March 28, 2018

Not familiar with “The Urge”?   Neither was I and that’s a shame:

Long island rock band the urge

I had never heard of the Urge until very recently. It’s great bands just like them, who were the impetus of starting a blog about Long Island musicians who are under the radar and don’t get enough recognition.

I interviewed Michael Leccese, lead guitarist for the band. Mike is someone who spends a lot of time and energy promoting his band, and additionally, the Long Island Music scene.

If you find yourself having the urge to see “The Urge” after reading this interview, they will be playing at the Seabreeze in Babylon Saturday, March 31st.

UTR (Under the Radar): Mike, tell the blog readers about the Urge?

Mike: The Urge originally consisted of two main guys, Bob O’Neal and Ed Sisali, two fantastic singers. Bob on Rhythm guitar, Ed playing very tasty backing lines on bass , and sometimes guitar. These two have been playing on Long Island for nearly 50 years!!! They were always a duo, playing lots of folk rock.

Somewhere along the early 90′s . I met Bob through the transporting back and forth of daughters, who were elementary school mates. In the early 90′s, I did DJ work, and asked Bob to assist on a gig with his truck… At the gig we played a few acoustic numbers at the party. Next thing we know a guy asks if he could bring his drums and play with us… Next Bob invites us to play some gigs with him and Ed. Turned out to be a pretty cool sound.

We play a wide selection of 60′s and 70′s rock… NO DISCO.. We have been through several drummers.. Right now, Rick Wolanski is our drummer, and we love him… So, it’s been Bob, Ed and myself since ’94 as The Urge…24 years!! Rick joined 10 years ago.

UTR: Give us some examples of the type of artists, bands and music you cover:

Mike: Specifically… Dead, Doors, Southern Rock, Birds, CSN, Bob Dylan, …lots of hippie rock….and we like extended jams sometimes too.. We have plenty of songs that are very danceable.. But we are NOT a dance band… I think the newest song we do is White Wedding… Don’t let those groups fool you.. We know how to excite a crowd.. (Mike laughs at this point)

UTR: Would you say you guys are “under the radar” on Long Island, or have I been under a rock and should have known about your band?

Mike: We are way under the radar. We have much to offer, in terms of raw, rocking sincerity. I have sent requests to some of the bigger clubs, promising a great turnout. Our fans will flock to 89 or KJ’s to see us.. But sadly we didn’t get the time of day from these places, so under the radar we stay… Happy little hermits….

UTR: I learned about “The Urge” when my band was getting ready to play the Sea Breeze Cafe in Babylon. I was amazed to find that your band has a huge following – especially when you play that venue. Tell the readers why so many people come out to see your band at the Sea Breeze.

Mike: The Urge and The Sea Breeze have been together for 17 years… Twice, three times a month.. Sometimes 5 or 6 weeks straight… It’s our home.. Our fans adore us, which makes me question their sanity.. (lets out a hardy laugh).

We run a 36 fixture light show there, and there’s a spontaneous, ‘what next from these guys’ kind of mentality. We are so comfortable and well known at The Sea Breeze… Mini celebs. (laughs again). Yet we are virtual strangers to the rest of the music community. And I say, without reservation, their loss… One of our lifelong fans calls The Urge, ‘Babylon’s best kept secret’.

UTR: What is the band’s goals and/or plans for the future (yikes, sounds like a question you’d ask your child as they prepare for college).

Mike: Retirement…lol.. Just kidding.. I just hope we have a gig next week. (Mike starts to laugh).

UTR: If someone wants to stay in touch with the band or learn more about “The Urge” what are the best ways?

Mike: We’d really appreciate if they find would us under “Friends of the Urge” on Facebook and like us. Here are the best ways to contact us:

  • “Friends of the Urge” on facebook (here’s the link, please like them) Facebook page
  • “Friends_of_the_urge” on instagram
  • Michael Leccese on facebook
  • on email
  • Mike’s cell 631 991 1414..just leave a message. Maybe, I’ll call ;-)

    Thanks Mike, and keep rockin’!

    Have a story or idea for Under the Radar, or want to get your band noticed? Please contact me at the email below.