Civil Disturbance

MaineList Article: Civil Disturbance

Civil Disturbance

Dan Scott - bass guitarTonight, I met with the guys from “Civil Disturbance” out of the Lewiston / Auburn area while checking out their show at “The Station” in Portland opening for “Twisted Roots”. I had seen pieces of the band’s performance in the past, but never really had the opportunity to sit and chat with the band and really pay attention to their music like I did tonight. So this really turned out to be a good experience for me.

I was pleased with the quality of the music and performance. This wasn’t a bunch of angry screaming, or outlandish guitar noises. These guys were exercising their abilities as musicians to deliver a polished sound packaged with professional stage experience before a crowd of friends and fans who really seemed to appreciate the band’s presence.

Civil Disturbance is a 5-piece Hard Rock / Metal band with a strong emphasis on lyrical content and musical diversity. Members include; “Matt Elie” on vocals, “Matt Tifft” and “Kris Beaudoin” on guitars, “Dan Scott” on bass guitar who once had the opportunity to open for “Kittie” with a previous band named “E.I.B.” (Everything In Between). And of coarse, let’s not forget “Nikko”, the band’s most influential member on the drums.

Nikko with Fred of Eldemur KrimmIt seems like a lot of the best shows lately have been at “The Station” in Portland, Maine. Tonight’s show included four local bands, with “Twisted Roots” as the headliner and “Civil Disturbance”, “Eldemur Krimm” and “Bloody Marble Collective” equally taking their turns on stage as opening acts for a band who opened for Ozzy just a couple of weeks ago. All four bands were inspiring to watch, with the heavy rock grind of “The Bloody Marble Collective”, to the dirty-bluesy groove of “Eldemur Krimm” and the polished hard rock antics of “Civil Disturbance”, topped off with the legendary encore of Twisted Roots.

MerchandiseI noticed something which really caught my attention while checking out this show. Civil Disturbance’s merchandise table and fan support seemed to be quite the display. I was blown away by the numerous forms of apparel worn by friends and fans throughout the room. Since this was an all-ages show, there were a few young kids in the room too. I found it unusual to see an abundance of youthful fans adorned with a local band’s own T-shirts.

“One thing that sets us apart from other bands like us, is the focus we give to our friends and fans.” Says Matt Elie, the band’s front-man vocalist. I saw some really young kids rummaging through a rather cumbersome assortment of merchandise available for sale at the show. The other bands had merchandise for sale too, but Civil D’s table was by far the spectacle of this exhibition. “What’s cool tho is, it’s not just the kids. The adults really seem to respond well to what we’re doing too!” Elie adds, appreciative of the wide range of the band’s own fan-base.

I couldn’t help but notice the “Monster Energy” logo printed on just about every form of merchandise I could find, including the band’s backdrops and stage props. It seems that “Monster Energy” is either showing some interests in the band, or the band is showing a lot of interests in their energy drinks.

“Monster does help us out from time to time and we exchange that courtesy by sporting their logo on most of our printed media and merch.” Explained Nikko, The drummer of the band, who also seems to be the mental muscle for the band’s own promotions.

Interestingly enough, Nikko is also personally endorsed by “Vic Firth” a company who is well known to be the World’s largest manufacturer for drum sticks.

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Civil Disturbance - A Battle WithinUnlike a lot of musicians in the area, Nikko’s efforts to enhance the band’s visibility in the music scene seem to come from a businessman’s perspective, rather than what you’d expect from a hard rock performer dressed all in studded black apparel. But this isn't the first time he's helped manage a band, in fact, he's been managing both his own bands as well as other bands since as early as 1990!

“I got “Kanagi” signed to Reindeer Records back in 1990, and then in 2000, I helped manage Beefkurtins who did a CD under my own “Villacci Records” label. I also did two “Grand Unified Theory” CDs, a “Redline” and a “Portage” CD, as well as Civil’s first CD entitled; “A Battle Within”. We’re planning to do another CD under my label too.” Nikko proudly stated.

After discovering these facts, it’s really no wonder Nikko was nominated as the band’s own built-in manager.

“I am planning on releasing a “Nikko Favs” collaboration disc consisting of all of my bands on a double disc sometime too. And oh yeah, let's not forget “Apothis”, my son's band, which will be just a couple of months down the road too!”

The Band

The Band

Civil Disturbance formed about five years ago when Matt Elie (vocals) and Kris Beaudoin (guitar) got together for the first time. Kris’s wife was working at a bar in Lewiston at the time where she met Elie and helped arrange for the two musicians to meet and begin working together. As the band formed, they immediately began writing original material, but felt the urge to start booking gigs right away. So they started performing both originals and a mix of cover material including titles such as; “Sugar” by “System of a Down” and “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit to name a few. Civil D quickly moved beyond the covers, and for the past three years has gained enough original material to book gigs purely as an original act.

Matt ElieThe band’s name might have originally been known as “Just Cause” during a time when the band was still coming out with ideas. “It was a toss-up, but in the end, we chose Civil Disturbance because we thought it helped describe our music a little better.” Elie explained. “Some of our songs might have seemed controversial at the time and we needed a name that reflected some of the lyrical ideas we were portraying as a band.”

“It’s the sort of thing you’d hear on the news or whatnot. A civil disturbance erupted at such and such place…” Nikko chimed in with an amusing example of his own.

