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From Backyard BBQ to Party Rock Dreams

Cover band Justified rocks Elks, charity events, and is simply big fun to its members

In Toms River Patch's ongoing feature on local bands and musicians, this week is an interview with Justified, a diverse cover band comprised of five members from in and around Toms River and Beachwood. They've got some benefit concerts they are playing as well as private events. Here's more about Justified.

What is the current line-up of your band and when did you form?

  • John Hammack – Guitar
  • Ken Gross - Bass
  • Joe Babcock - Drums
  • George Snyder - Lead Guitar
  • Fred LaBianca – Vocals
  • Formed in the fall of 2009

Give us some straight-up "About Us" type stuff. A brief history of your band.

Justified started out in the fall of 2009 when John and Joe had a little jam session during a backyard BBQ. A couple of people wandered in and said, "Hey - That sounds pretty good." Well, that started the ball rolling and the search for the rest of the band was on. Fred, who was at the original session, said he used to sing in a band back in college. Then when Ken and George answered the call, the first real "Jam" went down.

Though it was a little rough having five guys who had never played together make some music, there was enough there to make everyone think, "This could be something special."

After that, it was on to song selection and practice, practice, practice. By February of 2010, Justified debued at the American Legion in Toms River. Then there was no stopping us.

What genre would you describe your music as; what bands have you been compared to?

Since we’re a cover band, we really don’t fit into one single genre. We play what we call “Party Rock.” That’s just another name for “Fun”. We play music from Elvis to Puddle 0f Mudd, Lynyrd Skynyrd to Bare Naked Ladies, and anything in between. As long it’s got a rocking beat, we’ll play it. No disco, oldies, country, or club music, though. We do play Southern and Roots Rock, and sometimes that sounds a little country.

We really haven’t been compared to anyone. Sorry.

What is your favorite place to perform at on the Jersey Shore and why?

Without a doubt, the Porkapolooza is the highlight of our summer. It’s a private affair, but it’s a real party. Other than that, I’d have to say that the Elks in Bayville is always a rocking good time. Honestly, they’re the nicest people there.

Any recent news from the group — new music, big shows, upcoming tours?

Actually, we’re auditioning a female singer to join our group. We’re hoping to have her up to speed soon. She’s going to let us do a whole bunch of songs that we could have never done before, so look for her at out next show.

What can we expect from a live show?

Well, that’s something we’ve really been working on. As most bands will tell you, getting the music down cold is possibly the easiest part. Putting on a show that makes people want to come out is what it’s really all about. We have a blast playing, and it’s starting to come through in our show. We went to wireless mics so that out singer can get out right in the middle of the crowd, and really get them going. It’s great for sing-a-longs, too.

What are some of your biggest musical influences?

Musically, well we’re into guitars. Any band with good guitar work has put a stamp on us. We’re talking straight up rock like AC/DC all the way to blues rock like Robin Trower. And, we can’t say enough about our favorite local band, Shorty Long. They put on the absolute best show around. We’re constantly trying to work on our show to make little improvements, and they’re the gold standard we’re trying to achieve.

What does your upcoming show calendar look like? Where can we hear your music?

Out next show will be an outdoor benefit in Sicklerville for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy on Saturday, Nov. 19. After that, we’re back at the Bayville Elks on Dec. 9 playing an early show from 7:30-11.

How do we find out more?

Anyone can check us out on Facebook or at PartyBand.us.  

Anything else to add?

This band is the most fun any of us has had in a long, long time. We’re just excited to get to play for people. Come check us out and you’ll see what we mean.

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