It was a hot Friday afternoon, the birds were chirping, a cool breeze was flowing through the trees and all the new WOWies were listening to the sounds of San Luis Obispo’s very own The New Longview.
Formerly just Longview, this local powerhouse opened for the band Sherwood and rocked the stage of WOW’s Block Party September 16.
“We changed our name to The New Longview because we want to show that we have a new outlook on life,” said frontman Dan Curcio. “We’re looking at life from a new angle.”
Comprised of agricultural business senior Curcio (lead vocals), electrical engineering senior Chris “Haircut” Arntzen (guitar), agricultural business senior Nick Bilich (guitar), music sophomore Paul “Slap Master” Smith-Stewart (bass) and mechanical engineering junior John Vucinich (drums), the band gave an energetic performance, which slowly drew the incoming crowd to sit on the lawn and watch.
Formed in 2003, Curcio and Arntzen met while living in Sierra Madre where they started jamming together and came up with the idea to form a band. They met Vucinich playing drums on his notebook before a class and Bilich through a friend.
Smith-Stewart joined the band in 2004 when he met Vucinich in the Cal Poly Jazz Band, and later brought in electrical engineering sophomore Jeff Azevedo (guitar) to fill in for Bilich (who is currently studying aboard in London until December).
“I’ll be the guy on VH1 Behind the Music that left the band and became an alcoholic,” said Azevedo, who still plans to play some live shows and do a couple solos even when Bilich returns.
The New Longview – which has played with Pepper, Dominic Castillo and the Rock Savants, Strung Out, Ozomatli and the Expendables – released its debut CD “Still Time” in March.
“The phrase ‘Still Time’ is saying two things at once,” said Curcio, who writes most of the lyrics for the band. “One, that there is still time to become a better person, to fall in love, to learn, to travel, to find your passion; and two, that we have the ability to stop time – make time stand still – by taking a step back from school, and work and the stress of everyday life.”
To The New Longview, music isn’t just something to do to pass the time. This group of musicians try to make a statement with every song.
“I could not have a deeper respect for guys like Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon and Bob Marley who had something to say and (could) fit it into songs so effortlessly,” Curcio said. “I’m nowhere near this caliber of a songwriter, but I hope that our CD will, if nothing else, make you believe that we have the ability to put time on our side and slow it down a bit.”
The band, which bases their music on a mix of rock, reggae and blues, aims to explore new ways of playing to ultimately expand their musical style.
“As a band, we believe that things like Napster aren’t killing music today,” Curcio said. “It’s the lack of bands stepping up to the challenge of doing something different and not fitting into this era’s cookie cutter mold of everything you hear on the radio.”
Although these five college students take their music very seriously, they bring a lot of energy into their live performances.
“When you come to see a live show, don’t go expecting Kumbaya,” said Curcio. “Every one of our concerts ends up turning into a party where all we want is everyone to have a good time.”
For those who missed their WOW performance, The New Longview will be playing a show Saturday, Sept. 24, and Thursday, Sept. 29, at SLO Brewery (with Criticnue opening for them Sept. 29).
Fans can also catch them in Santa Barbara on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Santa Barbara Creekside Inn and at the Beta Theta Pi house for a rush event on Saturday, Oct. 1.
They will also perform Thursday, Nov. 10, at The Whisky in Los Angeles.
“We’re really excited to play at The Whisky,” said Arntzen. “That’s where every big band has played. Even the Doors got signed there.”