Smock rocks a fun show

Members of the Greece-area band try to make their shows entertaining by getting the audience involved.


During every show the members of the band Smock bring a member of the audience onto the stage to play a game they call "10 seconds to decide." The audience member then has 10 seconds to answer a question like, "which member of the band would you eat?" or "Abe Lincoln - dead or dead sexy"?

The game is one of the ways the four members of the band keep their shows fun for their audience.

Drummer Ed Klingenberger once played with Nik Entertainment, Inc., the group that includes quintessential Rochester party band Nik and the Nice Guys. He said playing there taught him the value of keeping the audience entertained and involved in the shows.

"I learned that there's a certain value in showmanship," Klingenberger said, "I really got used to being on stage in front of people and learned how to really play a show and not just get on stage and play the music."

The band formed in January 2002 after a band that bass player Adam Donnelly and Klingenberger were in broke up. They joined with guitar player Pete Johnson, but the three realized the band was still missing something.

"I said OK, now we're going to need a singer, otherwise we're just going to be an instrumental trio," Johnson said. "So I brought in Dan Bell to be our lead singer, and at first all we had in common musically was covering Ben Folds Five songs, but out of that we started doing our own stuff."

Johnson, Klingenberger, and Bell, who are from Greece, and Donnelly, who is from Hilton, decided on the name Smock after reading a Calvin and Hobbes comic where the two characters talk about what a great word smock is.

The members, who describe themselves as a mix of bands Guster, Moxy Fruvous, and Ben Folds Five, have played shows at Water Street Music Hall and the Penny Arcade, and recently released an album called "Full Figured Pals."

The members of Smock are currently on hiatus while Bell is in Russia for the summer. But, according to Donnelly, they are constantly working on getting new shows and writing new songs.

"We all work on stuff individually," Donnelly said. "Sometimes we say "Hey, this could be a Smock song" and sometimes we say this is something I could play at a coffee house but wouldn't really fit for the band."

The members are hoping to move on to bigger shows. Johnson said they have given their album to members of Guster and Ben Folds in the hopes of being noticed.

Smock's next show is scheduled for Aug. 13 at the Sweden Community Center.

Klingenberger said fans coming to the show can expect to see more than just an average show.

"We want to try to be funny on stage and give everyone a good time," Klingenberger said. "We want to move around, to keep the audience motivated."