Morning After, rock for a new day

Morning After, rock for a new day

By Denyse Bayer

By Denyse Bayer

Entertainment Writer

“There are those that labor and those that create and all of which make up Morning After.”

After a year on Rockford’s music horizon, Morning After’s popularity continues to rise. Instead of being eclipsed by the notoriety of other local acts, Morning After has worked with these bands to broaden their audience and attract the attention of new fans. The hard work and brotherly cooperation reap even bigger rewards.

With several recent opportunities to headline at local clubs, Morning After welcomes the chance to return favors by giving other area bands a chance to play on the bill with them. Shining with fans and colleagues alike, Morning After continues to rock their audiences day after day. The band’s lead singer, Jay Crabb, explains the band’s approach to its audience as, “We try to get down deep into them and get them moving, not just get their aggressions out.”

Regardless of where they play, Shooter’s East, Hard Times or their practice space off South Main Street, Morning After band members put on an incredible show. This is not surprising to anyone, considering the amount of energy, talent and heart that Arnie Cardenas, bass; David Cardenas, guitar; Crabb, vocals; and Jason Conerly, drums, put into each performance. As their manager, Randy Dublo, explains, “It’s a constant endeavor to pursue excellence.”

At a recent show at Shooter’s East, Morning After scored the opening spot of a holiday show with L.O.C. and The Pimps. In spite of the late afternoon start time, Morning After held the growing audience’s attention with their original music and some very well-executed cover tunes. Songs such as the powerful “Babylon” and the bass-laden Left Behind” kept the audience watching the stage.

Hearing their renditions of Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness” and AC-DC’s “Shook Me,” the crowd cheered and howled at Morning After’s take on these favorites. As they closed their set, several audience members rushed up to the stage to shake hands and exclaim, “Man, that was great!”—a typical scene at any Morning After gig.

Veterans of the Rockford music-go-round, the members of Morning After take their newfound popularity in stride. No rock star attitudes or big egos exist among them. According to Conerly, “We’re all nice guys. Anyone can come up and talk to us. After the show, we go out and talk to the people. We’re happy to hear what they have to say. To me they’re the listener. It’s their opinions that count.”

Utilizing their common visions and common goals, Morning After sets out to rise above negativity. As Crabb explains, “The concept of Morning After represents a freedom of taking everything that surrounds you that presses you and causes stress and escaping it. Like your vacation, your perfect day. To me, when I’m playing, I’m not living that moment that day. It’s my morning, it’s something that’s fresh. I love to do it. Music is an outlet for me for my daily stress. When I’m playing on stage, or just practicing or just by myself, I just escape. I’m in a new realm. I just want people to experience that when they hear us. Where they feel like everything around them disappears, and they can be caught up in the moment.”

Crabb goes on to say, “No matter what’s happening in your life, no matter who you are, there’s always that morning after. There’s always that opportunity the next day to fix or correct or to change or anything you need to do to get back on track in life. That’s what I felt when I thought of the name. No matter who you are, no matter what it is, there is always the morning after to take care of it.”

Arnie Cardenas adds, “We all put something aside. We went through whatever, and we woke up to the morning after. It’s the next day, the new dawn We’ve all played in bands that were good but didn’t go anywhere. We all got together and decided this is serious, this is what we’re going to do. It’s the new dawn. It’s the morning after.”

In addition, Cardenas states: “ We pretty much had the same goals. We want to make an impact on Rockford. We want to get to the point here in Rockford where Rockford decides to put out its best. As far as the rock scene, we want to be a part of that. After that’s accomplished, we want to write that one song, that song that’s going to get us somewhere, that’s going to get our name out there. We don’t want to play garages or small clubs. We really want to go for it. I’d just like to say that I tried.”

Morning After also gives credit to their manager, Randy Dublo, and his staff of volunteers for making the band a success. Assembling an efficient team of roadies to load in, load out and keep up with any technical issues, frees up the band to work strictly on their music. Dublo also hired graphic designer Sara Piccirilli of Onyxlian Studio, who designed the eclipsed moon logo for the band and designs all the band’s merchandise and products.

Dublo’s goals include both the band’s future and the future of Rockford’s music community. “My goal is to establish a working relationship with all of the prominent bands. To work with them and for them to work with us. I’m working on a relationship with bands out Chicago and that area. We’re going to be working into Madison pretty soon.’

“To me, it’s a big strategic type of game. It’s a chess game. We’re moving into the right places at the right times and developing relationships and everybody working together in the local music scene and not just cutting each others’ throats. We help them out, and they help us out. We appreciate what they do, and they appreciate what we’re doing, and eventually we can help each other out.”

Summing up the management team’s role in the band, Dublo’s states, “We don’t make the music, we make it possible. In other words, there are those that labor and those that create and all of which make up Morning After. It makes me feel good when all these guys have to do is show up and play. All they have to worry about is writing the music and playing the music. There’s a management team to handle everything else.

For a new band in Rockford, Morning After fares well. According to Crabb, “ That’s one thing that I’m proud of. We’ve only had a handful of gigs as a new band, and we’ve already opened up for L.O.C. and the Pimps. To me, that tells me that we are doing something right. We weren’t just a band that was placed to open up with them. We were actually up to par with their music. A lot of people were really enjoying what we were doing. It makes me feel good”

Get down and get moving with Morning After at their upcoming gig: Friday, Oct. 12 at Elixur with Suspect.

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