By DENNIS J. WRIGHT
PHOENIXVILLE - Shame is their name, and they'll be making their collective Phoenixville debut at the Steel City Coffee House on Friday, Feb. 27, following a performance by A.J. Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle.
Lead singer Peter Errich said the group is "psyched up" to playing at the coffee house Friday night.
"Our guitarist Michael Noecker and I played with (singer/songwriter) John Faye last October and we discussed how we wanted to come back with the entire group," said Errich. "It's a great venue and a good listener room. "This is one of the rooms that's a catalyst in supporting local and regional talent and we're glad to be playing here."
Errich said the group began its career while several of the band members were attending high school together.
"Michael (Noecker), Brian Rutolo (drummer) and myself went to Wilson High School together," he said. "After going through two other bass players, we hooked up with (current bassist) Keith Knowles three years ago during the summer of 2000. Our lineup is now pointed in the same direction and motivated into seeing our goals through. We're now trying to make people see it - and we're having fun along the way."
During their set Friday night, the band will be performing songs from their 2001 release "Late Last Night," including "Roadside," "Left Untold," "Porch Light," and "Roslyn Square." Errich spoke of how each song came to fruition.
"The song 'Roadside' was an idea that Michael and Brian presented to me," Errich said. "They developed some instrumentation for it and it took off. It's about that person we can all relate to, who's waved their arms at someone, only to have that person drive past us.
"'Left Untold' is a song that reflects how the band was playing a lot and when you have other things going on outside of a relationship, they tend to get strained. That was going on during the period of time when the CD was being recorded. I wrote this song when I was 21, and there were some people in my life that weren't the same as they were years ago, and it was time to simply say good-bye," he said.
Errich continued by saying, "The song 'Porch Light' is by far our signature track. People will see me in the mall and yell to me 'leave the lights on.' It's a great feeling that it's our most identifiable song. That song has made a lot of people turn their ear to our music. It is a song about straightening another path in life.
"The inspiration for 'Roslyn Square' was while we were performing a gig in Washington, DC. Roslyn Square is a real place right outside of Washington, and after the gig, we noticed a lot of different things in the area that stuck in our minds. Michael presented the song idea to me and he and I finished the song. The piano really brings out feeling in this song - and it is usually our show closer," he said.
Throughout their set, Errich said, Shame will intermix some cover songs with their original music.
"We tend to pick covers that are danceable and to keep people interested," said Errich. "Songs from bands that we relate to from the early to mid-90s, like the Gin Blossoms, Toad The Wet Sprocket, and Counting Crows. We want to be an original band that does some covers. We'll do 'American Girl' by Tom Petty and 'Sister Golden Hair' by America - music that has good lyrics that we wish to pay homage... the groups we've loved that put out good music."
In the future for Shame is a new CD release titled "Lifestones," which is slated to be released this summer.
"The new CD should be out in June or July," said Errich. "Naming the album was really weird. You have to have the name of the album before finishing the final product. Ideally, you want to place the name with the music. The name 'Lifestones' was blurted out during a brainstorming session at 3 a.m. We thought it sounded cool and decided to go with it. We wanted that unanimous vote on it so no one could come back later on and say they didn't like it."
Errich said Shame fans will find that "Lifestones" is a step in maturation.
"There are 10 to 12 good songs that are more upbeat than what's on 'Late Last Night'," said Errich. "It's a more mature release for us. We're trying to go from local to global with this."
The key to Shame's success, according to Errich, is the group's strength in songwriting.
"The writing is a collective thing amongst us all," said Errich. "Some of us went to high school together so we know each other well. With some of our songs, all it takes is just a common thought. Someone will come in with a snippet of an idea and we manage to complete each other's thoughts well."
Tickets for the Shame/A.J. Swearingen & Jonathan Beedle performance at the Steel City Coffee House, 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, are available for $8 each. For more information, contact Steel City Coffee House at 610-933-4043. For more information on Shame, visit their Web site at www.shamemusic.com.