Colossal Street Jam
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Colossal Street Jam

Red Bank, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Red Bank, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Blues




"Review: Colossal Street Jam ‘No Way To Live’"

By Mike O’Cull

Neo-classic rockers Colossal Street Jam cook up an irresistible mix of big guitars, hit single instincts, and energized performances on the band’s new album No Way to Live.

Released independently on February 10th, 2023, No Way to Live is both smart and muscular, taking influence from the wide-open 1970s, when groups like Bad Company and Grand Funk Railroad ruled a whole lot of record collections. Colossal Street Jam taps into the essence of that period and writes strong-willed rock songs that go hard in the paint and display a level of musicality most bands never reach. The Red Bank, New Jersey-based five-piece isn’t afraid to rock you in one song, take you into the sky on the next, and get you up and dancing with the third. They touch on all of the best vintage flavors but find a way to make each of them completely their own.

Colossal Street Jam has been dropping music since 2016 and has built a loyal following on the East Coast and in Australia and Europe. They’ve done successful tours to The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and shared stages with major artists including Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, Robbie Krieger of The Doors, The Black Crowes, King’s X, Stone Temple Pilots, Rival Sons, Blackberry Smoke, The Drive-By Truckers, and many more. Regrettably, the Covid pandemic kept CSJ off the road for a good while but they’re ready to get back at it and will play in the U.S. and Europe in 2023.

CSJ recorded No Way to Live with producer and engineer Tony Lewis of HiVoltage Music at the helm. Band members Gene Potts (vocals), Sal Marra (guitar, vocals), Tony Flora (bass), Dave Halpern (drums, percussion), and Eric Safka (Hammond B3, piano, Fender Rhodes) are an immensely-talented crew with chops to burn and the ability to get inside their songs artistically without turning everything to cheese. They float effortlessly across genre lines and guest appearances by heavyweights Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, Lenny Kravitz, John Waite), violinist Lorenza Ponce (Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Hall & Oates), Mad Men Horns of Grevenbicht, Netherlands, and soul singer Desiree Spinks of the Asbury Park-based band Des & The Swagmatics just add to the fun.

CSJ goes for the gusto right away, opening this new set with the blues/rock blaster and title cut “No Way To Live.” It’s a pumping track that features top-flight playing from everyone involved, especially keyboardist Eric Safka and guitarist Sal Marra. The lyrics deal with the kind of frustration and heartbreak that were everywhere during peak Covid and the band’s collective energy gives those feeling a much-needed release. Gene Potts is especially strong on lead vocals and his quick vocal breakdown near the song’s end is an unexpected treat.

“Seconds” rocks even harder but its inventive vocal melodies and hooks keep it accessible. CSJ stretches out some in the middle, throwing a little Prog into the mix to keep things trippy before stomping the gas again. In contrast, “Morning Light” slips into an even more cerebral Floydian mode that’s perfect for a quick inner adventure.

The pop-ish “Before I Sleep Again” is another big gear shift, taking the group into a keyboard-forward sound reminiscent of old Elton John and Supertramp. Colossal Street Jam truly shines on this kind of ensemble song, keeping their energy up and beautifully supporting the hooks.

No Way to Live goes down well in a single listening session, as an album should. As such, you’ll have no problem sticking around for the deep-cut party anthem “Nothing Like It.” It’s an old-school hard rock boogie that’s destined to power many Saturday nights. Other highlights include “My Fight, Alone” and the secret bonus track “Songbird (Reprise)” at the end. Colossal Street Jam are mighty, indeed, and fans looking for tunes that are catchy and fresh need to get them into their speakers at once. - Rock and Blues Muse


Colossal Street Jam has established a name with their album `Living Free’, garnering global attention. The album blends classic rock ingredients and contemporary structures with wonderful guitar and vocal interplay. Rock solid grooving tunes that landed them fame in Europe as a live act roaming the stages. While in Australia they managed to pick up the award for ‘Indie Album of the Year’. Also seeing the album positioned on the country’s indie charts for well over 6 months.

`No Way to Live’ is their new record and it enhances the band’s sound and leaps forward. Richer song structures and layered texture crafted around great melodies and hooks, drawing together the most wonderful ingredients. Musical craftmanship that baffles, and songs that nest while growing over time also. `No Way to Live’ is an album that needs to be heard, by a band on fire!

Almost metallic is the opening and recurring riff Sal Marra lays out to craft and intense soulful rocker on. The song oozes comfort and packs great swing amidst its powerful instrumental discharge. Eric Kafka’s Hammond takes position and pumps up the classic contemporary rock vibe. Purple comes to mind with some Grand Funk around the edges. Overall, however, the rock potion presented is brewing with Colossal Street Jam’s uniqueness. It is all served up with jaw dropping interplay.

