The Jersey-born and bred cover band, which began playing the cover circuit in 2000, have a found a new home at the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken.
The band, which is known for alternative rock covers, will play at the live music venue every Thursday night, giving fans a regular place to rock out.
Who are the Benjamins?
The original members of the band include: Joe DeGennaro on vocals, his brother Ben DeGennaro on bass, and Jeremy Mykietyn on drums. The trio initially got their start in Bergen County, where they grew up.
In 2003, Anthony Picone (guitar), originally from New York but now a Hoboken resident, joined the band.
According to Brian Clancy, director of promotions/marketing for the Benjamins, the chemistry between the band members has brought their music to the point of establishing themselves beyond their well-known cover act.
"They've been a successful cover band for a long time, [but] their goal was always to be an original band."
And Clancy believed in their potential as an original band, agreeing to work with them last year.
"Every song has its own feel, its own vibe," Clancy said. "You listen to the music, [and] you almost get involved in the story of the song. The have their own unique style."
Doing it for the fans
But their high-energy covers made them big, said Clancy, also attributing their success to love of their fans, since they hang out with the audience after the show.
"The fans are great, man," Joe DeGennaro said. "I mean, all the people who come out to see us every week, they make everything. They support us, they buy our records."
Melissa, of Montville, has been a fan of the band since their successful run at Park City in East Rutherford, and she particularly enjoys their covers of "Hey, Jealousy" by Gin Blossoms and "Wonderwall" by Oasis.
"We like their style, and they play songs that we can sing along to," said Melissa, who came to Hoboken just to see the band play, grabbing a Benjamins T-shirt at the Whiskey Bar's front door.
Joe DeGennaro said he likes to play to the kind of crowd he has.
"I never come with a preset set list," explained Joe DeGennaro. "It doesn't work that way. You've got to feel the people out - if it's an older crowd, a younger crowd, a rock crowd, a dance-y crowd. We'll do a lot of new stuff like 'Bleed it out' from Linkin Park and then we'll do some stuff from the '80s, like Eddie Money, 'Take Me Home Tonight,' and a little Journey."
Mykietyn said they have a good time just being on stage, proclaiming this as the most fun job he's ever had. Mykietyn believes it's their influences that make them great and unique.
"A lot of the influence drumming-wise, I always go back to the bands that I listened to when I was a kid - Rush, the Police, Led Zeppelin, KISS," said Mykietyn.
The members of the band have been playing professionally for about five years now. In 2004, the band released its debut album, Go, and in April came its second album, Chronicles of the Garden State, which can be found at Best Buy and FYE, or on iTunes and Amazon.com.
"We're hoping to find a bigger record label. Our label's really small, and we kind of finance everything," said singer Joe DeGennaro, who also plays guitar, and occasionally, drums. "Other than that, we're just writing new songs, just keep pushing our music, and trying to get out to the west coast."
Joe DeGennaro writes most of the lyrics, and he said that everyone is involved in writing the music - so they're music truly is their own creation.
The Benjamins have performed live acoustic shows (akin to MTV unplugged), as well as doing wedding/corporate entertainment, doing shows across the east coast, but the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken is where fans and bar-hoppers alike will find them every Thursday night.
Their new Thursday hot spot
"We were [at Park City] for five years every Thursday, and they closed down," explained Joe DeGennaro, speaking of the now-defunct bar and restaurant in East Rutherford. "We needed a change. We needed somewhere we could go and play more of our music. And we thought that Hoboken was a good place."
Clancy thinks of Hoboken as a "rock" town and the Whiskey Bar as "a true rock venue."
"It's got a rock stage, a rock feel, rock room where people can come with jeans and T-shirts," said Clancy about the Whiskey Bar.
Clancy added that the stage at the Whiskey Bar has the added appeal of letting the audience get close to the band.
The Whiskey Bar's General Manager Patrick Joseph "P.J." McLaughlin believes the Benjamins are just what Thursdays needed.
"They're the best combination of a cover band and original band," said McLaughlin. "We also feel that we bring the best sound system, great bar, great vibe, and it's the perfect combination."
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