Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Covergirl's Male Model

Hey guys, Dana here. A few weeks ago, I finally put my foot down and chimed in with my two cents regarding the Blue/Black/All Lives Matter hype. And funny, since then, I haven't seen much of it anymore. I guess my rant finally shut everyone up. But now we've got another controversial issue going on in various social media outlets. This time it involves cosmetics that now target more than just women: it's 2016, and the cosmetic company Covergirl now targets men, as seen in this contraversial magazine cover:

The guy featured on this magazine cover is 17 year old James Charles, a cosmetic artist mostly known on make up tutorials on YouTube. For the first time ever, Covergirl features a boy model instead of a girl. Everyone is appalled by this choice...but why? What's the problem?

Alright, alright, alright, before you scroll down to the bottom of this post and scream at me for having a whacked mindset and questioning why this is outrageous, let's play devil's advocate with this issue, okay? Good, you can take a chill pill. Now, I understand why people would be confused as to why Covergirl chose a male model instead of female. When you hear the words "make up," "cosmetics," "beauty," "skin care," what comes to mind? Female, girls. women, the XX chromosome. That's correct. Whether it's Covergirl, Revlon, Almay, Neutrogena, or any other generic cosmetic brand, these products all target women. We see it every day on TV, in magazines, any other advertisement on this planet because that's the social norm. But remember, ladies and gents, the social norm can change. Covergirl made a bold step in their marketting tactic before any other cosmetic company: targetting men. Covergirl is no longer female exclusive, and just gained a whole new target audience.

Now, if you see a boy or a man wearing makeup, what's your first reaction? He's gay, he's queer, he's confused, a he/she, shemale, all kinds of insults. I've seen it, I've read it. Not gonna lie, those are rather closed-minded remarks to think of, and to say to, a complete stranger. Let's be real here. Who the hell cares if a boy is wearing makeup? Hell, even if a man is wearing makeup, I wouldn't be phased by it at all. What if the man has an important presentation at work and has a bad blemish on his face? He wouldn't want to face his bosses and colleagues with a rash, would he? Now that a cosmetic company targets men, he can get himself some concealer before the big presentation. Or that boy you saw in the hallway wearing eyeliner who you might have called a faggot? Did you stop to think that maybe that boy is trying out for a role in the upcoming school play? What other people do with their skin (as long as it's not self destructive, like self-inflicted burns and cuts, of course) is none of your damn business. He has thin lips, so he wants to make them fuller by using lip liner? He wants to use concealer to hide some zits and pimples before a frst date with a new girlfriend? He feels like he has no eyelashes so he wants to use mascara to add more definition to his eye lashes? His borderline unibrow is ugly and uneven so he wants to get his eyebrows waxed to even them out? It's simple: let them.

I've read reactions to this add, and it's kind of frightening that so many people are bitter and angry that men are wearing make up, seen below:

"I am sick of it, and extremely sad at the destruction of our nation."

"Pray for all of the confused kids out there."

Just one more step towards making men less than what they should be. Born and bred to be tough, strong, providers to their family."

This is repulsive and disgusting. I'm ashamed of this generation and the pathetic excuse for men that are resulting from it."

"Liberals of course are hailing this as taken another courageous step towards our genderless utopian future."

Wait, hold on. Liberal america did this?  Are you serious? Left winged Americans made this happen? Okay, first off, why are political views being brought into a magazine ad? And secondly, this has nothing to do with politics. This never had to do with politics, and this certainly has nothing to do with "making men less than what they should be." This has nothing to do with the death of masculinity, people. With this ad, this corporation is making more money than any other cosmetic company since they target everyone instead of just women and girls. It's brilliant, actually. This company took an idea and made into reality, and I'm pretty sure Revlon, Almay and Neutrogena will follow suit since Covergirl will be making more money than them. It was simply a business tactic, not to "promote a genderless utopia" as the media likes to say.

Before I sign off of the night, I'm just going to point out one little thing here. These people failed to realize is that James Charles never once identified as female, or disowned his male identity. He's a boy who wears make up. And guess what? Male models do, in fact, use cosmetics in their commericals and photo shoots. Even when you cease to exist, and your family has a viewing; your face will be made up to be presentable for your loved ones. That's right, even the deceased use cosmetics.  Your teenage son, who just got the lead role in the high school musical, will be wearing make up on opening night, through the closing. And guess what? Your favorite actors on TV, in the movies and on Broadway all wear make up; every single one of them. And  here you are being all offended that a boy is wearing makeup in an advertisement. What a tragedy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Black/Blue Lives Matter Movement

Hey guys, Dana here. Hope you're all having a good week so far...only a couple more days 'til the weekend. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I gave you all a sneak peek at my little side-project Heartstone and our debut performance with my band, Logan's Room, Ashes to Oranges and Vigil Antics on October 14th at Backstage Pass in Ronkonkoma.(I'm serious, come through!) Tonight's topic unfortunately isn't as light hearted as the last post I wrote. I'm talking about current events; the ugly stuff. I've held my tongue with this particular topic for the longest time, ladies and gents. I've ignored it, kept my thoughts to myself, and silently hoped that things would get better. I've kept silent long enough, and it's gone too far now; this is what I have to say about this black/blue/all lives matter thing. 

So today during my hour break at work, I read an article about a 40 year old man named Terence Crutcher who was killed by the police a few days ago. From what I read, Crutcher was unarmed, but acting very strangely as his SUV was parked in the middle of a road in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It appeared as if he was on some sort of drugs since he was not answering/listening to what officer Betty Shelby was saying to him, but did not pose any threat. He then proceeded to raise both hands so he was clearly unarmed. Aside from putting his hands in his pockets and supposedly reaching into his car window with one hand, he did not appear to pose any threat. At that moment, officer Shelby fatally shot Crutcher with one bullet while approaching officer Tyler Turnbough tazed him. This was at a simultaneous moment, mind you. Ask yourself this. Was a gun shot AND tazer really necessary for only muttering incoherant words and keeping hands in the pockets? 
Officer Betty Shelby & Terence Crutcher

Now, let's look at this situation from both perspectives, shall we? Let's take it from the police officer's perspective. Now, if I was a police officer and I found a semi-coherant man standing in the middle of the road and not understanding what I'm saying to him, I'd be kinda frightened too, not gonna lie. I wouldn't have any idea if he was armed, unarmed, mentally unstable, suicidal, etc. I'd most definitely call for back up if I felt diffusing the situation alone was too much to handle. But I would absolutely NOT kill him. Arrest him for walking/driving while supposedly being under the influnece of some sort of drug(s)? Sure. A quick taze to apprehend him and get him some help? If the police officer felt threatened, she should have at least shot him in the leg or somewhere NOT fatal. 
If the person was armed and dangerous, yes, shoot the criminal to disarm, not to kill. Since Crutcher didn't have a weapon in his hands, did he seriously have to die? Did he have to get shot AND tazed even though he had no weapon? Did the cops really have to kill him? I still ask this question with the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. All over this country, lives are lost and families are destroyed.

The crime scene where Keith Lamont Scott was killed.
Terence Crutcher's family lost a son, a father, a brother, and a husband. Crutcher's twin sister Tiffany told the newsreporter that he was loved by his family, friends, and was looking forward to taking classes at a local community college; no one ever felt threatened by him. Why he acted the way he did around the police officer, we'll never know. But I've seen that kind of grief with a family. There is nothing more heartbreaking in this world than watching a mother cry from losing a child. That is not supposed to happen, yet this keeps happening every single day.

Today I found out about the death of 43 year old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina yesterday. Unlike Terence Crutcher's case, Scott was supposedly armed while sitting in a car. Some sources say that he was simply reading a book in the car, when others said that he was armed.When he did not comply with the police officer's commands, he was fatally wounded. Why? This man was a husband a father, and now his children have to live the rest of their lives without their dad. His wife, now widow, is forever heartbroken that her husband was taken from her. Why did the police officer have to kill the man for solely having a weapon on him? I mean, the second ammendment clearly says we have a right to bear arms, but it seems that even if you're armed, you're considered dangerous and at risk to be killed by the police. As a result, riots have broken out in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the wake of Scott's death. Tear-gas fired in the streets, cops getting hurt, innocent people getting hurt, and people are getting killed because of wrongful deaths.

