Funny name, serious musicians

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First Posted: 4/8/2013

“Queeftones.” That’s not a word that is muttered in everyday conversations, and it is even less likely to be heard in the midst of a large crowd. But, for one group of musicians, it symbolizes their daring but humorous approach to being in a punk band.

Life can be too short to take things seriously, so Kyle Johnson, Nathan Montella, William Fitzgerald, and Matt Falcone have made some risky decisions in order to show people that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

“We’re definitely on the left side of things,” noted Montella, the drummer.

The Queeftones, a four piece ska/punk band from Clarks Summit, have been playing together since January, but founding members Johnson, Montella, and Fitzgerald have a history that goes back even further.

“All three of us have pretty much always jammed,” Montella said. “We all sat down one day and decided to get together and start a band and take everything seriously.”

Johnson, who does a majority of the lyrical writing, takes a political angle with most of his songs.

“Capitalism Show,” from their upcoming album, is just one example of Johnson’s resistance to give into political decisions. The band has plans to release their first album, titled “Songs in the Key of Brown,” this summer.

With a name like The Queeftones, it is expected that they would run into some trouble when booking shows. After being rejected at multiple venues not because of their music, but because of their name, the band decided it was time to record a demo so that bar and club owners would give them a fair chance.

“At first people were like, ‘Oh your name is The Queeftones, f—k that,’ but after we got our songs recorded, we showed people that we weren’t some kids that just wanted to get booked,” explained Montella. “Since then, it has been easier to book shows.”

Although the band has been getting booked in more venues, they have still had to deal with owners being sensitive to the name. Because of this, the band has had to play under the pseudonym of The Q-Tones.

The band’s name sets off Johnson’s heavy lyrics about political situations and gives the band some balance between seriousness and humor.

Regarding the local music scene, the band said there’s nowhere they would rather be. Instead, they just wish there was more participation like there used to be years ago at shows.

“Just seeing other people’s crowds in other areas, I kind of like our crowds a little more,” Montella said. “I just wish more people would actually come out and have fun instead of having to worry about what other people think of them. There’s so much music going on and everyone’s just sitting at their house watching TV or something. They can’t just come outside and have fun at a show.”

Since January, The Queeftones have been playing together at multiple local venues, including The New Penny (Scranton), Pearly Baker’s Alehouse (Easton), and New Visions Studio & Gallery (201 Vine St., Scranton), where they have a show coming up this Saturday, April 13.

The band will be joined by two local ska/punk bands, Badtown Rude and The Red Barons, and The What Nows?!, a seven-piece ska band from Reading, to celebrate a night of ska music at New Visions’ “Call It Ska!” event.

“We’re just trying to take this seriously and go as far as we can with it,” Montella emphasized. “We do everything we can, and we do what we love doing. We’re all musicians, and that’s what we want to do.”