Pez Head’s knack for fun is at the heart of their appeal. They cover songs with accuracy and a smile, making their audiences smile along as well.
Having fun in a rock n’ roll band is not as easy as it looks, but for a cover band it is an essential aspect of the show. If you can’t have fun, your audience won’t.
Like other successful Jersey cover bands, Pez Head delivers cover songs with a style all their own. The ability to put forth something different makes going out to a club on a Friday or Saturday night
all the more appealing.
New Jersey audiences take great care in deciding who to invest their evenings in. The large number of acts continues to grow in the Garden State. The growth has been healthy and has created an elite
group of acts the others look to measure up to. Pez Head falls right into this class.
Pez Head stands out for their ability to connect with their audience and striking an on-stage friendship with them. Audiences that don’t respond will not be quit on, and audiences that respond become
a sixth member.
This ability developed at Freehold’s Cabin. The band made the bar their home and its audience their family. Unfortunately, the club has burned down, but the band kept going, seeking other homes. Of course,
they brought their family with them.
Pez Head’s song delivery is done with great care. Singer Elaine Tuttle draws obvious male attention with her beauty and stage presence, and keeps it with her commanding vocal range and unrelenting energy.
Her style adds depth to the band’s sound and song repertoire.
Guitarist Jay Jack can solo note-for-note or jump out and improvise, yet his song interpretations never blur the line of getting too loose. He has a cool stage presence that compliments his teeth-clenching
Doug Losche is the band’s utility man. He plays whatever the songs need, flavoring his keyboard and guitar lines to round out the band's sound. Growing up learning to solo from 80’s metal bands, Losche
can shred faster than an Enron employee.
The rhythm section is variably tight and loose, depending upon the song's requirements, with bassist Frank Mount and Gino Gambino. Mount’s timing and feel in the bottom end never falters, nor does the
energy he exudes.
The band continues to grow and is in increasing demand by the clubs. They receive constant weekend bookings and play every Sunday at Hoboken’s Cadillac Bar.
What year did you form and what were the circumstances behind it? What bands did you play in previously?
Doug: We first formed in 1999. I was in a band called Eat-N-Crow at the time and our lead singer had left, so we were looking for a new one. I saw an ad for a singer, Joey Dawson, on a music website
and invited him to come to a show and sing a song or two. He turned out to be a good singer, but not yet ready to sing three sets of music a few nights a week.
When he didn't get that gig, he told me he wanted to start his own cover band, in which he would play drums, since he had been a drummer most of his life. I hooked him up with Frank and our original
guitar player, Rich. I was interested in this new band and two of the members were friends of mine already, so I decided to help out by playing guitar and keyboard parts at a few rehearsals. Very quickly,
I realized that this band was going to be something, so I put more and more time into it.
We then decided to bring a female lead singer into the mix. The singer who ended up taking the position in Eat-N-Crow had previously been in a band called The Brat Pack with Elaine and he recommended
her. She auditioned, we loved her, and we had a five-piece band. A few months into playing gigs with two bands, I decided to devote my time to Pez Head only and I quit the other band.
Elaine: [The Brat Pack’s] members went on to form Smack Daddy. Some members from Smack Daddy are now in Saturday Nite Fever and Daddy Pop. Before The Brat Pack, I sang in a corporate disco band called
What made you decide to be a cover band? Did the success of other area cover bands around you, like the Nerds and Dog Voices, play into it at all?
Elaine: For fun and money. It beats working a full time job, and you get to meet lots of other musicians, which is helpful when you want to put an original band together. The success of other bands only
made me aware of the job opportunity. I never realized, until seeing bands like the Screaming Violets and The Willies, that cover bands at that scale even existed, seriously.
Doug: It was really Joey's idea to start this band, when he didn't take a gig as a singer. I knew the benefits of being in a cover band and what kind of success others had. So, naturally we were shooting
for success like some of the big cover bands have had.
Frank: Not the success. The energy behind the crowd and the fun of it all. I never ever picked up my bass and said, "hey, this will make me money.”
Did it take some time before you started to draw crowds or did you draw right away? What do you think caused people to come out and see you at first?
