Who Is the Best Young Band?

Four local groups competing for the title in First Night Morris 2012's "Battle of the Bands."

The excitement is building for the young musicians competing in the “Battle of the Bands” competition at First Night Morris 2012.

Four top amateur acts will be performing throughout the evening in the cafeteria at Morristown High School. Only one can win the $250 prize and free music lessons from The Original Music School and the winning band will be crowned on New Year’s Eve.

The competition began earlier this month, with pre-event shows at Greenberry’s of Morristown.

Voting continues through 11:59 p.m. tonight via First Night’s website. There are videos of each band’s performance.

To learn more about each band, read Patch’s Q and A:


Glass Cow

Glass Cow is a rock band consisting of four 15-year-old members:  Ben Overzat, lead guitar and vocals; Max Picut, rhythm guitar; Ed Weisgerber, bass; and Henry Wolfson, drums.

Q: How long have you been playing (together and individually)?

The band was formed in 2008, when Ben met Henry during a middle school jazz band rehearsal.  Henry asked Ben to enter a school talent show, and through word of mouth they soon recruited Max and Ed, calling themselves The Frets.

Ben says, “I started playing guitar when I was 8, but I’ve been playing piano since age 7.”  Ben also plays saxophone, bass, mandolin, harmonica and the drums, but admits, “My favorites are the guitar and keyboards.” 

Max notes that his father, Russ, has always played, “so there was always a guitar laying around the house to play with.”  It was in second grade, however, that a particularly beautiful, black guitar on the cover of a magazine caught Max’s eye. “I saw this beautiful guitar, and thought it was really cool, and Santa was good to me that year.”

Ed has been playing the bass for 4 years.  He has also played the clarinet and bass clarinet in concert bands.  He began playing guitar about five years ago, and is currently taking bass guitar lessons at the Original Music School.

Henry has been at it the longest, saying, “I’ve been playing drums since I was 5 or 6.”  He also plays the guitar, bass, piano, and the ukulele.  He sings in the Watchung Hills Regional High School Chorus.

Q: What made you decide to get involved in music?

Max says the first time he remembers music being important in his life as being, “pretty much the first time I saw a guitar. “ 

Ed says his dad Paul got him interested in music early on. “He is an artist and he always has these obscure garage band tunes playing in the background when he works. I know a lot of bands, like The Music Machine, the Syndicate of Sound, the Seeds, the Standells, the Electric Prunes, MC5 and the Yardbirds because of him.”

Henry says, “I used to listen to the radio a lot in the car and was curious about how to make music, so I started drumming and haven’t stopped.”

Q: What/Who are some of your main inspirations?

The band’s music idols run the gamut from classic rockers like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin to icons like Eric Clapton, Nirvana, and the Clash. Radiohead is also an inspiration.

Q: What do you think of performing in the state’s biggest First Night event?

Ben says, “We’re really looking forward to ringing in the New Year by playing at First Night.”

Ed says, “No doubt, this is a great opportunity!” 

Max adds, “This will definitely be one of our biggest shows.  I’m thankful we have a chance to play in it, and I hope we do well.” 

Henry says, “It’s always a pleasure to play with other bands. It’s great to have the chance to check out new sounds and make some new friends.”

Q: What makes your entry in the BotB competition stand out from the pack?

Glass Cow’s regular Friday night rehearsals help to keep them tight-knit as a band, but they admit that all the audition entries are impressive and fun in their own way. 

Ben says, “I guess what makes Glass Cow’s style different from the others is that we’re a little more rock.”

Ed agrees, saying, “We have the most rock-type sound of the four.”

In addition to the sound, Max and Henry say that having performed together for a few years is good for them.

Max says, “We’re a close group.  We have some good originals that we’re working on in rehearsals, too.”

Henry also points out, “I think our microphone was in a good place for our video, the sound is good.” 

Q: Any last words?

“Vote for Glass Cow!” says Ben, adding, “and seriously, good luck to all the other bands. They’re all really good!”

Ed adds: “Good luck to all the competitors.  I know it’s going to be a close competition, and may the best band win!”


Smiling’s My Favorite

Julian Lance, 16, drummer; Chandler James, 16, lead singer and guitar; Billy Morris, 16, back up vocals and guitar; Tomas Carvalho, 17, bass and back up vocals.

