By Ian Blakey

All bands have a ‘thing’…… Some kind of quirk, maybe an anecdote to do with the band’s name, stories about a particularly mishap-prone band member, anything that gives them character.

Whatever the ‘thing’ is (or there could be many ‘things’) it all helps make a group of musicians more human and can instantly paint a picture or tell a story to help fans engage with the personality of a band as well as the flavour of their music.

For Sydney Funnel, a rock band based out of Schoharie County, New York, their ‘thing’ appears to be the ability to go through drummers like nobody’s business.

Left to right: Phil Saginario (kneeling), Pat Karker, Daryl VanSteenburg, Nick Decowski and Jason Pratt

Since they officially got up and running in 2009 (the seed for the band was originally planted in 2000, but didn’t go anywhere due to musical indecisiveness) they have managed to plough their way through 6 drummers and are currently nursing their 7th.

There doesn’t appear to be anything sinister or ‘Spinal Tap-esque’ about the departure of the drummers, as far as I can tell all the former members are still alive, but I think it’s fair to say that’s higher than the average.

From fairly humble (acoustic) beginnings, singer Phil Saginario and guitarist Jason Pratt set about with the vision of creating melody-driven, riff heavy grooves in an attempt to combat the contrived pop tunes that dominate the radio waves (their words, not mine).

The band is filled out by bassist Nick Decowski, who came as a package deal with drummer (number 7) Pat Karker. Daryl VanSteenburg finalises the line up on guitar and in the words of singer Phil S, Daryl really fills out their sound.

Speaking of their sound, the band’s website cites their influences as Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, Green Day, The Offspring and Metallica, so it’s no surprise that the bands attitude appears quite anarchic both in terms of their music and their ethic towards producing it.

Vocally, the comparisons with Greenday and Metallica are clear to see. In their song ‘Compost’, Saginario’s defiant drawl is truly reminiscent of James Hetfield, and the simple but catchy vocal melodies in ‘Get Up’ could quite easily come from Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.

Instrumentally, Sydney Funnel don’t pull any punches either. They make use of their dual guitar set up by churning out chugs, riffs and grooves galore. There’s the Metallica-esque theatricality of ‘Bitter’ to put a smile on your face, or the faster, thrash urgency of ABR. Whatever your taste for heavy guitar rock, Sydney Funnel will probably tick most of your boxes.

Here’s hoping that the band go from strength to strength, as the quality of their current offerings after only 4 years together is an encouraging thing indeed for fans of this genre. Although who knows what they’ll sound like in another 4 years, because by then drummer number 14 will be just bedding in….. It is their ‘thing after all.

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