User:Joe Sabatini Dashboard Jesus

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Here are some published reviews and interviews from Dashboard Jesus' 01-CD-release:

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2002, The Boston Globe Weekend D15

Rock Notes By Steve Morse GLOBE STAFF Caught in the clubs:

Dashboard Jesus at the Lynnwood: No, were not talking about Dashboard Confessional, which is a completely different act. Dashboard Jesus is an intense, heavy-rock band whose sound lies somewhere between the industrial mash of Nine Inch Nails and the street side of Pearl Jam. Worth checking out.

What’s Up Magazine, Boston Accents: A critical look at independent music By Kier Byrnes Dashboard Jesus

I admit that I first thought this was going to be another generic suburban heavy metal band. If you are from the suburbs, you probably won’t understand what I’m referring to, in which case you should turn that baseball cap around and drive off in your jeep and crank up some more Nickelback. See, Dashboard Jesus isn’t your typical band, period. These guys show signs of versatility and originality whereas almost every other heavy metal band is just a variation or a clone of another. Sure there are nods to Sabbath and Nine Inch Nails, but Dashboard Jesus stands strong on its own. Like a good steak, the middle of the CD is the thickest and juiciest. “Tunnel Vision’,” “I will Wait,” and “In Between,” all listed in the middle, are outstanding and my favorites. Keep it going. Yeah.

Performer Magazine (Northeast) Reviews/Recorded

Dashboard Jesus Recorded at Fleetwood Studios Produced and recorded by Joe Sabatini

For the avid HEAD-BANGING, HEAVY metal/hard rock music fan, Dashboard Jesus’ self-titled album is a must; that is if you want to wake up with a sore neck and a headache, which is very often the case. If you’re not to keen on heavy metal or very hard rock, this is indeed a rude awakening. Well, heavy metal is an overstament. Extreme hard rock is more the term to be used for this (un)holy, twisted trio. Dashboard Jesus’ songs have their own melodies but do tend to drift into heaver ground at times. If Metallica and Linkin Park were God and the holy spirit, Dashboard Jesus is hoping to be your Jesus Christ.

Here’s a live radio interview on WNTN that was later transcribed and featured in SoundCheck Magazine.

SoundCheck Magazine October ’02 Dashboard Jesus By Stephanie Marino

Welcome to the heavy melodic rock band known as Dashboard Jesus. They played the main stage at Locobazooka on September 22nd at Green Hill Park in Worcester with acts Zack Wylde’s Black Label Society and Disturbed. Read on and get into the Dashboard Jesus sound! Joe Sabatini, frontman and lead guitarists started Dashboard Jesus in 1997. They went through a lot of changes and now with the lineup of Tommy Lanzillo on Bass, formally lead singer from Uncle Freak, and Mike Fortunato on drums, we have Dashboard Jesus and their debut, self-titled CD of hard-hitting rock.

SoundCheck Magazine: Joe what were you doing before 1997 and how did you get where you are today? I know you worked in recording studios and also in Hollywood so tell me the story.

Dashboard Jesus: I went to Holly wood when I was 14 years old with a one-way ticket on a greyhound to Los Angelis. Yeah, I saved up $69.00 for the ticket and went. While I was out there I was working on films in the art department. Ended up working for Dream Quest on 28 feature films, including: the Abyss, Total Recall.

SCM: Total Recall, Arnold man! I’ll be back!

DJ: I ended up doing a lot of films and about 800 commercials. You know I ended up working more on films then music. So I headed back east after nine years on the West Coast. I got a job at Fleetwood Recording Studios, which is a historical place. The Beatles recorded there while in town, the Boston Pops, Jimmy Carter’s campaign, Steven Tyler has been there. When I came across the studio it was dilapidated, a hole in the wall. I got in there, renovated and got it up and running. Managed to produce 18 or more local artist full albums and EPs: Malevolance, Dryft, Breathe, Derek Rando, Indu and just the other night Changing Skin [formally Blindsided].

SCM: Thanks for letting me be at Fleetwood to experience some of the mixing of the new Changing Skin CD. That was a great experience and it sounds really good. Joe you do great work!

