Nerd Rockers Reign at UMW
By GRACIE HART & TIERNEY McAFEE
UMW senior Craig Graziano spends his Monday nights singing about dinosaurs.
He is a member and co-founder of Humungo Ginormous, a punk band that jams out to some pretty funky subject matter.
“We consider it nerd punk, since a lot of the songs focus on movies, comic books and other geeky topics,” Graziano said.
Amongst their songs are, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Frankenstein,” “Hamburgers of the Gods” and their favorite, “Gangster Dinosaurs.”
The band didn’t always touch on such silly subjects. In high school, Graziano says, they did a lot of “political angst type songs.”
“It gets to the point where it’s like, ‘Can I really be on stage saying this kind of pompous, whiny, look-at-me stuff?’” he said. “Once we decided to throw that out the window and not to take it so seriously, all of our songs got kind of goofy and ridiculous and everything else just followed in the same suit.”
The band recently rerecorded their album, “Humungo Ginormous is Big Black and Beautiful” after Graziano’s high school friend and band member Matt Luger returned from music school in New York City.
“It sounds pretty great,” Graziano said. “Definitely more professional than I ever would have imagined.”
Humungo Ginormous was born from modest beginnings when Graziano and Lugar joined forces in high school.
“One day we just tried putting some of my poetry with his music and it evolved from there,” Graziano said.
Since then, Graziano and Luger added a drummer, UMW senior Steve Whitesides, and a bassist, Fredericksburg resident Ted Mason.
Graziano, an English major who grew up in the Fredericksburg area, wasn’t always interested in being a musician.
“I don’t exactly have rhythm or dexterity, so instruments always were frustrating,” he confessed.
Graziano says The Beatles were the first band to peak his musical passion.
“I was obsessed as a kid.,” he said. “John [Lennon] was my favorite, just weird for the sake of being weird.”
However, The Beatles were not Graziano’s greatest influelnce.
“There would be no Humungo Ginormous without Adam Goren, a musician from Philadelphia who used to write very strange, funny songs about the metric system and having a crush on Enya,” Graziano said. “He would just prerecord the music and sing along to it at his shows. He retired a few years ago and I’m pretty sure he’s a high school chemistry teacher now.”
Unlike Goren, Graziano has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“It’s really a work in progress. We’re playing more shows than we ever have in the past,” Graziano said. “Local high school kids seem to dig us and I hope that expands to the college crowd.”
The band will get its chance at their CD release show next week, where they are playing with a local high school band, Carlos, I’m Pregnant and opening act, Jeff Mullins. Graziano says he’s especially thrilled to be performing with Mullins.
“He [Mullins] was the king of the Fredericksburg music scene when I was in high school,” Graziano said. “He hasn’t played a show in an incredibly long time and it’s our dream to have him opening for us.”
Humungo Ginormous is on the rise and plans to get even higher with their next album, which is currently in the works.
They hope to continue their success by building a more prominent fan base, although they are proud to say they do have some followers.
Last summer, the band played at a popular open mic night in Greenwich Village. They could only play one song, so they elected “Rock ‘N’ Roll Frankenstein.”
“This crowd of 40 or so people went nuts; singing along by the time the second chorus came up,” Graziano said. “We received a crazy ovation and everyone wanted a CD. The lead singer of the Spin Doctors was there and he looked very pleased. That was a high point for us.”