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Urchin conveys diverse sound
October 8, 2005, 2:34 am

Source: ProQuest

Urchin conveys diverse sound
Scott Iwasaki Deseret Morning News. Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah: Oct 7, 2005. pg. W.09

Sound of Urchin lives up to its name.

"We are so diverse that it's hard for people to categorize us," said Tomato, the band's lead singer and drummer. "There are people who try to put us in a little file all the time. But we're not like a lot of bands out there. We have our own style that is a mix of things we like."

Tomato, born Chris Harfenist, said the band started back in 1998. "We were just a bunch of friends coming together to make music," Tomato said by phone from Brooklyn. "We just liked playing music."

Sound of Urchin also includes bassist Doo Doo (Chris Huetz), guitarists B. Ill (Bill Fowler) and Seahag (Robert Mangano), who have toured with Tenacious D, Ween, Mike Watt, Cracker, the Scorpions, Dio and Deep Purple. It seems "diversity" is the band's middle name.

"I grew up listening to a lot of classic-rock stuff," said Tomato. "Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath were my first influences. Then I moved onto punk like the Clash, the Sex Pistols. All through high school, I played in bands that played any style. One month I'd be in a metal band. The next month I'd be in a punk band. Then I'd play in a goth band. It didn't matter. Just as long as I was playing.

"That didn't mean that I was a goth when I played in goth bands or a punk when I was in a punk band. I just wanted to play as much as I could."

While playing in bands in New York City, Tomato hooked up with his friends who would eventually become Sound of Urchin. "The band came together organically. Even though I hate that word 'organic,' it's the way we got together."

After playing and making a name for itself, the band eventually hooked up with Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, who became the band's co-manager. "We have always done things our own way," said Tomato. "We had a deal with RCA, but things got in the way and we broke ties. It wasn't anything against the record label. They liked us for what we were. It was just other things in the music business."

These days the band is on Hybrid Records, having recently released a new album, "The Diamond," which was produced by Fountains of Wayne founder Adam Schlesinger. "This album (the band's second full-length), was done in a way to capture our live sound," said Tomato. "That's what Adam helped us do. He had us do a lot of pre- production work and we had our songs ready to go. We did them live and then added some small stuff to the mix afterward."

The band was able to get French to do some leads for the song "Jack O' Lantern," and Perfect Circle/Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha came onboard on "Blown Away." "Jay Jay is great," said Tomato. "He wanted to do something, and we, of course, let him. As for James, well, he was the co-owner of the studio we recorded the album in. He was hanging out and had some ideas and we had him do those ideas with a mechanism that made his guitar sound like a bag pipe."

Tomato said that Sound of Urchin is enjoying the recognition it's been getting, "but I'd like the band to get more recognized in the future. We're not looking for a Grammy, but we would like to have more people hear us."

If you go . . .

What: Sound of Urchin

Where: Monk's House of Jazz, 19 E. 200 South

When: Thursday, 8:30 p.m.

How much: $5

Phone: 350-0950

Web: www.24tix.com

E-mail: [email protected]