May Artist of the Month: Effusion 35

Featured Image courtesy of the Artist

Searching for some good old-fashioned rock n’ roll to help you start the summer? Look no further than Rock On Philly’s May Artist of the Month, Effusion 35. The Philly-based rock band has been tearing up the market with their classic jams and wicked sense of humor for years, and they’re always out in the scene, giving their fans more (catch them this month at the Grape Room, May 12). The best description of this band comes from their website: “Philadelphia-based original rock. We sound exactly like your favorite band. You might find us in Fishtown. You might also find us in some other non-fish related area.” Rock On Philly had the opportunity to talk with Effusion 35 about the evolution of their career, their musical influences, and their favorite things about Philly.

Rock On Philly: Congratulations on being Rock on Philly’s May Artist of the Month! We’re big fans and are excited to learn more about your journey as a band. Your Facebook page says that Effusion 35 was founded in 1998. How did you all meet, and what inspired you guys to become Effusion 35? Why the name Effusion 35?

Pat Manley: Yeah, it’s been a long journey. So, in late 1998 the band was started by myself and bassist Sean Hamill. We met working at a restaurant together and pulled in another employee, Joe Laudadio, for lead guitar. Drummer Jimmy Teodoro joined shortly thereafter, and that was our lineup for about a year or so. I had already known Joe Napoleon through a friend, and at that time I only knew him to be a drummer, so when Jimmy Teodoro left, I got him on board. Joe Laudadio also left around this time, so we were then a 3-piece for about a year-and-a-half. Joe then moved to guitar and drummer Randy Robbins came in. That was the “classic” lineup for about 12 years (I feel like I should be drawing a diagram on a whiteboard). The last few years we’ve had Kevin and Jim come in on bass and drums, and it’s been fantastic. We’ve been able to continue on, and there’s a definite infusion of new energy.

As for our name, it comes from a relatively obscure Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem. It was an early draft for his poem “The Aeolian Harp” (yeah, I was an English major). In this usage, “Effusion” means an outpouring of emotion, so I really liked that.

Kevin Manley: I met Pat when I was born; then 24 years happened, and now I’m in the band.

Jim Napoleon (JN): Unfortunately, I was forced to meet my bro through the miracle of birth. I met Pat and Kev through Joe being in the band with Pat.

ROP: You have cited artists such as the Velvet Underground and Nirvana as inspiration for your sound. How do these musicians and other bands influence how you write and perform?

PM: I should probably update that description! It’s gotta be 15 years old. Haha. Anyway, my parents are HUGE Beatles fans (who isn’t, right?), but I remember hearing them so often that they are imprinted on my brain. There was a lot of 60s and 70s classic rock influence there. Otherwise, I will say I distinctly remember being at my friend Brendan’s house in the early 90s, and he put “Dive” by Nirvana on the stereo. I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but it was a revelation. I had heard the band before, but something about that song flipped a switch inside me at that moment. I had been an artist my whole life, but in more visual mediums. From that point on, it was 100% music, all the time. If you wanna talk about defining life moments—that was one.

Joe Napoleon (JO): I get an emotional response to certain types of music. Everyone knows what it is when they hear it. I want to create that sound, but in our style, and be able to listen to it and get that same response.

KM: Growing up with Pat as a brother, I became pretty aware of the 90’s music scene at a young age. The sounds of Nirvana, Soundgarden and the Foo Fighters were constantly coming through the thin bedroom wall between us. And I loved it. In a way, I feel like I was being molded to one day be a part of this band.

These days, I’m really into the local scene, and bands like Dr. Dog, Hop Along and The Districts are some of my favorites. I think the influence that these current styles have had on me allows me to bring some newer ideas to the band.

JN: I’m influenced by Rush, Primus, the Pixies, Pantera, and Helmet. I like using different fills from them that I can pull off, though not nearly as good as them.

ROP: Is there a system to your writing or is it a free-flow of thoughts? Which one of you generally starts the creative process?

PM: In the early days, I brought most of the songs in nearly complete. Over the years, Joe and I have written some things together, like the song “Stonewind”. Drummer Randy Robbins handled the lyrics from time to time, including some of my favorite songs like “’Round and Back” and “The Garden Path”. Currently, it’s more of a 50/50 split with me and Joe.

JO: Writing can start with a riff or a chord. It can also start with a set of lyrics. Either way there is usually a 3 to 4 revision of the riff or chord progression to get the desired effect.

KM: Right now I’m just playing what Joe or Pat brings to the table and adding little things in when I can. Eventually, I want to contribute ideas for full songs.

JN: They tell me to put down a drum lick, and I take their suggestions. Every once in a while I make something that fits.

ROP: It looks like you guys have been gigging a lot locally. How has the Philly music scene impacted your career? What are your favorite Philly venues to play?

PM: A lot of our favorite venues are closed! I really miss Dobbs and The North StarThe Khyber when it had bands was always great. Of the new venues, I really dig Bourbon and Branch. We haven’t played Johnny Brenda’s yet. I’d like to do that. Fishtown and Northern Liberties is clearly where it’s at these days.

JO: We live here, so why not play here? Philly has a scene, but we need to continue to help the country recognize we have a great scene.

KM: Things have been great in 2016. We’ve done some fun gigs in the Fishtown area, and I hope that continues. The Philly music scene right now seems to be one of the best in the country, so it’s great that we’re playing regularly. Hopefully more and more people start to notice/recognize us. As for favorite spots, I’m really liking Bourbon and Branch. We’ve done a few gigs there, and their whole setup is just top-notch.

JN: Philly’s scene is really up and coming. Luckily Joe and Pat have been doing it enough for the scene to go away and come back.

ROP: Have changes in the music industry, shifting from an album business to a “free music streaming” business, impacted Effusion 35?

PM: I actually like physical copies of records, but I know that isn’t the way things are trending. I am fine with streaming. When the band started, it was actually not that easy to get music in front of people; now we can send a link and they are listening to it within seconds. On the flipside, you have to somehow standout in a sea of infinite bands online.

JO: No.

KM: Our upcoming releases will be the first things I’ve recorded on, but I’m a fan of free music streaming. I do love having physical albums to hold and own, but with the way things are now, it’s really easy for anyone to hear our stuff. So, you know… go listen to it.

JN: Streaming music has only helped; it’s an easier and cheaper way to get our sound out there and for promotions as well.

ROP: What aspect of Philadelphia (monument, landmark, sports team, historical figure, tradition, etc.) most accurately embodies the spirit of your band?

PM: There’s a guy who stands on the corner of 16th and Market every day and just screams Bible passages (I think). He screams something, anyway. Rain or shine, he never gives up. I’d like to think we’re that committed.

JO: Nothing really, the bands I tend to like are NY or California.

JN: Art museum. We’ve been around forever and are still entertaining.

ROP: With an arsenal of rock jams and a base of local fans, what’s next for Effusion 35?

PM: I’m hoping for more regular recording and releases. I’ve put together a studio and can do most things there now. Maybe more digital singles? I’d like to get things out quicker.

JO: More outdoor shows/festivals.

KM: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame most likely. I mean, at least I’m trying to visit there. Not sure about these guys.

JN: More gigs, a concept album, just doing what we do.

What do YOU think of Effusion 35? Tell us in the comments below!

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