Enough’s been written about the discord in personalities among bandmates when young groups like the Stones and Beatles were starting out.
But no such findings, when meeting the quintet that makes up If All Else Fails, a Cinnaminson-based alternative group of musicians, who seem to have conquered the “I’m better than you” mindset among each other that sometimes gets in the way of rising talent.
Sure, the five guys rib and elbow each other on occasion, “Yo dude, I don’t know what you were thinking when you tried that song...” or “It really wasn't the right style for that riff.” But, it’s far and few between.
These rockers are better at firing each other up: “No one else can play like he can…” “He’s really developed his style and confidence...” They seem to really like and respect each other.
About two years ago, If All Else Fails was formed when Brandon Cole, 18, Kevin Dunne, 17, and Peter DelBuono, 17, all seniors at Cinnaminson High School, discovered they liked to bare their souls for the sake of music. Matt Gilbert, 19, and Jonathan Jarzyk, 20, jumped on the bus a couple of months later.
“Peter and I started talking one day and said we should start a band. That’s back when we were freshmen, but finally, we got it together,” says Cole who is the band’s drummer.
The name of the group came from a dream. “I saw a man with his hands in his face and a sign above him that said ‘If All Else Fails,’” says guitarist and backup singer Gilbert. “Seems like it was meant to be.”
Citing inspiration from groups like Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park and Bad Company, the skinny-jeans-wearing musicians are beginning to make a name for themselves.
Last Sept. 23, If All Else Fails battled bands at the “Back to School Bash” held at the legendary music venue, the Stone Pony in Asbury Park—where another somewhat-known fellow cranked out medleys about 30 years ago, and was about the same age as the If All Else Fails members.
And then on Oct. 7, the band rocked the popular establishment again competing in the “Rock to the Top” contest, and won the first round.
"That was really cool," says DelBuono, the lead guitarist.
Because Hurricane Sandy roared through and devastated parts of Asbury Park a couple of weeks later, the second round has been postponed to early 2013. If the group wins the overall contest, they might get a chance to frontline for a nationally known act.
Most of the songs the five-man band perform have been written together. They've recorded one single, "Understand" that has a slow sorrowful start of guitar chords that moves onto a more rousing selection. The lyrics sung by Dunne encourages one to look inward for meaning and redemption.
Next up, they will be heading to Portabello Studio in Woodbury to record two more songs, are hoping to get a demo into the hands of a promoter, and will continute looking for sponsorships.
They're also scheduled to appear at Philadelphia's Trocadero Theatre on Feb. 23.
“We started out as a high school band,” says Cole. “But we’re searching for something bigger.”
With that kind of confidence, drive and enthusiasm, they might just land their dream.
New Jersey this year. Maybe world domination next.