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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Honus Wagner Tells You to “Come Get It”

    Local band Honus Wagner is still making music and will be seen at the upcoming Battle of the Bands. The trio has been taking a performance break since March of 2007, but is now ready to give it their best.

    Electric guitarist/vocalist James Pelowski, and drummist/vocalist Gary Jacobelli were just sophomores and roommates back in 2005, when they decided to form a band. Bass player, Mike Taffet was a freshman and also the last member to join the band.

    “We found him walking on the street with a bass, so we asked him to be in our band” said Pelowski, “its not that easy finding a bass player.” With the last member added, all the band needed was a name, which they later decided would be Honus Wagner.

    “It just kind of happened like that, it’s [Honus Wagner] the name of a baseball player from the Pittsburgh pirates,” said Pelowski. Their early days began by practicing at another band’s place in Farmingdale. “We also practiced in Gary’s basement in Westbury,” said Pelowski, “In January (2007) we recorded our four song demo.” The band usually gets together once or twice a week.

    “We are three stooges,” said Jacobelli, “we find humor in almost anything.”

    Honus Wagner plays some cover songs by their inspirations: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Tool, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. More impressively though, are the songs that they have written themselves.

    “Dreams” is my personal favorite,” said Jacobelli, “it is a song that focuses on growth and introspection in life. It’s about weathering the hard times and finding the divinity that is inside all of us.” “Dreams” is also Pelowski’s favorite.

    While Taffet enjoys the song, “Phillip H. Chesterborough.” “It’s a funky tune where we get to go kind of nuts,” said Taffet, “and as the bass player, it’s probably my most interesting and difficult bass line to play out of all the songs we’ve written.”

    Taffet has been musically inclined since middle school. “At around 7th grade I started playing guitar and picked up bass right before going to college,” said Taffet, “don’t really know what inspired me to start. I’m very spontaneous, I like to jam, and I love to rock out.”

    Other written songs include: Just, Come Get It, and This Empty Place. ” We open every show with the song, ‘Just,'” said Pelowski, “its tradition.”

    Some memorable performances happened right here on campus, including their first show at University Caf’eacute;. They’ve also played at a benefit for Crohn’s and Colitis disease at Tabler. Other personal concerts featuring Honus Wagner were thrown in Mount and Hendrix residence halls on campus.

    “We used to go around to people’s suites in order to promote our shows,” said Pelowski.

    Taft remembered a memorable show. “We played in Roth quad, inside the Mount College class room,” he said, “I decided to play the entire show in nothing but a pair of board shorts, and the fire alarm went off right towards the end of our set. I was stuck out in the freezing cold for like 30 minutes, and when they let us back in, our time was up, but they let us play one last song. Everyone there rocked out and we played really energetically, and it was the perfect ending for that show. It almost felt like we were running up onto a stage and hi-jacking the instruments and we had to play the song before the cops dragged us off.”

    Taft remembers another time playing at a bar. “We took the stage and played everything amazingly well, I was all over the place,” said Taft, “for our softer songs I would even walk into the audience and just sit amongst them playing my bass. Gary went all out on the drums, and James did some of the best guitar solo’s I’ve ever heard him do.”

    “Intimate performances are always great because you can really connect with people and you can tell when someone is sharing the experience with you,” said Jacobelli.

    Could a professional music career be in the future for Honus Wagner? “No way,” said Jacobelli, “If something were to happen that enabled us to grow in that direction then I don’t think we would turn it down, but we are here for one reason – to rock and roll. If I were to make a career choice I would trade a stock or something.”

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