by Samantha Weinraub
Terrible Friends are actually great friends. Best friends, even. Vin Dammann, singer and guitarist of Terrible Friends, describes how the other three band members (Dan Tumolo, Rich Ealer, and Morgan Bartz) are his best friends, most since grade school. They do everything together, and their music is stronger because of it. Damman discusses the creative process of writing a riff, bringing it to the rest of the band members, and then collectively writing a vocal melody. He humbly cites the three as bringing the most musical talent to the group.
Speaking of friends, the South Jersey natives draw a lot of inspiration from other friends playing in bands, and listens to many local musicians. Their EP title, Leaving RIP City, stems from a night out in Atlantic City, when a person continuously chanted, “Leaving RIP City!” It is refreshing to a see a band drawing so much from their local surroundings to put together a piece that encapsulates who they are and where they’re from.
In addition to local artists, Dammann listens to “softer stuff, such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Ryan Adams. Interesting, as their music has more of a harder-edge quality to it. Dammann describes the band’s sound to be “straight-ahead rock, with two electric guitars and bass.”
As for the origin of the eye-catching name Terrible Friends, hesays, “On our first show the band didn’t have a name, so we just went with that.” And it definitely stuck.
Terrible Friends finds inspiration from reality and also fictional events. Dammann cites Neil Young on how he says one can create a story out of nothing. He says that the band often draws song ideas from relationships, but that gets old after awhile. They also get song concepts from watching the news and seeing so many injustices in the world, although he would not describe their music as political.
When they’re not playing or performing, the members work practical jobs from accounting to I.T., still managing to find time to produce musical works. Dammann mentions that there have been a lot of office jokes among the members, and their semi-conventional lifestyle shows how nothing is really what it seems. Terrible Friends may have alter egos: office techs by day, rock stars by night. I think these guys can be seen as a beacon of hope to aspiring artists out there. No need to quit your day jobs: you can still follow your creative dreams, after you clock out at the end of the day.
Check them out next Wednesday night at Voltage Lounge as part of the That Mag/Radio 104.5 live sessions showcase! Info here!