The boys are back in town – Jersey City, that is – and are playing several New York City dates and Central Jersey clubs this month hoping to win more fans and perfect their live shows.
The Billionaire Boys Club are four Gen Nexters, two of whom live in Jersey City, performing ’emo’tional pop/punk with an edge. With a variety of influences ranging from the obvious Weezer and Blink 182 to Replacements and classic rock icons, Boys Club have earned the respect of their peers and music execs. They have a tight arsenal of pop songs about the usual boy-meets-girl and more.
The group will perform on Dec. 5 at Pianos in New York City, on Dec. 6 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, and on Dec. 12 at CBGBs in the city.
They recently released a comprehensive demo titled Career Opportunities. The independent effort was recorded this year at Lakehouse Studios in North Jersey and was produced by Randy Staley. Pop tracks like "Quittin’ Drinking" and "Good Girls" are reminders of the Top 40 rock genre that works on radio. The Boys show off their complexity in songs like "Super OK" and the brief "Don’t You Wanna."
They abandon the cool bubble gum pop and turn the volume a notch louder to candidly create punk pop with angst like early Blink 182 meets fast-paced Pavement.
Career Opportunities does not tell the whole story of the Boys Club. During a recent performance at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, while opening for Beyond Mirth, bassist Leigh Nelson rummaged through the chords of his instrument to dominate the band’s sound on several tracks. While drummer Matt Lewis kept the steady beat, guitarist and lead singer Mark Sanderlin put on a show with an upbeat set list and energetic onstage antics.
The group’s glue, guitarist and back up vocalist Reef, was the tempo setter and occasional crowd instigator. Despite an average turnout, Reef urged the audience to jump, scream, laugh, sing and shout.
"The show was excellent. We always get a good crowd at Maxwell’s," Reef said.
’80 B movie
After playing in other bands, Nelson teamed up with Reef and his pals Sanderlin and Lewis to form the group a little more than a year ago. They guys were big in the New Brunswick college scene at Rutgers, and they shared a passion for rock. Nelson and Reef, both Jersey City residents, were trying to come up with a name for their new band when they saw a B movie starring Judd Nelson on cable titled Billionaire Boys Club.
"The movie was very badass and it epitomized what we wanted to be all about," Nelson said during an interview at a bar in downtown Jersey City.
The movie follows the true story of a yuppie who cons his college buddies into joining a lucrative pyramid scheme.
Although Nelson admits the band is nothing like a pyramid scheme, he said the fast-pace bad guy tone of the film could apply to the Boys.
When they got their act together and finished Career Opportunities, the Boys began performing in Jersey and New York City. During a show at the intimate city spot Pianos, a talent scout for NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly heard them live. The scout offered them a guest spot as the house band for a show, and in early September they played on national TV.
"It helped us get street ‘cred,’ " Nelson said. "We got a whole lot of attention after that."
Nelson and the crew’s main concern is to find a balance between enjoying their success and maintaining a disciplined work ethic. Being in other groups has taught the Billionaires to respect their craft and take it seriously. They also want to succeed on their own terms.
"We want to do things right. Play the right venues, record solid tracks, and team up with the right business people," Nelson said.
Reef added: "We’ve done mistakes in the past. Right now we are ready and focused to make a living playing music."
He hinted they would enjoy mass appeal, and perhaps then they could rake in the big bucks or billions. Several publications have coined them as one of the leaders of the Jersey music scene. Nelson said he would like the band to be consider a New York City act as well.
"We love Jersey, but we play in the city a lot and that’s where we want to be," he said. "We want to take our sound big time. Living the dream."
They have experience already. A few Boys Club members were part of the successful late-’90s group Evelyn Forever.
For information on Billionaire Boys Club visit www.billionaireboys.com. q