Friends of Tom Band

Roots to Rock, Kountry to Kickass

Bio

Liz Younger – lead vocals, things that shake and otherwise go bump in the night

Chris Younger – guitar, harmonica, vocals, mandolin

Jeff Huff - guitar, vocals

Owen Jones - bass

Dan McCouch - drums

Chris


Chris's infatuation with the guitar began in his early teens, inspired by the guitar slingers of the era, such as Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck to name a few.

After playing in a series of garage bands in high school, Chris eventually founded a successful cover band RoundTrip, and played the thriving regional bar circuit for many years.   Eventually those pesky sub-conscious thoughts about getting a real job led to the proverbial fork in the road and Chris quit the band to persue more schooling and a career.   With the demands of career and family limiting his time Chris spent spare moments playing acoustic guitar, and became enthralled with the alternating bass, finger style playing of Mississipi John Hurt, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, and Roy Book Binder.  He also started dabbling in mandolin and harmonica.   

With a renewed passion for acoustic music, Chris innocently asked his wife Liz to add some vocals to a song, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The Chris and Liz duo kept it low key for several years, performing at parties and small events. Warming up at a festival for their friend, Tom, the headline act, the Emcee asked them their name.   Taken by surprise since they had never formalized a real name, they blurted out, we're "Friends of Tom", and the name stuck.  

Rob joined the line-up around the summer ’05, giving a fuller sound to the songs and allowing more versatility with arrangements.  Soon after, FOT was booking regular gigs.

Liz


Liz grew up with the sounds of country music and bluegrass blaring through the home stereo by music-loving parents.  Then her older brothers introduced her to the 70’s rock sound. Her musical education came full circle when she met up with fellow  musician, Chris Younger whose influence led to the formation of Friends of Tom.   These musical roots subtly reveal themselves in her song interpretations where an occasional twang can be heard mixed in with her powerful soulful vocals. 

 Liz is a classically trained vocalist, a student of  several local vocal coaches, and is currently collaborating on original songs.

Frank

Frank Zelansy, aka Joggyn Smyler, was born in Perth Amboy New Jersey where his first music band at 12 years was called The OBJECTS, now Frank lives in Allentown PA. Frankzee "Joggyn Smyler" has recorded and released 3 music Cd's, they are GOOD TO SEE ME, MONEY CITY (Mahanoy City) and PERTH AMBOY. Joggyn Smyler Cds are available for purchase worldwide on the Internet. Frankzee has toured extensively thru Canada and the USA as Drummer and vocalist with the hit maker band The Classics IV. Frank zee (as friends know him) also appeared as Kid Trouzers (stage name) on the "Bedful of Metaphysicians" album which did receive positive reviews in 1986 in both Spin and Electronic Musician Magazine. Frank zee as a Drummer has performed from coast to coast USA and Canada in well over 500 "live" music shows, also in front of 30.000 people at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe AZ.. For his own original music cd's frankzee goes by the stage name of "Joggyn Smyler." 90% of the time he plays and sings everything on his music Cd's..Frankzee/joggyn smyler's music has been played on KSTM AZ, Newbrunswick N J. Radio, Nefarious Bovine Radio N J, Boston MS radio, KISMET radio 105 Goah India (Vijayan Almeida,) Radio Six International in Glasgow Scotland and their affiliate stations,WRKC Wilkes Barre PA, T-102 Pottsville PA, WMGK Lansford PA, ISON Australia, WFMU Hoboken N J, KUPD AZ, WVIA Wilkes Barre/Scranton PA, WDIY Bethlehem, WLVR Bethlehem PA, WMUH Allentown PA, The MT. Hazletown PA, WLTJ Cleveland OH to name a few! While living in Phoenix AZ Frank wrote and recorded a song entitled "Future Phoenix". the local entertainment papers did embrace the song well including a picture of frank zee/"Kid Trouzers" on the cover of a Phoenix publication entitled "TEEN TIMES" the local stations gave the song a good amount of airplay..Much to his surprize when he moved back east in PA to Schuylkill county a local radio station in Pottsville PA. Played his "Future Phoenix" tune 3 times per day for more than a month, He was very well received by the local papers there, even more so then in Phoenix AZ area.! Frank is also the Author of a small Metaphysical type, self-help book entitled "Intro To Infinity." Frank's song "Now & Forever" climbed all the way to number ONE for 4 days in mp3's love song category some years ago. Frank zee/Joggyn Smyler wrote and recorded a Hip new version of Petula Clarks "DOWNTOWN" which attracted the attention of the songs writer "Tony Hatch." Tony liked the new version and picked Joggyn Smylers" song called "Yes Love Has Grown" from his GOOD TO SEE ME cd to be played at their station and it placed in at 24 for the year 2004 at Radio Six International, a radio station based in Scotland. Frankzee, Joggyn Smyler"s song "No More Problems" placed in at number 3 for the song of the year 2007 at Radio Six International!!...very cool. Frank zee/Joggyn Smyler wrote and recorded a song called "Money City" (Mahanoy City) a song about the area and a small coal region town of Mahanoy City in Schuylkill county. The song has received good airplay at WMGH 105.5 FM in Tamaqua/Lansford PA area. Frankzee "JOGGYN SMYLER" presently plays Drums for "Notorious Groove" www.myspace.com/notoriousgrooveband and "Filet Of Sole." Frankzee/Joggyn Smyler says always remember "The Earth is floating and flying...therefore...SO ARE YOU!!! " FZ .."Refuse to measure time and be Timeless/Ageless" FZ "There is none who stands so tall than he or she who is ONE with ALL" FZ truly, Frank Joggyn Smyler.   See www.myspace.com/joggynsmyler

Frank and "Friends of Tom" hooked up at jam party and the rest is history.   Frank's drumming brings new life into the "Friends of Tom" sound and FOT has never sounded better.

