Tony Piazza

My first experience with musical performance came in middle school.

I played clarinet for 4 years in middle school band and orchestra. I can admit this now, because as anyone who has seen TFF live can attest, I have no problem making a fool of myself in public. This experience taught me two things 1.) I loved music and performing 2.) I HATED clarinet, band and its structure. It was around this time, in the early 90's that I fell in love with heavy metal. My 1st new CD was Black Sabbath's Dehumanizer (in the long cardboard box). I loved all the "rock" instruments... my reasoning for choosing bass was that it combined the best of both worlds, drums and guitar. I was also told early on, that if one could master the instrument, they would always have a gig, as where guitarist were a dime a dozen (no offense Hambone!) My 1st bass hero was Geezer Butler.

I purchased my first bass (a Washburn Lyon sunburst J-Bass copy) at Chautauqua Music in Jamestown along with a Peavey Microbass (my home practice amp to this day). I soon found that there was NO ONE in the area giving bass guitar lessons. I began taking lessons with guitar instructor Chris Saxton... ironically then a band mate of Darrin. I had a strong background in theory, and Chris wasn't a bassist, so our early lessons focused on listening to music (rock and metal at the time), jamming and discussing the music business. Chris learned the instrument with me (of course, being a pro, he learned much faster). Equally as important, however, were his insights into the music business that came from being in the region's top rock act, Brandy Lies. I saw a lot of what to do, and yes, some of what not to do. I knew early on that I not only wanted to be a good bassist and musician, but also a WORKING musician in a viable band. My lessons lasted from '93 until '98 when I began college.

I then began to look for that band. I had a few discussions with various kids, but I wanted to play metal... it was 1995, NO ONE PLAYED METAL... except for a few guys who I auditioned for. I got the gig and we became Desecrator. The story of Desecrator could fill its own book. 16 years, 5 demos, one full length, 6 drummers, countless stories, shows and adventures. It was my sole musical existence from 1995-2001. Metal above all else... if people didn't like it, FUCK EM. I discovered Iron Maiden and Steve Harris... I learned what to do and not to do in the studio. I was able to record with world famous metal producer Alex Perialas. I became pretty damned good, in my opinion. It was bitter/sweet, however. I played music I loved, but no one seemed to care... crowds were sparse, records sold slowly, gigs were occasional at best. Desecrator was a labor of love, and even though it has recently been laid to rest, it will always be a cherished part of my career.

The idea for a cover project came about in 2001, simply as a way to fund Desecrator. At first, as Hard Rock Life, we played cover songs from our favorite hard rock/commercial metal bands. Soon we added a female singer and incorporated some pop and classic rock songs. Two For Flinching was born. At first, there was no real direction... we'd take ideas from other successful acts. We played WAY more classic rock than we ever wanted to in order to get gigs at local bars. It was truly a time of throwing ideas at the wall (or Bullfrog floor) to see what stuck. But we soon realized that our biggest responses came from female fronted 80's pop songs. Imagine that, we finally got a good response by playing what people wanted to hear! Gig after gig, lineup after lineup, we got better. I learned the ins and outs of audio and lighting production. Bigger productions brought bigger crowds. My playing became tight and nearly automatic, so I learned to better my performance and stage presence. I learned that being a live performer is MUCH more than being a good player. Also, the more varied the material we played, the more versatile my playing became. In my teen years, I would have cringed at playing funk, disco, hip hop or pop music. But being a "metal" bassist made me a one dimensional bassist. The more I allowed myself to play other styles, the more I learned my instrument. I grew to love performing to receptive crowds above all else, regardless of the type of music I was playing.

I also dove head first into the business side of running a band... booking, promotion, etc. I began to see that a band IS a business, and like any business, can be ran successfully, or into the ground. I have done my best to give 100% of myself in everything I do in TFF. I see myself as equal parts musician, performer, sound man and agent/business manager. Being a "working musician in a viable band" is WHO I AM. I can not imagine myself doing anything else. Having a night off drives me crazy. This is more than a job to me, it is an identity! I find it difficult, if not impossible to work with anyone who does not share a similar mindset. Luckily, I have finally found a group of band mates who are equally as dedicated to the success of TFF as I feel I am!