Matt Elie manages the lyrical writing for the band using his own personal experience on some occasions or sometimes drawing upon the experiences from people he knows. “I try to envision myself in their shoes when I write.” Elie’s quest is intended to deliver a more meaningful lyrical content while sticking to the band’s chemistry in musical influences. The result seems to be seen throughout the room while friends and fans often lip-sync along to the band’s songs. Sometimes listeners will approach Elie with their own interpretation of his own song’s meanings, which further enhances his relationship with listeners.

Nikko“We have been fortunate enough to have our songs played by two Maine radio stations. Both WTOS and WCYY!” With songs like “Comfortable Destruction”, “Broken”and “The Battle Within” which shares the name of their CD’s title. Mark Curdo has also aired “Pulling Me Down” on WCYY too. Wow! That’s four songs that have been aired collectively across two radio stations! Way to go guys! But the ride isn’t over yet.

“I’d love to eventually gain the opportunity to perform in larger venues like “The Cumberland County Civic Center” too.” Nikko says, with hopeful ambition. There seems to be a lot of excitement lately in the scene, and the idea of this actually happening doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. Especially after having seen Roots recently open for Ozzy at the Civic Center. It’s cool to see bands aspiring to accomplish feats like this.

Dan with Kenny (the sound guy)“We’ve done some pretty cool shows of our own in the past too. We had the opportunity to open for “Tantric” at the Asylum in Portland, and actually got to hang out and drink tequila with them before the show.” This experience came across as a memory that the band respected and otherwise cherished, having been influenced by bands like Tantric throughout the years of their involvement in music.

“We also won the Battle of The Bands put on by WTOS in 2007.” The contest was entered by 130 bands who all submitted their own original CDs. The entries were narrowed down to a dozen or so finalist, and then four lucky bands got to compete live in front of 4,000 people at Skowhegan Fairgrounds where Civil Disturbance walked away with the title of Best Band of 2007!

You’ll find Civil Disturbance performing regularly in venues throughout the area. Through previous conversations with Eryn Steel, owner of “Club Mirage” in Old Orchard Beach, I have learned that she's a huge fan of supporting local music, and is always eager to book Civil D, knowing that they are capable of bringing their own following, and puts on a great performance for her venue.

“We actually love playing there, as well as places like “The Big Easy” and “The Asylum” in Portland too, and we’ve got some gigs coming up at “Rumors” in Skowhegan and “The Kave” in Bucksport that we’re looking forward to as well.”

Erika & Gary, Danielle & RoriI went around the room during the band’s performance to get some input from the crowd.

Gary and Erika, a cute couple from Gray, gave me some insight about the band. Erika, adorned with her own supportive Civil D T-shirt, thought the band put a lot of energy into both their music as well as their own fans.

“The band gave out a high-energy which breaths life into the local music scene drawing in a more diverse fan-base.” Stated Gary Aubut, who’s own involvement in the music scene happens to be in the recording end, where he owns and operates a recording studio in his home which is known to some as “Mac Trax Recording”.

I had actually met Gary and Erika at a previous Civil D show at Club Mirage in Old Orchard Beach last summer, and after seeing them tonight felt that I could just about count on seeing them at the next Civil D show.

While wandering the room, I also met up with Rori and Danielle who were attending the show as WCYY’s “Freak Squad” on patrol to observe local music and help spread the message to support local music.

“Although I don’t often listen to it, I do enjoy being “civilly disturbed” once in a while.” Remarked Rori who seemed to be having a good time during the show.

“We try to support local rock in general.”

More About Nick Villacci (Nikko)Nick Villacci, or as most know him as Nikko, is really a very active supporter for local music. While talking with the band, I quickly realized that I could easily conduct an interview on Nikko alone, with all of the rich and colorful pieces of his past, present and future.

Nikko might be remembered by many during his involvement with “Grand Unified Theory” which helped put him on the map working along with “Chase” who is now the bass player for “Hour-Past”. He’s also served time drumming for “Redline”, “Portage”, and “Feight Down”. He’s already collectively recorded five CDs and is currently working on another.

“I’m happy to say that I’ve shared the stage with “Skid Row”, “RA”, “Jackyl”, “Pitbull Daycare”, “Automatic Black”, “Bret Michaels”, “Joey Belladonna” (of Anthrax), and “Tantric”, as well as most of the top local bands of the area.” Nikko appreciatively expressed.

I heard the band being talked about on WCYY yesterday as the radio station was preparing to broadcast a live interview with Civil Disturbance on “Spinout”. While driving along listening to Curdo talk, I heard him mention Nikko’s name a couple of times. I found it rather amusing that the drummer of the band gets his name mentioned on the radio before the lead singer, but after learning more about him, it became clear why this patronage has been served by those who know him on a more personal level.

Oddly, I heard Curdo name drop another band’s name too as I heard him mention “Splaat” the drummer of “Blue Collar Product”. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I drove along pondering the thought of two popular Maine original bands both equally driven by their own drummers.

One of the most interesting stories that Nikko had to tell me was with his involvement hosting a T.V. show in the Maine and New Hampshire area called “No Hits Videos”. The show is known to play local bands and some bands who are not so local.

“The show still airs sometimes, but I never know when anymore. We keep planning to do more.” Explained Nikko. “I’ve had the opportunity to interview “Mastadon”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Skid Row”, “Joey Belladonna”, “American Head Charge”, “Kittie”, “Deconstruct”, “Bob Marley”, “George Hamm”, and many other local bands and DJs.”

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