Elaine: It always takes time to draw crowds, but our band has a lot of friends that come out regularly, and it just grows from there. We've been told by club owners that our appeal comes from the variety
of music we play, and that we get people to spend a lot at the bar.
Frank: We had drawn in our area in places like the Cabin immediately, but it took a while at other places. If they didn't know us personally they probably just heard good things about us.
What were some of the bands you covered early on? Was there a specific genre of music you stuck to?
Frank: The genre was and is basically everything.
Elaine: At first, we covered a lot of 80's rock, like Boston, the Scorpions, Rush, Journey, mostly bands with male lead vocalists who sing very high. But even then, we covered a lot of ground.
Doug: We never stuck to one genre of music. Our intention was to appeal to everybody. We played classic rock: Journey, Boston, dance music: Whitney Houston, Jackson 5, modern rock: Offspring, Blink 182,
80's (and) rock: The Scorpions, etc.
What were some early clubs you played?
Elaine: The Cabin was a weekly gig, Bar A had us play weekly for a while, The Mad Hatter is where he had our first gig, and The Palm Grill has had us playing once a month since the beginning.
When did you start playing the Cabin? How did you become regulars there? How did its burning down affect your band?
Frank: That was the worst day of my time with Pez Head. All my best memories and good times of any shows came from there. I'd rather play to our crowd at the Cabin than a packed arena because it was
high energy and intimate at the same time.
Doug: I believe it was the fall of 1999. We did very, very well there because three of the band members were from Freehold, the next town over from The Cabin. So we were able to draw a lot of people
there. The bartenders were great. There was plenty of room, so everyone liked going there. They hired us as the regular Thursday night band.
It's burning down hurt us a great deal. We lost a steady Thursday night gig so, of course, it was a good deal of lost income. It's been kind of difficult to find another club near there that can accommodate
our Freehold area crowd.
Elaine: We started playing the Cabin right off the bat, from what I recall. We drew lots of people there mostly because most of the band members are from Freehold. So we ended up playing there every
week on Thursdays.
It's a shame that the fire shut things down, but we picked up other gigs right away.
The Edge of Town in Farmingdale serves as the Cabin's replacement, although we never played there weekly.
What other clubs have been popular places for you to play?
Elaine: The Orange Lantern in Paramus is a great gig for us, since all our North Jersey fans and friends come out in large numbers to get down and party. The Junkyard is the same way, and also allows
us to play to a lot of people, which has broadened our fan base. The Palm Grill is one of our favorite places to play since the crowd there is always ready to party. The Cadillac Bar has us every Sunday,
and we love being there!
Secrets in Ocean City, Maryland is a rocking gig! The club is huge and beautiful, with state-of-the-art lighting and three cameramen, and we're treated like celebrities there, by the club itself and
the fans. We look forward to every gig there.
PJ Ryan's in Pearl River, New York loved our first gig there last month, and they are booking us for more shows. Willie McBride's in Hoboken is consistently a great time. We played there New Year's Eve
and kicked it Pez Head style.
The Whiskey Bar in Hoboken will be graced with our presence on Friday, Feb. 8th. Briody's in Rumson, Coach's "Whatever" Cafe in Staten Island, the Bull in Piscataway, the Speakeasy in Belleville, Kites
in McAfee, and Pier on 9 in Sayerville are all bar and clubs we frequently play.
And Martinique in Point Pleasant will have us on Thursday, Feb. 7th, and hopefully every Thursday thereafter.
Do you have any methods for keeping a crowd involved?
Frank: We let people sing and play instruments, or just let them all get onstage and dance.
Elaine: Humor is key. You gotta make people laugh. Then they feel more comfortable dancing and getting involved. I do frequent "socials" where everyone in the place raises their glasses for a group toast.
We also like to grab people onstage and let them sing, play, or just make fools of themselves as much as they want.
Doug: Once in a while, we'll have some kind of contest and give away some drinks.
The crowds never seem to get tired of the classic party songs like "Blister in the Sun", "I Will Survive", or "Play That Funky Music". I've noticed that 80's rock hits have been real popular too. People
ask us to play Bon Jovi and Poison all the time.
Any specific personal or crowd favorite songs?