That's it, enough is enough. This Black Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter insanity has gone too far, and it's completely and utterly unacceptable. So many innocent people are getting killed because of the lack of communication between human beings. This "protest"  is just adding fuel to the fire and frustration of these wrongful deaths. Rioting in the streets is not going to fix what happened to these victims. Killing cops won't bring back those victims. If anything, murdering police officers will result in their families who will grieve and mourn for the rest

of their lives. Police officers are human beings too; think about their families. Destroying property, attacking the police and threatening the lives of innocent people are not going to fix what's already been destroyed, and this has to stop.

Now, should the victims have complied with what the police said? Yes, because if an authoratative figure tells you do to something, you do it. A police officer wants to see your licence and registration when you get pulled over? Do it. A police officer tells you to drop your weapon? Do it. Listen to the police officer and no one gets hurt, so I've always been told. But then here comes my question again, DID THEY HAVE TO DIE? Did the police have to kill those people? People always wonder and question why other people feel paranoid and scared around police officers. Only in America do people fear police officers instead of feeling safe and protected. Isn't that sad?

My last thoughts? Riddle me this. Why is it that these people are brutally murdered by the police, yet armed terrorists who bombed Seaside Park, New Jersey, and  New York City, MY CITY, are alive and simply detained? Are you kidding me right now?  Armed terrorists are alive and breathing, yet Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner are dead simply for not listening to an armed police officer? Riddle me that.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heartstone: A Step Out of the Comfort Zone

Hey guys, Dana here. Last week, I threw in my two cents about cultural appropriation and how asinine it's become since we've landed in the mid 2010's...i.e the age of social media and political correctness. Tonight I got something different for you guys...this post is actually about what's happening with me and the music I've been working on. Not a lot of you know this, but I'm currently working on a project that I never thought I'd ever be a part's a little something called Heartstone.

The unofficial logo for Heartstone
Now before anyone starts jumping to conclusions, asking questions or spreading rumors, NO, I repeat, NO, nothing happened to Bending Over Backwards. No, I did not quit, and no, I never will quit. Bending Over Backwards is my baby and nothing will ever come between me and my baby. I'm helping out because that's what musicians do, no?

Anywho, Heartstone is a project that consists of myself as the bassist, my friend Matt Capitano behind the drums, Nick Martinez and Vladimir Kosonofv(his real name is Eric, he goes by this name on social media) as the two guitarrists, and finally, the founder of Heartstone, Pat Keenan as the lead vocalist. 

Heartstone is completely different from any kind of music I've ever played in my life. As long as I've been a bassist for the past soon-to-be 9 years, I've only played punk rock and it's all I honestly know. You know...the raw, loud, fast, short, simple, four-chord songs that made me who I am today. Never in a million years would I ever thought I'd try something different than punk rock Heartstone, on the other hand, is hard rock/metal. Hey, a musician has got to grow by playing something different from what they're familiar with. It's the only way to give myself more confidence as well.

Pat originally called his band Truthful Dishonesty, and was made public at the end of last year and early into this year. All of his life he's always wanted to front a rockband. Pat's always wanted to be more than just a promoter for local band...he wanted to be up there with those local bands he shows unconditional and everlasting support for. Since early this year, I followed Pat's Facebook posts and saw that he got two guitarrists and a drummer, but no bassist. I never thought anything of it. I had my own band, practicing and playing shows. We never lost touch, though. Sometime in May, Pat asked me if I'd want to jam with him, Matt, and the two guitarrists at a rehearsal space in Deer Park sometime on a Saturday in June. I figured "what the hell, let's give it a try." I'm always up for a fun jam session! Let's see how it goes!

On June 18th, I walked into the rehearsal space in Deer Park with Matt, his girlfriend Rosalie, and Pat was there waiting for us. I met Eric, and we clicked immediately; not only as musicians, but as friends. We also realized how many mutual friends we have! Nick, however, couldn't make it that day, but went on with the rehearsal. Now, I got to be honest with you all, I was nervous. Like, to the point where it kept me awake at night. I walked into that studio not knowing one song that they've been working on for the past 5 or so months. In my my mind, I had to catch up on 5 months worth of material in just four hours. My legs turned to jelly and my mind was racing. I no idea what kind of music we would be playing, no idea what tuning the songs would be in, how long each song was, if there were any tempo changes, key changes, blah blah frickity blah! But guess what? The songs that were taught to me that day came naturally for me. I don't know how, since this was completely different from what I'm used to, but the chemistry between me and these dudes clicked perfectly.My mind was at ease, and I left that rehearsal studio smiling.

The next day, Pat messaged me and said that he was really impressed with how fast I learned the songs...and then asked if I would like to be the official bassist for his band. Now, I originally said no. I told him I was "a one band" kinda girl. And in all honesty, I am. If this was going to be a strict, once/twice a week rehearsal kind of band, this would not have worked. However, Pat re-assured me that this is just an every-now-and-then kind of gig. The practices would be based around all of our schedules since all of us have our own bands. Since he put it that way...I said yes. But here's the thing. I couldn't believe that out of all the bassists he knows, and has seen for many many years, he chose ME: the least experienced out of every bassist he knows, and has only played one genre of music. I'm still shocked, but I'm thrilled to be a part of something that is outside of my comfort zone.

At the next rehearsal, I met Nick. We had a much fuller sound with the complete band, and Pat's voice gained more confidence. The songs we worked on got tighter and tighter, and my anxiety significantly diminished. The name "Truthful Dishonesty" was then changed to Heartstone. Honestly, that name is much more memorable, I feel the name "Truthful Dishonesty" would be a good name for an EP.(Maybe take that into consideration, Pat?)

As of now, we have two songs: The Bitterness, and From Falling Apart, an instrumental we're currently working on, and a cover that has yet to be announced! Next rehearsal is this Saturday, September 10th.

So...I've been working with these dudes since the beginning of the summer, and get ready for this: We have our first show in October. You guessed it; October 14th at Backstage Pass in Ronkonkoma. We're kicking off that show as Heartstone's debut live performance. After that, I'm going double duty and playing a set with my own band, Bending Over Backwards...followed by Ashes to Oranges, then Vigil Antics, closing with Logan's Room. It's a show that you do not want to miss, and I hope to see you there. Please clear your schedule, mark your calendar, and hitchike your way to Ronkonkoma. As a matter of fact, Backstage Pass is located DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE RONKONKOMA TRAIN STATION so if you don't/can't drive, simply take the train.

Sometime after our debut show, we will record an album with Tom Douglas (the guy who produced my band's first album) and will keep you posted. If you like what you've read so far, please follow Heartstone's Facebook page:

Thank you for reading, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My thoughts on cultural appropriation

Hey guys, Dana here. Wow, it's been a while since I've returned to the writing realm. The last time I wrote here, it was in the beginning of June when I decided to rip apart Brock Turner,(who is being released from jail which makes me want to bash my head through a wall) and threw in my two cents about rape. Since then, I essentially took the summer off to soak up as much vitamin D as possible by going to the beach, playing shows with my band, and even took a mini road trip to hang out with some friends in New Jersey one random Friday I was off from work. Now that summer's on it's way out, I'm back.

Inspiration has struck me today, ladies and gents. It's something that I've kind of ignored, but once someone had the audacity to silence me when I used my voice, the gears in my tiny little brain started working. If you don't know, I have a Tumblr account.(Why, Dana? That site is filled with psychos!) I'm on there mainly for entertainment purposes to reblog funny stuff, deep stuff, adorable animals, or I write my own thoughts on there when I don't feel like having my entire social life asking me what's wrong. Well, a minor incident on Tumblr decided to inspire me to write today. Let's have a chat about cultural appropriation.

