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Lara Hope and the Ark-tones

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Female Rockabilly Artist, and named the “Best Up-And-Coming Band” by Hudson Valley Magazine, Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones are New York’s premier roots rock n’ roll, rockabilly, rhythm & blues outfit. The Ark-Tones recently released their 2nd full length album, “Love You to Life”, on August 11th, and they will be hitting the road, spreading the gospel of American music wherever they go for the majority of 2018. Describing their sound, Hope explained to Rockabilly Online “I would say we are a new take on an old sound. It’s been described as ‘pan-americana’ which means we use many areas of early rock and roots music as a creative launchpad. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess, because while we appreciate old music, we don’t want to write songs that have already been written.”

They’ve built a great network of venues in the US by touring heavily, and like many American bands, they have gained supportive fans and excellent press overseas as well. They will be touring Europe for the first time in the coming year, spending the month of April 2018 in Belgium and Holland. Hope was featured on the cover of UK Rock n’ Roll magazine in March 2015, and New York’s Ulster Magazine in March 2016. The band has shared the stage with many larger acts including Tiger Army, Gary US Bonds, Dale Watson, Big Sandy, Wayne Hancock, and America, and has performed at at a variety of festivals including Viva Las Vegas, Ink n Iron, and The Nashville Boogie.

Born from a hybrid of Lara’s former rockabilly band The Champtones, and upright bassist Matt’s international psychobilly act, The Arkhams, The Ark-Tones hit the ground running in 2012 and haven’t slowed down since. Lara and Matt also perform as a duo (The Gold Hope Duo), and can even be found as the country/western entertainers at the one of longest running family resorts in New York, the Rocking Horse Ranch, performing under the name Lara and the Hope’Alongs. In 2017, Lara Hope won the Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Female Rockabilly Artist, accepting the award at The Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, surrounded by musical heroes. The band is also known for their visually arresting videos – “Whiskey Pick” (from their debut album) and “I’m the One” (re-recorded for the new album) were official selections in the 2014 and 2016 Woodstock Film Festival.

Cosmic American Derelicts

The roots of the Cosmic American Derelicts lie in the drunken haze of yester-year. The year was 1972 and on a hot May 17th day, Ed Rainey was born. Eddie grew up in a house filled with music and art. Eddie would always be encouraged to sing and play along with his dad Rich, himself a great banjo player and singer. Rich took him to many bluegrass festivals where Eddie had the opportunity to see many greats including, Bill Monroe, The Stanley Bros, and Ricky Skaggs. Eddie picked up the guitar at age 4 and by 10 years old he was playing dobro and mandolin. As he grew, he gradually went from country and bluegrass into rock-n-roll. By the time he was a teenager he had acquired a taste for Randy Rhodes, Tony Iommi, Stevie Ray Vaugh, Jimmy Page, and of course Van Halen. It was at Bergenfield High School, NJ, where he met up with future founding member Brian Murray. They played in a string of high school bands: Flight, Back Talk and Naked Babies and hit on a major vibe, one, which has held sway for over 30yrs.

Eddie was always humble, unassuming and willing to help out other players. One of which was Derelicts founding member & bassist George Kapitanellis, having met in 10th grade Algebra, discussing who was better Zeppelin or Van Halen. ….

George was a rock-n-roll freak, who was grooving to the sounds of the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream, Floyd, The Dead, Black Sabbath and all that good ol’ Lsd stuff. George knew there was no other life but rock-n-roll. George played in lots of bands throughout the 90’s (some with future members Galinos Kapitanellis, Sotiri Karlis, and Mike Corr, who had all subsequently played in various bands together since high school), after many projects, (Mystic Caravan, Digger Blues Band, Head Stash) and heartbreaks George auditioned for The Bleeding Hearts, a boogie blues rock band out of NYC. He auditioned and was accepted.

