Dan Tamberelli is an entertainer- through and through. As a kid he played Little Pete on Nickelodian’s “Adventures of Pete and Pete.” Now, as an adult, he’s a successful musician. He founded the band Jounce with friends, (he plays bass and sings), and this fall he’s going on tour with Richard Lloyd (of Television fame). Tamberelli took some time out to answer MME questions. Keep reading for what Tamberelli’s listening to, how it feels to hear “PETE” screamed at shows and about his new sketch comedy, called “Man Boobs.”
Jounce plays this Saturday night at the Bowery Poetry Club, downtown NYC. The band recently released a new album, “These Things.” A track from that album follows the Q&A.
How and when did Jounce first form?
Jounce has been around since 2000, but we’ve been playing together since the 8th grade jazz band. The whole band has grown up together since 1st grade…I was the new kid in 5th grade.
How has the band changed thru the years?
We’ve had 4 changes from 2000. Our original keyboard player, Dan Mallon, left in ‘05 to pursue a law degree. He’s our lawyer and co-founder of our record label Greenfence which released, “These Things,” our latest record. We had some great side players who added keys or 2nd guitar for a couple years but no mainstays so in ‘07-early ‘08 we were just a power trio. Another childhood friend, Brian Purwin, moved back to NJ/NYC from Florida while we were recording “These Things” and we have been a quartet ever since. He also plays violin, which adds a lot.
Musically, I think we have completely changed from where we started. We began as a funk/jazz rock mostly instrumental band. We started to go more straight ahead rock once we started having ringers come in and we really began to mature once we started playing as a trio. Our sound now is exactly what we have been waiting to create. Sometimes it takes all sorts of changes to perfect what you want.
You sing many of the songs, do you write the lyrics?
I do write the majority of the lyrics, our drummer Joe also contributes lyrics. They are usually the last piece of the writing process. Music comes through first for all of us.
How are songs created in the band?
Songs come from all sorts of places and ways. In most cases, each person will come the the table with a complete or mostly complete idea. We all work together if we need help finishing a part. Other times we write songs on the spot if someone just has one riff or theme. We also record our practices which involve impromptu jamming before we begin practicing that sometimes turn themselves into songs after replaying them.
When did you decide you wanted to be a musician and not an actor?
Well I still do some acting stuff. In fact I’m in the middle of shooting a sketch comedy pilot I wrote with 2 friends called “Man Boobs.” We are actually putting a sample sketch up on our website soon to give people an idea of what we’re trying to do.
This is the way I want to get back into acting, doing something that I helped to create. The biggest reason I have pursued music over acting is the fact that music is all me. I write the lyrics, those are my bass lines and with acting I feel like you’re always reading someone else’s words and taking direction from someone too. Not to discredit acting in any way, it’s just my own personal take. I don’t regret anything I have done. Pete and Pete was an amazing show and I’m so glad to have been a part of a show like that.
Did you always know you wanted to be in the entertainment business?
I guess so, I have been doing it for 21 years now and I’m 27. I have a pension from SAG, so I got that going for me, c’mon 65…i’m ready.
Does your childhood fame still follow you wherever you go?
It still does, sometimes it helps our shows and sometimes it’s annoying when people yell, “PETE”. All in all though, it’s been more helpful than hurtful. What’s nice is that 95% of our write-ups talk about it, but don’t use it as a hook to get people to the shows. The music has been speaking for itself.
What was your best/favorite show?
I have 2, one was closing out Hampshire Halloween in 2004. We played a version of “Feed my Frankenstein” that got people more rowdy than i’ve ever seen. People were jumping up on stage to sing the chorus. Girls going wild as they say all over the stage….
More recently, we do a Rocks Off Boat Cruise every year that serves as our NYC summer throwdown show. This years was particularly rowdy and fun. There’s just something about playing on a boat that I really enjoy. I like thinking that if I sway too much to one side I may take a digger on stage.
Do you consider Jounce to be a Jam band?
Once upon a time. We’ve all grown up a lot. That was a part of my life that I wouldn’t change either. It made me a better player and listener to improvise all the time. Jounce is now more focused on our early-mid nineties roots and I guess it’s showing. A lot of reviews and write ups say we sound like a lot of those bands: Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk, Mother Love Bone, Pavement. We still jam, its just no-fluff kind of jamming. It has focus and direction but still allows for improv.
Back when you were 33West, what did that name mean? Were you sad that you had to change it?
Hahaha, that was a long time ago. We needed a name for the battle of the bands. There was this painting in Matt’s basement, (he’s the guitarist, we played at his parents house for years) and 33West was on the painting. Not a very good story I know. We had to change it cause some punk band from Chantilly, VA had the same name. So we picked Jounce out of the dictionary. It fit back then and it still makes sense now.
What are you listening to these days?
I’m listening to O’ Death, Yeasayer, Hold Steady, Dr. Dog, The National, Marco Benevento, MMJ, Andrew Bird, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies.
Always listening to Tortoise, EPMD, Guided by Voices, early Stones, any Johnny Thunders, I could go on. I pretty much never stop listening to music.
If you could play with any musician, who would it be? Why?
It’s funny that you ask this question because I’m sort of having a real life experience with this now. I got sent an email from a friend of mine from Cali, he’s the bassist in the band BackBiter. The email was about Richard Lloyd from Television looking for a “kick ass bass player in NYC”. He told me I better audition and at least check it out. Television is one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time, so I went and I got the gig. We are going out on a national tour in Sept./Oct. Its’ pretty surreal for me. He is by far one of the best guitar minds out there. I couldn’t be happier playing this gig.
What’s the best thing about being in a band?
Being able to express yourself in front of strangers and feeling like you are connecting with them. Traveling around with your best friends is pretty great too. Also to inspire people. Jounce is getting on the digital release for the Mark Mulcahy Tribute record that comes out in September. Mark was the biggest reason I play music. The last show of the first season of Pete and Pete called “Hard Days Pete” really did put the music bug inside me and Mark was the catalyst. He got me into the Fez to see a Miracle Legion show when I was 11 or 12. I still remember it.
I hope that I am able to inspire music into someone the way Mark did for me.
Jounce: World at Large
Jounce: World at Large