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Going Underground: New group ready to rock FMB

March 31, 2011
By MELISSA SCHNEIDER mschneider@breezenewspapers.com
A new band is taking over Southwest Florida by storm, and they’re ready to invade Fort Myers Beach. Only gigging since November, Underground has been watching its fan base grow and grow for the last several months, spreading the area with all-out, full-on rock and roll.

Jammin’ out to hits from Pink Floyd – yes, I said PINK FLOYD! – Kid Rock, Godsmack, Rage Against the Machine, The Doors, Puddle of Mudd, Alice in Chains, Sublime, the Violent Femmes and many more, Frank, Brian, Kenny and Mike are sure to keep the crowd on their feet all night long.

Believe it or not, these guys actually found each other through the internet classified site Craigslist. Frank and Mike set up a listing, and Brian and Kenny, among literally hundreds of other local musicians, applied. (This brings back how KISS is said to have found drummer Peter Criss in a 1971 Rolling Stone magazine classified ad that read, “Drummer willing to do anything to make it.”)

After numbering out several musician applicants, Kenny and Brian made it, and Underground was born. The group performs a great array of Top 40 rock songs you can hear on 99X, along with some great rock classics, like The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues,” and Pink Floyd – yes, I said it earlier and I’ll say it again – PINK FLOYD!

“Actually, we were thinking of maybe performing a whole set of just Pink Floyd sometime, like ’Dark Side of the Moon,’” the guitarist Kenny eagerly said. “Oh yeah, man, we love Pink Floyd!”

This group may be the new kids on the block of rock, but the boys that comprise it certainly are not. At ages 20, 30, 40 and 60, Underground is the perfect melting pot from all generations, offering the best of each era.

Drummer Mike Casella, even though just 20 years old, shows a promising career in his future. He’s been playing – or should I say ROCKIN’ – since he was a toddler beside his drummer father.

After Katrina devastated their New Orleans home, Mike and his family packed up and moved to Southwest Florida in 2006, where he teamed up with bassist Frank Orlando, creating a great, solid, concrete rhythm section team ever since.

The young drummer was later awarded top drummer during the Build a Band competition put on by 99X last year, hosted by Godsmack’s Shannon Larkin, beating out the 21 other competitors.

That brings us right on over to Frank, who’s got some serious plucking skills, jamming to some of the best songs ever made. His career started back in New York, performing all over the city circuit. His self-taught, no-frills, in-your-face style of bass is pure, with his influences including Cream, The Who, Grand Funk, Mountain, Deep Purple, and other powerhouse greats that were famous for the presence of their bass lines.

Guitarist Kenny Freeland has been strumming since he was a kid, too, and was a big part of Olive Carpet before stepping back to be a father to his adorable daughter a few years back His passion for perfection and his love of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour really shows through his skillful playing, and even though he recently injured his knee while at work, he STILL manages to jam out hard. (Can’t wait to see him rock even harder once he’s healed. You should see this guy jam during Rage Against the Machine songs – you’d think it was really Tom Morello streaking the licks.)

That leads us to our lead vocalist and frontman, Brian Richardson. Brian’s vocals are emanated perfectly through the group’s great cover selections, from Kid Rock, Godsmack and Nickelback to Buck Cherry, Sublime and Rage Against the Machine, this singer is somehow able to alter his voice for each selection, sounding so much like the original artists… a feat that is very cool to watch – and listen!

Together, this new group gets together and rehearses at least once a week, maintains a professional atmosphere by not drinking on stage, and keeps their breaks to 15 minutes between sets.

“We definitely make sure our clubs get what they pay for,” Frank said. “We don’t drink on set, take 15-minute breaks and make sure we give the crowd all we’ve got, holding nothing back.”

Ready to hit the Fort Myers Beach circuit, the boys of Underground said they’re eager to rock the locals (and the visitors) just right.

Demo CDs are available upon request, and they’re eager to set up appointments to rock you right. For more information, or to sample some tracks, visit UndergroundLive.net or find them on Facebook.

Article Photos

Frank Orlando, Brian Richardson, Kenny Freeland and Mike Casella make up the new supergroup known as Underground. These guy rock anything from Pink Floyd to Rage Against the Machine, and ready to take over FMB. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.

 
 

 

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