 Dale

Dale’s musical career began in elementary band, playing the alto saxophone in the school band.  Some years later, he traded his sax for a guitar, and began to play along with Chris and several other friends.  The decision to switch to bass was an easy one, as a bass player was needed to fill out the roster of several garage bands, and he was the only one who owned a bass.  After some time honing his skills on the likes of Rush, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and other bands in the late 70’s, it was clear that he was committed to laying down the bottom on the bass.

After playing in a series of garage bands in high school with Chris, he began to pursue a musical existence.  He began to break into the music scene by working sound with the late Bruce Rex, providing sound and crew services to The Scott Hott Band, and learning the ropes working for Scott Schneck and his entourage.  When Scott joined Daddy Licks, Dale was a founding member of Crisis, a successful area band that thrived on reggae and ska, that later led to first vinyl on the WZZO Valley Rock compilation.  Crisis played many gigs and was a frequent opening act for Daddy Licks during the early 80’s.

Dale joined the Jimmy Moore Band and was the soundman for the band through the next two years, until joining up with Steve Brosky and forming the BBC along with Mike Krisukas, Mark Golin, and Neil Braunstein. The band played original music written by Steve and Mike, with a punk style laced with sarcasm and humor.  The group recorded an EP in 1983 called “Do the Dutch” which resulted in a regional hit of the same name (“Hey now, let’s get down…”) and eventually led to a gig at CBGB’s in NYC.  Mike and Mark moved on to become the founding members of Zen for Primates, and Steve continues to write and perform his own style, winning the LVMA Best Songwriter Award several times.

As seems to be the case in all the stories, life intervened and resulted in education and a real career, leading to marriage, kids, grandkids (just one so far) and family.  But the music just wouldn’t go away.  Dale joined up with Steve in the mid 90’s and formed the Steve Brosky Band, playing area clubs and supporting Steve’s prolific songwriting efforts.

With the pressures of work and family, music took a back seat for a few years, but as children grew older and began to exercise their own independence, music was there to fill the void.  After some prodding by Pat Powers, a good friend who plays with Friars Point, Dale made his way down to the Barto Hotel, a common hangout for musicians to jam and enjoy a night out.  The Barto, now known as Cooper Morgan’s, provided a much needed venue to keep his chops up, and resulted in several new friendships and connections.  Dale has been playing gigs with Jack Murray and Alan Landes for several years in various band configurations.  Hanging out at the Barto also led to opportunities as a soundman at Godfrey Daniels and Landhaven.  Dale has mixed acts like Kevin Gordon and Eilen Jewel among many others.

So after 30 years things come full circle with Dale joining FOT in April 2010, and reconnecting with Chris once again.   Dale's chops and stlye adds a welcome edge to the FOT sound and the band is rocking more than ever.




Alumni

Tom

Tom Walz is "Pennsylvania's Favorite Blues Raconteur." Tom Walz is a highly accomplished guitar and harmonica player, and has become recognized for his emotive and expressive performances of music influenced by the black artists of the early to mid 20th century. He plays American music with all the spirit and passion intact. His talents have been recognized and utilized in opening sets for John Hammond, Ronnie Earl and Blues legend, Brownie McGhee.
Tom Walz is an entertainer. He is a modern-day vaudevillian adding a light-hearted stage presence and improvisational comedy involving the audience. Tom Walz is refreshing. He considers himself a "song miner" having developed sources to find some real rare gems and nuggets of music truly deserving of exposure.

Tom joined "Friends of Tom" in December 2009 after sitting in with the band for several years. Note that while Tom is in deed a "Friend of Tom", he in not the "Tom".

Jim

Jim's got music in his blood, literally, with his father being a professional jazz musician.  Jim was encouraged at an early age to pursue a "real" instrument, but the bass is what caught his interest the most.   Jim played in various cover bands playing the bar circuit in Pittsburgh PA, and currently, in addition to "Friends of Tom", expands his repertoire with various ensembles.   The foray into upright bass brought new challenges and opportunities, and adds the perfert vibe and texture to the Americana sounds of "Friends of Tom".

Rob

Rob is from Easton PA and plays dobro slide, acoustic and electric guitar, and mandolin.  He also adds sundry rhythm reverberations, known to bang on his metal dobro or stomp a tambourine with his foot.
 
Recognized as the “embellisher”, Rob adds that extra special touch that is needed to make a song better.  A blues enthusiast at heart, Rob’s blues influence can be clearly heard in FOT’s repertoire.  Rob is the founding co-host of the Sitgreaves’ coffeehouse, a monthly open-mic at the Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Easton.  Rob also does double duty performing with the band
Glass Roses.
 
Rob’s recording credentials includes the Glass Roses debut CD
Falling Wings, and a guest appearance on the Daybreak CD Lost Cave, recorded deep within the Lost River Caverns in Hellertown PA.

Recent Blog Entries

Recent Photos