Bad Neighbors to reunite at Grass Flats on December 4th for one show.
CLEARWATER: Fans of the Tampa Bay Metal band, Bad Neighbors, will receive an early Christmas present this year when the band will reunite for a one time performance at Grass Flats Bar & Grill on December 4th. This will mark the first time the band has performed together since Halloween of 2008, over two years ago.
Bad Neighbors was a 5 piece (and at one point 6 piece) cover/originals band that played classic metal style music. I was originally introduced to this band shortly after they formed in 2001. Listening to the first 2 or 3 songs was all it took for me before I was completely blown away by the bands talent, not to mention their ability to excite the crowd as well. In it’s time, the band was arguably one of the best, most popular bands performing in the Tampa Bay area…garnishing a huge local fan following that would follow them to where ever they played in the bay area. Bad Neighbors performed just about everywhere there was to perform in Tampa Bay at the time, including such bars and venues as Boomerz, Shades, Carlie’s Lounge (now Harlie’s Nite Club), Bourbon Street, Gasoline Alley, Sneaky D’s Saloon, Gator’s Cafe & Saloon, and The Green Parrot (now Gunslinger’s Saloon), just to name a few. The band also performed at several outdoor festivals and events like the annual St. Pete Rib Fest, where they once opened for Blue Oyster Cult. Bad Neighbors was even once featured on a local cable tv show where they were showcased, filmed on a studio set performing several songs.
The bands distinctive sound and stage presence was always “Top Notch”. Regardless of whether they were performing cover songs or one of their many originals, the band had a uniquely tight hard rockin’ sound that was hard to match. There is no doubt that the reason behind their sound was due to the talent within the band. Had Bad Neighbors formed just 10 or 15 years before they did, when Tampa Bay was a hot bed on the national music industry scene, they would have given the other Tampa Bay bands a run for their money when it came to getting the attention from record executives.
Bad Neighbors was originally formed in 2001 by founding members which included veteran Tampa Bay drummer, Mike Dillon, and Guitarist, Mike May. Dillon and May then recruited Dennis Daley and Steve Hochberg from the band “Mr. Bigglesworth“, and then finally a guitarist named Hurricane Joe Scott. After the bands first two shows, the band replaced Hurricane Joe Scott with Lee Fenical to form the bands most well known and longest lasting line-up consisting of:
- Dennis Daley – Lead Vocals
- Lee Fenical – Lead & Rythem Guitar
- Mike May – Lead & Rythem Guitar
- Steve Hochberg – Bass
- Mike Dillon – Drums
Dennis Daley belted out some of the most hard driven vocals with great passion & energy. An impressive vocalist with a great range….what he lacked in heighth compared to his band mates on stage, he didn’t lack in talent! Dennis was always a sight to be seen while on stage with the band….as he would jump on top of the bar at Carlie’s Lounge during a performance, and sing while walking up and down the bar top.
Lee Fenical was simply an amazing guitar player….performing more technically accurately then most of the other local guitarists who were performing live on stage at the time. Pound for pound, one of the greatest guitarists to come out of The Tampa Bay area in a long time. Lee had great stage presence as well. How he doesn’t have whip-lash from banging his head so often is a mystery in and upon itself!
Mike May currently works during the day as a guitar instructor at Seminole Music & Sound, and once you hear him perform…..you know exactly why people would come to him to learn to play the guitar. Mike was a great match for lee, trading guitar parts back-n-forth with lee on some songs, almost like a well synchronized dance.
Steve Hochberg was definitely a sight to see on stage. His heart pounding bass lines would echo out of his unmistakable black & red checkered bass guitar. There was never more of an exciting and energetic scene to see then when he would jump off stage with singer Dennis Daley into the crowd during their cover of Ugly Kid Joe’s “Everything About You”, and run around in circles, in a thrashing mode.
Mike Dillon was, and still is, one of those drummers that refused to be held back….never knowing what he was gonna say, do, or even on some occasions wear behind the drum kit. When Dillon performs there is no mistaking who his influences were, John Bonham and Tommy Lee come bleeding through his drum sticks with every anticapaited beat. Dillon is Truly a drummers drummer.
The fact of the matter is that individually, each original member of Bad Neighbors were some of the most talented musicians you could find in the Bay area at the time. When you brought those 5 musicians together though, they were even better. They brought out the best in each other, Musically speaking. The band had a chemistry together that was hard to be matched, there was no weak link amoung them.
This original and talented line-up lasted for approximately 4 years without being altered. Eventually though, one by one the band would lose Hochberg, Dillon and Fenical. Dillon would eventually resurface as the new drummer for long time area band, Cheeky Monkey.
Dennis Daley & Mike May continued on with the band by recruiting Brad Davis on Bass and two Tennessee brothers, Lee Gibson on drums, and Eric Gibson on guitar. The band then expanded the band from a 5 piece band to a 6 piece band by adding Glen Lauhbaugh, from the band “Even Steven“, on keys.