While I was on Tumblr earlier this afternoon, I stumbled on a page that shows hate against white people. Like, in a sick obsessive kind of way. The person's username is i-heartducksblr with a page called Black Teen Angst with a short caption on how this person has zero tolerance for white people. Uh oh, looks like we got a black panther lurking on Tumblr. So anyway, someone anonymously told this person that they don't think it's offensive that a white person has dreadlocks. I agreed with the anonymous person, and shortly after, I was greeted with this "cute" message to the right over here:

...First off, what the hell is a trick? Well, thanks to, I discovered that the term "trick" is a derogatory term for a woman who's sexually promiscious. In other words, this person called me a slut. Interesting, since that post had nothing to do with sex, but that's rather irrelevant, I suppose. I think it's interesting that I have no pictures of myself featured on my Tumblr page, yet assumed I was a woman who was sexually promiscious. Very prejudice for a black panther. And then, with poor grammar, threatened that my "white ass" should unfollow the page. Yet all I did was agree with a comment about a hairstyle. I laughed. This charming person didn't say anything after I responded with LOL you're hilarious" with a bunch of laughing emojis.

Left: Jon Davis Right: Bray Wyatt

Before 2016, i.e this current generation of political correctness and being overly sensitive over trivial things, no one gave a rat's ass if a white person rocked the dreadlocks or any other "non-white" hairstyle. Perfect example to my left here: Jonathan Davis of Korn rocks dreadlocks. Always have, and probably always will. Is anyone offended by that? Hm? Are people getting all freaked out because two white guys have dreadlocks because white people didn't invent the dreadlocks? Some extremely closed-minded people, maybe, but no one gave him problems or made it controversial. WWE wrestler Bray Wyatt has dreadlocks now. Is he going to get suspended from WWE for being "racially insensitive?" No, because that's absurd. As long as you're not hurting anyone, screaming death threats, physically attacking someone or doing anything life threatening to yourself or someone else, no one should be getting harrassed over fashion. When I was growing up, I've never seen anything like that happen before. Nobody bothered anyone unless the outfit was "too revealing." Hell, I even pulled something a crazy hairstyle once. Take a look at this picture from when I was 14:
When I was 14 years old in 2005, I went on a cruise with my immediate family and my extended family. When we stopped at this beach in Honduras, I got my hair braided into cornrows. When I came back home, I got so many compliments; nobody gave me a problem over this hairstyle. In fact, people wished they could have gone there to get their hair braided too. Now, since everyone gets offended over trivial garbage, I bet if I rocked this hairstyle now, I'd get the shit kicked out of me for "being racist." Apparently rocking a hairstyle is racist.

Let's get one thing straight here. A HAIRSTYLE DOES NOT MAKE YOU RACIST OR OFFENSIVE. I mean, really? Are people seriously getting their panties up in a bunch over a frickin' hairstyle? So wait, hair is offensive now? Let's just shave our heads so we'll all be bald and can't offend anyone anymore! How about this? Who the hell cares what race you are? Who the hell cares what color your skin is? It's kind of sickening how people are so obsessive over how other people live their lives.
"Oh, that white guy is wearing dreads, he's racist."
"Oh, that black girl straightened her hair, she's trying to be white."
"That guy's long hair makes him look like a girl."
"Hahaha, that chick with the pixie cut is a total dyke."

or God's sake, leave these people alone. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is to say to someone? Stop complaining about other people and focus on your own miserable life! Are those comments really necessary? This planet is ugly enough as it is. There's so much hate in the world we live in, and there's so many other awful things we should worry about instead of the physical appearance of a complete stranger. A white person wants to rock dreads or cornrows? Cool. A black person wants to straighten/dye their hair? Awesome. Other people want to shave their heads into mohawks and spike their hair into liberty spikes? Go for it, you have my blessing. People shouldn't even NEED to have anyone's blessing because it's their life, their appearance, their own identity, and no one should be able to take that away from anyone.  Good night, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Brock Turner: Nothing but a RAPIST

Hey guys, Dana here. About a week ago, I wrote about the closing of Dowling College; a heartbreaking moment for current students and allumi who had beautiful memories while attending there. I hope for the best for them. 

In other news, I stumbled on something absolutely vile. Last night before going to bed, I saw a particular article/picture of a blond haired, blue eyed athlete named Brock Turner who supposedly raped an innocent woman, and only got sentenced to 6 months in jail with a father who defended his rapist of a son. I didn't really comprehend that at first. I truly was baffled and flabbergasted that a father would defend his son that raping an innocent woman was not wrongful, and the judge agreed with him. I didn't want to believe it, but now that it wasn't just a sick joke/idiotic Facebook it's my turn to give this scumbag a piece of my mind. Here he is, ladies and gents, Brock Turner. Keep an eye out for this disgusting excuse of a human being if you see him in the streets.
Rapist. I can't even look at this without gagging.
When I read something about rape, my blood boils. It is the most disgusting crime anyone can ever commit, and should never ever be taken as a joke or a prank. Whether the joke is about being raped, or spreading a rumor that someone is a rapist, it's disgusting and should never be something to laugh about. So when I saw this on Facebook at first, I thought it was just a meme. But when I saw several news articles citing who did it, where it happened, when it happened, who prevented it, and the actual arrest/sentence, it was a real crime. I'm appalled.

On January 18th, 2015(Wait, this happened over a year ago and NOW we're just being informed by this?) at Stanford University, Brock Turner was found on top of an unconcious woman who was partially clothed behind a dumpster. Thankfully, two men saw what was going on, caught him and had him arrested. Only a few hours ago, Turner was sentenced to only six months in county jail and probation since this was his first offense; mainly because of his high class background of being the top swimmer on the swim team from such a prestigious college.

Judge Aaron Persky, who should be fired.
I'm sorry, what did the judge say? How long is the sentence? Just six months? They gave a rapist SIX MONTHS? That's it? This PATHETIC excuse of a judge, Aaron Persky, felt that anything more than six months was "too harsh" for him? Tell me this is a joke. You're meaning to tell me that a rapist does time for six months and then is free again? A crime this heinous and vile gets only six months in prison? Several years spent in prison wasn't given to this son of a bitch because he never had a criminal background? This was his first offense, so he's given a lighter sentence? Pardon my French, but that is utter BULLSHIT. Oh, it's his first time every getting arrested, so it's just a slap on the wrist, right? Boys will be boys, so we shouldn't give a harsher punishment, right? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Whether the defendant is a serial rapist or a first offender, no sentence should ever be light. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out whether rape is wrong or not. For the upteenth time, NO MEANS NO. If someone says "no" to sexual intercourse, or more importantly, not even coherant to CONSENT to said sexual intercourse, that person STOPS. THE VICTIM IS NEVER AT FAULT. Whether the victim is female, male, trans, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, white, black, hispanic, asian, fat, skinny, sober or inebriated, no person should EVER have to defend themselves and be told "you asked for it." And there are survivors that live in fear every single second of the day. What can we do to prevent this? Instead of teaching people how to defend themselves against rapists, how about we teach our children that RAPE IS WRONG? Instead of telling your daughter not to wear something because people will cat call her or God forbid, force themselves on to her, teach those future rapists not to rape. If I see any form of sexual assault, I will not hesitate to kick the living daylights out of that rapist and have the rapist arrested. Why this even needs to be explained to anyone is beyond my imagination. This is common sense, people. It's pathetic that this needs to repeated over and over again.

What makes me even more angry is that there are people who have the audacity to defend Turner. First and foremost, the judge said, and I quote "a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others." A rapist will not be a danger to others? He destroyed a woman's self worth, and her entire world for violating her in the most inhumane way, and this "judge" thinks that a prison sentence would HURT HIM? He VIOLATED someone. This woman has to live the rest of her life in fear that someone will hurt her like that again. This woman will never be who she was prior to the attack. You can't give that back to her. No apology or prison sentence will give back what that woman once had before her attack. Think again before you even have the nerve to touch someone without their consent.

What makes my blood boil even more is that I've also seen comments that defend rapists like Brock Turner. Like this question that I've heard when a rape is brought into conversation:

"Well, what was she wearing?"

