New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trenton Rocks With Book Release Party On August 20

Trenton Social, a new club where the Urban Word Cafe once stood, will be host to a book release party for music journalist Gary Wien's latest work, "Are You Listening?" on Saturday, August 20. The book takes a look at Wien's picks for the Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. Performances by The Amboys, Zak Smith Band, Jon Caspi and the First Gun, and The Successful Failures will bring the pages of the book to life. Admission is free and music will run from 8pm to midnight.

While doing research for the book, Wien listened to over 2,200 CDs by New Jersey artists released within that decade. He listened to the good, the band, and the very ugly; yet somehow remained a music fan through it all.

"I'm so glad to be able to have these artists be part of my book release party," said Wien. "My goal was always to mix local acts with artists from throughout the state. This show features The Successful Failures from Trenton, The Amboys and Jon Caspi and the First Gun from the Jersey Shore, and Zak Smith Band from Montclair. Not only are all four of the artists in my book, but both Jon Caspi and Mick Chorba (Successful Failures and Dipsomaniacs) are among five artists to have three separate albums featured! They are among the best songwriters in the state in my opinion."

"Are You Listening?" represents a diverse look at New Jersey's rich rock and roll scene. Artists span from all parts of the Garden State including the music scenes of Asbury Park, New Brunswick, Hoboken, Trenton, and Jersey City. Some of the local Mercer County artists with albums in the book include the Dipsomaniacs, Successful Failures, Cryptkeeper Five, Keith Monacchio, Frank Thewes, Anthony D'Amato, Lisa Bouchelle, Sean Cox, Amfibian, and The Commons.

Popular national artists like Bruce Springsteen, My Chemical Romance, and The Gaslight Anthem are featured alongside the lesser known names. Genres range from the folk of John Gorka to the indie rock of Titus Andronicus; from the Americana of Brian Molnar & the Naked Hearts to the punk of The Bouncing Souls; and from the Beatlesque pop of Fountains of Wayne to the post-hardcore of Thursday.

"With outstanding album facts on everyone from Arlan Feiles to The Gaslight Anthem, 'Are You Listening?' is getting a resounding yes!" said John Pfeiffer of The Aquarian. "We hear you loud and clear. This is the kind of constant reader that goes right next to my well-worn copy of The Wall Of Fame, New York City's Legendary Manny's Music by Henry Goldrich."

"Are You Listening?" is available from and select book and record stores throughout New Jersey. Copies will be available at the show and the author will be signing books as well. The book costs $19.95 for the black and white version and $40 for a full-color version. For more information on the book, visit

Wien's first book, "Beyond the Palace", presented a comprehensive look at the history of rock and roll music in Asbury Park. Since its release in 2003, Wien has gone on to be named Asbury Park's Top Music Journalist three times and published a successful arts monthly called Upstage Magazine for five years.

This book release party follows one held at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park on Friday, August 12. Artists at that show included a special reunion of The Commons, Brian Fitzpatrick and the Band of Brothers, Val Emmich, Arlan Feiles, and Brian Molnar and the Naked Hearts. Additional release parties are being scheduled throughout the state.