“Just don’t call it indie or dance rock,” Danny Lane said. “I don’t like to call it what it is.”
Lane, a Rider alum, is talking about Paragraph, an up-and-coming band out of Staten Island, N.Y. Since 2005, Paragraph has toured coast-to-coast, boasting performances at venues such as The Knitting Factory, CBGB’s and Crash Mansion. Its next stop is Rider.
“This Paragraph consists of four sentences. Mad adjectives,” the band’s Web site states. “We love to play to love you.”
The four “sentences” are Lane (vocals/guitar), Joe Imburgio (bass), Mike Gagliardi (guitar) and Casey Jost (drums), also a Rider alum.
Paragraph’s first album, Right Together, Left Together, Wrong Together, was recorded in 2005 in a friend’s basement. Songs included “You Don’t Know” and “Please Peach.” The album had huge local success and was featured in The Village Voice as well as many other local newspapers.
Paragraph recently won a Battle of the Bands competition held in the Rider Pub during Parent’s Weekend. Four other bands performed and a panel of judges decided the winner. The prize was a $700 contract to play at the new Starbucks on campus. The show will not be a usual one for Paragraph, as the band is being asked to play an acoustic set.
“We’ve never had to strip ourselves down before,” Imburgio said. “We’re excited and nervous because it’s going to be a challenge.”
According to Lane, Paragraph’s unique and innovative sound is a product of friendship, experimentation and their wide range of influences. Not to mention their individual quirks: Lane cuts the band’s hair; Imburgio refers to himself as a “bassist at heart with the mind of a guitarist;” Gagliardi is an avid saxophone player and Jost likes to find more unconventional ways to express himself.
The band members agree that they are influenced by many musical genres, including disco, hip-hop, house, jazz and rock ’n’ roll. Each of them comes from a different musical background, and they find fun and creativity in this diversity.
“When we play music it’s like we’re kids; we like to joke around a lot,” Imburgio said.
Fans agree that their favorite way to experience Paragraph is at live shows.
“It’s hard to decide who to watch at a Paragraph show,” said fan Marc Maffei. “Each band member is doing something deeply thought out and interesting.”
While fans look at the band, the band is looking at the audience.
“We get to watch a crowd of people dancing and having fun, knowing that we’re the catalysts,” Lane said.
Paragraph recorded its latest album in Philadelphia with the producer of rock band Dr. Dog. Recently, Paragraph began working on some new material in anticipation of hitting the studio again in early January. The band expects its new album to be released sometime in spring 2008.
Coming to Rider is conjuring up all sorts of feelings for the band. Members are excited to see old friends and meet new ones.
“Rider has always been a second home to me,” Imburgio said. “Through Danny and Casey, I have met so many wonderful people [here].”
The band encourages students to come out, not just for the chance to support the alumni members.
“Paragraph is a real taste of Staten Island/New York City,” Jost said. “Come see what you shouldn’t be missing. Broaden your horizons.”