The band also included another future member singer/songwriter Joe Wilkinson. The Bleeding Hearts were Joe’s project and featured many great sessions players over their 3yrs of playing. (Feb 96)

Joe was a child of the 70’s and picked up the ax at the age of 12, and was hugely influence by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Foghat, Yes, Peter Green, Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, etc. Joe grew up in Poughkeipsie NY and moved on down to NYC in 91. Beginning in Feb of ’96, The Bleeding Hearts played throughout the tri-state area and acquired quite the reputation as a heavy psychedelic blues band on the downtown scene. Their following was quite sizable, which gave them the opportunity to record a self titled/self produced CD. Recorded at Mixolydian Studios in NJ. (1997)

In the meanwhile, Eddie had graduated from Berklee School of Music in Boston (95) and came back to Jersey to get his head straight. Once home he reconnected with old friend and collaborator Brian Murray, together with H.S. buddies Steve Gust on bass and Ronnie Moga on drums. They wrote songs and put together a great band, Northern Comfort. Four part harmonies, magnificent playing and honest songs.

These two bands were the genesis of things to come. …. The Comfort boys and Bleeding Hearts played a few gigs together and enjoyed many the late night jam sessions on old Terhune Street. After 2 years of non-stop playing, all seemed well, but as luck would have it the seas of change swept in and internal differences and personnel turn over got the better of both bands.

George, Brian and Mike Corr, after a few pints at the bar, decided to put together another project (April 98), it would be the three of them, George’s brother Galinos on drums, and Sotiri added to play congas with Joe and Eddie sitting in. The idea was to have a band, which featured lots of great guitar players and songwriters, swapping licks and songs and having fun. The band was christened “The Derelicts,” coined after Brian heard George make a casual remark about their always-rowdy drinking buddies. But even then the boys had their own bands to deal with. So at first the Derelicts were a band solely for the purpose of getting their rocks off. The first gig line up was George on bass, Brian singin and playin rhythm, Joe on guitar, Mike on guitar, Galinos drums and Sotiri on percussion and lots of Jack Daniels. The first few gigs were a blast mixing in Brian and Joe’s originals with lots of obscure Dylan, C.C.R. and a heap of blues songs. By the third gig Eddie had joined, Mike dropping out that same summer of ’98, after a bad night of drinking.

The boys were on a roll. Playin in each other’s bands and havin fun. …. By Dec of ’98, a rift had developed within the Bleeding Hearts between band members and hired guns, which culminated with an onstage arguement at Arlene Grocery. The band was finished, leavin behind a lot of great songs and a devoted following of hardcore rock and roll fans. The Comfort boys were also going through a lot of shit, after their founding member, friend and drummer Ron Moga decided to leave the band, citing musical differences, soon after bassist Steve Gust started to flake out and not show up to gigs. Fortunately George had sat in and knew much of their set. Still both bands were finished and Northern Comfort folded in early ’99, leaving behind them a bunch of great orgiginal Brian compositions which would later be Derelized.

So Eddie, George, Brian and Sotiri dove head first into their new musical stituation, with lttle expectation other than getting a chance to pick with some great players, have fun and get drunk,. By this time Galinos had to leave due to his day job. Joe got another gig and dropped out soon after. Sotiri jumped into the drummer chair and picked up the beat quite well, his main influence being the inimitable Keith Moon. He quickly mastered the two beat and was on his way to honky-tonk heaven, (March 99).

The Derelicts were a mix of Bluegrass, Honky-Tonk, Psychedelia, Blues, Ska and Rock-n-Roll. They gigged relentlessly in the ever-fickle tri-state club scene packin ’em in, but refusing to play hits. The Derelicts were always playin off the cuff obscure Gram Parson’s tunes and Savoy Brown, as well as playing and writing what was soon to become the Derelicts self-title debut. …. Brian was a rocker at heart but loved Honky-Tonk. He had written quite a few songs over the years, which reflected many styles, country, rock, ska, pop, alternative and acid rock, but had never recorded any.

After lots of singin and playin , the boys went into the studio in the winter of 2000. (By this time the boys had been informed as to a, certain copyright infringement. It was addressed by a name change). The Cosmic American came about from their hero (Gram Parsons) description of Psychedelic, Soul Honky-Tonk music. Being huge Gram fans the Derelicts thought it a natural. Their eponymous debut, recorded at Visionary studios in NJ and engineered by Tom Gioia, was independently released (Dec 2000) and sales were brisk in the following months. It captured their live energy as well as some great guitar playing and songwriting. But as cruel fate would have it Brian decided that he could not handle the chores of the band & husbandry. So he retired from the band (July ’01).