DJ: I’m moving on from Fleetwood to concentrate on Dashboard Jesus.

SCM: Right and you also started a record label and a new recording studio bigger and better. Isn’t that supposed to be opening soon?

DJ: I already secured the lease and the space. Where looking to open the studio in October of next year. But the record label is functioning out of an office and we’ll be moving into a temporary space and bla, bla, bla. This is where we are now, Dashboard Jesus playing local clubs just played the main stage Locobazooka (with Lincoln from the band Indu as another guitarists) and other local artists like Breathe, 16 Years of Grace, RA, Hate Breed, 7th Rail Crew, Changing Skin Straightjacket and Must.

SCM: I saw Changing Skin a few weeks ago at O’ Brien’s in Allston, for a Deek show. Deek supports the local music scene intensely.

DJ: Deek is GOOD!

SCM: He actually got me my show on the “Internet, “All Local” []. Lets talk about your merchandise tent at Locobazooka, which was awesome! Hot chicks running it, of course you guys are all hot as well. I notice there were lots of people hanging out having a good time and buying the stuff up like it was candy. You guys have some great T-shirts. Hey where’s mine? I’ll buy one because that’s how you support the local music scene. Buy the bands merchandise!

DJ: Other wise there would be only Polka bands or stuff like Lawrence Welk.

SCM: I didn’t know about the local scene when I was two. I learned about it a few years later. I was around five and I started playing guitar. That’s why I love the scene so much and want to make sure every one is hearing it.

DJ: Well we love you too, and think what you’re doing is great!

SCM: Thanks guys! Anyway you also played the 9/11, Benefit Fund on 9/7/02 at the Pond. There were 18 local bands: Dogfight, Straightjacket, Stranglehold , Indu , Madwack, 7th Rail Crew, Deveraeux. It was booked by Sin Promotions, Tell me where the proceeds went.

DJ: It was ten dollars a ticket and the proceeds went to the 9/11 Fund, which I believe went right to the victims families.

SCM: That was a really great show and for a benefit like that it really shows how music makes a difference. Tommy was the lead singer in Uncle Freak, and what else where you doing before Dashboard Jesus?

DJ: Yes I was the lead singer in Uncle Freak, that was right before Dashboard Jesus. I started off typical in Garage bands around Boston and fell in love with bass. I was singing because we needed a singer and Joe can testify to that. When I was a wee lad and heard “Whole Lotta love” I said Jesus what the hell is that? That started my fascination with the rock scene. The bass came later. As I got older I played guitar drums and then the bass and that was it. I’m also doing backup vocals with Dashboard Jesus. So I get to focus on playing the bass and the crowed. I enjoy it and go off! I go f’n mental! Dam I love it! It’s in my blood. It’s just a great opportunity that I bumped into Joe. Things happen for a reason any way. No coincidences

SCM: Destiny.

DJ: I believe that. One day I get a call, the person was looking for Joanie. I guess Joe called the wrong number, he meant to dial someone else. It turns out that it’s Tommy. He calls back the number and says who’s this. I said Joe at Fleetwood. Tommy was like Fleetwood, isn’t that the recording studio? Blah, bla, bla, hey it’s Tommy from Uncle Freak. I told him I was looking for a bass player. The dude gets in his car and comes right down and did a song with us. Mike was already in the band for a couple of months, but wasn’t there that day. Yeah, Joe says you want to come down and listen to the album? I went to the studio, listened and loved it. So in my head right away, I said count me in. Count me in Joe. It’s just great to be rockin’ with the band.

SCM: I think I’ve been playing your CD since my first show. I saw you guys do an acoustic set at Newbury Comics, where your CD is available and you had Lincoln from the band Indu on guitar for that, He’s awesome Plays really tight. By the way, Indu’s website is

DJ: Oh yeah, the one we played with RA. Lincoln also played with us on Baystate Rock with Carmelita. He’s a solid player.

SCM: Lets go to Mike. Tell us about yourself and your bad ass drumming.