...What was she wearing? DOES THAT EVEN MATTER? SHOULD THAT EVEN MATTER? A woman's attire consitutes and condones rape? Whether the woman is wearing a dress, shorts, pants, a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, or even a god damn FLOOR LENGTH BALL GOWN, RAPE IS WRONG. "What was she wearing," do you have any idea how absurd that is to say to someone? Look at it this way. When a person says "well, she was dressed promiscously, she was asking for it" is like seeing a football player walking down the street in his uniform, and you just tackle him because "he was wearing football gear, he was asking for it." Sound logical?
 And then there's this. I saved this one for last. There's Brock's father who wrote the following, which makes me want to vomit. I seriously want to puke.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Stop right there. Guys, I think I'm on drugs because I just read the most asinine letter in my entire 25 years of existence on this planet. I had to read this a couple handful of times because I seriously did not think people like this really exist on this planet. I thought "people" like this only existed in fiction. I'm serious, everyone. My eyes must be deceiving me because despite the several re-reads of this, I must have read that wrong. Really, did I read that correctly? Correct me if I'm wrong, but did he just say that his son was not in the wrong? Did he seriosly have the BALLS to say that BROCK'S life has been deeply altered forever? He's insinuating that his rapist of a son is the victim in this crime? This event shattered HIM? The sentence is a steep price to pay for "20 minutes of action."(Tell me he did not really say that instead of rape. Tell me that I imagined that.) He calls rape "action," or "getting some?" Again, pardon my French...but is this man FUCKING HIGH ON HEROIN? This man thinks that this was an accident and his precious little boy wasn't at fault? So what are you saying, Dan? You're saying that your son's penis accidentally fell into a woman's vagina so he wasn't at fault? You've got some serious parenting issues, pal. If you think that your son is innocent and you condone rape, I'm frightened for you and every human being on earth. Especially for your family. Speaking of your family, I've got a question.. Riddle me this.What if the victim was your daughter? Would you still defend the rapist and say that any form of punishment is a "steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action?" Would you feel sympathy for the rapist? Incarceration is not appropriate for Brock, you say? You know something? You're right. Incarceration isn't appropriate because he should be castrated instead. How's that for a sentence? Without that, he won't be able to hurt anyone ever again. Give that as a fair warning to anyone who even has a half second to think about raping someone. Here's an idea for your precious little son, Danny boy. Instead of thinking with his dick, maybe he should have used his brain? Riddle me that. *drops mic and walks out*

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dowling College Closure

Hey everyone, Dana here. Happy first day of June! It's been a little while since I posted here, but a certain controversial incident has come my way while taking a break in my job's employee lounge this morning. Yes, ladies and gents, I'm actually writing something else aside from local band reviews. (YAY.) If you live on Long Island, you probably just found out about this last night as well, and I'm here to put my two cents into this: the closing of Dowling College.

Okay, so I never went to Dowling. I got my Associates from Nassau Community College and then got my Bachelor's from Queens College, but I've driven past Dowling on the way out east. Beautiful campus, I must say. I also have friends who graduated from there and they have really fond memories during their time as undergraduates. And there are thousands of students who are enrolled there, or will be enrolled following their high school graduation from all over the country. But just last night, every enrolled student/soon-to-be enrolled student/ received an email that Dowling College is closing down, and have until Friday to pick up their transcripts to enroll in another educational institution elsewhere before they permanently close their doors.
Hold up a second. Wait. You're meaning to tell all of these college students that they have less than 48 hours to get paperwork to continue their education, without given any notice MONTHS AGO to make other life changing decisions? If this school was having such financial problems, why didn't they inform the students at the beginning of the spring semester, or even earlier? 48 hours notice? Seriously? Were the students even aware of this?

Something doesn't add up here. Why would Dowling College fail to notify their students that they are permanently closing their doors less than 48 hours in advance? I can't even imagine the overwhelming stress these students have right now. If I was in their situation, I'd probably be losing my mind right now. It kills me that there are students who are in a Master's program, perhaps a semester or two away from getting their Bachelor's or Master's Degree, and now they have to start all over. I heard that Molloy College is looking to help the Dowling students out with this catastrophic situation, but will Molloy get them to where they're supposed to be? i.e take all of their credits? If they do get accepted into a new school, great, but will that school take the credits without a degree?  A lot of people I know transfered to different schools without an Associate's, and the school they transfered to either took a few credits here and there, or none at all. More importantly, I really hope that these students are getting refunded for having their classes cancelled on them less than 12 hours ago. 

Aside from the students getting completely screwed over, what about the professors? Where are they going to teach? What about the professors that don't teach the basic math, sciences, history, or English? The arts and humanities professors who have been teaching at that school for so many years now have to figure out where they can go from here. All of these students and professors have to go to the Registrar, pay some kind of fee, and then their transcript gets mailed to them within a week or two. But guess what? There's a chance that the colleges that they apply to won't even accept them since it's way past the enrollment deadline. That's really unfair. I'm extremely disappointed with how Dowling College handled this financial crisis.

If you're a Dowling College student/professor and are reading this, I really do give you the absolute best of luck and positive thoughts in this awful situation. I really feel for you, and I hope that whatever place you end up going to takes care of you the best they can. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I'll return to the writing realm in the near future.

Love and prayers,

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bending Over Backwards 5 Year Anniversary Spectacular!

Hey everyone, Dana here. I hope you all had a good week and will have a really nice weekend! Because remember what's happening on Sunday..."it's gonna be May." I'm sorry, I had to. Anyway, last week I reviewed Long Island local band Ü Blue's EP Vishuddha that you can view here. Oh yeah, in case you didn't know, today is my 25th birthday (OMG!) and I decided to do something different. When I turned 23, I wrote a "23 Facts about me" blog post and people seemed to think it was cool...or something, haha.(With the exception of one or two facts, they're still true to this day, just ask me.) Well, today I'm going to change it up. It's not a local band CD review. (Wow, Dana, you're actually writing something different...about frickin' time.) If you didn't is more than just my 25th birthday. It's my band's FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY. Can you believe it? I've been in the same band for five whole years, and I remember almost everything that's happened since then. You're in for a real treat...or a complete torture session if you hate reading. Without further ado, here's the full length, un-abridged story of Bending Over Backwards!!!! *insert applause or booing here*
Eddie, me, Brendan and Dillon!
So, it all started in 2010. Eddie quit his old band "Jam Session Nation" along with Jam Session's drummer at the time, Joe Carrotta. Eddie asked me to be the bassist since I always wanted to be in a band that actually enjoyed and wanted to play the same music as me. (When I was in high school, I was in a band where all four of us wanted to play different genres of music, and we never played a single show.) Then we recruited our friend Brian Torrusio to be the other guitarrist to complete the band. At the time, we were known as "Leaders of Mayhem." Every Friday, we rehearsed at Joe's house and Eddie showed us songs that he wrote while in Jam Session Nation. We were introduced songs like "Pictures," and a few others songs that kind of
Me, Joe, Eddie and Brian
disappeared from the Jam Session days. Then Eddie and Joe wrote the song "Far Away Girl," dedicated to me and Joe's long-distance girlfriend...another hit song of ours. One day while driving to rehearsal, I heard Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" on the radio and got inspiration: We should cover this song. It's so badass! So, I brought that potential cover to the group and it clicked immediately. It's our signature cover now. We open up every show we do with that song and people really dig it. We debuted that cover for the first time at Eddie's high school for the annual "Student Band Show Case" in the high school auditorium. However, after that show...things started to go south. Joe had other priorities and decided to quit altogether, and due to artistic differences, Brian left a little later on.

The name Leaders of Mayhem was retired...Eddie and I were deciding on a new name to call ourselves. Our friend Tom Douglas(who ended up recording our CD later on) was looking to re-name his band as well. He thought of the name "Bending Over Backwards," but his bandmates felt the name was too "punk" for their sound. So he suggested that we use it. From there, Bending Over Backwards became the official new name.

