The Humans of Hofstra - April 10
Beautiful harmonies rang in a garage just off campus as local band Foley played their set at the weekly High Hopes open mic. Lead singer Eddie Byrne and bassist and backup singer Tom Parisi sang together as guitarist Joe Guzzardo riffed along with them. As the song ends, Parisi shot a goofy smile in response to the applause, as if he was surprised by the reception his band received, before rejoining the audience. “I f***ing love the open mics,” Parisi said. “It is one of my favorite parts of being here at Hofstra.”
Parisi is a freshman film major from Raritan Borough, New Jersey, a tiny two-square-mile town. He spends his days playing roller hockey, working on “Thursday Night Live” and Nonsense Humor Magazine and writing new songs for Foley and various other projects. Parisi is also joining a DIY band with local solo artist Gillian Pitzer, also known as Good Dog. Pitzer is one of the people who host the High Hopes open mic and recently released an album with their other band, Smol Data.
Guzzardo and Byrne, the other two members of Foley, have both been exploring creating “bedroom pop” on their own under the names Westphalia and Bell Creek, respectively. As the other members of Foley pursue solo careers, Parisi is interested in exploring more indie folk on his own. He’s trying to create a solo EP of songs he’s written that do not fit the Foley vibe. “I might try to do some solo stuff at some of the open mics around here,” Parisi said, excited to finally get these songs out into the world.
As far as the future of Foley is concerned, they are currently rerecording their debut album, “The Head Honcho in the Red Poncho,” to be released on streaming services. The first album was completely recorded through a single dynamic microphone (one designed for film shoots), limiting the quality of the sound. They also made up for their lack of a drum set with Parisi’s cajon, which is, according to Parisi, “a cheap wooden box drum.” The new version will be better produced and feature drumming by Guzzardo. Nonetheless, the reception the band has received has been incredible.
“It’s really hard, as a creator, to put something out there and wait to hear what people have to say about it,” Parisi said. “And no matter how much praise it gets, I always look back and find something wrong with it.”
Yet, Parisi said the campus community has been nothing but amazing. “Our first real gig was the most fun performance I have ever done. It was a small and intimate thing, but it was incredible.” They played this show with a Brooklyn folk group known as The Lords of Liechtenstein, a band fronted by two brothers.
“I was shocked by just how quickly I got into the scene, and I attribute it all to High Hopes. Working up the confidence to get up there week after week at the mics and house shows has been challenging but just incredibly rewarding,” Parisi said.
Parisi added that the audience, an eclectic mix of performers and creatives, makes the venue an “amazing place” to workshop new songs and material. “The setting of the open mics allows you to form very close connections with people quickly. It’s insane how well-polished everyone’s performances are considering it’s just a small open mic,” he said.
Foley’s first album is currently available on their Bandcamp page, and they have a tour coming up this summer that Parisi is looking forward to. “We’re looking at piecing together a small East Coast tour playing NYC, Asbury, Boston and more; hopefully along with a Massachusetts based band called Half Astronaut. I’m so excited for this summer, touring has always been a dream.”