MARK TERRANOVA       MATTHEW D. GUARNERE       EVAN SMOKER       JAMES DI PINTO

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Welcome to the 21st century digital age where an awful lot of modern rock seems to be made up of banal bitstreams that, when decoded, reveal an ultra-predictable mash of maybe four headache causing chords! Surely, it has all been done by now. So why bother even trying? BECAUSE IT AIN'T OVER YET! Though fast becoming a forgotten idea, it is still every person's right in this artistically expressive world to demand better music. Following the release of his critically acclaimed debut disc, M.D.G. in 2001, vocalist and songwriter, Matthew D. Guarnere decided to take action with a group of exceptionally talented and diverse musicians from upstate New York. Simply known as M.D.G. Band, guitarist, James DiPinto, bassist, Mark Terranova and drummer, Evan Smoker have bonded with Guarnere to form a vital rock entity that is determined to satisfy the underwhelmed.

This is not a musical outfit founded on nostalgia. M.D.G. Band plays with as much projection as they do reflection knowing full well that the best music is timeless. All four band members have eagerly boarded the hard rock & progressive rock rails of the 1970's and gainfully gauged through the heavy metal of the 80's & 90's, yet their sonic result is much freer and far more raw than that of a prog/metal type band. M.D.G. Band's mission is perhaps not unlike the high-financed major label punk du jour artists out there in that they wish to reach as many people as possible with rebellious, highly infectious well written songs. However, M.D.G. Band will certainly have to try to do it in their own fashion. Who knows, maybe in the process they can start a new punk trend where good musicianship is hungered for and a singer is permitted to explore a much wider range of dysphonic croon.

It is no accident that lead guitarist, James DiPinto ended up in this band. There wasn't even any audition necessary. Jim and the M.D.G. Band frontman have a history that goes way back to the days before Guarnere was even a singer. In his early teens, Matthew would occasionally sit in on drums with his brother's metal band (featuring the prodigious DiPinto) until he was abruptly ousted from the drum throne for playing too many tuned cowbells! Years later, when Guarnere phoned DiPinto with an eager invitation to join M.D.G. Band, he readily accepted. James DiPinto has been amazing guitarists and non-guitarists alike with his natural ability to play with feel, accuracy and speed in equal parts. His presence onstage is subtle even though extroverted players like Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoades, Glenn Tipton and Alex Lifeson serve as Jim's main influences. The guitar solos on M.D.G.'s recordings (often played by DiPinto) can be breathtaking mini rock symphonies, but no amount of studio craft can hold back James DiPinto from delivering his unique, yet faithful style when he plays live with M.D.G. Band.

Bass player, Mark Terranova joined M.D.G. Band in the fall of 2002. Unlike DiPinto, Mark did have to pass an audition of sorts. M.D.G. first spotted Terranova in a club where he was playing with a local cover band. Guarnere was present during the band's soundcheck and as soon as Mark had plugged into his amp, he began flawlessly ripping through a series of Geddy Lee bass riffs. Being an avid Rush fan, M.D.G. was able to instantly identify every one and in good fun, began calling out the songs from which the riffs originated. Terranova was impressed. Later that night when Guarnere heard the talented bassist's singing voice he was even further taken aback and had to find a way to plug Mark into M.D.G. Band. Terranova has a long list of influences that defy his young age. It includes great bass innovators such as Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorious along with highly accomplished players like Victor Wooten and Sting. Also at the top of the list are several drummers. Mark's reasoning for this lies within the anatomy of music. He feels that the drums are the heartbeat of a band and the bass is the pumping blood that makes it all work. Mark Terranova couldn't be more vital to the body of M.D.G. Band.

Drummer, Evan Smoker simply had to be a musician. He was born to play things outside the box. His father is jazz & bebop trumpet master (and frequent M.D.G. collaborator), Paul Smoker. His mother, Beverly, is a classical pianist. Growing up in a house with dual Dr. Smokers (both are college instructors) gave Evan special insight into piano, clarinet and percussion instruments. But when he finally encountered the majestic sound of progressive rock groups like Rush, Dream Theater and Tool, along with a great many forms of jazz, it became clear that the drumset was going to be Evan's main instrument. Although M.D.G. Band is the first rock outfit that the young Smoker has officially been a member of, when he steps up onto the drum riser to play you'd swear he's been driving this extraordinary band for decades. Always interpretive and ever inventive, Smoker excites M.D.G. Band each night with his big drumkit and even bigger presence. Evan Smoker simply had to be the drummer in this band outside the box. After all, he is a Smoker!

M.D.G. Band's live repertoire features some of Guarnere's finest and best-loved originals like White Trash Wonder, Underachiever (Slacker Suite) and Where's Everybody Gone? The set list has been further enhanced with the addition of M.D.G.'s latest sex-scarred single, Roadmap. But M.D.G. Band feels that it's equally as important to represent the great works of others, so you can expect them to lift the figurative needle past the first cut and land in the middle grooves where some of the most revered, but nearly forgotten classic rock cuts still live on. Matthew D. Guarnere, James DiPinto, Mark Terranova and Evan Smoker beget M.D.G. Band. Bound together in any time signature, this eight-legged rock critter aims to give people entirely what they deserve...even if they don't realize it.

Click here for more M.D.G. Band live photos    

M.D.G. Band - Matthew D. Guarnere, Jim DiPinto, Mark Terranova

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Background painting by Keith Uhrich ©2001
M.D.G. Band photos ©2005 Luis Davila