Around November 2010, an aquaintance of Eddie had a band called The Breaking Point and they were looking for a new bass player. They asked Eddie to be the new bassist. Eddie accepted, but asked if I could be the new bassist and he would be the second guitarrist. They accepted, and we briefly united with The Breaking Point. Early 2011, we played a few shows throughout Nassau County, such as the now closed Studio 360 in Mineola, and Great Neck Levels. In early April 2011, I signed onto Facebook and saw the following status: "Due to stylistic differences, Eddie and Dana were asked to leave the band." Ummmm, what? I was never notified of my expulsion from the band. I did not receive a phone call or text message from any of the remaining members of The Breaking Point. Neither did Eddie; we both found out from a Facebook status. I was hurt, but we remembered that we still had our project, Bending Over Backwards. 

A few weeks later, there was a show being held at Amityville Music Hall and we were asked to play be part of the lineup. When I asked what day the show was happening, it was on Friday, April 29th, 2011: my 20th birthday. I always wanted to have a birthday show, so we accepted...but we quickly realized that we still needed a second guitarrist and a drummer. We asked Brian from our old band to be the guitarrist and asked our friend Tom to fill in on drums. And so, on April 29th, 2011...Bending Over Backwards was officially made public. We had a great first show, but when we asked Brian and Tom to be in our band, they both Brian was forming a new band, We Stand Tall...and Tom was starting his studio-recording internship and had his own band as well. He did, however, tell us that if we needed him to fill in on drums for a show, he'd do it. 

We spent that entire summer auditioning both guitarrists and drummers. Sometimes Eddie would just audition said guitarrist or drummer on days where I had to work at Jones Beach Theater. Some of the guitarrists and drummers were either bad, or they simply didn't have the right chemistry with us. For example, we auditioned one drummer who seemed to click well with
Me and Eddie in September 2011.
us musically, but didn't have anything in common with us outside the band. Having chemistry outside the band was, and still is, extremely crucial to us. In September of 2011, we were asked to play at Revolution in Amityville (it was called Ollie's Point back then) but we still didn't have a full line up. For the time being, we were okay with being a trio. We asked Tom to fill in on drums for us that day, and we played to a total of maybe four people in the whole room. We were still an extremely new band, so due to the lack of a draw, we had to cough up the money for all of the unsold tickets. (Never do this, people...) It was a tough loss, but we still managed to stay alive as we continued to search for a second guitarrist and a drummer.

Eddie, me and Ryan in November 2011
In November of 2011, Eddie got an email from a guy named Ryan Meehan who was interested in auditioning as our drummer. Luckily for me, I was off from work the day he wanted to audition, so the three of us jammed for a while. He had good chemistry with us outside the band as well, so we welcomed him to the band as our new permanent drummer. About a week or two later, we got an email from a person who was running a showcase called "The Next Best Thing" tour at Webster Hall in New York City and asked us if we were interested in playing that day. Since we were meaning to venture into the city, we immediately said yes. However, we were unaware that it was a 50 ticket pre-sale and if we didn't sell all 50 tickets, we were cut from the bill. We sold tickets to everyone we knew, and even had people who weren't going to make it to buy a ticket just so we can stay on the lineup.

December 2011 caught up to us and the Webster Hall show was quickly approaching. We were told that we had to check in to the venue at 9am the morning of the show...and we had no idea where we were in the lineup. It was a two-night event and there were at least 30+ bands on the bill. Our friends rang Eddie's doorbell at 7:30 in the morning. Around the same time, Eddie got a phone call from the promoter that we didn't have to check in until later that afternoon. In a nutshell, we woke up at an ungodly hour for no reason at all. Since we couldn't fall asleep, we decided to go to IHOP for breakfast. Later on, we all hopped on the train and met up with Ryan at Webster Hall. When we got there, we realized that we couldn't leave our equipment since there were so many bands, and so much equipment to keep an eye on. We were then told that we were performing 10:30 pm. The venue was getting fuller and fuller at the night went on. My nerves and excitment were rising exponentially
because we were expecting everyone to stay for us. Once the curtain opened, the only people in the audience were our seven friends who came with us on the train. "Where did the crowd go?" I wondered. My heart sank and my stomach was in knots because we were up since the early hours of the morning, and had to wait literally all day and all night to play a half hour set. But we played like we had a full room of people. We were playing on a stage that so many bands have played on...and we made history for ourselves. Yes, it was disheartening to finish a song and pretty much hear crickets, but it was an incredible experience. That buzz was shortlived, as Ryan stopped returning our text messages and phone calls. Needless to say, he quit the band without a simple goodbye. We were hurt; I kept wondering why so many people kept quitting, but we kept our head's up and resumed the search for a new drummer, and a second guitarrist as well.

2012 arrived before our eyes, and the drummer search was still on. We played at Amityville Music Hall and asked Tom to fill in on drums for us. We had a few friends show up, but it was not our best performance. In fact, it was the worst performance to this day. The rhythm was off, our sound was off...and I was livid. It was one of the worst sets we ever performed, and I finally realized why we still didn't have a full line up. It wasn't the other people who was us. While we were loading our equipment back into our cars, I couldn't hold back the tears and frustration anymore. Eddie found me and asked why I was upset because he felt that our set went fine. I exploded. 

"NO!!!!" I screamed. "Are you fucking kidding me right now?! We fucking sucked tonight!!! We were all over the place and we sounded like complete shit!!" 

Eddie was attempting to calm me down and tried to convince me that it was going to be okay. Then I didn't hold back my frustration. "It's no fucking wonder no drummer wants to fucking stay with us!!!" I wailed as the tears continued to stream down my face. "It's no fucking wonder no one comes out to see us. WE FUCKING SUCK, EDDIE, WE FUCKING SUCK."

For the first time, I realized that we were not ready to continue until something changed. I wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits that night. But I was not a quitter. It was not in my nature to quit just because an obstacle was in the way. I finally calmed down and said "until we significantly more fucking shows until we get our shit together." I was drowning in school work anyway. Eddie agreed, and it was time to go on a hiatus until our musicianship improved.

Eddie playing at Revolution winter 201
Throughout the first half of 2012, I was up to my neck in schoolwork as the second semester at Queens College was causing me more stress than any other semester I ever had. In order to keep Bending Over Backwards alive, Eddie did acoustic open mic gigs throughout Long Island. He networked and did everything possible to get our name out and to potentially audition new members as we improved ourselves as well. Our lives took a turn for the absolute worst when our friend Casey Falconer, a huge supporter of Bending Over Backwards, was killed in a horrific accident that completely flipped our world upside down. While grieving our loss, I realized that I needed to start playing again and bring Bending Over Backwards out of life support. Casey would have wanted us to keep playing, so now that school was over, I was able to focus on the band again. That June, after I came home from Italy, we decided to record a 3 track EP: Ready, Set GO! at The Music Palace in West Hempstead. Our friend Tom was not only an intern at that recording studio, but offered to do the drum parts to significantly cut down the cost of our EP. We recorded three songs: Pictures," "New Day," and "Far Away Girl." in about 6 - 8 hours. After it was all over, Tom applauded us. He said that we were a thousand times better than how we were in the beginning of the year. "It's like you guys are brand new band. I'm so proud of you guys." From there, things were starting to look up for us. We also decided to dedicate the EP to Casey as well.

