January 10, 2007

Local Band Too Busy Being Awesome

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It's been several decades since a young, local band created a buzz — the Vagrants come to mind — but never a band this young.

Last year was a very good one indeed for Too Busy Being Bored, a Sag Harbor-based band that has already earned a loyal following and the elusive buzz, fueled by winning not one but two separate Battle of the Bands first place prizes. The young teenagers take the stage at a very grown-up venue Saturday night — The Stephen Talk House in Amagansett.

The band features Peter Landi on lead vocals, David Horn on drums, Forrest Gray on lead guitar, George Hoglund on guitar and backing vocals, Tucker Ruiz on bass and Owen Preiato on keyboards. With the exception of Gray, who is a freshman at Ross School in East Hampton, the other members are freshmen at Pierson High School.

The group originated in Gray's basement with Gray and Landi doing cover songs. Liking what they heard they began stringing together a group of their talented friends from school and writing their own music. Soon after Preiato joined last February they finished their first original song, "Place Your Bet."

They got their instruments online or as gifts during the holidays. All of the members put money into the PA system and Landi bought a microphone.

They would go on to write their own music, influenced by The Vines and Nirvana, and play at any venue that would have them, including basements, backyards and school auditoriums.

Last summer, while playing a gig on Long Beach in Noyac, they attracted a crowd and started tongues wagging. This was before they won the first Battle of the Bands last September in Hampton Bays — the prize was 16 hours of studio recording time.

But it wasn't until their epic performance on November 12 during "The Next Big Thing" at The Knitting Factory, an all ages Battle of the Bands in New York City that featured more than 45 bands from the tri-state area, that Too Busy Being Bored exploded into the limelight.

They were among the youngest of the competitors and they played four songs on the main stage to a packed house.

"When we got there we had no idea how we were going to win," said Landi. The band was "more anxious than afraid."

"The reason we won the Battle of the Bands was because of the variety of songs," said Gray — songs like "Indifferent," which the group considers its best song because of the catchy chorus.

Winning the Knitting Factory's Battle of the Bands earned the group an additional 30 hours of recording time in a professional studio. They intend to use it later this winter at Mercy Sound in Manhattan to record a full-length album.

The day after the Knitting Factory performance Too Busy Being Bored received over 200 hits on their MySpace website, which features three of their songs, and have since been noted in a several newspapers including The New York Times.

The group is tight knit, with strong friendships on and off the stage. There are no plans to add another member. "It just wouldn't be the same if we did," explained Horn.

The band members said their parents take pride in what they have accomplished and seem to enjoy the music.

And there is no lack of professionalism with this new found fame — the teens are focused on the stage and off; practices and writing sessions are scheduled regularly.

Since their November performance they have been writing new material, some of which will be played at Saturday's show at the Talkhouse. This will be an all ages venue — students will be admitted.

The group is especially excited about the upcoming show because it will be recorded. Landi noted that while the songs are "cool," interacting with the crowd is key to a successful performance.

"We would play anywhere people would let us, just to get the word out there," he added.

Too Busy Being Bored will play at the Talkhouse at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.

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