Sunday, Jan. 20-KILLINGTON-Cover bands come and go but only the
super talented last forever and that is The Nerds. These four guys,
Spaz on vocal/bass, Mongo on keyboards/vocals, Stretch on
guitar/vocals and Biff on drums are monster musicians and that is
why they are America's Rock & Roll Phenomenon or "fun-onemon"
as they like to say. You have the first of only two
opportunities to see them this season on Jan. 20 at the Pickle
The Nerds have been playing in Killington for over 20 years and
each show is unique and filled with high energy. The band got their
name from a Saturday Night Live sketch, not the movie. Their show
is largely influenced by Monty Python, David Letterman's love of
the absurd and Howard Stern's disregard for tact. The Nerds
attribute their growing fan base to the fact that people are tired
of the same old thing. The Nerds intentionally do things
differently. There isn't a genre of music that they don't play and
their song parodies are the best I've seen.
The Nerds started slowly infiltrating the Jersey Shore, although
they were from Hudson County. They played in Old Bridge, Neptune
and Seaside Heights and knew that greatness was just around the
corner. When they played The Osprey and Joe Pops, two clubs it put
them on the map. Lines started forming around the block to see
their craziness and they were only in their third year.
By their seventh year they did what no cover band had ever done,
play the world famous Carnegie Hall. And it wasn't as a supporting
act, it was just them headlining. It was amazing also because they
sold out all 2,800 seats.
To promote the show, they appeared on Good Morning America and
had Howard Stern do a live commercial for them on his show.
"Stuttering John" (John Melendez, who was a regular on-air
personality on The Howard Stern Show, known for asking impertinent
questions of celebrities with his stuttering) liked them so much
that he played a few gigs with them and a few years later they
played his wedding. After that, they were highly sought after to
play weddings. They played weddings as they do clubs, in 'Nerd
attire,' which was well-liked by their fans but much to the disgust
of many parents.
In 1994 they released their first CD, "Poultry in Motion" of
original and live cover music. In 1995 they became one of the first
bands on the internet with band photos and schedules.
By late '95' they were blowing up. Not only were they playing
the Jersey Shore but places from LA to Whistler, Canada to the
Bahamas. Large Corporations were hiring them to do their
conferences and galas. July 4, 2000 they played the South Street
Seaport to a crowd of over 12,000 people. It was a crazy scene with
throngs of fans and lines of police trying to control them. There
was an onslaught of new cover bands playing alternative-grunge but
they stuck to their guns and played a little of everything else.
You might hear Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Blink 182 or even
Engelbert Humperdinck. In the fall of 2000, they got the huge honor
of hosting MTV's Ultimate Cover Band Contest as the house band.
Bands competed in an elimination style contest and they performed
throughout each show.
Besides MTV, they have appeared on The View, Carson Daly and
many others long since gone. They have shared a stage with Sheryl
Crow, Hootie & the Blowfish, Train, Earth, Wind & Fire, The
Go-Go's and many more. They have performed for countless political
figures and have been joined on stage by many sport figures from
the NY Giants, NY Jets, NY Yankees, Nascar Champions and even some
rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi and Dickie Betts. One winter at the
Wobbly Barn, Doug Flutie came up on stage and sat in on drums.
They love what they do and are able to do it all while raising
families. They're all married and each has two sons, except for
Stretch who has three. In total, they've released seven albums with
their latest, "Viva La Evolucion." They typically play 200-250
shows per year and have played nearly 28 years together. They have
built an act, a brotherhood, a team and a business model that
Looking back, they say the owe it all to Steve Tarkanish, their
5th Nerd, original manager and owner of S.T.A.R.S. Productions, who
came up with the idea at a barbeque. He said, "Why don't you put a
band together and call yourselves 'The Nerds' and play soulful
music. The irony of it will be fantastic." Well, fantastic is an