In July of 2012, I got a message from a friend that we met approximately one year earlier at my ex-best friend's birthday party. You know, him you love him: Brendan Malley. He messaged me on Facebook to inform me that his band, Fear of Failure, broke up and he was feeling pretty bummed out about it. He then told me that although he was primarily a bassist, he was taking up the guitar really well...mostly rhythm guitar. A lightbulb appeared over my head: Why don't we ask Brendan to audition for us as our second guitar player? I flew over to Eddie and asked him if he'd want to try out Brendan. He immediately said yes, but we realized that Brendan lived extremely far from us. How on earth was he going to
Brendan, Tom, me, and Eddie at Sinclair's August 2012
come out to us since he didn't have a car? Luckily for Brendan, public transportation was easy to access. Unfortunately for me, the days that Brendan was available were the days that I had to work at Jones Beach Theater so I couldn't be there for the formal audition. So I said "Tell me how it goes. Do not sugar coat anything, okay?" When I got home from work, I called Eddie and asked how the audition went. Eddie said that even though he needed work, he felt that we would be able to work with him to bring him up to speed. He also loved that they had a lot of things in common outside the band, so we decided to make Brendan our official permanent guitar player. And that was perfect timing, because in August of 2012, we had our comeback show at Sinclair's in West Babylon for Brendan's debut performance with a new promoter called Alchemy International. Throughout the end of 2012 and the majority of 2013, Alchemy International was our primary show promoter. Much to my surprise, a lot of people showed up at that night and told us how much we've improved since earlier that year. Adding Brendan to the band was one of the best decisions we ever made, and we've never been happier. Since he lives so far away from us and to save money on his end, he spends the weekends at Eddie's house since he essentially became Eddie's adopted brother.♥ Our search for a permenant drummer resumed. Sure, it was frustrating, but at least we already filled a missing piece with Brendan and we had one less person to look for.

Brendan & Eddie at the Zebra Club 2/23/2013
2013 approached us, and we decided that our next move was to debut the EP we recorded the past summer. We picked out which bands we wanted to open up for us: We Stand Tall, Infidelities, 7Splinters, and other bands we were friends with as well. We originally wanted to make it Saturday, February 9th at Zebra Club, but due to the massive snow storm, the date was changed to Saturday, February 23rd. Luckily, we were able to keep the same venue. We hyped up that show so much that almost everyone we ever met was going to come through that night. But then, that perfect night I imagined in my mind took a turn for the worst, as I woke up that morning with a 102 fever, a sore throat, and the worst body aches and chills I ever had. I couldn't believe it. I could not believe that out of all the days my body decided to shut down on me, it was the day we were going to release our EP. I fought and fought to play that night. I thought all I needed was some tea, rest, and I would feel better by that evening. I thought it was a "mind-over-matter" thing...something that I could beat because it was all a matter of willpower. Once I took my temperature and saw triple digits, I knew that night was not meant to be. With tears streaming down my face and my voice trembling, I called Eddie to tell him that I was not going to be able to perform that night. When I wasn't sleeping, I spent the whole day and night crying my eyes out uncontrollably. The one thing I put my blood, sweat and tears into was something that I didn't even get to perform. The worst part of it all was that not one person called or texted me that whole night to check up on me. It was like I didn't even exist. And when I saw the statuses, pictures and videos from that night on Facebook the following morning, my heart was completely destroyed. The only thing that made me feel a little better was that Brendan played the bass during the set. If there was one person I'd like to play bass in my absence (even though it will never happen,) it would be Brendan...the best bassist I know. Even though this moment was 3 years ago, it was still one of the absolute worst days of my whole life. It wasn't all horrible, though. Because I fell ill at our EP release show, we made a pact that from that day forward if one of us can't play, none of us play. We refuse to play shows without each other. On top of that pact, Eddie and Brendan put together a "Dana Returns" show for me in March because of how distraught I was over missing our show. I was sick for a good month. Going in and out of the doctor's office from going to school, "interning" in the city and working at CVS on the weekends. All of that stress and pressure mentally and physically destroyed me. By the end of March, I was back to normal, we played that show, and I felt so lucky to have two amazing guys in my life that made me feel more alive than anything.
Once the nightmare of a semester at Queens College ended(I was juggling school, an "internship" and my job at CVS at the same time), I was finally able to focus on myself, and the band again. That summer, along with searching for a permanent drummer, we played a whole variety ofshows! First towards the end of June, we returned to the city to play an acoustic show at my friend Sarah's birthday/college graduation party! As a matter of fact, it was the very first acoustic show we played as a band, so this was a really special moment for us. The weather was beautiful, and we were surrounded by friends. I would love to play an acoustic show at a park again in the future.
Zombie night, July 2013
A couple of weeks later, Alchemy International asked us to play a show at The Zebra Club again. I was excited because we haven't been there since the winter/spring and I was meaning for us to get back there again. This time it was a themed show: ZOMBIE THEMED. There was a tiny little bit of an issue though: Tom wasn't available that weekend, so we needed someone to drum for us. A guy named John Ballard, who was going to the show that night anyway, offered to fill in for us even though he never played any of our songs before. We met him that day, had a pseudo-interview with him: where he's from, his influences, how long he was playing, etc. We decided that instead of having a formal audition, we did a trial run of how he played. If he did well, then he'd be our permanent drummer. So, we played our set, no issues happened, so we happily introduced him as our new drummer. He clicked well with us in the band and outside the band; for the most part. Things were looking up real high for us that summer. We finally had a full lineup, we were getting show offers left and right, and we couldn't wait to play the next show.

At the end of the month, we were invited back to the Zebra Club again with Alchemy Interantional for another themed show: BLACKLIGHT PARTY! We wer all required to wear white T-shirts and glow-in-the-dark paint on our skin. Unfortunately, John was unavailable

Blacklight show at Zebra Club, July 2013
that weekend, so we got Tom to fill in for us that night. When we looked at the lineup on the Facebook event page and flyer, we realized that it was a metal show and we were the token punk band surrounded by metal heads. We were also the first band that played, so I was kind of worried, but any concerns were proven wrong, for it was one of the best shows we ever played and had an amazing crowd. The metalheads were MOSHING to our songs, yet looked bored out of their minds when the metal bands played. We ditched out halfway through the show and ended up back at Eddie's house since we had another show the following day: a backyard show. The backyard show was okay, but there were a lot of issues. First off, John promised that he was going to be available that afternoon since he was coming back from whereever state, but never showed up for our set. Eddie went behind the drumset and played drums while me and Brendan were up front getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. John showed up 20 minutes after our set ended. Strike one.

Punk night at Zebra Club, August 2013
The rest of the summer flew by, and we managed to squeeze one more show in again for the last themed Alchemy show of the summer: Punk night. We almost lost this show because some of the bands failed to to promote the damn event. Luckily for us, we managed to save the show, and all of the bands who played that night did great. I even did double duty that night...I filled in on bass for our friends' band, We Stand Tall. Playing shows started to die down a bit, as I was starting back up at school again for my final semester of my senior year at Queens College.

Me, John, Brendan and Eddie October 2013
That October, we were invited to play a Halloween show at a bar out by Brendan's house. The idea was to dress up as a band and do a cover set of said band you're dressing up as. We decided with going as the Ramones. It was easy: T-shirt, jeans and leather jacket. After all, Dee Dee Ramone is an influence of mine. After learning the Ramones songs, we noticed that this promoter booked about 25 bands to play that whole night. The line up and set times were constantly changing as well. We were supposed to play
around 11:30ish. While we were waiting to play, we were informed that our set was pushed to the very end: nearly 2:30/3 in the morning. John decided to leave because he had to wake up early that morning (who knows if that was actually true?) so that struck a huge nerve. Strike two.  On top of that, we were flabberghasted by how completely unorganized this show was, and how the promoter did nothing to fix it. So what did we do? For the very first time as a band, we walked out on our own show. We packed up, drove to Taco Bell and slept over Brendan's that night. The following morning, we get a message from the promoter...a full blown apology for how poorly we were treated. As a consolation, we were invited to play our Ramones set at an open mic he was running up by King's Park. We accepted his apology and played our set flawlessly...along with our original songs as well.

The Wood Shop in Copiague, November 2013
About a month later, we played our very first DIY show in a room/venue in Copiague. No promoters, no presale,  no bullshit. A bunch of bands put together this show as if it was a party instead of a typical show at a bar up the road. That was also the night we decided to incorporate the "NO!" chant in our song "What am I, a Bitch?!?" We thought it was the coolest thing  ever; we never had much crowd interaction before, so that became a part of the song when we recorded it a year and a half later.

