Poppa Squat

Another Victim Of Parkway Traffic

With a new lead singer and not-so-hard, not-so-soft set list, Poppa Squat takes this summer by storm.

The band's newest vocalist is Jay Robinson, former lead singer of the Life and Super Monkey. Robinson brings his raw vocals and exorbitant personality to the Squat team. Whether he's screaming the hard stuff or purring the pop stuff, Robinson's got the crowd's attention. A down-to-earth guy, seemingly not interested in the fantasy fame of cover band singers, Robinson's personality is contagious night after night.

Poppa Squat has been around for a while, but they seem to have found their niche in today's cover circuit. The versatility of the band increases with the range of Robinson's vocals and Poppa Squat can now give New Jersey cover fans what they crave.

With a set list comprised of songs ranging from Metallica to the Dave Matthews Band, Poppa Squat covers pretty much everything under the sun, and then some. Ranking up there with the best of the harder acts, the Squatters bang out Drowning Pool and Rage flawlessly. To soften things up they also smoothly dish out some Billy Joel and Tom Petty.

Poppa Squat's vast set list incorporates more of a fan base from club to club and will eventually propel the band into a top spot among the popular acts on the circuit.

Behind the feverish front man is Dan Downing on guitar, Ed Tuberion on bass, and Bob Tuzzo on drums. Downing and Tuberion, formerly of the Freaks of Nature, bring their strings to this fearless foursome. Downing cranks out the hard rock hits just as easily as he swoons the crowd with melody. Tuberion delivers a strong, deep sound and is not to be confused with the rhythm man Tuzzo on drums. Both share a similarly striking look, and both play the underlying bass sound for the band, irony or just Squat coincidence? Last but not least, backing it all up is Tuzzo on the skins. Keeping everyone in check and providing backup vocals for the front man, Tuzzo holds it all together. Hammering out the tunes and chiming in with Robinson on jokes, Tuzzo and the rest of Poppa Squat make their show unique and full of fun.

Poppa Squat plays all over New Jersey year round. For dates on the where's and when's check out their web site www.poppasquat.com.

Branching out farther than just the Jersey shore, Poppa Squat just finished wowing New Yorker's at the legendary Hogs N' Heifers in uptown Manhattan. New York should also be expecting the boys back for another night of madness - city style.

Chorus and Verse tracked down some Squatters to get the inside info on what the band is all about, and what they plan to bring to the cover scene.

What does Poppa Squat mean?

Tuzzo: The name came at a moment when I was stuck in Parkway traffic listening to Papa Roach and staring at a Port-O-John thinking about how bad I needed to go to the bathroom. Poppa Squat is Jersey slang for relieving oneself, as I am sure you know.

Robinson: If you see our logo you'll understand.

With so many rock cover bands nowadays, what makes you different than the rest?

Tuzzo: It is very hard to distinguish yourself from the pack, and those who don't are doomed to fail. Some bands have a gimmick and that works for them, however we never bought into that.

We've always tried to be the most diverse band we could be musically, and stay true to whatever style we were playing. A lot of bands can play heavy well, others are better at the party stuff, yet very few can pull off both styles effectively. We try and stand out as one of the few bands who can. In addition we try and engage the audience so that they feel like part of the show rather than just watching one.

Robinson: Well, we have two guys with shaved heads. Can you name one other band that has that? I didn't think so. Pretty soon all the other bands will follow.

Who is your biggest musical influence?

Tuzzo: Everyone in the band has a different influence musically, so it would be hard to zero in on just one artist or band. Dan, for instance, is influenced by many of the great metal guitarists of the '80s whereas I was influenced more by the cutting-edge alternative bands, such as the Smiths, Jane's Addiction and Radiohead.

Robinson: Mr. Cash, not Johnny.

Besides geography, what's different about playing in New York City instead of New Jersey?

Tuzzo: NYC is a completely different animal than the Jersey club scene. People in NYC pride themselves on underground music and being on the cutting edge. Historically, NJ has always been the cover band capital while NYC has been the home of originality. Lucky for us we do both.

Robinson: I think people are a little bit more laid back in NJ. You have to think a little more in the city. Parking sucks and your friends are always looking for a ride home 'cuz they don't want to take the train.

Have any other cover bands inspired you?

Tuzzo: Yes. Brian Kirk, the Nerds and Love Pumps were probably our biggest influences coming from the Jersey shore.

What are some of the factors making Poppa Squat successful?

Tuzzo: Dedication, ability to change with the trends and a commitment to our fans. We believe in treating our fans as friends not just bodies through the door. Without friends you don't have very much when this is all over.

Robinson: Bob shaves his whole body.

What can we expect from Poppa Squat by the end of the year?

Tuzzo: Hopefully, we will be more involved in our original music, doing some all-original shows. Without original music there would be no cover circuit, and I wouldn't mind having a song or two of ours covered one day.

Robinson: We're working on a movie. It's called "Poppa Squat ... The Movie." Then, it will be followed by a TV series.

There will also be a special Poppa Squat Fear Factor. Then a reality show where I get locked up in an institution and they try to figure out what's wrong with my brain. It's great. They'll have phone-in voting and everything. So, America can make the decision if I'm crazy or not.

[ Website: www.poppasquat.com ]

Natasha McGrath

Natasha McGrath is a graduate of Rider University with a degree in Journalism. A web site content developer for an investment firm by day - music enthusiast and cover band connoisseur by night. "NJ being the mecca of cover acts, someone has to let Garden Staters know who's worth the charge at the door. Usually found near the stage ... I'm the one who knows all the words." In addition to writing for Chorus and Verse, Natasha is also Music Writer for RedBank.com.