DJ: I started playing drums in the sixth grade. Then kept it up in high school, nothing big. Then I bumped into Derik Rando who helped put the CD together at Fleetwood. That’s how Joe and I met. I came in and was laying some tracks down. Out of nowhere they wanted drums on one track and changed the songs around. I threw a couple of tracks together and it worked out OK. So I kept the connection in case they needed a backup drummer. At the time Joe said he might be looking for a drummer. At the time things were getting uneasy and Joe expressed that to me. I thank god I showed up that day when Derik wanted drums on that track. Some time went by and all of a sudden I started to get messages from Fleetwood. So I came down and laid a couple of tracks down. Its been history ever since, and it’s great.

SCM: So everybody met with the destiny factor at Fleetwood.

DJ: The caliber of people that were surrounded to Fleetwood are really good people. You go to a show and all of us are playing, you’re going to have great people at these shows. You don’t have to worry about jerks in the crowed. All the people around us are great! I’ve been so lucky to get thrown into that kind of mix. It’s really cool. I’m a great fan of music and rock. I watch other bands and there are a lot of awesome artists out there.

SCM: When there are people like Dashboard Jesus, you guys are always playing with different bands. All the other bands you play with are at each other’s shows, those are the bands that usually go somewhere.

DJ: No cliques,

SCM: Everyone recycles each other.

DJ: Yeah, if you keep rebuilding, the momentum around the band keeps moving. It’s all good. You don’t come to the shows if for any other reason that it’s going to be a good time. You are going to get a great show. It’s a simple plan.

SCM: You were in the drum corp?

DJ: I used to march with the Boston Crusaders. I was young and we went on tour all summer. So I played too, they only sold half the stadium, to a half full Giant Stadium. That was cool, kind of nerve racking for a young kid. Definitely a good time; it builds chops and discipline. Some years after that, I went into the army and took time off of playing. Shot some grenades, then became a paramedic. Action Ambulance, they are good people.

SCM: Wow, you’re a paramedic and a drummer. OK., back to band stuff. Your booked all around Massachusetts till at least until November, are there plans for a tour across the states?

DJ: Some talks are going on about that. On the business side of things there are some pretty heavy negotiations right now. Where working with Paul Wennik from WEA and the Brenner Group and their attorneys, they are putting together the big team. We’re working on my label, forming a partnership with their label. I’m hoping to close by the end of September and, of course there would be a tour in the package, quite an impressive package.

SCM: So the tour will be all over the place, Europe too?

DJ: Yes we are talking Europe too. It will probably start in Montréal, going down through Florida, then over to Europe.

SCM: Nice that’s how it usually goes, oversees first and then home for the last leg of the tour.

DJ: Everything’s a process. It’s an around the clock thing for Joe. It’s a privilege to be in the band and Joe’s great, not just business-wise but a great songwriter/musician as well. I speak for the whole band.

SCM: Yes I see all the work you put in.

DJ: Thanks Steph for coming to all the shows and having us for this interview. Also big thanks for supporting the local music scene.

SCM: I’ll always be there!

DJ: Go to Nubury Comics and buy the CD, Dashboard Jesus, self-titled. So we can feed our children.

SCM: We are all starving artists and need to support the local music scene, Buy the merchandise! Thanks guys you can get all the information on Dashboard Jesus at

DJ: Thanks Steph and SoundCheck!

SoundCheck (CD Review) November ‘02

By Deek McDeekula III Dashboard Jesus – 15-song CD (three stars) Recorded at Fleetwood Studios

