New Hampshire’s premier jam dance band Superfrog was formed in 2007, in a basement, in the damp and the dark, in an environment only a frog would love. It was there, taking refuge underground, that is where the band first started writing music.
Graduating from the same high school, Shane Comer and Nate Proper form the rhythm section and backbone of the band playing drums and bass respectively. There have been a few line-up changes over the years but this duo has remained the constant driving force of the band.
Adam Vinciguerra also attended the same high school and helped to form the band’s early lineups, departing for a stint of sound production in Las Vegas, until he returned to Superfrog in 2010. Jeremy “Fuzz” Grob was the next addition, coming into the fold full-time after his former band Funkfoot called it quits in 2009. The newest additions just happened to be best friends forever: Max Chase and Phil Poggi who play the Keys and Lead Guitar, respectively.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Shane Comer, who handles both the drumming duties for the band and seems to handle some of the other work that bands must do in order to make gigs happen and shows to succeed.
LMN&R: What is the origin of the name Superfrog?
The name Superfrog comes from a short story written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The story involves a giant, man sized frog who walks, talks, smokes and drinks. He eventually battles a giant worm under Tokyo. It is a great story. In the beginning, we had about 45 names scribbled on a piece of paper and after quite a bit of debate we just made the decision and stuck with it. The best part is, after recently moving I stumbled across that piece of paper. It was great to take a picture of it and throw it up onto Facebook for the fans all wrinkled and brown and stained. I do plan on framing it so we can auction it for millions in 2053.
LMN&R: Speaking of Facebook… How does Superfrog use social media to connect with fans?
Over here at Superfrog’s international headquarters we are all about the social media. Facebook is obviously where it is at these days and we are all over it, but we also attempt to keep up with anything and everything media-wise. These days, connectivity is the most important thing you can achieve as an up and coming band. I like to use Umphrey’s McGee as an example because they are always coming up with innovative strategies to give their fans something more, something different and unique.
LMN&R: How did Superfrog come to be? What is the history?
Well, you would have to go back to Marshwood High School in South Berwick Maine where Adam, Nate and I attended. Adam and I graduated in 2002 and Nate in 2003. Nate and I were in a band called Electric Hazard which did very well as a high school band. That band was lead by Connor Garvey who is currently plowing his way all over America and beyond as a solo folk rocker. Adam was in a different band called Six Man Squad, which also had a sweet run in high school.
Anyway, those formative years were key in how we all approach music. We all parted ways and went to college and when we came back home after four years I knew I was going to call Nate and see what he was up to. Lucky enough for me, he wasn’t up to much. From that point, it wasn’t about jamming together and just making music for the hell of it. We probably played for a half hour that first day and then I went upstairs for some paper and I’m like, OK… What is our first move; ya know, let’s really do something and do it the opposite of half-assed. And so far so good.
LMN&R: Who writes the songs?
Nate is the primary song writer with Fuzz coming in second in terms of his song contributions. In addition, and maybe the coolest part about the newest additions in personnel: Mr. Chase and Mr. Poggi, that they too have a host of songs that they are contributing.
LMN&R: How do the songs get created?
We don’t have any type of method set in stone but the songs usually come somewhat or mostly created from the writer and then the band learns it/puts it all together into the final form. On occasion though, songs can come out of a jam or old songs we will re-work and re-vamp. We love to keep everything changing and everything fresh for us and for the fans.
LMN&R: Speaking of jams, Superfrog was labeled early on as a Jamband… What do you think about that label?
Well… I do think that it fits but only to a certain extent. Most of the response that we get when someone has heard that we are a jam band is that we are not what they expected. You won’t hear us play a 20 minute jam that goes nowhere. We really pride ourselves on the entertainment value of going to a live show. That sentiment is in everything we do.
So when it comes to “jamming” it is something we love to do but I believe that we are good at controlling it. A solid chunk of our songs you could potentially label as pop, and to that end, we will play a song, nice and tight at a show and then perhaps at the next show it may double in length with some experimentation etc…
LMN&R: What is your favorite live show moment?
Each member of this band really feeds off the audience. The bigger and more enthusiastic the crowd, the better and crazier we will get. My favorite moment was when we played a tour kickoff show at The Stone Church. We knew we were headed South on a tour down to Philly and back and decided what a better way to kick it off then with a few of our fans on a Monday night. Ya know, take some requests, hang out with some of our friends and just have a good, probably low-key time.
Well, I am not sure what happened or why, but 150 people showed up that night and we blew the place up. It was ridiculous and we’re like, hmm, maybe we should book some more Monday nights…
There was also the time at a house party that Nate was so into it and jumping around like a mad man he went to point at Tony (our former trumpet player) to highlight his solo riff in Call Me Al and knocked the trumpet right out of his mouth. It was just silent. That moment was so awesome.
LMN&R: How about talking a bit about some musical influences…
Ok. Starting with myself the biggest influence I have now would be Umphrey’s McGee. Kris Myers is totally ridiculous on the set and their whole story, how they go about their business and how they got where they are is an inspiration to me. Not to mention the music. It is sick. I also got to see Mike Portnoy at a drum clinic when I was maybe 14 and that was completely amazing (Dream Theater is not even a guilty pleasure, it is just a pleasure of mine).
Nate is a huge moe. fan among other things. Fuzz is our token folk guy; he is big into Strangefolk and The Grateful Dead. I would say Adam is our soul guy and if there is rapping to be done (and there is) it is usually him speaking the truth. Side note, when Adam lived in Las Vegas for a couple years he made a sick hip-hop album with some people out there. Max obviously loves anything keys related and I recently listened to three or four Steely Dan albums in the van with him. Phil just loves all things. When you meet Phil, he will probably hug you.
LMN&R: Any recording on the horizon and where do you see the future of the band headed?
Recording always has to be on the horizon for a band these days. We have been talking about it for a few months now… how we will do it, where we will go, who will we record with. We have a vague outline of what will happen. Nothing is set in stone but it is my goal to have a new record out by 2013. As far as the future goes, we will be taking this as far as it can go as fast as it can go. These days, it doesn’t go too fast (laughs).
However, we have long lives ahead of us and nothing but time. So we will use that time to put our music out there and go as far as we can with it.
UPCOMING SUPERFROG SHOWS:
Saturday, September 29
The Portsmouth Gaslight Deck
Friday, October 12
Mainely Brews: Waterville, ME
Friday, October 19
The Portsmouth Gaslight Deck
Saturday, October 27
Brian Boru: Portland, ME
Friday, November 2
Fury’s Publick House: Dover, NH
Saturday, November 3
The Lilypad w/ Froggy and the Friendship: Cambridge, MA
Friday, November 16
Salt Hill Pub: Newport, NH
Saturday, November 17
Salt Hill Pub: Hanover, NH
Wednesday, November 21
Portsmouth Gaslight Homecoming Upstairs!
Thursday, November 29
The Shaskeen: Manchester, NH
Friday, November 30
Escada: Johnston, RI
Friday, December 7
High Noon Saloon: Norwich, CT
Saturday, December 15
Salt Hill Pub: Lebanon, NH
Friday, February 15, 2013
Grizzly’s @ Stratton Mountain
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