In a relatively short amount of time, Long Island band 45RPM has achieved more than many other rock outfits aspire to their entire careers; their local fame has even ushered them to headline The Space at Westbury on Oct. 10, which promises to be a show of epic proportions.
Self-described as “six slightly deranged musicians playing the cheesiest songs of the 70s,” 45RPM is fronted by singer, bassist, and Carle Place native, Danny Calvagna. Like most passionate rockers, Calvagna says he’s been interested in music all of his life.
“When I was young I was inspired by The Beatles, the British Invasion…that really turned everything up to the point where everybody was really getting crazy about bands and music,” he said. “I just jumped on that whole bandwagon, it really excited me. And in school I always made sure I took every music class. I always practiced, and did everything I could to be surrounded by as much music as possible.”
Forging friendships with like-minded individuals, Calvagna found himself in and out of countless bands over the years. Despite graduating college with a degree in Engineering and entering the workforce, getting married, and having children all by the age of 30, he still kept music in his life, continuing to play with local musicians and even building his own recording studio in his home.
“I always played in some sort of band, or recorded my own original music in my studio,” he said. “Musically, you’ve got to try and keep yourself fresh and motivated and do whatever you can to stay within the realm of music. It’s very hard to give it up…it gets in your blood, it becomes who you are, actually.”
Calvagna’s current endeavor — entitled 45RPM — was co-founded four years ago with his friend Michael Barberich and specializes in what he describes as “1970s AM radio music.” They have amassed a large following on the Long Island cover band scene, playing up to 100 gigs a year at popular local venues such as The Nutty Irishman, Napper Tandy’s, 89 North, Mulcahy’s, and KJ Farrell’s of Bellmore.
“We do everything from The Partridge Family, Tony Orlando, Blues Image, Tom Jones, The Raspberries…everything they were playing back in the 70’s, we do, and it’s not stuff that any other band does But we took it on as a concept and a challenge,” Calvagna said. “We’re a very high-drawing band….besides [Billy Joel cover band] Big Shot, we’re probably the top draw on Long Island now. It’s actually kind of difficult for us to do smaller venues these days.”
However, Calvagna considers 45RPM’s upcoming show at The Space at Westbury on Oct. 10 to be the band’s proverbial feather in their cap.
“I used to spend every weekend there when I was a kid and it was a movie theater. My first date was there,” he said. “They’re really transformed the theater into a top-notch concert hall, and we were lucky enough to talk them into letting us do a show there that we call the ‘AM-FM Show’ with Wonderous Stories, who are one of the best bands around. They do a lot of the FM radio songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and obviously we do the AM songs, so we’re a great combo.”
45RPM has been performing this so-called “musical mash-up” concert series with Wonderous Stories for almost two years, and have been backing in huge venues while doing so. At the end of their set, both bands take to the stage together and mix their respective playlists, much to the delight of the crowds of attendees, Calvagna said.
“It’s a lot of fun…both of our bands have such huge followings. And even through we play the exact opposite in terms of music, we seem to attract the same type of fans,” he said. “I think that’s because of how good both bands are. We’re both cover bands, and we both really put a lot of time and effort into making the songs sound exactly as the original band as we can, note for note. People get a kick out of that.”
Calvagna takes great pride and joy at having been able to take a passion of his youth and growing it into something that attracts crowds of fans from all walks of life.
“Our shows are really high-energy, and we always have loads of people singing along with each song. That’s what they come for…to sing along with us and have a good time,” Calvagna said. “For me, it’s just a lot of fun. I’m close friends with some very successful musicians, such as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, and while I can not imagine what it is like on that level, on the level that I’m doing it at and the enjoyment that I’m getting out of it…I can’t even explain how fulfilling at this stage of my life.”
To find out more about 45RPM, visit their website at www.45rpmny.com