STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
Emerging from the increasingly popular tribute band circuit, “Countdown to Ecstacy” is one of the few acts to successfully deliver the music of “Steely Dan.” Paying homage to the classic work of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker, Countdown to Ecstacy’s name comes from Steely Dan’s 1973 sophomore effort. The band’s flawless delivery of Steely Dan classics has earned them a loyal audience of discriminating music fans.
“It happened by chance,” says founding member Glenn Marrazzo, from his home in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. “We had been getting together casually. I owned a store in Bensalem that catered exclusively to bass players. We were getting together there for fun to just play songs we all knew. No goal, no end game in site. We would get together and play Beatles tunes, The Police and classic rock tunes. Just get together, drink some beer and play some songs. At one point Toy, who is the original guitar player and still with the band, called me up and said, ‘I’m really having fun with this project we’re doing and from that came the decision to evolve into a tribute to Steely Dan. That was around 2007.”
“We are defined first and foremost by our love of the music,” adds Marrazzo. “The entire band is made up of a group of seasoned musicians who enjoy performing the Steely Dan songbook and are challenged by the sometimes complex material. We consider the band to be a tribute to the “music” of Steely Dan, so no costumes or staging is necessary for us to resemble the real thing. We perform all the material live. That is to say, we do not use any type of prerecorded backing tracks or sequences to supplement the band. This necessitates the 11 member band.”
“Countdown To Ecstacy” features a stellar line-up that includes band leader Glenn Marrazzo (bass),
Matt Sevier (vocals/acoustic guitar), Peg Talbott-Lane (vocals), Teresa Grace (vocals),
Mike Kernicky (drums), Jon Mernyk (guitar),
Tony Winkler (guitar), Dan Smedile (keyboards),
Nancy Kribbs (trombone), Kevin Coltri (sax) and
David Laich (trumpet),
“Our purpose is to present the music as accurately and authentically as possible,” says Marrazzo. “Most arrangements come from Steely Dan studio albums as well as some selections from Donald Fagen’s solo recordings. We do mix in some current “live” interpretations as well as mix it up by having our female singers sing lead or duets with some tunes. “Dirty Work” is a good example.”
Submerged in a highly competitive tribute band genre that has made its mark on the live music scene, Marrazzo and his band mates are taking it all in stride and reveling in the dedicated fan base that supports their creative efforts.
“Claiming to be a Steely Dan tribute band already sets the bar pretty high. So, it has not been unusual for some fans who are new to Countdown to Ecstasy to be a bit skeptical at first,” says Marrazzo. “We have found that, about 30 seconds into the opening song, we’ve pretty much won them over and they’re ready to sit back and enjoy the ride! I would hope folks would appreciate the level of musicianship and dedication to the material. We find that we exceed the expectations of those who may have not yet had the experience of seeing us live. Fans really appreciate the attention to detail and will respond with applause whenever one of the musicians nails a familiar signature solo – for example, the guitar solo in “Peg” or the sax solo in “FM.” People do recognize the degree of difficulty and will take the time to compliment the band after the show.”
“Ultimately, I would hope that the audience feels they got their money’s worth and cannot wait to see us again, with new fans in tow,” adds Marrazzo. “We currently have more than 65 songs in our repertoire – all the hits plus plenty of deep cuts. So, it’s a safe bet you will never see the same show twice. We will never become complacent or stale. There is always room for improvement and we’ve tweaked a few things along the way. I want the crowd to feel that we get better every time they see us!”
Countdown To Ecstacy will perform at the Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, PA 19348, Friday November 4, 2016 at 7 P.M. A second 9:30 P.M. show has been added. For tickets and information, visit www.kennettflash.org.
To stay up to date with Countdown to Ecstacy, visit www.countdowntoecstacy.com.