Features, Print January 7, 2022

Mom Rock Wants To Kiss You On The Mouth

by Gabe Allen

Indie quartet of Berklee graduates is full of love for fans on their first ever national tour.

A few years ago, Mom Rock booked their first gig at The Garden, a notorious house on the Boston DIY basement show circuit that was run by a revolving cast of college kids. They were ecstatic… until they saw the 6 pm time slot. Barely anyone would be there and almost no one would be properly intoxicated (although they might be stoned and sleepy given that the show was on 4/20).

Luckily, college bands are flaky, and two of the night’s headliners dropped off the bill the morning of. Perhaps they had overindulged in the day’s festivities and forgotten how to play their instruments or drowned in existential dread. Either way, the members of Mom Rock were in full control of their faculties and ready to capitalize on their revised 9 p.m. time slot. What happened next cemented the quartet as a fixture in the scene.

“We went up to play and the crowd was electric,” guitarist/singer Josh Polack told BandWagon. “It was the first time I ever crowd surfed during a guitar solo.”

“They literally picked him up without provocation,” guitarist/singer Curtis Heimburger chimed in.

“We were in this basement where the ceilings were super low,” bassist Tara Maggiulli added. “I thought he would get concussed, but he was fine.”

At the time, the band was newly formed and barely had two songs out on streaming services. If you listen to their 2021 EP, a song with a happy end, you can still hear the manic sweatiness of a DIY basement show in the fast tempos, hooky guitar riffs and sing-along choruses. Their songs may cover morose topics like heartbreak, homelessness and emotional insecurity, but any melancholy is drowned out by foot-stomping catharsis.

“You can’t really hear anything in those basements,” Heimburger said. “You gotta have a good chorus and a good hook.”

When the last of Mom Rock’s members graduated from college last spring (all but Maggiulli attended Berklee College of Music), they decided to drive across the country to set up a new homebase in Los Angeles. With a few connections in the scene and millions of streams across platforms, they broke into the scene much more quickly than they were expecting.

“It’s always tough to book your first show in whatever new city you’re going to,” Polack said. “We reached out to try to book our first show and they were like ‘yeah, so many people already recommended you to play I was about to email you.”

Now, just a few months after moving into their new communal digs, Mom Rock’s members are headed out on their first ever national tour — respectively fueled by trail mix, extra toasty Cheez-Its, cheetos, sliced apples and lunch meats. When BandWagon caught up with them in December, they were “analysing the pros and cons of different vans and trailers while watching The Great British Baking Show.” 

Flip through the full January issue at BandWagMag.com or find a print copy at hip spots in Greeley, Fort Collins and Cheyenne.

On the week of January 17, providing they find a functioning tour vehicle, Mom Rock will post up in Northern Colorado for a Wednesday show at the Coast in Fort Collins and a Thursday show at the Black Buzzard in Denver before playing a weekend string of shows scattered around the state.

If you tend towards traditional behavior on a first band-date, try not to get too close to the action if you end up at one of the concerts. While some bands have overly-affectionate fans, Mom Rock has overly affectionate band members.

“Our fans are the best people on earth,” Heimburger said. “If we could kiss every single one of them on the mouth,” Polack chimed in, “We would,” Maggiulli and Heimburger finished his sentence in unison.

Mom Rock will play live at The Coast on Wednesday, January 19 supporting the Unlikely Candidates and The Black Buzzard in Denver on Thursday, January 20. Visit momrockofficial.com for more.