bill bodkin interviews cover band The Dark City Saints: Dan Buchanan, Pete Griffo, Scott D’Onofrio, George Costello and Jack Healy …
B&B: When people see your photo, they will probably recognize a lot of you. Can you tell us what bands you guys were in prior to Dark City Saints?
Dark City Saints: Aside from our lead singer Dan Buchanan, we have all played in a handful of cover bands throughout the years. Some of us have shared the stage together before in past projects, which is how we built solid friendships and, more importantly, great musical chemistry. This is part of what has enabled us to become a sought-after cover band so quickly.
B&B: When did the Saints come together and what inspired this union?
DCS: The band officially formed in November of 2009. We were just a bunch of seasoned musicians looking to put a fresh, polished project together. We saw what made “good” bands good, and “bad” bands bad. We all had a common vision that was crystal clear: put together a group that could impress even the pickiest bar-goers and at the same time put on a stage show that would keep up with the wildest audiences.
B&B: The age-old question: “What’s in a Name?” So what’s the inspiration behind the name?
DCS: I wanted to pick a name that was meant to be taken seriously and also have a ring to it when mentioned in conversation so it can become familiar … My fascination with the seven deadly sins was the basis for it. I wanted to make sort of an oxymoron out of the name, went the other route with Saints. I wanted to put something in front of it that didn’t sound very saintly … Dark City just sounded good in front of it.
B&B: Talk about the early shows as DCS. Was there any difficulty or hiccups along the road being a new band? And if so, how’d you overcome them?
DCS: Being a new band is always a challenge and it takes a few shows to get out the jitters and smooth out the edges. Even though we had years of experience on the circuit, a new lineup usually means you need to climb the industry ladder once again. So, like every other band that drives to play top venues, we had to prove ourselves to the club owners that DCS, although not a household name just yet, would draw people and rock their worlds like we have been around for years. This band has great potential and seeing just one show of ours will make you a believer if you’re not already.
B&B: What separates DCS from the hundreds of cover bands out there?
DCS: Power. Emotion. The quality performance, song selection, attention to detail, the energy — all tightly woven in a nice little kick-your-ass package. People come back to see us. I think that speaks for itself. We are proud of the hard work and dedication that we have put into this. We invite everyone to come and join the party.
BB: What rooms have been the most receptive to the new band?
DCS: We can proudly say that we have done very well in almost every venue we have played thus far. However, our home=run rooms at this time are the Black Bear’s in Connecticut [South Norwalk, Hartford, Milford], The Thirsty Turtle [White Plains, N.Y.], Donovan’s Reef [Seabright, N.J.] and Bar A [Belmar, N.J.], to name a few …
B&B:Your setlist is quite diverse, from ’80s to current radio hits. What are your favorite tunes to perform live? Which have been the biggest crowd-pleasers? Are there any “hidden gems” or “forgotten classics” that you guys pull out for the “ohhh shit” factor?
DCS: Jay-Z seems to be a sure winner every time … and our version of “My Dick” by Micky Avalon always gets the “ohhh shit” factor.
B&B: Give me five reasons why people should see a The Dark City Saints show.
DCS: I think if you have read this much of this article then we have already sparked your interest enough to make it to a show. Let’s just say at every DCS show you will experience cool music, cool people, great vibes, hot woman and alcohol.
B&B: Craziest thing that’s happened at a DCS show so far …
DCS: Ask us after the summer and you’ll be able to write an article out of this question. For now, Dan had strange thing happen to him after our set at the Spring Bash at Bar A recently, something about three midgets and a whip? All we know is: He came out of the back room and his knee was the size of a watermelon. Don’t ask, don’t tell, right?
There was also the time in Connecticut that a fan got tazed by Connecticut’s finest after the gig while the band was packing up, good times.