George called up old friend and ex-member Joe Wilkinson to see if he could help out and cover their gigs, which were already booked months in advance. Joe jumped on board and after a few stumbles and baby steps the band finally started hitting its stride once again in Jan ’02.
They played and wrote and played some more, but after a tumultuous year and a half of playing, the band decided to part ways yet again with their singer. (Dec 02′)

In the meantime George and Eddie formed another band with ex-Riskey Business mandolin player Louie Demayo. The band christened Hillbilly Water after the boys love with all things distilled, played lots of gigs in NY and NJ, recording a 3-song demo at Chung King studios in NYC (’03) . Hillbilly Water came out of Eddie’s passion for bluegrass and acoustic music. George who always loved American roots music jumped at the chance to get into another project and explore new musical terrain. Lou D. joined on mandolin and vocals after a 5-year stint in Ed’s dad’s band Risky Business. In the 2 years of their existence the band also recruited fiddle player extraordinaire Nick Reeb. Nick was a country boy from Ohio, who also happened to be one of the best players around. He met the boys in a club in NYC and was recruited on the spot by Sotiri. His playing brought out a whole new energy in the band. They played many gigs around the area but as fortune often does, a great up and coming bluegrass band, King Wilke, poached Nick. Off he went to greener pastures. The band carried on, but personal turmoil struck their fearless leader Louie D. and he bowed out in the summer of ’04. He returned in the fall of ’05 after successfully staving off throat cancer. The band recorded and released their debut CD, “Have a Drink,” which was also recorded at Visionary studios in NJ. (April 07). They released their sophomore album, “Forever Blue,” in May 2013.

That year, Jan ’03, the band recruited two great musical talents; Jamaican born Latoya Williams who handled all of the singing chores and songwriter/guitar Danny Pavas another Bergenfield native. Both were hugely talented individuals. Latoya’s voice full of power and soul. Danny’s writing style complimented the ever-expanding sound of The Derelicts. Bringing them into a more latin/funk, soul vibe. They performed their debut in March and continued playing for lots of lovin fans for over 9 months but personal turmoil and tensions led Latoya to quit the band in Nov. ’03. Danny split because of musical differences within the band a few months later.

Without a singer, The Derelicts decided to lay low for the winter, they wrote, rehearsed and as luck would have it, Latoya and Danny re-entered the picture in April of ’04. They played for a bit and after some heated discussions Danny split for his own gig. Danny then formed another project “Honey King.”

The Derelicts continued as a four piece and began work on their 2nd album, (Dec 04). “The Product” was recorded at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in NYC. Jimi’s home. Truly a dream come true. The experience was mind blowing. The Derelicts locked themselves in the studio for four days straight and recorded the bulk of the material. Chris Petro engineered “The Product.” Joe Wilkinson, who had reconnected with the boys, contributed 3 original songs as well as singing a Savoy Brown cover tune “Taste & Try.” Latoya helped write 2 songs and contributed her vocals to a killer cover of Terry Reid’s “Super Lungs,” as well as George’s “Whore Girl.” The Derelicts filled out the record with two country instrumentals, the Rainey penned Little McCoy and the old bluegrass standard Gold Rush. Both Latoya and Joe Wilkinson departed shortly after due to stress and previous obligations. The album was finally released in Dec 2010.

As luck would have it good friend and singer/guitarist Scott Lauro from NY’s Little Rusty, started hanging out and pickin with the band (Jan 06). Scotty was a friend of George’s from upstate NY who would come out to see the band from time to time. He was a big admirer of the band and Eddie’s guitar work. Within a month he was in the band and singin like a son of a bitch. Playin many gigs and collaborating with the Derelicts on songs, which would eventually be recorded on their third album “Songs From The Homestead.”

The Derelicts continued there on again off again collaboration with their good friend, songwriter Joe Wilkinson. Playing a few gigs in San Diego Ca. and finally bringing their sound to the west coast, in late Sept. (06). The trip was a gas, and they continue to perform with Joe whenever he is on the east coast.

