It’s not very often that four guys can get together and produce a full and solid sound. Okay, well maybe it does happen often, but what makes Spinning Images so special is that they are an unsigned local talent from Westchester County and they do everything on their own.
Spinning Images is, on vocals and rhythm guitar John Hagedorn (25), drummer Rob Siano (24), who is currently a St. John’s law student, lead guitarist Brian Kearins (22) and bass guitarist Chris Schleich (23). The band was formed 11 years ago by Siano and Hagedorn’s cousin, Kevin, in Westchester County.
“He’s like my best friend but really sucked at guitar,” Siano said. “But I met John through him.”
Hagedorn’s cousins told him about the band and asked Hagedorn “Why don’t you sing for us?”
Shortly after Hagedorn joined the band, his cousin was kicked out and they recruited Kearins because “he is really good at the guitar,” according to Siano.
Schleich joined the group by just hanging around. He became friends with Siano in high school and, using his own interest in web design, he created a website for the band.
“You know how you just make up a site for a band you like,” Schleich asked. “Well, I just made one for them and all of a sudden they were like ‘you made up a site for us.’ They didn’t even know.”
Hagedorn says it’s a blessing that Schleich came around.
“He came out on his own and started recording us,” Hagedorn said. “He started recording every weekend while we practiced.”
They weren’t really a band, according to Siano. They didn’t practice, they just recorded. The minute a song was created, it was recorded. As years passed, Schleich became better at recording and took over their practice space and made it into a studio.
Through their influences, such as Third Eye Blind, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and The Used, Spinning Images writes and composes their music by using songs they like and adapting them to make them their own. They also make up a lot of songs on the spot.
Other influences for their songs include girls and the places they’ve played at. After playing at Seton Hall, they wrote a song called “Pirate” after the Seton Hall mascot.
Their first gig was upstate at a place called The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie they first found out about through Siano’s girlfriend at the time.
“We went to check it out because they were having record companies come to check out bands,” Siano said. “We went to drop off our CD and it was a really nice place. My girlfriend was like ‘you guys will never play here,’ so I bothered the guy until we got to play there.”
That was their first show. They had no stage presence. They were shy. Now, a couple years later, they get up on stage and are smashing things and running around like they own the stage.
Currently, Spinning Images is showcased at the National Associations for Campus Activities (N.A.C.A.), a conference for college programming boards to find comedians, musicians and get ideas for programs. After being at N.A.C.A., the band has gotten the opportunity to play at schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Spinning Images plays anywhere that will have them. No matter how far it is, the band will travel.
According to Kearins, traveling and going to all the shows is the best part of being in the band.
The band was together for about a year before recording its first album. They had won a radio contest through X107, a local radio station, where the prize was that the radio station would pay for the band to record the album.
Spinning Images has four studio albums, Bizarre Lullaby (1996), Any Ol’ Way You Want (1997), Women Are Smart (1998), which was never released, and If You See “K” Yourself (1999).
“You can hear the difference from our first garage album, which was in 1995 – 96, and now,” Hagedorn said.
One advantage that Spinning Images has above many other unsigned bands is that they own so much technology. They are able to record as much and as often as they want.
Spinning Images has opened for well-known acts like Fuel, Three Doors Down, Godsmack, Our Lady Peace and Quiet Riot. They got the opportunity to do so through their first gig at The Chance Theater. After playing there often and bringing in large crowds, the people at The Chance gave them the opportunity to open the show for a national act that was coming through if they had a similar sound.
Meeting bands like Godsmack and Our Lady Peace was quite interesting for the guys.
“It’s not like they were mean to us,” Schleich said about bands like Godsmack and Quiet Riot. “They just didn’t want to hand us any respect.”
Our Lady Peace, according to the band, was pretty cool, giving autographs to them.
“It would be cool if everyone was nice instead of ‘I’m a rock star and you guys are lucky to be opening for us,'” Siano said.
Hagedorn also performs at Munchaba Lounge in Levittown every Tuesday night for 92.7 WLIR’s Open Mic. Through WLIR’s DJ Harlin, Spinning Images has been played on the radio and has been hooked up with some national acts that perform at The Vanderbilt in Plainview.
Hagedorn loves everything about the band and performing, both good and bad.
“There’s a lot of bad factors that get cancelled out when you’re thinking this is what you want to do with your life,” Schleich said.
For Hagedorn, performing is a release, a cleansing. The only way for him to get through to himself is with music. He says the band is his family and that if he didn’t have them, he doesn’t know where he’d be.
Spinning Images is still working on their image. They want to be an organized band and they want to do everything themselves but at the same time want everything to look as professional as possible so that when people stop by their table at shows they’re in awe.
They often go into shows knowing that they’re not making any money.
“The hardest thing is not having money,” Siano said. “We don’t pocket what we make at a show. It goes to making more CDs or buying new equipment.”
The guys don’t look into the far future. None of them have said that they want to get signed.
“We take baby steps,” Kearins said. “We look at things that we know we can do.”
Spinning Images plans on going in to record a new album this winter and hope to perform as much as possible.
Schleich has a theory when it comes to being in a band. The whole band and the whole performing thing is like a relationship.
To Schleich, the girlfriend or boyfriend part is like the band and the performing is like the perks of the relationship.
He said, “You need to play. The performing part is just the thrilling part of the whole relationship. We’re together, we want to play and perform and get people to like us.”
You need to play. The performing part is just the thrilling part of the whole relationship. We’re together, we want to play and perform and get people to like us.”
“It’s the best relationship I’ve ever had,” Siano said.
For more information on Spinning Images go to www.spinningimages.com.