Old Punk, New Scene – Text Message

Photo: Rita Pearson/The Hoya

by Rita Pearson

Text Message, an indie rock band made up of Georgetown students Joe Romano (COL ’12), John Romano (COL ’14) and Mike Jaroski (COL ’12) kicked off Saturday night’s show at the Rock N Roll Hotel. They opened for local bands the Electric 11’s and Blue Pintowith songs from their upcoming sophomore album, called Lake Opposite. They’re influenced primarily by alternative rock bands, such as Sonic Youth and the D.C.-based Fugazi.

“We’re trying to hit the right spots,” John Romano said. “There are a handful of music venues in D.C., like the Rock N Roll Hotel, that we try to play in. Unfortunately there aren’t many places around campus.”

“The D.C. music scene is nothing like the late 80’s or early 90’s, but I wouldn’t say it’s dead,” Joe said. “However, D.C. is transient – a lot of the bands are on tour, so people are always coming in and out.”

In the 1980’s and 90’s, D.C. was home to a thriving and influential punk scene. Venues like the 9:30 Club, Madam’s Organ, and The Bayou (a Georgetown nightclub that has since been replaced by the Loews Cinema on K Street) were central to the punk community. The U Street/Shaw neighborhood in particular played an important role in the burgeoning D.C. music scene. The Black Cat, a U Street club co-founded by Dave Grohl in 1993, has hosted bands like Arcade Fire, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Death Cab for Cutie. Text Message will be taking the stage at The Black Cat this Sunday.

Mike Jaroski and Joe Romano began playing together when they met as freshmen in 2009, but Text Message didn’t officially form until the fall of 2010 when John Romano joined his brother at Georgetown.

“It almost seems inevitable we would end up in a band,” John said. “Most of our relatives play instruments – our family is very musically centered.”

“John and I have been playing guitar together since junior high,” Joe added. “String instruments are our main deal. We just learned to play drums last year, out of necessity.”

Text Message’s full album, reminiscent of the 1980s-era hardcore punk and underground rock scene, is available for free download on the band’s official website.

Things work a bit differently now than at the height of the D.C. music scene. According to Jaroski, whose grandfather was a jazz musician, the band uses social networking sites to drum up publicity.

“Normally we look at bands on a venue’s website and try to book an opening with them.” Jaroski said. “Then we make a Facebook event to get the word out to Georgetown students.”

The band will be performing this Sunday, January 29th, at The Black Cat. Tickets are available at the Black Cat’s website.


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