Ten local bands are now in regular rotation for the month of December on the X. We affectionately call this time of year 'Hometown for the Holidays,' and we love it with everything we have. This is our third consecutive Hometown, we're so glad to bring it back! Thank you for listening. Our aim is to get great local bands some solid radio exposure, and our hope is that you will find some new music to dig into. All month long we'll have features on our Top 10 Hometown bands so you can find out a bit more about the musicians in your own backyard and add them to your list of bands to see live - when we're back to doing that sort of thing. Do enjoy!
Our first featured band is Gene the Werewolf, a 6-piece rock band from Pittsburgh with classic influences and a memorable, powerful sound. The band is comprised of Jon Belan (vocals/guitar), Drew Donegan (guitar), Andy Marks (guitar), Chris Serafini (bass), Nick Revak (drums), and Aaron Mediate (keys).
If you're wondering where the name originated, 'Gene the Werewolf' is a persona of frontman Jon Belan with a rich character profile. In Gene's early days, during an interview with Pittsburgh City Paper, Jon said, '"Gene's all about doing what's not expected ... There are all these boy bands nowadays with cute lead singers. Gene's not like that -- he hates emo and is tired of the whining. He wants to be in the spotlight [but] go against the rules and still be known as the best guy in rock 'n' roll."'
With most members coming from previous Pittsburgh bands, they've been together as Gene the Werewolf since 2007, with an EP and two full-length albums under their belt. They're constantly perfecting their live show to keep up with their sound. I assure you the performance matches the studio recordings - they are dynamic and entertaining the whole way through. The live sets are truly a sight to see - shades, special effects, and a lot of leather - Gene always commits to the show and the production of it all, and the end product is what makes them unique. While inspired from classic rock 'n' roll, their sound is sprinkled with modernity and therefore still specific to Gene the Werewolf, especially with their more contemporary release, "I Should've Known Better," the single in rotation on the X this month part of Hometown for the Holidays. Having a band name that's based on an alter ego or a character already hints at theatrics and big moments - and that's what they do. It works so well coming from a place of honesty and truly talent. And the live show is a tight, conscientious experience with a lot of intention. Seeing Gene the Werewolf live is an experience, and I believe it's purposefully curated to be exactly that. It's big, it's fun, and sometimes over-the-top in a wonderfully unique way.
Seasoned musicians at this point, they have had experience on several impressive stages, and time to consider their future and the band's collective goal. Drew told the Post-Gazette, '“It’s all about having a blast. To be honest, that’s why we do this now. The goal is to have as much fun as you possibly can,” said Mr. Donegan. “Everyone is in their mid-30s and it’s totally not worth it if you worry about making it all of the time instead of having fun ... to be able to do what we do is incredible.”'
You can hear their brand new single, "I Should've Known Better," on the X, which released November 13th complete with a music video that has some solid Pittsburgh-friendly cameos (I see you, Chad Tyson!) The song was engineered and mixed by Sean McDonald at Red Medicine Recording Studio, with the video directed by Chris Chicra.
This band has come a long way and continues to evolve while remaining true to themselves, which is an accomplishment by its very nature. We welcome Gene the Werewolf to Hometown for the Holidays with what is undoubtedly their best work to-date.
Thumbnail courtesy of Thumbnail courtesy of Gene the Werewolf/Brian Kaldorf.