Clustered in a hidden room in Long Island City, The Crisis Team is jamming.
The roost is the group’s private oasis – a combined practice space and recording studio, known as The Motel Room, owned and operated by the band. A luxury not often seen in the underground music world, the group frequently uses the space to lay down tracks for other Queens bands, including The Goodnoise and The Big Daddy Project. Missing a proper place to practice and record, The Crisis Team created their own – one band’s kind contribution to a local music scene.
The Crisis Team, named by several members riddled with an adoration for comic books, consists of Evan Dorfman, vocalist and rhythm guitarist; Brendan Susens-Jackson, lead guitarist; Dan Crowley, keyboardist; Jamie Pitrelli, bassist; and Ernie Folcarelli, drummer.
Every member of The Crisis Team has dabbled in music since they attended middle school. Longtime friends Dorfman and Susens-Jackson learned guitar at age 14 and spent many years bouncing between bands. Four years ago the pair met Crowley and Folcarelli, who quickly joined the set. Pitrelli is the newest addition to the group.
Vocalist Dorfman’s father was a songwriter and recording engineer who ran a recording studio out of their families loft on the Lower East Side.
“I actually grew up in a recording studio,” said Dorfman. “I’m sure that had a bit to do with my musical inclinations.”
The Crisis Team grabs inspiration from Weezer’s grunge-pop power chords, Wilco’s effortless appeal and “A Hard Day’s Night” era Beatles tones – a seamless combination of foolproof vintage standards and modern concepts. Their music is the breed of bar-rock that instantly sways you, knees bobbing, a cold beer in one hand, the other raised high into a fist.
The band calls it “Neoclassic Rock and Roll.”
For Dorfman, the songwriting process is a release of anguish – a cathartic coping mechanism for handling reality.
“It’s a way of dealing with things in my life,” said Dorfman. “There’s a lot of heartbreak and hardship in my writing.”
Just as in life, however, moments of joy appear sporadically throughout his work – most recognizably in the juxtaposition of serious lyrics against the backdrop of an upbeat melody.
“I’m the kind of guy that will take bad news with a laugh,” admitted Dorfman. “I think that comes through in the music that I write.”
The group is currently preparing for an album release party at the Red Door, located at 140 24th Street in Manhattan, on Saturday, January 21, celebrating the completion of their most recent work, titled “Assemble.” Performing alongside other Queens groups The Goodnoise and Harvey Eyeballs, The Crisis Team is hosting the event to not only celebrate the album’s arrival but also to announce the band’s upcoming regional tour.
As advice for budding musicians, Susens-Jackson encourages playing live shows as much as possible. He also claims that being surrounded by other talented musicians serves to expand and improve a young musician’s career.
“If you’re a musician and you want to support the scene, the most important thing is to go out and see live music,” said Dorfman. “We want to make it a thing to do again, to see music, and make people ready for a new kind of experience.”
For more information about the band, visit www.thecrisisteam.com.