Breaking Tradition: The Traditional Await Their Big Break
by Cory Perla (@ExitMusicCory) - posted 4:26 pm, March 6, 2014
Buffalo Indie Rock Band, The Traditional, Await Their Big Break
by Samantha Wulff
Let’s play a game of “List the Bands from Buffalo that Have Made it Big.” A small handful, right? But who’s next? I’ll take a guess. As I walk in to meet the four men who collectively call themselves The Traditional, I spot them at a round table near the back of the cafe. After exchanging introductions and pleasantries, I sit to join their circle. Through the conversation and sips of coffee, and tea in my case, I couldn’t dismiss the resurfacing thought: “Why aren’t these guys famous yet?” Composed of vocalist/bassist Anthony Musior, guitarists Michael Bienias and Ryan Bennett, and drummer Jon Coric, The Traditional has been rocking the stages of Buffalo and others across the country since late 2012. The Traditional went public Sept 29, 2012. Hometown fans got to witness their debut performance on the stage of DBGB’s, with the likes of I Can See Mountains, All Blondes Go to Heaven and Sleepy Hahas. This wasn’t a “let’s go for it and see what happens,” type of show, but more of a calculated move. The band had been practicing since February of that year, produced its first album and had its own merchandise. Each member has treated this project like it was their career—and they want it to be. Although they have to work other jobs to get by, The Traditional is their number one priority. Each member has been under the title of another band at some point, but it took them falling apart for The Traditional to come together. “When mine and Mike’s band broke up,” Musior says, “we started a band together and just started writing. And then, inevitably—people have other priorities and stuff like that—so they bailed. So we just took Jon and Ryan out of the other band, and The Traditional was born.”
“It was perfect timing,” Bennett says.
What The Traditional has that the guys weren’t finding in their previous bands is a certain level of passion. “We wanted to take it seriously and, just, the other people were doing it for fun,” Bienias says. “I mean, it is fun, but there’s a lot more commitment involved.”
The commitment comes from years of musical inclination paired with a generous helping of support. Their practice space is even in Bienias’ dad’s basement. “I love listening to their stuff and I don’t have to pay 10 bucks to see them,” Gregory Bienias says, laughing.Each musical path started the same way: with family. Musior’s cites his grandparents as his biggest influence. “Anthony was interested in music at an early age,” says Nancy Dobmeier, Musior’s grandmother. “He spent a lot of time with me and my husband when he was little. We introduced him to the Beatles and other bands.” Bienias said it was his older brother. “My brother had a great music collection, and I would just go in his room when he wasn’t there and listen to everything” he said. Bennett’s grandfather played a big role. “I remember running home from school every day when I was in sixth grade because he kept telling us that he was going to stop by and bring a guitar home,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what day he was showing up, so I’d book it home.” Coric wanted to play an instrument to be like his older brother. “I started playing piano in first grade and I played for three years, and then at that point I had been bothering my parents to buy me a drum set, and one day they did,” he recalls. “Then I stopped playing piano and I regret it every day because piano is amazing and if I stuck with it I’d be incredible.” As far as musical preferences go, each member has a different soundtrack. From 1990’s emo to indie folk to hardcore punk, their tastes run the gamut. “It’s great, because if you blend it all together, you kind of create something new,” Bienias said. Photographer and friend Andy DeLuca simply describes their sound as, “authentic.”
Artvoice: So how did you come up with the name ‘The Traditional?’
Bienias: Well, we had a few terrible first names.
Bennett: We were sitting in Jon’s basement.
Musior: We were like, brainstorming names on a whiteboard.
Bienias: Were we drinking at the time?
Musior: We were, we were. Which we typically are.
Coric: I had an empty box of Yuengling.
Musior: And it says ‘Traditional Lager,’ so we’re like, The Traditional’s cool.
Investing much time, effort and money in something that doesn’t come with the promise of success or profit is a scary thought for many, but for these guys, it just made sense. “I think realistically, the vision was, we wrote these songs, why waste them to just stay home and work jobs we don’t even like?” Musior says. “Why bother wasting what we think is so awesome? So we figured, you know what, let’s drop it all.” And maybe someday they will get signed and no longer have to work their day jobs. Currently in the process of recording their fourth album, the hope is a record label will pick them up before they release it. “They’re ready for the next level,” DeLuca says. “There was a three-week span where I watched them play a show every night in a different city. Some nights would be packed, some nights would be dead. It didn’t matter how many people showed up, they still put on a staggering and flawless show.” Gregory Bienias is sure that the moment will come. “It’s just a matter of how many more minutes will it take before they get to the next level,” he says. While getting signed would allow the guys to dedicate themselves to The Traditional full-time, a label is not the be-all and end-all. “It’s just if we can get enough money to get to the next city, that’s what matters,” Musior says. “I’m not trying to be rich. I just want people to give a shit about what I’m doing and I wanna be able to get to the next city.”