NEPA musicians back one of their own

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First Posted: 4/28/2015

As if it wasn’t tough enough being a working rock band on the road these days, it’s events like those of March 27 that make it more harrowing.

“We were on our way home from a show in Clearfield, which is out by State College,” said Behind the Grey drummer Mike Boniewicz. “We hit a patch of ice and saved ourselves for a couple of turns, but when we hit, our trailer detached itself.”

A band’s trailer is the lifeblood of a touring act, containing thousands of dollars worth of equipment necessary for live shows. For Behind the Grey, the trailer and all its contents were pretty much leveled.

“The trailer hit the side of the truck, then hit the roof,” Boniewicz recalled. “The trailer went one way and we went the other. The trailer ended up on the right side of the road, in the middle of the road, and we ended up on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic. When the trailer detached, it kind of flung everything. We were lucky, because if the trailer hadn’t detached, we would have rolled with it.”

A further slap in the face, Boniewicz said the band had recently paid off the trailer, and most of his personal drumming equipment was lost – much of which was custom gear.

To show Behind the Grey just what their musical community is made of, just days after the accident, a benefit to help the band was organized by NEPA photography studio Ken Jones Imagery and local radio personality Billy Keep It Metal. The benefit is Sunday, May 3 at The V Spot in Scranton. An all-day affair, the bill features performances from the area’s best rockers on the scene like Grace’s Downfall, Ashfall, Governing Murphy, Cause of Affliction, and Corners of Sanctuary – all acts whom Boniewicz and Behind the Grey consider friends.

In a testament of will, and a showing of just how much NEPA musicians support each other, Behind the Grey played a show just hours after the accident at Diane’s Deli in Pittston.

“Our friends came together and hooked us up with equipment for the night,” Boniewicz said. “We didn’t want to cancel the show. In the three years that we’ve been a band, we’ve never canceled a show due to injury or anything else. We’ll do everything in our power to get out there and play.”

It’s understandable Behind the Grey wants to keep up their schedule, as the band has been on a roll over the course of the past year. The band has released an EP with their now solidified line-up, won Best Metal Band at last year’s inaugural Steamtown Music Awards, played everywhere and anywhere alongside several national acts like Screaming For Silence and now Behind the Grey is currently in the midst of recording their first full-length album.

“Right now is the happiest we’ve ever been,” Boniewicz said. “Everyone in this band is excellent as far as writing – we all put something into every song. We’ve been making connections in a lot of the places we’ve been playing, and we keep reaching out to get our name out there.”

For as long as Behind the Grey’s been active, their live show has been job No. 1.

“Anywhere new that we play, people have always come up to us and said, ‘You’ve got a great show!’” Boniewicz said. “Even if they didn’t like a song or even one of the covers that we play, people always seem to remember the show itself. We know our show – we practice where everybody’s going to be at every moment during a song. And, if people see you getting into your music, all the more they will get into it – it feeds back and forth.”

The benefit show will go a long way in helping Behind the Grey’s musical psyche in completing their full-length debut, which Boniewicz said is near completion at Dorrance’s Side B Studios.

“We’re pretty close to being done, actually,” he said. “Eric [Katchmore, vocalist] is recording the vocals now. We’ve written so many more songs than will actually go onto the album – and then there are ones that have been altered. If you want 10 songs on the album, you want those 10 to stand out. I’d rather play 10 solid songs than 40 mediocre songs. We’re very picky and we get a lot of opinions. It’s great to have that feedback when you’re creating music.”

Regarding the benefit for his band, Boniewicz is even more grateful knowing that folks throughout NEPA will help each other through tough times, regardless of who they might be.

“A lot of bands in this area are all about helping everybody out,” he said, himself conducting the interview via phone from a benefit he was attending for a family that was devastated by a recent fire. “This is just one of those ordeals that, if you’ve got good friends, they’re going to make sure everything is OK.”

Boniewicz also extols the giving nature of The V Spot.

“It’s essentially our home,” he said. “They’re booked until the end of the year on Fridays and Saturdays with bands, but they might be booked until the end of the year on Sundays with benefits as well. Vinnie [Archer] and Frank [Lombardo] go out of their way to make every event here great.”

Boniewicz and his bandmates will be around during the benefit show.

“Maybe we’ll get up and jam with some of the bands playing,” he said. “There’s a mutual respect for everybody that’s putting in time for this thing. It really means a lot to me.”