Fans of NRBQ, The Spampinato Brothers, & The Incredible Casuals, heads up for The Value Leaders!
New Album 'Remo is a Dreamer' out now!
Review for "Remo is a Dreamer":
Remember when music used to be fun? The Value Leaders certainly do, and here they come with a disc of musical contagions that will remind the rest of us about the exhilarating joy that can be had in a playful melody or a tickling twist of words.
If the new 12-cut disc, Remo Is a Dreamer, sounds like the work of polished professionals who like a ragged edge, it’s because the Cape Cod-based quartet is about as veteran and been-there- and-done-that as they come. And they like it that way. You might too.
Led by longtime roots rock lynchpin Johnny Spampinato, there are songs here that have a direct line through space and time to early NRBQ, where Spampinato held down songwriting and guitar chores for a decade. (He’s also younger brother of Q founding bassist Joey; they enjoyed considerable notice as the Spampinato Brothers in the mid-aughts.) A single listen to the mirthful and pun-laden Some Days There Just Ain’t No Fish recalls the Q’s Rats in My Room and solidifies the legacy.
Bassist and songwriter J. Cournoyer (the drummer from the Spampinato Brothers), matches Mark Usher’s guitar playful lick after playful lick, carrying breezy melodies as if loose in a bag. Drummer Sam Wood provides whatever the songs call for—louche pop, upfront rock, and bossa nova (well, the song is called She Says It’s Bossa Nova, after all).
She Dresses Down boasts harmonies that harken back to early ‘80s pub rock; Tell Me is another homage to the NRBQ sound; the keening vocals of That Mother Ship Comes Down take a couple of days to get out of your head; and Rollerskate features a rootsy chugging guitar riff from the Buddy Miller songbook.
And if you think it sounds good on disc, wait until you hear it live, when the band starts to have, you know, fun. Remember fun?
—Buzz McClain (formerly of the Washington Post)
The Value Leaders play souped-up boogie rock and roll.
Based on the rich fishing grounds of eastern Cape Cod, the band plays nationally and toured Japan in 2019.
Johnny Spampinato is The Value Leaders’, well, leader. A rock veteran who has toured the world with NRBQ and The Incredible Casuals and even appeared on “The Simpsons”.
Johnny plays a mean lefty guitar and sings. Mark Usher plays guitar. The rhythm section is comprised of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist J. Cournoyer on bass along with Sam Wood smashing the drums.
They began playing together in 2017 as The Spampinato Brothers Band. After Joey Spampinato retired from touring, the remaining members were unanimous in their desire to move forward and launched The Value Leaders in 2019.
In 2019 they toured Japan and have more recently rocked shows up and down the east coast.
Their debut album “Remo is a Dreamer” was released last year on Quaking Bog records.
Says drummer Wood, “There’s nothing better than being on the road and doing what you love with friends.”
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The Value Leaders play souped-up boogie rock n roll.
Based on the rich fishing grounds of eastern Cape Cod, the band tours nationally and internationally, turning on audiences with their good time rock revue.
Johnny Spampinato is the Value Leaders’, well, leader. Johnny is a rock veteran who has toured the world and even appeared on “The Simpsons.” With the Incredible Casuals’ amazing run of Sunday afternoon happy hour shows at the Wellfleet Beachcomber, he managed to keep the same summer job for 34 years! He played with older brother Joey in NRBQ (Joey was a co-founder) and later in The Spampinato Brothers, who rocked audiences as far away as Japan and Sweden. Johnny plays a mean lefty guitar and sings.
J. Cournoyer holds down the rhythm section on bass guitar. A gifted songwriter, his work has appeared on network television. As co-founder of Lester, J. barnstormed the east coast, including a residency in Key West. He was a songwriter for Five Alarm Music out of Pasadena, CA, and once auditioned to be Chubby Checker’s drummer. J released a solo album as Calamity J. and the Giants and has played with Johnny for many years.
Sam Wood plays drums. Loud! While Sam was sitting in on drums for girl band The Ticks at approximately 12 (twelve!) years of age, he really cut his teeth beating the skins for The Greenheads, where his dad, Steve “Woo Woo” Wood, deconstructed the blues at maximum decibels through an amped up Telecaster. Sam enjoys watching what he calls the “strangest dancers” at The Value Leaders shows.
Mark Usher plays guitar. Growing up on cape cod he was introduced to the music of NRBQ and The Incredible Casuals at a young age. He started playing in local punk bands as a teenager and later with garage rockers The Flakes before joining The Value Leaders.
The Value Leaders began playing shows in 2017 as The Spampinato Brothers Band. By 2019 Joey Spampinato had retired from music, and the remaining members decided to carry on as The Value Leaders. Since then they have played raucous shows in New England, including the prestigious headlining slot at Wellfleet Oyster Fest. They toured Japan in 2019 and have since played up and down the east coast.
They released their debut album “Remo is a Dreamer” last year on Quaking Bog records. Song titles reflect the paradoxical Cape Cod beach bum breeziness meets an almost intensely laid back vibe that defines the fishy/farmy bohemian seaside community: “A Breezy Ride”, “Rollerskate” and (my personal favorite) “Some Days There Just Ain’t No Fish.”
They live for the shows—but between shows, there’s roads. Roads that go on forever. Johnny describes it as “no one will every understand ‘road gig’ until you stay in a sleazy truck stop, eat 5 out of 3 meals containing more grease than food, break down on the highway, van repairs now eat all the money for the next two shows, and being harassed by cops that only love ‘New’ country music.” J. is briefer, “band members are apes.”
Even when thousands of people show up, road shows can be a grind, but live without a net on stage is also where the biggest rewards lay. “I like playing with people that understand what’s needed in a moment of the music,” says Johnny. “Being on the same page, wanting a lot of the same creative outcome…it makes a better pie.” Most musicians live for this feeling. “That’s the thing we’re all after in this band,” says Mark. “When it’s working, when you’re in it, it feels easy, like you can do no wrong. That ‘locked in’ sensation keeps us on the same page musically. That and the camaraderie I think are what this band is all about.” J. says that when the band is all pulling together “and the crowd is bouncing, it feels like being an appendage on a a giant organism.” Wood concurs, describing a good show as almost like a drug experience, “once you feel it, you’ll always be chasing the dragon. You’re away from family and it can be hard and sometimes it is work. Other times, as the song’s energy levels rise the audience follows suit until you can feel the whole venue pulsating! On stage, there is really no better feeling. There’s nothing better than being on the road and doing what you love with your friends.”
The Value Leaders are a pack of friends with diverse musical backgrounds. They formed on the sandbar of Cape Cod, but their reach is global, their appeal deep. The Value Leaders shows are a combination of their new original material, some obscure covers, and plenty from their previous bands (Lester, The Flakes, The Incredible Casuals, Form Alex, The Catbirds, The Spampinato Brothers and NRBQ). Heck, you might even get a trumpet solo thrown in. Now that’s Value!