Queens band makes finals


| jlyons@queenscourier.com |



Fan support helped get the recently formed Queens-based band The Refined Gentlemen & Gezele into the finals of the Next Gretsch Greats: Unsigned Artist Competition, where they received valuable exposure.
The band started to come together about 10 months ago, but it was just six months ago that it began to take shape in its current form. Guitarist Stuart David Greatorex said that being in a band is like being in a marriage and that it’s a lot of give and take.
Finding the right members to work together was the biggest challenge in forming The Refined Gentlemen & Gezele, Greatorex said.
“We’re quite pleased with the progress of the band,” he said. “It’s going very well.”
The group is based out of Elmhurst. Joining Greatorex in the band are John Cantania, Gezele Portwood and George Wasek. Although Greatorex said that they have a very original sound and produce quality songs, they classify themselves as a blues rock band. However, their music can be adapted to other styles.
Last July, the band entered into Next Gretsch Greats. The unsigned artists’ competition was sponsored by drum and guitar manufacturer Gretsch Company as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.
The company’s president, Fred Gretsch, said that the decision to do the competition was made a year-and-a-half ago and that they thought it would be a “great thing to do to give the next generation of Gretsch artists the opportunity to compete.”
The competition drew 900 entries from several different countries. Fan votes determined the top 10 bands in the competition.
“We’re all very, very pleased and grateful to fans and supporters for voting for us,” Greatorex said, adding that he was pleased and surprised to have been a finalist.
“I gave them really high marks personally,” Gretsch said of the final judging.
Although The Refined Gentlemen & Gezele did not win the competition, Greatorex said that the exposure is still a huge benefit.
“It just makes for a stronger resume for the band,” he said. “It also fortifies the belief in the band that the fans and supporters have had.”
The band is now in the process of putting together its first album, which will be self-titled and will include nine original songs.
“We write quality songs,” Greatorex said. “We don’t try and sort of get onto the political band wagon.”
Greatorex said that The Refined Gentlemen & Gezele hope to have their CD out by January. He also said that they want to do concerts at medium and large sized venues.
For more information on The Refined Gentlemen & Gezele, please visit their website www.therefinedgentlemen.com or www.myspace.com/refinedgentlemen.
To find out more about the Gretsch Company and remain updated about possible future competitions, visit www.gretsch125th.com.