Thursday, July 12, 2012

RtBE Interview: The Wait Part 1

It is our pleasure to have had the recent opportunity to connect with a band who we saw years ago and who are strapping it on again for a reunion show this summer, The Wait

A "must catch live" in the Capital District music scene while they were active, The Wait bring an earthy sense of groove to rock and roll but are never afraid to experiment with electronics or get loud and noisy when the mood calls for it.
Frontman Brendan Pendergast was kind enough to give us some time and partake in a RTBE Interview which we have broken into 2 parts, part 1 is below...and don't forget to check out The Wait, July 21st at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs for their reunion show.  

Rock The Body Electric: For those unfamiliar with The Wait can you tell us about the bands history?
Brendan Pendergast, Lead Singer: The band formed (sort of unofficially) back in the early 90's during Junior High School. Art (drums) and Scott (guitar) were close friends and lived across the street from each other. They were messing around with the idea of forming a band, when a friend recommended they give me a shot at being the singer. We got together in Art's parents basement and rehearsed a handful of Top 40 Alternative type covers. Almost immediately we embraced the idea of writing and recording our own music - pretty ambitious for a bunch kids, but we really liked playing together and sensed a lot of potential. Within a year or two we were playing high school talent shows and dances, and after a few lineup changes, we entered the club scene in Albany, NY.

RTBE: What prompted this summers show?

Brendan Pendergast: The Wait have only played together one time since we called it quits back in 2005. There was a reunion gig planned a couple years ago, but the plans fell through. When Keith (guitar) approached us a few months ago about opening a show for another one of his bands this summer, I think we all pretty much jumped at the opportunity. It's an added bonus that we're on a bill with our friends, Five Alpha Beatdown, and that we get to play in Saratoga Springs during the opening weekend of the harness track. There should be a lot of friendly, familiar faces in the crowd.

RTBE: You developed a respectable fanbase while active, and were known as a Capitol Area "must see", what is it that draws fans and you guys to the live playing experience?

BP: In my estimation, there were a few factors to our "success". First, we rehearsed a ton. In the end, I think excessive rehearsal drove us all a little crazy. But, we were a very tight band and could play the shit out of our songs. We weren't exactly reinventing the wheel with any of our music, but what we did we did well and took pride in it.

Secondly, we were supported and championed by some important people in Albany's music scene. Dominick Campana, our friend and producer, had run an indie label prior to recording our debut album. He'd made a lot of connections and knew what it took to get recognized. He pitched the album to the program director of 102.7 WEQX and talked us up amongst his musician friends.
As a result, we received some heavy radio rotation and landed the opening slot on a few great bills with local favorites and national bands stopping to gig in Albany. Thirdly, we had the support of great friends and family who always turned out for shows. There's a line from a Soul Asylum song that goes, "Nothing attracts a crow like a crowd." I personally think that was true in our case. There was a small, devoted, core following of folks who would drag their friends to our shows and encourage people to listen to our music. Their passion and patience made us seem cooler and more legitimate than we probably were. As a result, I think people got behind us and maybe rooted for us more than they typically would have for an unsigned band. Just a theory, though - I could be completely wrong. Ask the other guys and they'll probably tell you a different story.

RTBE: You guys got together and played Lark Fest in 2005 which must have been a high point, were there any other shows that stand out?

BP:  Actually, that Lark Fest experience was bitter sweet. It was our last show together before splitting up. Prior to the festival, we had some unintentional friction with the radio station sponsoring the event, so we were given the very, um....dubious honor...of opening show at 10:30in the morning.  It was great to have both Ryan and Keith, who'd stepped for Ryan when he left the band a few years prior, on stage at the same time, but sad that we went out with such a whimper. In a way, that Lark Fest show was poetic or symbolic of our experience as a band - we played great, looked odd, and performed to fewer people than we would have liked. A fitting end, I suppose.

Other than that, there are a few great shows that come to mind. We once opened for Superdrag on Halloween in Albany. We dressed in drag, except Mark, who dressed up like our pimp. Halloween is Mark's birthday. Art had purchased him a bottle of JD to celebrate.  Before the show, John Davis of Superdrag, who hailed from Memphis, proudly announced, "back home [we] call this 'Tennessee tap water'", and proceeded to take a few huge swills off the bottle with no hesitation or pain. It was simultaneously so rock 'n roll cliche, astonishing, and kinda scary.  Not surprisingly, a few years later Mr. Davis hit up rehab and found Jesus.
John Davis and Superdrag
Another fun one was a battle of the bands type thing outside of Poughkeepsie back in 2000. Attached to the front of the stage was a giant, inflatable Budweiser bottle. We all were a bit put off by this massive obstruction fastened to the stage by a corporate sponsor, blocking the view of the bands from the crowd. During our set I started to get more and more annoyed by this massive blow-up bottle positioned directly in front of Scott. As you can imagine, it's hard enough to feel like a rock star at a battle of the bands in Poughkeepsie. Throw in a giant, distracting bottle of Bud in front of the band and it's even more soul crushing. Toward the end of the set we launched in to Iggy and The Stooges' "Search and Destroy".
In what I thought would be a really apropos fit of punk rage, I decided the bottle had to go, and jumped on it. Little did I know that the only thing keeping it inflated was a shitty little fan. Needless to say, it was not prepared to support the impact of an angry front man jumping on it. The thing instantly collapsed, as did the jackass atop it. I tumbled probably 10 feet to the ground and busted my elbow on impact. Whoops.  Silver lining: I learned a couple valuable lessons that day. First, I'm not even remotely punk. Second, it doesn't pay to take on a corporate titan, even in the form of an inflated bottle. And three, never agree to play a battle of the bands.  In case you're curious, a rap-metal band finished ahead of us in the voting, then got a mob of their genuinely irate and under-educated knuckle head fans to nearly start a riot when they didn't take home the trophy. Good times.
We opened for Fuel at the Palace Theater in Albany around Christmas one year. It should have been a thrill to play for a couple thousand people in a really cool old venue. Unfortunately someone told Fuel that they were important or something, and it went to their heads. First, they demanded absolutely no one outside of their crew be allowed in the theater during their sound check, because, you know, some rock 'n roll super sleuth may have been hanging around waiting for an ultimately forgettable band like Fuel to accidentally surrender the formula to becoming a modest commercial success.  Consequently, we stood outside in the freezing cold with all of our gear for a ridiculously long time. Later, they had one of their bodyguards (cousins?) threaten to break a friend's camera if he took pictures of the band without their permission. Finally, their lead singer took the stage in...I shit you not...a Brett Michaels inspired cowboy hat, leather trench coat, and pink boa. So, yeah, that happened. Surprisingly, the look never became as iconic as Bono's shades or the Beatles' mop tops.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 and remember to catch The Wait live on July 21st at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs....


  1. Right here: