The Critics Interview
(Central New York's most popular club, party Band)

They’re one of Central New York’s most popular club, party and wedding bands.

They’ve been featured at such venues as Syracuse’s Party In The Plaza, the Turning Stone Casino, and Oswego’s Harbor fest.

They’ve played “live” on the 93 Q Morning Show with Ted and Amy, TK 99’s Homegrown Radio Show, 93 Q’s Christmas Show, WSEN’s Christmas Show, The Hotel Syracuse’s New Year’s Eve Party, the National Ironman Competition and the Syracuse Suds Factory in Armory Square.

They play a wide variety of musical styles including Rhythm and Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Soul, Reggae, Oldies, Pop and Standards.

They-----are the Critics!

Critic member Jim De Mauro took time out from his very busy schedule to talk with us about the group.

Q – Jim who put this band together and when?
A – Actually, I joined the band about 5 years ago and started running it along with my partner Joanne O’Brien, our vocalist probably about 3 years ago.

Q – So, I take it you didn’t name the band.
A – No. The Critics have been around for 6 or 7 years now.

Q – You’re pretty much working 2 days a week, every week, all year long aren’t you?
A – Absolutely. We’re very busy.

Q – You say, “If you haven’t heard us lately, then you haven’t heard us”.
A – (Laughs).

Q – That would seem to suggest that you’re constantly updating your song list.
A – Absolutely. It’s a tough task with a band this size, to get everyone into rehearsals. But, we work hard at trying to do it once a week, or at least every other week and updating material. With the caliber of musicians in the band they make it real easy to do so.

Q – Have you and the other members of the band been in other groups?
A – Well, I started off with groups like Ronnie Leigh and Alliance. I also played with a group called the Salt City Jazz Collective. Joe Zar our sax player works with another Big Band called the Central New York Jazz Orchestra. Joanne started with the Critics about 6 years ago.

Q – You performed at the National Ironman Competition. What was that all about?
A – Oh, that was a couple of years ago. It was in Saranac Lake and we got the call to do that. It was featured on ESPN. People from all over the world compete in that event. They had a band set up toward the Finish Line to kind of boost the morale of the participants. So, we were that group and it went over well.

Q – How’d you get that gig?
A – We were actually doing a wedding there. We do weddings all over the place. Someone heard the band and recommended us for that job and we ended up getting it.

Q – Since there are 7 people in this group, can you make enough money to make it worth your while?
A – Well, we’re doing pretty good. With the club work we’re out promoting the band. It’s more lucrative in the wedding market and private party market. We do well there. Overall, the band is doing pretty good. We all have day jobs. Some of us are teachers, work for businesses. We’re pretty busy.

Q – Does this band have a CD out?
A – No. Hopefully that’s going to happen. We’re kind of working on it as we speak.

Q – Would it be originals then?
A – Well, we’re kind of toying around with what we would put on it. We do have some originals. We would probably put a bunch of covers on it as well.

Q – Is the band their own worst critics? Do you ever have major disagreements?
A – Not really disagreements. I think we’re the most critical of what we’re doing and we’re always thinking of how we’re presenting ourselves to the public, the kind of material we’re doing. As a whole, the band gets along well. You have to-----with this size group. Being so busy working weekends, working during the week, it makes it a lot easier when the band gets along. And, it comes off onstage much better as well.

Q – Where do you want to take this band?
A – Musically, we just want to keep improving and having everyone know who we are. Getting good crowds to come out and see us and keeping the band busy. That’s pretty much what we’re all about. We’re working on original material. So, we’re kind of figuring on where we’re going and what we’re doing as time goes on. It’s a real tight group that’s fun to play with and people have a lot of fun watching us perform.

© Gary James All Rights Reserved