Stoughton, Raynham musicians at base of high-powered punk/rock band

Lauren DeFilippo

It was dark, and it was late.

Conor O’Brien had been driving the van, with U-Haul trailer attached along a winding road in Oregon.

Then, the bear happened.

It just wanted to cross the road, but it ended up wrecking the trailer, which guitarist O’Brien, and his band mates had just picked up on their way from Portland to Boise.

It may sound like a punch line, but it’s just another day in the life of a touring band. 

This particular band is Energy, a South Shore-based punk-rock band featuring six musicians from across the region – including three from Stoughton - and Long Island.

‘It’s what we love,” singer Jason Tankerley said. “We hope to make a career out of it.”

And Energy is on its way to doing just that.

The band – which took its name from the title of California punk band Operation Ivy’s first release - got its start early in 2006 playing their first, three-song set at the Living Room in Providence.

“No one liked us,” O’Brien, 23, of Raynham said.

Three years later, Energy has a growing fan base and plays across the U.S. and Europe in venues large and small.

Its largest show was in December 2008, when they opened for Central-Mass. punk band Four Year Strong, in front of 2,500 people at the Worcester Palladium. 

In addition to touring, the band released the EP “Punch the Clock” on Rock Vegas Records, a South Shore label, in 2007; and in September 2008, released the full-length album, “Invasions of the Mind” on Peabody-based Bridge Nine Records.

 While the shows have gotten larger, the band still isn’t sure people really get them. 

They play loud, fast, and melodically. Their live performances are frenetic.

Tankerley is thin and stands at about medium height, with shoulder-length hair, lined eyes, and arms covered in colorful tattoos. During a set, he bounds across the stage, thrusting his arm, and the microphone, into the crowd for fans to sing along.

“People are afraid to like us or not,” guitarist Joe Freedman, 22, of Stoughton, said.

“We don’t sound exactly like one thing,” Tankerley said. “We have a hard time fitting in at shows.”

But making music isn’t hard for Energy, where band members have great synergy.

Tankerley and Freedman write most of the band’s songs and they start with the music first, with melody and lyrics that follow.

“I don’t think anything’s been a melody first,” Tankerley said. 

While audiences may not know how to react to the band, Energy strikes a chord with young teens, he said.

“Maybe because we’re tying to write music that get us excited they way we did (when we were their age),” Tankerly said.

Energy’s sound, inspired by bands like – AFI, and Black Flag, caught the attentionof Bridge Nine Records, which signed them to a deal, owner Chris Wrenn said. 

“We were reminded of a lot of bigger bands we’d seen (playing) in front of 20 or so kids, before the world caught on … AFI, My Chemical Romance, Thursday, etc. All of those bands were small bands playing to small crowds like it was the only thing that mattered. They’re (Energy) a great group of musicians and the sky is the limit for these guys,” Wrenn said.

Like the fans that follow them, Energy band members got an early start on the concert scene.

We all started going to shows in our early teens, Tankerley said.

Going to shows, and seeing their peers in front of the crowd playing original songs was what inspired Energy members to start a band of their own.

For drummer Keith Sidorowicz, 26, it was Long Island punk legends Silent Majority that made him want to get up and play.

All of their songs were about living in Long Island and growing up, Sidorowicz explained.

“It really struck a chord with me, that you could move so many people,” he said. “It inspired me to get better at drums.”

Dan Mancini, 23, of Sharon, first picked up a bass in middle school. Then he dropped out of sports and stopped caring about school entirely, he said with a laugh.

Fresh off a tour, Energy is taking a holiday hiatus and working on material for a new album, but they should be back on the road in 2010.

Freedman enjoys the downtime

"(There’s) a moment of just silence, real, real silence. Every time we come back it goes quicker and quicker.”

But Tankerley clearly looks forward to performing live.

“If I’m out on the road and I can’t play every night, then I go crazy. It’s just self-expression.” 

Energy is Jason Tankerley (Stoughton) on vocals; Joe Freedman (Stoughton) on guitar; Conor O’Brien (Raynham) on guitar; Dan Mancini (Sharon) on bass; Mike Rendini (Stoughton) on keyboards; and Keith Sidorowicz (N.Y.) on drums

Stoughton Journal

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