Pretty damn impressed with the latest release from Massachusetts own purveyors of “kick –an-innocent-bystander-in-the-choad-core”. Actually, the “core” description is off target, although these guys, I must admit, can definitely jump from the brutal (a la Hate Breed/Despair in brief moments!) to the sublime in the blink of a lash. Fifteen Tracks too! All of them really listenable too. I’m sick of picking up three-song EPs that leave me at half mast. As for comparisons since it’s what all we “music critics” like to do. I’d honestly say 9, “Into the Empty” caries a haunting Alice in Chains “Down in a Hole” feel at times, their track “Dead and Gone” has a nice fist pumping ‘PM5K-ish vibe going’ on and (it’s not a dis guys but a tribute to your depth) I also catch a few moments that make “Depeche Mode-on-steroids” come to mind- seriously. Give these guys a listen- still haven’t seen them live, but it oughta’ happen soon. As for compliments: dig the CD a hell of a lot, but the over all visual package is really lacking; it’s very plain and home print job looking. That’s not something that everyone will care about, but I think it makes a difference. Snare drum could be punchier too, but now I’m getting real f’n nerdy. Keep an eye out for these guys! Hernia-inducing-heavy. Oh yeah, some of the guitar solos on here rock ridiculously hard!

Here’s an interview featured in Noise Magazine around the time Gary joined the band. I’d met up with music journalist Laura Slapikoff; we sat down for an interview in the lobby of WAAF. Dashboard was scheduled to perform live on the air that night.


By Laura Slapikoff

Dashboard Jesus is a trio of hard rock musicians with the stars aligning in their house of success. Serendipity and coincidence seem to be ruling the fates of these three local boys like guiding hands propelling them in the direction of the big time as if it’s all been mapped out in a cosmic cartography. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Singer/guitarist Joe Sabatini, bassist Tom Lanzillo, and drummer Gary Robley are sweet, down-to-earth and dead serious about what they’re doing. I sat sown with them in the lobby of the New Balance building in Brighton (which houses WAAF, were Joe is a producer for Carmelita) on a sub-zero Sunday, and we talked about the Dashboard Jesus phenomenon, and how it’s about to explode into the collective unconscious in a matter of months. Dashboard Jesus is Joe’s brainchild. He started the band in 1997, and went through four drummers and three bass players before finding Tom and Gary. Says Joe, “You know, there’s always been one player ‘off,’ not clicking. To me it’s the first time I feel that there’s a unity in the band, and I think we all feel that.” For Joe, it was tom joining the band that made the difference between the band breaking up or staying together. “How Tommy plays, how he tunes, how he perceives the instrument. It’s very similar, and really filled the gaps that I needed. And every time I came across that situation, it was usually a problem with personality behind it. That was the difference. It made it a realistic possibility to really go forward.” Gary joining the band was one of the myriad of happy accidents that started occurring for the band after Tommy joined. Dashboard Jesus had a gig at the Middle East and their drummer didn’t show up. Says Tom, “I was out in my car, curled up in a ball. Like in deep, deep depression.” Gary had been a fan of the band for a few months, so they asked him to play with them on a moments notice and the show went off flawlessly. After that, he was in the band, playing a short tour of southern New England with them and returning to record tracks for Dashboard Jesus’ new CD. Their CD, scheduled for release in April, will feature a number of tracks from the bands’ “test-marketing-product”, an eponymous disc released in 2002 that had a radio ready hard rock sound with songs that remind me of Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots and Stained. Those tracks will be re-mastered, and there will be a number of new songs recorded by the bands new lineup. Behind this release is a dream marketing team. Joe came up with a business plan for an artists’ label, went out and got funding, and was able to hire heavy hitters like the Jerry Brenner Group (Led Zeppelin, U2, Bon Jovi) to do promotion for the band. When I asked Joe about handling the dichotomy between creative musician and hard headed business man, he admits it can be frustrating. The solution? “The way you handle that is in the business model. Basically you’ve got every one else to do the business for you. You create an environment were you can sit with the band and focus only on the music.” Adds Tom, “But how has it been up until this transition? It’s been difficult, like you said, separating the musician from the business side of it. From the executive. His personality can conflict. It can take away at times. He loses focus on writing a nice new tune. He’ll be like, “I got to call this person, I’ve go to go to a meeting,’ so yeah it’s frustrating.” Gary Concurs. “It is hard to separate the two, but there is a certain amount of time you have to take off to get the business plan together. That’s what Joe’s been doing. There’s a thin line, but getting back to the music, that’s the most important part.” But says Joe, “The dream is basically to write our music and have the ability to get it out there to people who want to hear it.”