Feature for July 2014
Band Name: The Brigantines
Geographical Area: New Jersey
Interview with Vincent Minervino (Guitar, Vocals) by email on 7/2/14
1. What is the current line-up of your band?
Vincent Minervino - Guitar, Vocal
Aaron Leonovich - Bass
Scott Saint Hilaire - Guitar, Vibe
Dan Tojeira - Drums
2. How and when did you get started with your band?
Aaron and I started the band in the summer of 2011. We spent all of our free time at the Asbury Park beach that summer, having a great time. One day I forgot to take my Ray-Bans off before I dove head first into the water. They flew off, but luckily I was able to find them! We all joked about how tragic it would've been to lose them in a wave and it turned into a silly idea for our first single, 'Ray-Bans'. Aaron, Scott and I wrote, recorded and released the Next Summer EP in August 2011 and have been writing, recording and playing live regularly ever since!
3. What bands or music have influenced you most?
I grew up listening to classic surf. Dick Dale, The Beach Boys, The Lively Ones, The Challengers, and The Centurions are some of my all-time favs. There is also a lot of great modern Surf music out there. Los Straitjackets, Messer Chups, Threesome and The Fathoms just keep getting better with every album. We are also very into British Pop like The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen.
4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?
We throw a handful of covers in, but I’d say 90% of the set is original. We actually recorded a version of The Crystals "Then She Kissed Me" for our album "Vacation!". We also do a Ramones cover live. The Beach Boys "Stoked" is always a fun one to get the crowd involved!
5. What recording have you done?
Here’s The Brigs discography so far:
2011 - "Next Summer" - EP
2012 - "Take You Home" - Single
2012 - "Sunset Motel" - Single
2012 - "Vacation!" - LP
2013 - "Ocean Park" - Single
also have a brand new EP coming out next week called "Last Chance To Dance!" It
will have 4 new instrumentals. Stoked!
6. What kind of gear do you use?
Vincent - DiPinto Galaxie 4 through a Fender Princeton Reverb
Aaron - Gibson EB Bass through a Kustom 200
Scott - Gibson SG Custom through a Fender Vibrolux Reverb
Dan - Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz kit
7. What is your band’s favorite food/beverage?
Some of our favorite shore spots to grab a bite are Surf Taco, Mogo, Fin’s, and Wonder Bar. We also love our summer beers like Carton Boat, Kane Head High, Shiner Ruby Redbird, Brooklyn Summer Ale. The sangria at the Asbury Park Yacht Club is incredible. We also drink a lot of Modelo and Modelo Negra at practice - depending on the season!
8. How do you get gigs?
We try and get out to shows as often as possible to support other bands and make new friends. The upcoming Asbury Park Surf Music Festival lineup is made up of bands that we have either played with before, or seen live and got to know them after the set. In fact, Aaron met Mike (Rosado of 9th Wave) at Roxy & Dukes, which is how we got involved with NESMA!
We also keep a close eye on the artists we love and when they book New Jersey dates. We’ve had then chance to open for Dick Dale, Los Straitjackets, and Igor & Red Elvises just by asking.
We’ve also been fortunate to have the support of many local promoters - namely
Jenn at The Lanes, Christine at Dark City, Tony at UMT, and Kyle at The Stone Pony. They’ve seen us
work hard promoting our shows and keep inviting us back for more!
9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?
It can be challenging in the off season. The Jersey shore kind of goes into hibernation from October to March. But in the summer, it’s the absolute best place in the world to be!
10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?
The Brigantines have an old fashioned work ethic. We hang our posters ourselves, pass out flyers, drop off CDs to the local record shops, record our own music, do our own design work, etc. A lot of bands these days just rely on internet marketing to reach their fans. We believe you have to go out there and connect. Luckily we’ve made tons of friends along the way, so it’s just becoming a big family!
11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?
Self-labeling ourselves as New Jersey’s Number One Surfing Group! We joked about it when we first started the band because all the old Del-Fi bands had a catch phrase on their album covers. We thought it’d be fun to come out of the gate with that and see if people believed us. It’s all in good fun.
12. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had?
Supporting Los Straitjackets at Havana in New Hope. The venue had assigned seating, so the crowd was SUPER attentive and gave us roaring applauses in between songs. It was surreal. And of course, sharing the stage with Los Straitjackets was a dream come true for us. They brought the house down that night!
13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?
We just hope to make more friends so we can continue to grow the New Jersey and East Coast Surf Music scene.
14. Anything else?
Thanks for inviting us to be a member of NESMA! It is an honor! We’re really looking forward to getting everyone together for the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival on July 12! Hopefully this will be a fun summer tradition we can carry on for years.