Enjoy! brings a unique tune to the Jersey Shore
Beyond the Music -- Local Band Profile
MANASQUAN — Area residents and tourists look forward to several things when the summer season rolls around, including blue skies, warm weather, cold beer and good music.
Luckily for those that live year-round at the Shore, the music scene continues non-stop, with dozens of bands playing at local bars up and down the Shore throughout the winter.
One popular band has been around the area for nearly one decade — with no plans of stopping any time soon.
Enjoy! — a band comprised of a group of friends originally from Cranford — has played countless shows at several well-known bars in the area, as well as at weddings, fundraisers and pretty much any type of event that one could think of.
The band’s name, Enjoy!, was created after the group of friends listened to a song called “Enjoy!” by the California punk rock band The Descendents.
“It is kind of an inside joke,” said Chris Soltis.
Chris, along with his twin brother, John, and their friends Brendan Brophy and Lou Donovan, now make up the band that has come to be known as one of the favorites in the area. Todd Palumbo, also of Cranford, was originally in the group, though he moved across the country. The friends, however, stay in touch with their former bandmate.
John plays bass guitar, Chris is the lead guitarist, Brendan is the lead singer who also plays rhythm guitar and Lou is the band’s drummer.
Though each member emulates various musicians they admire, the group as a whole draws inspiration from the band Phish.
PLAYING WHAT THEY KNOW, WHERE THEY KNOW
Though the group’s members are originally from Cranford, they have all moved to the Jersey Shore, with the exception of Lou, who lives in Summit and travels down the shore for gigs. Chris and and John both live in Manasquan, while Brendan lives in Avon.
The friends had always traveled to the area, especially Manasquan, when they were younger, with some of the members’ parents owning houses along the Jersey Shore.
It was not until after the four graduated from college that they decided to start the band.
“We were just hanging out at a bar,” Chris said, of the moment when the friends decided to formally create a band.
With a gig here and there, the band eventually got into the swing of things and found themselves being booked at local bars more and more.
Since their start in 2002, the group has compiled more than 300 songs onto their playlist and has performed more than 900 shows.
From Frank Sinatra to Iron Maiden, the group plays just a little bit of everything.
“It is hard to describe the music we do — it is just a mixed bag of everything,” Chris said.
And for most shows, he added, the group goes into it without knowing what they play.
Though there is an informal list written up prior to the show, the group tries to scan the bar or event they are performing at to see what type of music they believe the audience wants to hear.
And after one decade of performing in the area — the group knows its audience.
“We are pretty much intertwined into the community and we’re friends with people who live here and who grew up here,” John said.
Familiar faces, the brothers agreed, are something they are used to seeing when they walk into a local establishment.
“We have a good working relationship with local businesses,” Chris said.
CROSSING THE COUNTRY
“We don’t do this to become rock stars. We just like to play music,” Chris said.
Whether they want to become famous or not, the group is certainly well known not only in the area, but in various parts of the country.
Among their out-of-state shows include weddings in California and New York.
And even if they are not performing somewhere, the band’s name still gets around on their T-shirts.
According to Chris, T-shirts embedded with the band’s name and logo have been seen in places ranging from Texas to Peru.
BEHIND THE MUSIC
The song “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson has became a mantra for the band, with the lyrics, “The life I love is making music with my friends” their favorite.
Though the group enjoys playing music for others to hear, they also enjoy the time they get to spend together — which is often, as they perform roughly five shows per week in the summer season.
Though Chris and John are biological brothers, all of the members have formed a brotherhood, where they all take interest in and are a part of each other’s lives.
John and his wife, Alison, have two sons, Jack, 3, and Christian, 4 months old.
The pair married in 2007, after meeting at Leggett’s Sand Bar, where Enjoy! was performing and Alison was working. He works as a certified financial planner during the day.
The only other member of the group with a bride is Lou, who is married to Erica. Lou works for a law firm.
When Chris is not performing with the band, he works as an insurance analyst and Brendan writes music.
STARTING THEIR "OFF SEASON"
Though the band performs year round, with the members missing only maybe a weekend or two in their last 10 years, the fall and winter seasons slow down as far as performances.
Chris said the extra time gives the group the ability to work on their own projects, as well as learn new material for next summer season.
Enjoy! has no plans to stop performing, either, and are starting to create more original music to perform next summer.
To learn more about Enjoy!, visit at www.enjoytheband.com.