The Invisible Swordsmen may have taken their moniker from the 1986 comedy ‚??Three Amigos,‚?Ě but the Scranton-based group is very serious about bringing real rock music back with the upcoming release of their debut EP.
The band formed in early 2008 when guitarist/keyboardist Chris Zellers stuck up a conversation with fellow guitarist Matt Wazowicz at their mutual workplace, finding they had similar taste in music. Joined by bassist Jere Gromelski, they played their first show in Oct. 2008. When the band wanted to move away from classic rock covers and into original work, they added drummer Neil Prisco and singer Patrick DePew two years later after seeing them play live.
‚??One thing led to another and we‚??re like, ‚??We should start playing together because it would sound cool to be this weird supergroup.‚?? In our minds, us just hanging out was like a supergroup. It‚??s like, ‚??We‚??re going to combine forces and that‚??ll be neat,‚??‚?Ě Prisco recalled with a chuckle.
‚??When we got together, we literally only did supergroup songs‚?Ľ We did Temple of the Dog and Traveling Wilburys and that kind of stuff. It‚??s absurd, but it‚??s fun. It‚??s a lot of fun.‚?Ě
‚??We use that term ‚??supergroup‚?? really loosely,‚?Ě Zellers added between laughs. ‚??It‚??s very tongue-in-cheek. We‚??re not serious about that. It‚??s just that all our personalities gelled and it ended up being something too good to pass up.‚?Ě
This led the band in a new direction, which they best describe as melodic hard rock ‚?? something they believe is sorely missing from the airwaves and concert venues.
‚??We‚??ve got such a wide variety of influences from all of us. I think that really it‚??s such a hodgepodge‚?Ľ In theory, it shouldn‚??t work, but with the way that all those different influences meld together, it‚??s just a really strong rock sound. That‚??s what we were looking for. That‚??s part of why we started the band. We‚??re big fans of just rock music, and you don‚??t, unfortunately, hear as much of it anymore, so we‚??re trying to go that route and make a really good-sounding rock record,‚?Ě Zellers emphasized.
‚??We‚??re not a metal band; we‚??re definitely not that, but the songs have kind of a punch to them.‚?Ě
The five right hooks on ‚??Born Too Late‚?Ě are a mix of two older songs and three that formed naturally through jamming sessions, a credit to the quintet‚??s obvious musical chemistry.
‚??We revisited (old) tracks and they just took on a new life with Patrick‚??s dynamic vocals. They became something we almost didn‚??t even recognize. The rest of the tracks kind of came up more organically just in rehearsals and stuff like that,‚?Ě Zellers explained.
‚??It‚??s very much a democracy. The strongest voice on this album is actually that of our band. It‚??s not like one person‚??s song here and there. We didn‚??t do any individual writing credits ‚?? we credited it all to us because it‚??s all organic.‚?Ě
While they didn‚??t plan on a theme for the record, many of the songs are about getting out of a bad situation, moving on, and looking for something better, which is reflected in the colorful album art portraying a busy highway. The title was taken from the lyrics of their single ‚??Last Train,‚?Ě but it also has a personal meaning for the band.
‚??It‚??s actually kind of applicable to us as a band too because the majority of what we‚??re looking for in rock music ‚?? we kind of missed it. It ended up kind of working on a couple levels,‚?Ě Zellers noted.
Often playing at The Keys (244 Penn Ave., Scranton), the Swordsmen are ‚??very excited‚?Ě to be releasing ‚??Born Too Late‚?Ě at the bar on Friday, Dec. 7, with Blinded Passenger and Philadelphia musician Paul Keen of Pawnshop Roses. In between bands, stand-up comedian A-Mish will be emceeing, and the work of local artist Yvonne Caudullo will be adorning the walls. The $5 admission includes a copy of the CD or a digital download card.
‚??It‚??s one of the best places in Scranton right now that‚??s supporting original local music. Jenn, the bar owner, really looks for bands that want to get out there and make their own sound,‚?Ě Zellers said. ‚??We‚??ve been playing a bunch of gigs there and it‚??s always nice to be able to play there and throw everything we‚??ve got at the crowd. Everybody‚??s really receptive. It‚??s becoming a really cool scene.‚?Ě
While they already have at least 10 additional songs ready for a full-length release next year, Prisco is just thrilled to be able to finally share what they have with their fans.
‚??It‚??s a celebration. It‚??s going to be nice to see everyone who‚??s been there for us as a band to help celebrate with us, us being able to do something like this. I‚??ve played in a lot of bands over the years, but this is the first one that is at least going to have an album to be able to hand out to people, so for me, that means a lot,‚?Ě he said.
‚??As a band, it‚??s a lot of work. It‚??s kind of nice to be able to get together and celebrate and be able to play original music for everybody.‚?Ě
Invisible Swordsmen ‚??Born Too Late‚?Ě release show with Blinded Passenger and Paul Keen, Dec. 7, 9 p.m., The Keys (244 Penn Ave., Scranton). $5.