NEW BAND NASTY HABIT IS MORE HABIT-FORMING THAN YOU’D THINK
Youngsters from New York are one big break away from superstardom
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
There is a young rock band in New York called Nasty Habit that’s just waiting to be discovered, and whomever is lucky enough to give this band a break is going to be blessed with perhaps the USA’s answer to Def Leppard.
After all, Def Leppard were once greasy-faced teens when they first signed a record contract a generation ago, and Nasty Habit is along the same lines – a cool look, great songs, excellent musicianship and, perhaps most of all, that it-factor that all bands crave but is so hard to find.
The foursome has played Rocklahoma a couple of times, and they’re primed and ready to make an impact on the whole world with a series of infectious songs like “Heartless,” “Goodbye,” “Dancing on My Tongue” and “Heavens Gate.”
Of course, mainstream rock is not what’s happening today in the wake of alternative, electronic music, country and rap all being at the forefront. So that makes a throwback band like Nasty Habit a long shot, if for no other reason than the band name sounds like something you would see back in the day in an advertisement in Bam Magazine or Rock City News.
But the boys are OK with that. Two of the four still are not old enough to drink, yet they all have enough perspective to realize they’re trying to make it with something different as opposed to what’s popular in 2014.
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“Actually, I think we have a shot,” lead singer Tommy Ende said. “You put our CD in, and you say, ‘This must be Whitesnake, right’? We kind of sneak in there with a sound like a lot of the old hair hands – but with a little twist and sort of an updated sound that gives us an edge.”
By being the same as a lot of the old Sludge-style bands, they’re different, and Nasty Habit would not want it any other way, Ende said. “
“If you look back in history, going against the grain will eventually define you as unique, and it’s not like we lack musicianship. It’s just fun rock and roll,” he said. “I think rock and roll, the old style, it has the potential to come back. There might be a backlash now, but we’re going to keep our heads in the game, and that’s going to give us merit. That’s going to be what counts.”
Right now, Nasty Habit is No. 2 on the ReverbNation chart for rock. So it’s no surprise Ende is confident, and that’s just what it takes in rock and roll; that’s one thing that will never change.
Ende’s brother, Kenny, plays guitar. Frankie Wheeler is the bass player, and Mohawk-topped David Jordan is the drummer.
With an aptly-titled EP called “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures, Nasty Habit has done some touring – but never as far as California – and the band is hoping they’re on the brink. As for the after-show parties, they’re a lot like the old bands in that way, too – but not so much that it interferes with what Nasty Habit is trying to accomplish.
“We don’t drink or smoke anything before the show. We don’t want to be scatter-brained,” Ende said. “It’s kind of an unspoken rule. But once we’re done playing, that’s different. We definitely like to have a good time.”
And there are a lot of female fans, and that’s something Nasty Habit wanted from the very beginning.
“That’s absolutely true, but I still don’t know whether they like the sound or looks – you can argue it either way,” Ende said.
There is even a Corvette in one of the band’s group photos. These guys have all the old rock clichés down pat.
“As far as the early MTV era, we’re trying to take things back to rock and roll’s golden age and do it justice instead of cutting corners,” Ende said.
A benefactor funded the band’s first EP a few years back, though at the time the group was just learning. They’re a lot more mature now, especially for being so young, and this time they used a successful kickstarter campaign to fund the new record.
“None of us are from rich families, absolutely not,” Ende said. “We’re just really fortunate in the way we’ve been able to attract some people, and it’s working out for us. I mean, yeah the struggle has been stressful, but it’s totally worth it. These days, you really find out who your real supporters are when you ask them for money.
“We just try to put out good vibes and to be as professional as possible. We try not to take advantage of people, but if we’re on the road and someone hands us a few bucks for gas or gives us a place to crash for the night, we’re very thankful.”
Ende said he and his guitar-playing brother are especially close, even for siblings, and that camaraderie rubs off on everyone else.
“I couldn’t ask for anyone better on guitar, and when we were kids, we did everything together,” he said. “We lived in the same bedroom and even shared the same car. It worked out OK. I mean, we got along like brothers – both good and bad – but if we had problems, we always got past it.”
Jordan, the drummer, helps with a lot of the business in the band, including doing all the artwork and graphics. Wheeler, the bass player, is the newbie, and he is what Ende calls the final piece to the puzzle.
“We had different kids on bass back in the garage-band days, but once we got Frankie Wheeler, we took off and got a lot more refined,” he said. “He kind of brought us all up to speed, even though he is the youngest member at 18. Before we asked him to join, he kept hitting us up from the sidelines, trying to crash his way in, and once we got him in the band, he has been a real team player.”
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org