are kept light by their unique personas and outlooks. “Andrew is new to the band but he was very familiar with our material so he picked it up really quickly,” elaborated Romanowsky. “Rehearsals overall though can be pretty hard, especially when two fourths of us aren’t drunk (laughs)!” Kerris echoed those sentiments adding, “There’s more jokes than music and a lot of laughter which obviously reflects in our performance and contributes to our wild mediocrity but seriously; come stage time, we buckle down and get it done.”
They have just completed a five song EP, “Fallout,” which is available now but they have a planned release party scheduled for March 30 at the Millhill Basement in Trenton with supporting acts Lamplighters and Cryptkeeper 5.“We had a six song EP and this one is going to be five,” stated Martinez. “We worked with Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls before and he was really good to us. We just recorded a music video for our song, “Better Days” which was a lot of fun and insane in my house but we are happy with it.”
Perhaps one may understand these four fellas a bit better if one takes a look at them individually. They are funny, quick witted and support one another but like their influences have diverse fond memories of their time spent together. Let’s take AJ for example who says that his favorite memory of the band was a certain Christmas show they did with Cryptkeeper 5 and the local musician and owner of SRG Recording Studio Sean Glonek was, “Very complimentary”of the band. Perhaps it’s Mike who says, “Well, being mediocre, I love the fact that people all over the world hear us.”Both favorable in their own way but it is Andrew and Wes whom share a combined recollection that may sum up this foursome well. “Wes got drunk,” he started with a laugh. “He got drunk after a show with a bunch of Russian guys who didn’t speak any English but it didn’t matter because they all seemed to be having a good time until Wes decided to slap one on the ass; that didn’t go over well.”
With that, as Wes nodded with agreement and approval, laughter filled the rehearsal space and the topic turned to touring. The band has recently purchased a van and will be hitting the road for a few dates in Delaware, Detroit and Indianapolis before heading home to concentrate on the EP release and finalizing a tour which kicks off April 5 in Virginia. There are also possible stops in Texas, Missouri and Colorado as well.
Doc Rotten is a driving, hard rockin’, fun combination of punk, metal, classic rock, comedy and more with a twinge of grunge. They are interactive with their fans as well as approachable and likable; all ingredients when combined go a long way to creating a successful rock band.
To discover more about Doc Rotten, please visit www.Facebook.com/DocRottenMusic/
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)