Q: How long have you been playing (together and individually)?

Four years together. Chandler has been playing for eight years. Julian, Billy and Tomas each have been playing for four years.

Q: What made you decide to get involved in music?

Girls and skinny jeans.

Q: What are some of your main inspirations?

Drake, Beastie boys, Four Year Strong, Lil B, MC Chris, Waka Flocka and Taking Back Sunday.

Q: What do you think of performing in the state's biggest First Night event?

Really excited! We just like playing music so for us to play anywhere is awesome.

Q: What makes your entry in the BotB competition stand out from the pack?

We work well together and have fun with what we do.

Q: Any last words?

Fat wallets, skinny jeans, and breaking hearts.


Top Hat

Joey Gatto, 17, senior at Morristown High School, piano and beatboxes; Danny Dones, 17, senior at Morristown High, piano and lead male vocal; Sean Horan, 21, student at County College of Morris, saxophone; Aidan Keefer, 17, senior at Morristown High, bass and guitar; Kiana Davis, 17, senior at Morristown High, lead female vocal. We also may have a drummer, Remey Schwab, who just joined the band and hopefully he will be ready for First Night.

Q: How long have you been playing (together and individually)?

Together, around a month or two. We had the idea to get together an all-star cast of musicians and singers for Morristown’s Got Talent and we ended up staying together as a band – at least until we all leave for college. Individually, Danny has been a solo artist since his freshmen year, acoustically performing with just his piano or guitar. Joey has beatboxed since forever and played piano for about four years. Sean has played the sax since the fourth grade. Aidan grew up playing instruments, as well, and he also plays piano and guitar. Kiana has been a singer since middle school. Remey is a long-time drummer.

Q: What made you decide to get involved in music?

We all just have a really good time doing what we do. We’re a family as well as a band and music is something we have always done. It’s great that now we can all perform together.

Q: What are some of your main inspirations?

 We are huge Stevie wonder fans; the man played so many different instruments and was blind! We love his music and we intend to cover at least two or three more of his songs over the next few months. We like the mood he gives from his music and hope we can give our audiences the same feeling.

Q: What do you think of performing in the state's biggest First Night event?

It’s really an honor, being a relatively new band. We are very grateful to actually have places to perform -- it gives us our first big chance to get our name out there and hopefully get some more gigs to come.

Q: What makes your entry in the BotB competition stand out from the pack?

All of the other bands are of the rock genre, and we don’t even have a guitar. We like to think of ourselves as a jazzy cover band, doing songs from Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and many more classic R&B artists

Q: Any last words?

Check out our website, www.tophatband.com.


Ben Rhodes, 21, guitar and vocals; Ethan Fria, 20, guitar and keyboard; Jordan Manglona, 21, bass; Dan Touw, 21, (filling in for Edward Lafontant, 20, on drums).

Q: How long have you been playing (together and individually)?

Together, one month, and individually, about seven years each.

Q: What made you decide to get involved in music?

The joy of listening to rock, pop, blues, and jazz.

We love to create. There is nothing quite like producing something that is original, even if inspired by other musicians.

Q: What are some of your main inspirations?

Any creative artist who looks to do something new and different, yet is still able to entertain the mainstream audience. These include pop, classic rock, modern rock, blues, and jazz players. 

Q: What do you think of performing in the state's biggest First Night event?

This band was formed when this BotB opportunity was realized. It's easy toyou’re your friends to listen to your band, but when it comes to getting the public to put down what they are doing and appreciate your music, you know you have your work cut out for you. At the same time, we love playing music, especially live, so whether there are two people listening, or 200, we will have a great time.

Q: What makes your entry in the BotB competition stand out from the pack?

We have been a band for not even a month. Because of hectic college schedules, it took us until a week before the Greenberry's show to even have a band practice in which everybody was there. Yet we played like we have been making music together for awhile. Despite an uneasiness about our lack of group practice, everything fell together nicely. We feed off each other and read each others faces very well for a band that is in its beginning stage. 

Q: Any last words?

UnTitled simply loves playing music. We will play anywhere, anytime, for any amount of compensation. Three of our members live an hour away from Morristown, yet when presented with the opportunity to play a show with no promise of compensation, they committed immediately, and enthusiastically. 


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