The Cosmic American Derelicts then started on their third CD, “Songs from the Homestead” (Jan ’07) finishing it in (Dec ’07). The songs were written by the band over the course of two years and recorded at their house in Bergenfield NJ. The band wanted a less produced sound for their new songs. The last studio sessions at Electric Lady Studios were great, but the band felt like they went a bit too far with the over dubs and tracking. The Product was the first album the band did which had employed a horn section along with piano/organ & percussion. The Derelicts felt that the new tunes were down home numbers that didn’t require all the major studio razzle-dazzle, and seeing that George had acquired so much vintage gear over the years they decided that their place was the only studio to do it in. Once again teaming up with engineer/friend Chris Petro, the band went into the studio and in only 7 sessions the main body of tracks was done. Lots of acoustic instruments and grooves. The band released “Songs from The Homestead” in Feb of 2008. They received great press for the record, both here and abroad.

The Derelicts also added Rob Clores on piano/organ, (Nov ’07). Rob is a super talented pianist/organist/arranger and all around great guy who has played with many legendary artists, and has also contributed his vast array of talent to three songs, which appear on “Songs From The Homestead” as well as two songs on “The Product.”

In the spring of 2008 Cosmic American Derelicts were asked to back up the legendary singer/songwriter Terry Reid on his UK tour. The tour was a huge success garnering the band a whole new audience of die hard music fans in the UK, and many great revues. In January of 2009 Terry cut two tracks for the George Kapitanellis and Danny Pavas side project TruBlue. The album “Smells Like Music” features Scott Lauro, Ed Rainey and Rob Clores from the Derelicts as well as some great NJ/NY session players. “Smells Like Music” was released in Dec 2009. We continue to perform and collaborate with Terry, 9 years of musical friendship and still going strong.

The Derelicts finally headed back into the studio with Chris Petro engineering once again in March 2012, finally finishing up in January of 2015, recorded in 4 sessions/20 days and finally completed, Whiskey & Blood is our fourth album, featuring eight new origianl songs. Written by Scotty & George and featuring Terry Reid on two tracks, John Ginty & Rob Clores on keys/organ as well as co-founding member Brian Murray adding his vocals to one song. We are finalizing the artwork and mastering it. We hope to have it out by Dec of 2016

In the fall of 2012 ,2013 and the sumer of 2014 the Derelicts reunited with their friend and musical compatriot Terry Reid, performing a marathon show of over 4 hours at the historic Turning Point in Piermont NY as well as headlining the legendary Iridium in NYC. The audience was mesmerized by our performance and Terry’ voice. It was pure magic. The boys also preformed a sold out show at the Cutting Room, NYC with Terry this past April 2015. What a special night of music and stories. We tore the place up!! Even Graham Nash loved the show!!

We are truly blessed to be able to perform with a living legend and actually be able to call him our friend. We love Terry like a brother, he is a Derelict at heart and a true kindred spirit.

The band will once again be collaborating with original Derelict Joe Wilkinson on a couple of gigs as well as demoing a new batch of Joe’s originals for his first solo album, it’ll take us awhile to get this together, as Joe lives in LA, but the process will begin in Oct 2015.

Over the last 3 years we have also coaxed co-founding member Mike Corr out of retirement and into playing some gigs with us. He has responded by writing some great new songs and putting out some out standing live performances. It feels like old time again, lots of whiskey and laughs!! Mike is talking about maybe recording a live album with us. That would be very cool!

The Cosmic American Derelicts have opened for and played with many great artists which include: Terry Reid, Mick Taylor, Max Middleton, Buddy Miles, Peter Jay, Tony Triscka, Jay Black, Levon Helm & Rick Danko, John Ginty, The Kentucky Headhunters, Derek Trucks, Vaser Clements, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, The Del McCoury Band, and Peter Rowan…just to name a few.

To the fans…. Thanks for givin a shit…Cosmic American Derelicts are all members of ASCAP… Rock and Roll knows no boundary and neither do we…….. …. We would love to hear from you, our fans. Any questions or comments call us at 201-387-6008 or email us at …. Rock n roll lives. GOD BLESS YOU ALL! We Love you!!!