Frank Tassielli wanted to start a tribute band as a homage to one of his favorite groups of all time: Aerosmith, iconic rock Gods still going strong today.
So, Tassielli formed Pump nine years ago and loves every opportunity he and his bandmates get to perform Aerosmith’s classic hits in front of rocking crowds all over the New York-New Jersey metro area and beyond.
“Aerosmith has such a large catalog of songs that it made me want to do it,” Tassielli, 48, said. “And there were no other bands on Long Island playing their music. It seemed like the thing to do at the moment.”
A bass player who took up the instrument in 1986, Tassielli, a Long Island native, especially loves how well Aerosmith features his chosen instrument. Plus, the way the Boston-formed group has been able to stay relevant to this day after forming back in 1970.
“There are great bass lines in Aerosmith’s music,” he said. “It’s crazy how long they’ve been playing. They’re still playing in Vegas. He’s (Steven Tyler) 72, man.”‘
So, why should fans come out and see a live Pump performance?
“Every show is always a different setlist, for the most part,” Tassielli said. Sure, “there are always the standards: Dream On, Sweet Emotions, and Living on the Edge. And we use the audio from the MTV video for Love in an Elevator– ‘Oh, good morning, Mr. Tyler. Going down? (played by model Brandi Brandt, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for October 1987).'”
Additionally, “We ask the audience, ‘What do you want to hear?’ Whatever we play,” he continued, “it’s always fun for the fans.”
Pump, who often hits the stage with other hard rock cover bands that play the best songs from Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, and KISS, has booked four shows, so far, for 2021.
If you have your trepidations about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and seeing in-person shows, Tassielli said with all earnest and optimism: “I can’t stop doing what I do. We’ll ride above the virus. Let’s think positive for the whole world.”
COVID-19 restrictions will be in place, most likely, and could hopefully lessen by the time Pump’s performances roll around.
However, individual state laws will guide the participating venues on the necessary precautions that it will need to follow to reduce the spread of the virus.
Therefore, Tassielli said: “Come support the band. It’s going to be a good year for us. It’s not about watching the band play. It’s about the whole show.”
Pump returns to the Garden State on Saturday, June 19th, for an 8:00 p.m. show at the Brook Arts Center, in Bound Brook, NJ.
Then, Pump will play a show on Saturday, August 28th at 7:00 p.m. at Nussy’s Beirgarten, in Round Top, NY.
Pump members include Frank Tassielli, bass/vocals/band manager; Ray Monte, drummer/vocals; Johnny Flaggs Francese, guitar/synthesizer/vocals; and Tommy Lestat Collier, guitars/vocals/talk box.
— Jerry Del Priore