By DJ Dave Hoffenberg
Martin Luther King weekend is one of the premiere party weekends in Killington and on that Sunday the Wobbly Barn has chosen to go with a premiere band, Big Bang Baby (BBB). They’ve been playing there since 2004 and they keep getting better. BBB is one of my favorite bands that comes to town and I had the pleasure of speaking to my good friend and lead singer Paul “Mooch” Anthony. Mooch does it all. He also plays guitar, bass and drums.
Mooch said to expect, “Quality, non-stop energy with new faces, which is important. You have longevity, but longevity needs to be cleansed and renewed all the time, so it becomes new even though the name had longevity. If you constantly reinvent the wheel, it really truly is always a new band. The name stays the same, but the wheel changes.” They may have some new blood in the band but the quality and talent is superior as always. Mooch added, “The hardest thing is to be consistent. I’ve gone through like 30 people, but I think it’s good to recycle and move people around. People get bored, so you have to change it up.”
Joining Mooch are Matty V on keyboard, Dave Crum on guitar, Pete Green on drums, new female singer Cait Chelednik – who Mooch says is phenomenal, with a really powerful voice – and Dr. Asian Flash on bass. They’re primarily a five piece band, but for corporate, weddings and bigger shows like this, they bring their six piece full tilt band.
BBB plays live band karaoke shows, and at one, Mooch discovered Chelednik. He said, “We were at Bar A and she came up to sing and made me turn my head. I told her she needs to come sing with me. It took a few rounds of people doing karaoke to find her. She’s very talented and I’ve been grooming her very well with the band.”
BBB plays a wide variety of music. They really rock, but also do a lot of the pop hits. Mooch likes that Chelednik will sing some of the male songs and he some of the female ones. Some of the other guys will do some songs, as well. “We don’t just play today’s music. We reinvent the wheel with old stuff and people are really blown away by it. Things we do, we twist just enough to make them our own.”
I like the variety that they do. They’ll be playing a hard rock song and go into a 70s classic dance song. Mooch said, “I don’t do authenticity. Being a cover band, you’re not supposed to be authentic. I like every style because it’s our style. I enjoy the energy of my band and how we deliver stuff.”
I first met Mooch in 2000 when he was with The Wallbangers, which to this day is one of my favorite cover bands. He started BBB in 2002. He said, “I had to keep the ‘Bang’ in there for the buck, haha, no pun intended. I wanted to put my own hand in something with quality control, business and booking control. I have the background with business experience and being an entertainer on stage. It was important to put together a quality outfit that’s entertaining and making sure me as a front man is connecting with the crowd. You have to be vivacious, you have to be loud on stage. You can’t just play music. You have to connect with the crowd and have a personality. Today’s ADD is five times worse so you have to really grab their attention.”
In the late 90s before Mooch’s cover band career, he was the touring bass player with Joey Belladonna from Anthrax. Mooch moved up to Syracuse, lived with him for a year and they made two albums together. “It was a great experience.”
Mooch’s biggest musical influence to this day is the band Rush. For vocalists, it’s Steve Perry from Journey. For front man and entertainers, it’s David Lee Roth and Steven Tyler. Mooch said they’re the ultimate front men, and added, “The anger from Rage Against The Machine. I thought it was phenomenal when they came out. I was sold when I heard them.”
He played in his first band in the sixth grade. “Man, we sucked. We were horrible. My first gig was playing my sixth grade dance.” They were called the Rough Riders. Mooch said it was fitting because they were rough. His first paid gig was his senior prom. Although he got paid, he never got to play a note because the principal smelled beer on his breath so he was put in the office and had to listen to the band butcher the gig without him. He said, “I was freaking out. We were adolescent and stupid. That band was called Paradox. How ironic.”
Mooch’s goal in playing is conquering the crowd. “It’s a challenge to me and I like a challenge. I’m not happy unless they say, ‘Wow, I had a good time.’ I enjoy performing on stage, it’s a rush and release. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably be unhealthy both mentally and physically. The biggest compliment I get is when people come up to me and say they’re not really into cover bands, but they like what we do. It’s a compliment that I actually crossed over and changed someone’s mind.” Mission accomplished.
Photo courtesy Dave Hoffenberg
Big Bang Baby