Many musicians wish they could capture the energy of their live shows in the studio. Pete Palladino, the charismatic frontman of The Badlees before the Pennsylvania band dissolved a few years ago, is taking it a step farther. He and his band, which he calls the Circa 68, will record their upcoming performance at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, not for a live album, but for a series of upcoming releases.
“I’m trying to create content and just put it out there,” says Palladino, noting, “I don’t think there’s going to be a record per se.”
Palladino and company will perform at the intimate Jim Thorpe, Pa., venue on Sunday, Oct. 13. He’ll be joined by former Badlees players Jeff Feltenberger (guitar) and Dustin Douglas (guitar) as well as drummer Tommy Smallcomb (drums) and Matt “the Dane” Gabriel (bass). Douglas, Smallcomb and Gabriel also perform in Dustin Douglas and the Electric Gentlemen.
He’s looking forward to putting the songs he’s been working on in front of a crowd, feeding off the energy of his fellow musicians as well as the crowd, adding, “The guys I play with are basically the best I know.”
“The life of my songs starts at the writing process and they start to get legs when you play them with other people and let them connect, or maybe they don’t connect,” he shares.
The Circa 68’s material will tap into Palladino’s gift for driving, powerful, melodic rock songs. While The Badlees had a strong Americana/roots-rock element, the singer points out, “I’m a sucker for killer, catchy pop songs, which is kind of what the Circa 68 is.”
“Badlees albums kind of tend to be more singer-songwriter-esque, maybe even country at moments, and that’s not me,” says Palladino. “These [new] songs are just kind of pretty standard rock songs.”
He said he and longtime writing partner Mike Nayock have written 10 songs for the Circa 68 and “there might be some Badlees songs in the set” Sunday. The primary writer in The Badlees was Bret Alexander.
The Circa 68 will mark the first solo material for Palladino since his 2001 album, “Sweet Siren of the Reconnected.”
“Back then I had all these songs that maybe didn’t work in the context of what the Badlees were doing, and also the band was going through some interband struggles,” Palladino says.
The Badlees were briefly a national phenomenon, with their 1995 album “River Songs,” released on major label Polydor/Atlas, spawning hit songs “Fear of Falling” and “Angeline Is Coming Home.” The latter even had a music video starring Juliana Marguiles and directed by Anthony Edwards — at the time, both major TV stars on the show “E.R.” Label discord followed — and Palladino says he learned “the music business isn’t about music.”
Now, without the pressure of writing another hit or fulfilling contracts, the feel is much different for Palladino.
“I can sit in my house and kind of do it whenever I want,” says Palladino, whose full-time gig is as the general manager of several restaurants on Long Beach Island, NJ. “It’s not how I make my living.”
Sunday, he says, “is going to be special for us.”
“We’re going to try to capture lightning in a bottle so to speak and be able to share that.”
For tickets and more info about Sunday’s show at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, click here.