Although things were looking up in regards to playing shows, our relationship with John was going down towards the end of 2013 and early 2014. Since he broke promises to us twice within three months, we felt maybe it was time to regroup and think of new options. On top of that, John stopped coming to practice and would constantly make excuses as to why he couldn't practice with us. It was either the distance, car problems, or had other priorities (other projects he wanted to pursue). Another strike was given when we played our first show at Even Flow in Bay Shore. We called him and texted him numerous times, asking where he was because our set began 15 minutes later. We set everything up and the sound guy started running our set...with no drummer. It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life. He finally made it, and our set was cut down to 20 minutes instead of the half hour we were promised. He was all apologies later, but we really should have given him the boot that night. But we had a huge show opportunity that we couldn't pass up despite our straining relationship with John: opening up for Michale Graves, the ex-lead vocalist of the of our biggest influecnes.

Michale Graves show March 2014
After we were confirmed on the lineup, we couldn't have been more excited. Even though that show was on a Thursday night, the entire venue was packed. So many old and new faces came to show their support, and we were thrilled that Michale was so approachable and easy to talk to as well. We made sure that John was on his best behavior and rehearsed with us that prior weekend. We nailed our set that night; Michale even said he enjoyed us. Talk about feeling starstruck! It was one of the happiest moments of our lives...and we hoped that we can get an opportunity like this again.

In May of 2014, we had our first show with a local band from outside of New York state. Earlier that year, a guy named Scott Trinca from Insubordination, a punk band from Richmond, Virginia, messaged me and asked if I knew of any Long Island local venues that don't do presale, pay-to-play, or anything like that. I suggested Mr. Beery's, and he then asked if we'd want to play that show with them. I immediately said yes, and the guys in Insubordination were some of the nicest people we ever met. They said that if they ever came back up to New York, we'd be the first band they'd ask to play with them. A few days later, John informed us that he was quitting and his last show with us would be at Revolution in Amityville in the middle of June. We were happy that he was leaving...but the joke was on us because we still had three shows booked, and we were lacking a drummer for those shows.

On June 29th, 2014, we played at The Hub in Island Park, and we still couldn't find a drummer to play our set that night. I was frantic. I had no idea what we were going to do since not one drummer we knew was available that weekend. When we got there, a guy came up to us and said he'd drum for our set. I was still extremely worried because we've never played with him before, he's never heard any of our songs, and I didn't even know his name. But we had no choice; either play with the stranger, or cut the set. Well, we played...but it was certainly not our best set. We were all over the place; memories of 2012 came flooding back and I was starting to question the direction our band was going in. It also didn't help that people we had personal problems with saw us at our worst. They then had an even bigger reason to hate us. Like January 2012...our set ended and I was in tears. The nail in the coffin? That day, we found out that John became the new lead vocalist of a band we've played with in the past: his sole reason for quitting our band. He wanted to be in the spotlight. I was livid. After we loaded our equipment back in our cars, I went back upstairs and saw a band that changed my life: Logan's Room. Even though they didn't have a bassist, I really dug them, and understood not having a complete line up. When their lead vocalist, Jordan Klinger, told the audience that this was their very first show...I was in awe because they were so solid! The next morning when I woke up, their lead guitarist Matt Capitano messaged me with the following:

"Hey, just wanted to let you know, despite not having a drummer until right before the show, you guys did good. Fuck what anyone says. You guys killed it with those harmonies too!"

That was the moment where my faith in humanity was restored. A new friend reached out to me when I was visibly upset and encouraged me to keep going. It turned
 out that we shared mutual friends and even went to the same places in the past without even knowing each other. Matt happens to be one of my closest friends now. A random act of kindness like that stays with you forever.

July 2014 consisted of an acoustic show on the rainy 4th of July where we met Zero Gear...and had three drummer auditions. First, we auditioned a guy named Dan Pursino; he worked at a recording studio essentially down the block from Eddie and suggested the three of us jam in one of the rooms he had available. He was a solid drummer; every song we did he was spot on. The only problem was...when we got to know him, his interests and goals...he was not who we were looking for. He was not looking for anything serious and told us that New York is a terrible place to play shows. And once he told us that the Misfits suck and had this pretentious and condescending attitude towards us when we mentioned bands that were around when we weren't even born yet, that was when the three of us looked at each other and decided to keep looking for someone better.

About a week later, a guy named Steve Badillo asked us to play a show at the Velvet Lounge in East Setauket (John's home awkward.) We accepted, but we told him that we didn't have a drummer. He said he'd drum for us that night. I had flashbacks from when we met John the previous summer...I learned not to do the trial run again, so this was just a fill-in for us. So, we got to the velvet lounge, met Steve, all seemed well. Halfway through the set, Steve said "Oh, guys, I gotta go. I have work.", you neglected to tell your job that you needed off tonight? We were LITERALLY in the middle of our set and he just left. Are you serious? I can't make this up.

So then some random guy got behind the housekit and finished the set. The next day, Steve messaged us and said that he was really sorry for leaving early. He really liked us and wanted to do a formal audition. I seemed okay with that. I understood that "shit happens," so we decided to have him come out and audition for us the following week.

About a day or two later, Eddie got a message from a guy who lives right in Mineola. You
Dillon's first picture/show August 2014
know this one, ladies and gents. The guy was no other than Dillon Bonn
é. That Saturday, Eddie brought him over, and I immediately had good vibes from him. If you know me, I'm shy at first. I don't open up until I'm able to read everyone's body language and I feel comfortable enough to open up. We hit it off immediately. We were talking about our favorite bands, what music we used to listen to in the past, etc. So we go upstairs, and everything is all set up. Dillon, who seemed timid, said "I'm a little rusty so...don't mind if I suck." We jammed, played a few covers and our songs and it lasted for a good hour or so. Dillon claimed he was "rusty," but he was perfectly fine. The drums and the bass are supposed to be perfectly in sync with each other...and it happened minutes after we met. That never happened before. After Dillon left, I turned to Eddie and Brendan.

"Guys...I want him in the band. He belongs with us. I don't want another drummer except him."

Eddie and Brendan pretty much felt the same way, but wanted to give Steve a chance since he still needed to have a formal audtion for us.

"Okay, fine, we'll try him out...but my heart is set on Dillon."

Our first picture of the four of us together♥

That Friday, the day Steve was supposed to audition, messaged us:

"I gotta show tonight, guys. Come out and let's play."

The same guy who seemed adamant on playing with us ditched out a second time. 

"I thought he was going to audition...what the hell? If he really wanted to try out for us, he wouldn't have ditched us to play some house party." I said to Eddie and Brendan.

So what did we do? We called up Dillon to jam again. Of course he said "hell yes." In my eyes, it was a "second interview."
The four of us jammed again for a while, and the three of us all knew that Dillon was the one. After he went to make a phone call, the three of us with a smile said "Hey Dill! *tosses band t-shirt* Welcome to the family."

It was the happiest moment of Bending Over Backwards history. Dillon was the missing piece we were looking for this whole time...and he was practically down the block from Eddie.

We had our first show with Dillon at Sinclair's...just like Brendan's debut. Unfortunately, not a lot of people came out that night, but we still played a solid set. Besides, we had another show the following Friday at East Islip Lanes with our new friends in Logan's Room! Since we got Dillon, we got A LOT of compliments on our sound. Even my Dad, a musician/guitar
Ringside Bar, November 2014
player for 45+ years of expierence who always gives constructive criticism said "I got nothin', you guys are solid."

Hollis Wood Community Church, November 2014

And here's the mindblowing moment. So, Dillon turned 19 on September 20th and we gave him a shoutout on Facebook. And of course, so did his family. I was at work, and my Mom called me. "Why's Mom calling me?" I wondered. So I answered and she asked me:

"What's your drummer's name?"
"Dillon, why?" I wondered.
"You're not gonna believe this. HIS MOTHER USED TO HANG OUT WITH ME IN BAYSIDE BACK IN THE DAY. I saw her status about his birthday on Facebook and I saw your band's name! That is so amazing!"

Can you say fate? Who would have thought that out of all the people we picked as a drummer, our mom's used to hang out in the 70's and the 80's? Small world, huh? It's no wonder I had such good vibes about Dill.

