Local Band Amped for Needham Fundraiser

May 6, 2024
• The Tear Downs, a Needham-based rock band, gear up to release their fourth album and perform at an annual local fundraiser this weekend.

While some spent their 2020 baking sourdough bread or holding endless meetings over Zoom, a few Needham residents came together to record their first album.

The Tear Downs, composed of six Needham residents, had formed about four years prior, rehearsing in their free time and writing and performing original music. It was member Steve Geraci, a guitarist and songwriter, who pushed the band “to take our music to the next level,” he said.

The Tear Downs record in the studio in February 2020, just before the pandemic. (Courtesy Steve Geraci)

Another four years later, the classic rock and alternative pop group timed it right again — soon after they take the stage at the May 11 Spring into Springtime Gala, hosted by the Needham History Center and Museum, they hope to finish their fourth studio album.

Geraci, a lifelong Needhamite, said they’ll bring their “unique sound” to the recording studio and their neighbors.

“We sound like different bands depending on the songs we’re doing, so that’s kind of the neat thing about it,” Geraci said. “Someone said we sound like Weezer one night. Someone said we sound like Beck. Someone said we sounded like The Killers another night. So it’s all good. They’re compliments to us.”

Bandmate Jason Hornick practices medicine by day and rocks out at night. Hornick, who works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, started playing the keyboard at 12 years old, so his music days started long before med school.

In high school, Hornick played alongside classmate Elliott Smith, who went on to become an indie folk artist in the mid-1990s and early 2000s. While the two both attended college in Massachusetts, Hornick also played in an early version of Smith’s band Heat Miser.

A Portland, Oregon native, Hornick took part in the early grunge scene, later popularized by Nirvana out of Washington. But with a love for The Beatles and ’80s music out of England, Hornick bridged all those genres, inspiring his alternative rock leanings with The Tear Downs. He plays the keys and sings for the band.

They’re set to release four originals in about a month, Hornick said.

“Some of the guys in the band are a little bit more conventional classic rock and sort of blues-inflected rock,” Hornick said, “so when we perform, we do a range of songs that span classic rock to more alternative and more melodic stuff as well.”

Other members include Mike Green, drummer and songwriter, bassist Chris Martin, guitarist and band founder Alan Shapiro and Dan Maranci, a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter.

The gala, which runs Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m., aims to raise money for the Needham History Center and Museum’s programming, event chair Paula Caputo said. Attendees can participate in a concert ticket raffle, in which winners will receive a pair of tickets to see either The Rolling Stones, Pink or Zac Bryan at Gillette Stadium. There will also be a silent auction that includes a Western Massachusetts wine tour and a food tour through Boston’s North End.

This will be The Tear Downs’ third time playing the outdoor fundraiser.

“They absolutely set the mood,” Caputo said of the band. “It’s all upbeat… We’ve got a small dance floor, people are always out there dancing. It’s great.”

The Tear Downs will also perform another set at this year’s summer concert series in Needham, Geraci said. The band’s name itself is one that “reflects the nature of the town,” he said, and their tracks often refer back to the town.

“Ballad of the Tear Downs,” a song Geraci wrote that will appear on their upcoming album, is one of those tracks.

“There’s a line in my song about [how] I went back to my old house but it’s no longer there, and it goes on about looking back, how it was growing up through the neighborhood. It’s kind of my Needham connection song,” Geraci said. “I think it’ll resonate with a lot of people, especially talking about the trees that got chopped down at my old house.”

As their discography grows, Geraci said they continue to play a number of dancy rock-and-roll songs during live shows. They recently “rocked up” Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Geraci said, and they also cover the classics: The Beatles, Tom Petty, The Who and The Rolling Stones.

The audience, however, will still get a taste of their old and upcoming songs.

“That’s why we enjoy playing the gala, because we get to play some of our original songs too, and they’re seamless with the selections that we play. So that’s what’s fun,” Geraci said. “Then, when you see people get up and start dancing and having a good time, it’s all good.”

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