Every time they take the stage, the Hoboken band Eugene is determined to win new fans, create good music and earn respect. After playing together for more than five years in the tri-state area and in the works of releasing their third album, Eugene is ready for a piece of the big time.
"We are a good, solid band. You don't have to like us, but you have to respect us," said Dominick Della Fave, one of the group's founders. "We are ready to take over."
Eugene will perform at Maxwell's Bar and Restaurant on Washington Street in Hoboken on Feb. 9, with special guest My Pocket Zoo.
Della Fave (guitar), and his sister Jaime (vocals), teamed up with cousin Ed Smith (bass) and friend Drew Berman (drums) more than five years ago to form the quasi-alternative punk pop group. All of them, except Berman, are Hoboken natives, although they are divided between Hoboken and Jersey City now. The band's original name was Eugene Is A Nerd, but after several fans began to call the band only by Eugene, the name stuck, according to Della Fave.
"People keep asking us why we call ourselves Eugene. Quite frankly, we like it," said Jaime Della Fave, smiling.
Through the years, the band's sound has progressed. When they first arrived on the scene in their hometown, they struggled to find harmony and synchronization. Eventually, after grueling and often hostile rehearsals, Eugene began to mesh.
"We were blossoming as a group, looking for our own sound," Della Fave said during an interview last week at a local uptown Hoboken bar. "So far our sound has been excellent."
Eugene is true Hoboken. Their aggressive quality performances and strong lyrics are indicative of Hoboken's new rock scene. They're young, energetic and fresh.
"We are not trying to create a new movement," Della Fave said. "All we want is major exposure."
The band formed after the Della Faves decided to play a show at a local venue. Smith heard about the show through relatives, and soon everything began to fall into place.
"I remember when Dominick and Jamie played for the first time and I said, 'Are you kidding?'" Smith said. "But it all worked out for the best. There's nothing better than to be in a band."
Smith and Berman were in a band prior to Eugene. Together they reached moderate success in New York City. Smith is an outspoken character who matches Della Fave's energy musically. Berman, on the other hand, is quiet and reserved.
"We know what it takes to succeed," Smith said. "We have high goals for ourselves."
The Della Faves gave Eugene its start playing acoustically in local clubs. But very soon it became apparent that Jaime's captivating voice would help the group silence the competition. In the beginning they played covers with few originals. In a matter of months, they developed a strong following that continues to grow with every show.
"We have captivating harmonies, dimensional lyrics, raw stage energy and pure spirit," Della Fave said. "We play music that everyone wants to hear."
With the release of their third album, due in the spring, the band looks to get signed by a label. They also have plans to tour outside the region to support the upcoming record. Their second album, "Who's Eugene?" is a compilation that showcases the band's talents with Jaime's beautiful blissful diva rocker voice. The post-grunge eloquent angst songs "Falling Face First" and "Nuthin' Ever Happens To Me" are well produced, yet lack that edge found in their shows. The album is good, but the real Eugene experience is captured during live performances.
"You have to see us play to get a real sense of what we do," Della Fave said.
Eugene and My Pocket Zoo continue to make the rounds in the mile-square city's music scene. Both bands currently jam acoustically at Ristra's Tuesday open mic night on Washington Street. Eugene has performed at CBGBs, Baby Jupiter, The Elbow Room, and The Lion's Den in New York City and The Whiskey Bar and Maxwell's in Hoboken.
Eugene will perform at Maxwell's on 1039 Washington St. on Feb. 9 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $7. On Feb. 22 at 11 p.m. they play The Elbow Room in New York City. For more information on the band call (201) 963-7858 or visit them on the web at www.throughfog.com. Eugene music can be found at Tunes on Washington Street. q