Q & A with The Hidden Agendas
Local band The Hidden Agendas will be performing at Smokey Jo’s, 1324 W. Third St., beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday night.
Newly formed in April of this year, the band is made up of seasoned local musicians who came together for the love of rock music.
The Sun-Gazette recently caught up with the members of The Hidden Agendas to talk music, influences and what to expect at their show.
BETHANY WIEGAND: First things first, who is in The Hidden Agendas and what do they do in the band?
RON FLEEGER – Vocals/Guitar
MATTHEW ZARZYCZNY – Bass/Vocals
SCOTT GIBBS – Drums
SARAH GIBBS- Keyboards/Vocals
ANDREW THOMPSON – Trumpet/Percussion
BW: You are a newly formed group, according to Facebook it says April 2013. How’d you guys get together?
MZ: Well, Ron and I worked together in the late 90s and early 2000s in the Bad Light Project. We went our separate ways after that. Ron went on to form successful bands like Entity and Ron Fleeger and the Stranger while I focused on my career moving from Williamsport to South Carolina to Boston to Syracuse, N.Y.
I started hanging out with Ron again this past February after going to his Thursday music trivia at Smokey Jo’s. I was spending a lot of time in town due to my father getting sick. Ron wasn’t working on any projects at the time, so we started jamming together.
We were talking about bringing in a drummer when we fortuitously met Scott Gibbs at a karaoke night at Smokey Jo’s (again!). Scott wanted to work with Ron after listening to Lucky Sevens by Ron Fleeger and the Stranger while DJing at WXPI.
We then added Scott’s sister Sarah and childhood friend Drew to round out our sound. We really have to thank WXPI and Smokey Jo’s for our formation.
BW: How would you describe your style?
MZ: Aggressive, simple, straight-forward, no-frills alternative rock.
BW: If you could play with ANY band, current or defunct, who would it be?
RF: Pelican, Russian Circles or Explosions in the Sky
SCOTT GIBBS: Chuck Berry
SARAH GIBBS: DMB (Dave Matthews Band)
AT: The Rat Pack
BW: Being a local band, have you played in a lot of venues in Williamsport?
MZ: We’ve had a weird introduction to the Williamsport music scene. Ron’s kind of a veteran, but we didn’t want to only use his name to open doors for us. We wanted the band to speak for itself.
That being said, we’ve played at a WXPI event for First Friday in August and on the WXPI float for the Little League parade. Smokey Jo’s is our first major venue in Williamsport.
Williamsport’s music scene is rapidly growing. What do The Hidden Agendas have that might set them apart?
SCOTT GIBBS: Trumpet, cocktail shaker and washboards.
MZ: In other words, Drew?
SCOTT GIBBS: Yes, but also our musical influences are very different.
MZ: Our originals. No one writes songs like Ron Fleeger.
BW: Who are some of your musical influences, whether or not your style is like them?
All: Tool, Pearl Jam, Bad Religion, Live, Billy Joel, Iron Maiden, Coheed & Cambria, the Vandals, NOFX, Early Metallica …
BW: What can audiences expect at Smokey Jo’s? Have you performed there before?
RF: I have.
SCOTT GIBBS: They can expect to get drunk and listen to great music.
MZ: Something the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
BW: What’s in store for The Hidden Agendas? Where would you like to see the band this time, next year?
SCOTT GIBBS: Worldwide fame with my own personal G5.
RF: Based on my lifelong trend, I hope to be making a few more dollars than I do now.
SARAH GIBBS: I hope I’m still in the band in a year.
BW: Any last words?
RF: I hope not yet.
SCOTT GIBBS: That’s good…I like that.
For more information on The Hidden Agendas, check them out on Facebook by searching for “The Hidden Agendas.”