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Feature for August 2013

Mister Neutron revisited

Name: Mister Neutron

Genre: Heavy-trad instrumental surf rock (formerly Surf / Instro Rock)

Geographical Area: New Jersey / New York

Interview with: Damian Fanelli by email on 7/31/13

Last Interview date: 2/26/07

Band formed: 1998

NESMA member since: 2005

1. What is the current line-up of your band?

Damian Fanelli (guitar), Tony Fanelli (bass), Drew Paradine (drums)


2. Has your line-up changed since your last interview?

Nope. We’re the same three primates.



3. Since your last interview has your music taken on new or different directions? If so, how?

Let's see … the last interview was in early 2007, long before our third album (‘Nor'easter’) came out in mid-2008. However, I wouldn’t say our direction has changed at all since then. Before March 2007, we’d play some tunes with vocals, and maybe even some blues or rockabilly, but Mister Neutron has been a pure instrumental band for many years. So, despite the longwinded start of this answer, no.



4. What NESMA bands have you had an opportunity to perform with, or share a show with?

9th Wave, the Octomen, the Supertones, the Coffin Daggers, Daikaiju and many more!


What bands of any genre have you played with or networked with?

To be honest, since 2008 or so, we haven't been very active. It's safe to say we've played about once per year since then, by design.



6. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

Recordings: 90 percent original, 10 percent covers. Live, it’s more like 50/50. I think it's inherently fun to play other people's songs — and even more fun as you get older.



6a. Has this changed since your last interview? If so, how?

Yes. In olden times, we had many more originals in the set. I still like to tell people that our set is mostly originals, but I don’t think that’s exactly true anymore.



7.  What recording have you done since your last interview?

Our third album, 'Nor'easter,' came out in 2008. We also recorded a horrible instrumental version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” about three years ago and attempted a few instrumental covers in the studio a few years back. But in terms of official, finished music we'd actually want people to hear, just the 2008 album.



8. Where does your band typically practice?


When Mister Neutron is taken out of its protective carton once a year, we rehearse at Drew's house. It's always been “wherever the drums are,” which makes perfect sense.



9. What does your band typically wear for a performance?


Jeans. Shirt-wise, I think all three of us alternate between T-shirts and buttoned-down, short-sleeved shirts, either vintage or bowling style. I’m pretty much done with T-shirts on stage. I can’t stand to see photos of myself wearing a T-shirt during a gig.



10. Do you ever have additional performers on stage with you?

Not since one night in 2006, when he had a trumpet player. Sometimes I think it would be cool to have an acoustic guitarist to help the live versions of songs sound more like the studio versions of songs. Maybe we’ll do that.


11. How do you continue to get gigs?

When we feel it's time to wake up Ol' Man Neutron from his slumber, we'll typically write to Unsteady Freddie to see if he has any openings at Otto's Shrunken Head in New York City. We’ve always loved playing there.



12. Approximately how often do you perform out?

About once a year.



13. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?

Facebook is No. 1 by a mile. After that, Twitter and word of mouth, like they did it in 1861.



14. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had since your last interview?

We toured California twice since then. I don't know if Drew and Ant would agree, but there was one very cool night in El Segundo, California, during the first tour. The place was packed, and everyone in the audience was reeeeeally into it. Also, that was at the end of the little tour, so all the little musical problems were worked out. I felt as though we couldn't screw up that night if we tried. We had total confidence, no doubts, made no mistakes. It's probably why a lot of live albums are recorded at the end of tours — all the little kinks are worked out, and the band is good is it can be. To be honest, that night was probably the apex of Mister Neutron.


15. What have you gotten out of being a NESMA member so far?

I've met a lot of great people.



16. Have you had opportunities to promote NESMA? If so, what have you done?

Not so much lately, I’m sad to say.



17. Do you have any suggestion on how NESMA can grow?

As someone who runs a major website pretty much alone, I can imagine it must be difficult to run NESMA with only two people, both of whom have jobs! I guess somehow finding assistants, helpers, interns, even — anyone willing to lend a hand who might have a unique skill or talent — would aid the cause and help NESMA grow.



18. Anything else?

Thanks for this opportunity!


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