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Only On Weekends: Three Great Loves of Life.

December 15, 2014

OnlyOnWeekendsSmall03Text by Brittany Thomas. Images by Rachel Del Sordo.

The writing is on the walls.
Only on Weekends‘ basement practice space makes it easy to discern some of their greatest influences: framed album art, event posters and concert tickets from Saves the Day, Something Corporate and Brand New.

There is however, quite a bit more to say. Cherry Hill pop punkers Harry Rose, Jes Clark and Anthony Dandrea are proud to boast not only being influenced by the likes of said bands but also being produced by one of the most influential artists of the genre.

Working with Fred Mascherino, formerly of  Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred and Breaking Pangea and current Terrible Things frontman and touring lead guitarist for Say Anything, is certainly a major highlight in the band’s history.

OnlyOnWeekendsSmall02“That was actually luck of the draw,” says drummer Dandrea of getting involved with Mascherino. “It was a battle of the bands in Gloucester City’s ICAC Hall, a contest for Skate & Surf, and it just so happened that he was one of the judges. He happened to really like us and voted us through.”

After a few e­mails back and forth, the band requested that Mascherino produce their latest album, Light Years and Heavy Lifting, and he happily obliged. Since he had produced the most recent Terrible Things record at that time, the band knew he would be a great person to have on board not only for notoriety but recording quality as well.

Mascherino said he’d seen Only on Weekends perform at a number of Philly shows and that their persistence and talent was what really made him want to work with the band.

“I really wasn’t doing that sort of thing at the time but they kept asking and they all had such good senses of humor,” Mascherino says of recording the band. “I knew it’d be fun. I loved how each song told a story and I just found everything about the project very endearing.”

Mascherino and Taking Back Sunday continue to hold relevance, especially to New Jerseyans like the members of Only On Weekends.

“Especially with the South Jersey scene, pop punk has a lot of suburban qualities to it because, really, what else is there to do besides hang out, go to shows and play some music with your friends?” says Rose. “I think that’s why a lot of the bands that we like have come out of New Jersey.”

Mascherino, who currently lives in West Chester, says punk culture has had a stronghold in the Philadelphia region for a long time, with its history going beyond the music. Whether suburban or inner-city, the music and the scene are far-reaching.

“It’s a culture and Philly has always been a good-sized city for that kind of art to exist,” he says. “I’ve lived in Philly and currently live out in West Chester. You definitely miss some of the action out in the suburbs. You’re more connected when you’re closer to it. But that said, you can write the songs wherever you are and that’s ultimately what matters.”

Light Years and Heavy Lifting is the first album the band has had produced. Earlier EPs and CDs were self recorded with some post­-production assistance.

“This one, Fred took the role of a producer more than anyone has,” says Rose. “Even with pre­-production. He sat down and watched us play our songs and tweaked the compositions and gave an outside opinion on how to best play the songs.”

The album, released in May, has been well received so far and was kicked off with a rager of a release show at The Barbary.

Easily danceable with lyrics that connect well with listeners, Only on Weekends possess a genuine charm that will take you through all of the feelings that come with being the social beings we are.

“A lot of the songs have to do with saying goodbye to negative people in your life,” says Rose, “putting distance between you and negative influences. That’s where the title Light Years and Heavy Lifting comes in.”

Dandrea and Rose collaborate on lyrics and have done everything from searching medical dictionaries to e­mailing lines back and forth to creating some other cool cures for writer’s block.

“The secret of the song ‘The Prince of 187th Street’ is that it’s actually based off of ‘A Bronx Tale,’” Dandrea shares. “East 187th Street is basically where it takes place. The famous line from the movie is that you get three great loves in your life. So the line, ‘Be my number three?’ That’s where that came from.”

After writing the chorus and the bridge, Dandrea passed the rest off to Rose.

“I sat down one night,” says Rose. “Anthony let me borrow his DVD and I just wrote out the movie and took notes, which is something I’ve never done before. It came out pretty neat. The whole premise of the song wound up being about a relationship that’s kind of up in the air by the end of the movie. We look at the song as an almost unofficial, unauthorized sequel to the movie.”

The group is all smiles, sitting back laughing as they enjoy recapping their history out loud. They are realistic about their age, where their careers are going and the fact that the group is primarily a hobby. As long as they’re still always having fun and not going broke over it, the music will continue regardless of any major recognition or whether it pays the bills or not.

“You know, some people go bowling once a week after work or join a bowling league,” says Rose. “We come down here and play music.”

And not only on weekends.

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