Eric Gibson himself was a talented veteran guitarist, but played in a much different style then his predecessor, Lee Fenical. Where Lee was more of a technical sounding guitarist…Eric was more of a raw sounding guitarist. Eric, without a doubt, brought a different dynamic to the band.
Lee Gibson was a very good drummer, but much like his brother Eric, Lee‘s drum playing was a very different style then his predecessor, Mike Dillon.
Brad Davis was another veteran musician who had played with many local & nationally noted musicians. His bass playing seamed to meld right into the bands sound. His stage presence was very different then Hochberg’s was.
Glen Lauhbaugh on keys added an additional versatility to the band, allowing them to expand by playing a wider range of songs that they hadn’t played before.
Even though the bands new line-up sounded great, it just wasn’t the same though….it just wasn’t “Bad Neighbors” for many of the fans that followed them from the beginning, and Eventually the Gibson brothers would leave the band to relocate back to Tennessee. Bad Neighbors then temporarily disbanded and some of the original members did reunite to form a splintered-off 4-piece band called “The Broken“.
Eventually Bad Neighbors reunited with the popular original line-up, minus Steve Hochberg on Bass. Daley, Fenical, May, and Dillon recruited a bassist named Felix to play a few shows with the band, before finally settling on Sammy Chaput to permanently take over on bass guitar. This band line-up lasted for about 2 years.
Towards the very end of the bands existance in 2008, Sammy Chaput was no longer performing with the band live. Long-time Tampa Bay veteran musician, Kevin Rothney (Circle II Circle, King Pin, Jon Oliva’s Pain), would end up filling in on Bass for several Bad Neighbors shows.
Bad Neighbors performed for the last time on Halloween of 2008. There after, lead singer Dennis Daley and the band parted ways. The rest of the band considered auditioning new lead singers and continuing on at first, but for whatever reasons, never did.
Where are they now?….Original line-up:
- Dennis Daley – Dennis went to work right away, taking over as the new lead singer of long-time Tampa Bay favorites, Diamond Gray, who he is currently singing with now. The band is currently in the recording studio, recording a brand new CD which will be available soon.
- Lee Fenical – After Bad Neighbors, Lee continued to perform all over the Tampa Bay Area.
- Mike May – Mike is currently playing guitar in the Tampa Bay band, Kilo.
- Steve Hochberg – Steve currently plays bass in the Tampa Bay band, Monster.
- Mike Dillon – Mike currently plays drums in the Tampa Bay band, R!SE.
Where are they now?….Additional members & fill-ins:
- Glen Lauhbaugh – Glen owns ESP Studios, where Diamond Gray is currently recording their new CD.
- Eric Gibson – ***Unknown***
- Lee Gibson – Lee lives in Knoxville Tennessee where he plays drums in the progressive metal band, Dark Matter Project.
- Brad Davis – Brad currently plays bass Guitar in the Tampa Bay band, Wikkid, along with Crossbreed drummer, Jay Diesel. The Band is managed by Dina Mead of Bay Area Band Source. The band just formed this year and is gaining momentum at great speed.
- Sammy Chaput – Sammy continues to work and play in the Tampa Bay area.
- Kevin Rothney – Kevin continues to play bass guitar in Jon Oliva’s Pain, along with Jon Oliva (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and Matt LaPorte (Circle II Circle, King Pin).
Bad Neighbors Reunion:
The reunion show will take place at Grass Flats Bar & Grill in Clearwater on December 4th. Original band members Dennis Daley, Lee Fenical, Mike May, Steve Hochberg, and Mike Dillon will make up the line-up. former one time band member, Sammy Chaput, who was the last official bass player for Bad Neighbors will also reunite with the band for the performance as well.
The show will consist of 3 sets, with the performance line-up itinerary as follows:
- Dennis Daley – Lead Vocals (performing for all 3 sets).
- Lee Fenical – Lead & Rhythm Guitar (performing for all 3 sets).
- Mike May – Lead & Rhythm Guitar (performing for all 3 sets).
- Steve Hochberg – Bass (performing for 1 set).
- Sammy Chaput – Bass (Performing for 2 sets).
- Mike Dillon – Drums (performing in all 3 sets).
Whether you were a Bad Neighbors fan years ago, or even if you never had the oppertunity to see Bad Neighbors perform before, The show promises to be a memorable one. Make sure you come out to Grass Flats for a hard rockin’ good time….you won’t be disappointed!
Grass Flats Bar & Grill is located in Clearwater at 12924 49th Street North.
* A special thanks goes out to Dennis Daley of Bad Neighbors / Diamond Gray for providing Keith Wilkins with the majority of the photos contained within this article.
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