Frank: My favorites are whatever the crowd responds to best and it all depends on the crowd and the night.
Elaine: Crowd favorites are “Livin’ On a Prayer”, “I Love Rock 'N Roll”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, “Blister in the Sun”, “I Will Survive”, “The Joker”, “Baby Got Back”, “Could You Be Loved”. We do so many
songs that people go nuts for.
How do you work out each song as a band?
Doug: We decide on a few songs to learn and we all learn our parts at home. Then we'll get together at a studio and rehearse them. Sometimes we'll just learn our parts and play the song at a show for
the first time. We never would have thought of doing that 2 years ago. But now that we're comfortable with each other, we can pull it off.
Frank: We hear it, learn it, rehearse it, and make any necessary changes like medleys and such.
Elaine: Everyone learns their part on their own. Then we get together and play it once or twice. It's not as difficult a task as it may seem.
How have you maintained a level of success for this long?
Frank: Keeping at it and still loving it.
Doug: Advertising and keeping the song list fresh. We're working on new posters, the mailing list is growing, and the web site is updated.
Magazine articles are a big help too. We try to keep changing the song list to fulfill requests and to stay on top of current music.
Elaine: Being cool and friendly with club goers. Showing them a good time and getting them involved in the gigs.
What led you to going on VH-1 Cover Wars?
Elaine: An ad in Guitar Center's catalog, and encouragement from Mike Arbeeny from 107 Productions Worldwide.
Frank: We have no shame. A lot of people backed out because of fear or embarrassment or bad publicity. It sounded like a lot of fun to me and we're all confident enough in our musical ears and teamwork
to get through it.
How did that help the band?
Frank: We got 2nd for the season. Not too bad, considering after I knew who the competition was I figured we'd be gone 1st round.
Doug: It's big-time advertising. Club owners look at that and are more inclined to hire us. It helped us increase our income and our bookings.
Elaine: It helped us draw more people who were interested in seeing us because of our success on the show, and it helped us get more dates at clubs we hadn't yet played.
Do you see a lot of people return to shows and do you see a lot of new faces as well?
Frank: Yes. We always meet new people and make good friends. That's the best part of it all. People from everywhere, all different kinds of people and they're so cool.
Doug: We do see a good number of people return to see us, especially in certain clubs. There are always many, many new faces.
What type of music do you like to play and listen to other than the bands you cover? Why? Do any of you write original music?
Elaine: I love funk, like James Brown and P-Funk, because it's all about the groove. I also love jam bands like Phish and The String Cheese Incident because of their excellent musicianship and ability
to get the entire place on their feet, dancing and singing along.
And how could I not mention Tenacious D, Jack Black and Kyle Gass' mock-rock acoustic band? They are incredibly funny and very talented. I obey the D!
I write my own music, and should be ready to play out in NYC around March/April with my band. The music is a cross between funk and jam band stuff. Sort of like Dave Matthews/Brand New Heavies music.
Frank: I listen to and play everything because I like to and it helps me be a more well-rounded player. I'm not as narrow minded about music than when I first started 10 years ago. Back then I was just
listening to metal and rock. I owe a lot to my teacher, John Walby. Without him being the teacher and friend that he is I wouldn't be anywhere with music right now and that would suck.
I'm currently with a new original band called Clever Hans. I love doing originals. I can't describe it as anything else but rock. Dave Sgalambro is my singer/guitar and James Welles is my singer/lead
guitar player, and Quinn English is our new drummer.
I see a lot of potential with the music. I couldn't get along better with these guys. We all know each other really well musically, if that makes sense? Our website is www.cleverhansmusic.com. We'll
be playing the battle of the bands at the Saint in Asbury on Sunday April 21st.
Doug: I personally like a lot of the new rock/metal type of music that's coming out, like Linkin Park, Adema, Korn, etc. I'm also into progressive metal and I grew up on 80's metal.
What do you see in the future of the band?
Doug: I think as we push for more advertising we're going to see another increase in income, more repeat customers, and a schedule that is booked solid.
Elaine: Steady, great-paying gigs and lots of good times.
Frank: Lots of fun, friends and success.
Fans can follow Pez Head's future on their official web site, www.pezheadmusic.com.