We played numerous shows for the rest of 2014. We played at Even Flow, Zebra Club, Ringside Bar in Hicksville, Hollis Wood Community Church in Queens, and O'Brien's Ale House in Coram, when we officially became family to Logan's Room. Anytime we play a show, they come out to support us, and we go out to support them.
In January of 2015, Matt asked us if we would like to open up for their debut CD release in June. We immediately hopped on it. In the mean time, we started booking more shows for the winter and spring. We met and became friends with Bad Mary at a few shows at Revolution, played another couple shows at Even Flow in March, and opened up for 7Splinters at their CD Release/Farewell show at The Hub in Island Park. And most of all, we were asked to open up for Michale Graves again at Blackthorn 51 in Queens.Despite all of
the gigs we played, we don't know how we had the energy to play all of those shows since we had the biggest thing that was happening to us in between shows.We were recording our debut album with Tom at REA Studios in Islandia, NY. It came full circle with Tom; he was part of our EP in 2012, filled in on drums for multiple gigs before we got Dillon, and then he became our music producer for our debut album.

We spent all of May of 2015 recording the rest of the album; once June came along, gigs were lining up. First, we opened up for Logan's Room and became friends with another out-of-state band: Ashes To Oranges. More interstate networking, more opportunities. They're also super close friends with us too; which makes it even better. Less than a week later, we played with another band from out of state. Remember the punk band Insubordination from the previous summer? They came back to Mr. Beery's and we shared the stage with them

again! They said we were even better than the last time since we got Dillon. He's obviously a keeper, right?!

In July we ventured out to Northport to play a show at The Crooked Rail with Logan's Room again. I'll never forget that night. I got out of work, met up with Matt and Rosalie at the venue...and got that phone call from Eddie:

"Hey, where are you guys?" I asked.
"We're not playing tonight..." Eddie muttered.
"Wait, what?" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "What are you talking about?"
"M-my car is completely dead...we're stranded in a parking lot...there's no way we're playing tonight. We can't."

I refused to let a car issue get in the way of playing our set that we've been planning on playing for months; especially since the car broke down less than a mile away from the venue. I dropped everything, bolted over to their car, helped load equipment in the back and we got our way to The Crooked Rail. Despite what happened that afternoon, we played our
Mickey Malone's, July 2015
set and absolutely nailed it. Besides, we had a show to play the following night at Mickey Malone's in Floral Park. Luckily for us, they had a house kit so we had one less insttrument to lug into our cars. In retrospect, I liked that little venue. It was like playing in a living room, and we became friends with Hopeless Otis and Before the Origin. I would love to go back and play there again soon; hopefully without any car trouble this time. Another awesome moment that summer: our friends Meg and Mike from Logan's Room offered to give us a free photoshoot for us. Luckily the weekend we picked had beautiful weather, so we spent the whole day outside taking pictures, laughing, and just simply spending quality time with each other. We used the pictures for promotional our upcoming CD release show at Even Flow in September. 

On September 26th, we debuted our very first full length album, Flying High at Even Flow.
Bending Over Backwards CD Release, September 2015
We chose Bad Mary, Logan's Room, Fawkes and Acid Boy to be the opening bands for us. Pat Keenan beautifully made all of that happen for us. He even added an additional band just to get more people in the venue. I gotta say, it was one of the unforgettable nights of my life. Every single band who performed that night were flawless. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect lineup, and everyone completely succeeded my expectations. The best part? Almost everyone stayed the whole night. Some had to leave early due to having work the next morning, but we sold plenty of merch, stuffed our faces with wings, and played our hearts out until we passed out at the end of the night. The amount of hugs I gave and received were countless. I was blessed to have everyone under one roof that night, and I wish I could have had the entire night videotaped just so I can watch it again and again. September 26, 2016 will forever be a milestone in Bending Over Backwards history, that's a promise.

Bending Over Backwards & Michale Graves!

That October, we were invited back to play at Even open up for Michale Graves for the third time, and the second time in less than one year. Unbelievable! We just opened up for him in April and we were asked to open up again six months later. Is this some form of tradition? Michale Graves comes up to Long Island and Bending Over Backwards has to open up for him? Heh, I wouldn't mind that at all! The best part? Dillon got to meet him this time, and Michale had his full band. The last two times, Michale just played acoustically. He signed some merch, took a picture with us, and was just as personable as the last time we met him. The icing on the cake? He remembered us.

BOB, Fawkes, Logan's Room & Ashes to Oranges
As the weather was getting colder, the shows were starting to diminish. We managed to squeeze in one last final show at Even Flow for Wings for Warriors, but mostly focused on writing new material. Matt from Logan's Room asked if we wanted to play the final show of 2015 at Shaker's Pub in Oakdale on Sunday, December 20th. It was a holiday show, and a little "going away" party for me since I was leaving for Japan on Christmas Day for two weeks. While scrambling for bands, we finally managed to get a solid lineup. Logan's Room, us, Fawkes, and an unknown band we never heard of. They didn't even have a Facebook page. I didn't think anything of it, though. So we got to the venue and we exchanged Christmas gifts since I was going to be out of the country for Christmas. Matt gave me a necklace with a glow-in-the-dark Jack Skellington skull. After I hugged him, he said "part 2, I'm giving you later." Again, I didn't think anything of it. After Fawkes played an incredible set, we were up next. While in the middle of playing "Not Gonna Fall," I saw Matt walk in with two guys I thought I'd never see: Joe and Tyler from Ashes to Oranges. While Eddie was playing his solo, I looked out and made eye contact with Joe. I could not believe my eyes; were my eyes deceiving me? Once Joe smiled at me, I jumped off the stage and hugged him. Then I remembered: Oh shit, I'm still playing. Eddie, Brendan and Dillon were absolutely thrilled that Ashes To Oranges came up to see us....and play their set right after us. That "unknown band" was Ashes to Oranges the whole time. It's April 29th, and I'm still smiling over that moment. I was in complete awe that a band we met once came all the way from Brick Township, New Jersey, just to play a show and go home the same night...all to surprise me. Joe even said "Did you really think we'd let you go to Japan without saying goodbye first?" From that moment on, Ashes to Oranges officially became family to us. I even drove to Long Branch, New Jersey for their EP release show 2 weeks ago to show my support. 
March 2016 at Sinclair's.

Once I got back from Japan, we jumped right back into playing again. After being on an airplane for 14 hours each, I NEEDED to play a show; I missed everyone way too much. I didn't care about the jet-lag...playing with the band was my top priority. My wish came true; We had the first show of 2016 at Sinclair's, and also continued to work on writing some new material. Thanks to the snow and single digit weather, February was rather quiet for us. But once spring came around, we jumped right back into playing shows again. In March, we returned to Sinclair's to share the stage with Logan's Room, Vigial Antics, and Cherry Pop(Dylan from Acid Boy's side project!)

And here we are...April. We had our first show at Grizzly's in Bay Shore on April 2nd. In case you missed it, we got the full set videotaped that you can see here. Then just last weekend, we returned to The Hub. Despite it being the first night of Passover, we had quite the turnout. People we've never met came out to see our set; and each band got paid as well. Local bands rarely ever get paid. The secret? Split the money with the bar, and you're golden. We will gladly work with the promoter and at The Hub again. Our next show is Saturday, May 7th at Sinclair's.

Well everyone, that's the Bending Over Backwards story. Five years of line up changes, good shows, bad shows, commuting, hundreds of bands , laughter, frustration, crying, rivalries with other bands, and most of all: becoming family to other bands. At this time five years ago, I never thought we'd ever be where we are now. Five years ago, I did not think we'd have a full length album recorded, a full lineup that's actually stable, close friends that we play shows with almost every weekend. I've never been so blessed to have the three most amazing men I've ever met become more than just my bandmates: my family. My boyfriend, big brother Brendan, and my long lost little brother, Dillon. I love you guys more than life itself. And to you, the one who just read this entire novel. Thank you for your everlasting support, and I love you too. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the weekend.♥