"There is so much music out there...and we need to do way more than just celebrate the last 40 years of staple hits!"
- M.D.G.

NOWTHEN is the duo with no desire to unplug and play. It's the ideal marriage of electric & acoustic rock, but distilled to its essence. Two modern songwriters dig some of rock's best underdog songs, and they wish to pass the fantastic on to you.

Matthew D. Guarnere (aka M.D.G.), the audiophilic wildman and self-made studio rat, assembled a duo in December of 2001 and played a one-off concert to promote his self-titled debut CD. The show was taped and later aired on a local TV station in M.D.G.'s hometown of Rochester, New York. Guitarist, Justin Roeland had been tuning into the program when Guarnere's song, A River in Egypt, a powerful ballad about his mother's painful upbringing as an abused child, suddenly struck a chord. Though the two had never met, Roeland was already aware of M.D.G.'s presence through his notable studio work. When it came time for Roeland's rock band, Pompous Pilate, to make a second album, they called upon M.D.G. to co-produce it at his studio, What's Real Unlimited. During the weeks of recording sessions, Roeland and Guarnere discovered that they both had a lot of appreciation for the same kinds of music and became fast friends. By the time Pompous Pilate's new CD was completed, the NOWTHEN project was already in the works.

"One of the songs we'd put on in the car on the way to the local diner was [Tears For Fears] Everybody Wants To Rule The World," Roeland recalls. "That's such a great song and we started talking about how cool it would be to play it live." The idea to devise a special two-man arrangement of Queen's Killer Queen came shortly thereafter. "I used to sing that a cappella at soundchecks all the time," adds Guarnere. "We couldn't resist the challenge to work it into a duet."

In the 80's, the age of MTV, video arcade games & parachute pants, Justin Roeland found himself tapping on things constantly. The boy's nervous habit encouraged his parents to buy him a drumset to help take out his frustrations. By the age of 13, Justin had switched to guitar. Growing up near the Finger Lakes wine region, the antsy teen was left with little to do but strum along with the radio. Though the pop charts were then dominated by superficial synthesizer blip bands, the classic sounds of Elton John, the Beach Boys, and Carole King made perfect sense to Justin. And when seminal artists like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Neil Young emanated wildly from his radio, Roeland's lead guitar playing abilities soared. Having developed a love for strong melodies and great songwriting craft early on, it's no wonder that Justin Roeland has become a very talented singer/songwriter himself. Your Wake is a hazy look at a severed relationship. It explores the kind of heartache that could drive an ordinary man to either want to commit a crime, or commit himself.

NOWTHEN simply uses one electric guitar, one acoustic guitar, one egg shaker, two well-blended voices, and the occasional backing track (always produced by M.D.G. in his studio). Although the emphasis is certainly on their original material, the duo finds equal pleasure in freshly presenting what might be a forgotten hit song or a deep album cut. "Today corporate radio listeners are only exposed to the tiniest part of the past," Guarnere admits."There is so much music out there that's rapidly being forgotten and we need to do way more than just celebrate the last 40 years of staple hits!" NOWTHEN, let's begin.


A refreshing new version of Tears For Fears' classic song plucked from NOWTHEN's repertoire.

OH! DARLING (live)

See NOWTHEN perform a seldomly circulated Beatles track.

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Background painting by Keith Uhrich ©2001
NOWTHEN photos by Sue George ©2004