Southern Rockin’ and groovin’ onwards, the band unloads memorable hooks and choruses. Powerhouse rockers are dominating the rock palate that is rich in tone. Heavy and gritty, ,,Big Trouble” powers up to fire on the classic bar ‘n grill engines. Packed with Hammond tremors, the song is constructed around a swinging backbeat and throbbing bass that bounce of the Southern guitar licks. Great interplay, with wonderful guitar melodies injected, the song displays Gene Potts’ versatile vocal delivery. Welling with soul and touching notes, he powers up and delves into his raw raspy register to dose the song’s swagger.

Extending the vibe, Colossal Street Jam push forward with the storming ,,Nothing Like It”, the homage to rock ‘n roll. Scorching guitar and organ interaction, with loads of contemporary sway, the song unloads wonderful melodies and a nesting chorus. Rousing like a bombastic stadium rocker, this song will make the Black Crowes jealous. The vocal layers are well matched and Sal Marra unleashes one of his trademark slide solos. Crank it up loud! Going for more stadium appeal CSJ unfolds the rousing ,,Hey!” and cooks up a jam-packed energy that revives Deep Purple most storming live performances. Guitars and organ play into the spotlight with Dave Halpern’s hard hitting drums and colorful fills add to Tony Flora’s bass growls, together laying down a roaring groove.

,,Dancing in Place” is also crafted around a sturdy groove that is gelling with the vocal lines and chorus perfectly. The bass line is a compulsion of notes throbbing alongside the songs strut. Touching deep are the vocals that really bring the right poise to the lyrics.

When the band expands their musical horizon further, they make their sizzling cocktail even more tasteful, like on the great ,,Seconds”. Almost as if John Entwistle returned from the Heaven’s to take on bass duties and Townsend propelling his arms to kick the chords into action. The song wells with The Who’s power, but also brings a Uriah Heep touch and progressive elements to the front. The propulsion however is magnificent. Potts’ raw voice adds to the steam and thunder of the power contained. His moan towards the end even invokes a Bowie vibe that borders with Ziggy’s psychedelic period, without pushing it to the front.

More soulful swings ,,Look it Here”, with its brass section recorded by Dutch Mad Men Horns of Grevenbricht and pumping organ. Impressive texture and rocking appeal with wonderful vocal interaction between Gene rasping his pipes powerful, and the background singers’ lead Desiree Spinks who take point frequently.

Confidence is at a high for certain here. So much soul, so much power… so Colossal! Tapping an entirely different vein, they swing ,,Before I Sleep again” to the front. The song is a cheerful bliss packed laud to every day’s morning. Piano rain notes and the song swings over its great bass licks and jazz rocking drum interplay. The vocals are perfectly adding to the atmosphere.

The short instrumental ,,Morning Light” blends a Bowie-esque ,,Major Tom” subtlety with Pink Floyd vibes that elude in the Gilmourian guitar melodies. This exquisite tone is maintained on the glorious ,,My Fight, alone”, that sees stretched notes underneath the wonderful lyrics and vocal delivery of Potts. There’s some agony lingering underneath, reflecting on ‘his war within’. Beatles’ close harmony vocal sections add to the deep appeal with a violin (by Lorenza Ponce of Sheryl Crow fame) adding to it. Uriah Heep blinks an eye when they intensify the vocal harmonies weld onto the organ’s organic classic tone.

Crisp alluding harmonies are also found on the album’s ‘reprise’ of their 2017 ballad ,,Songbird”, that meanders around intricate string arrangements boasted by a lush acoustic guitar. A recurring violin embellishes the song’s laidback mood and gives it a touch of Kansas that also shines through on the structure and texture of string layers. Potts’ displays his touching soulful and emotive range, little rough ‘round the edges, with wonderful power hauls from deep below. ,,Dancing in Place” is loaded with bluesy slide guitars and packs a great swing.

Colossal Street Jam rocks out in a way the 70s have rooted in our collective musical memory. Great intensity and musical marksmanship that rouses and scatters with bombast and appeal. The hooks are gigantic, the choruses memorable and nesting, the riffs and organ swirls warm and full of wonder. Atop Potts has the ability to lay down intrinsic appealing vocal melodies with powerful phrasing and dosing the exact amount of grit and gut. The backbone of the songs is astounding, with Halpern’s hammering power and rich fills underneath Flora’s dominant pulsing bass. This powerful foundation is exactly what is needed to orbit the songs into the stratosphere.

Great, GREAT album!!! - Headbanger Lifestyle

"Colossal Street Jam’s Fans, Guitar Rock Purists Alike Will Appreciate Band’s Latest LP"

Five years is a long time for a well-known band to go between new studio recordings. It is an even longer time frame for independent bands that are trying to make names for themselves, but that is just what the independent rock band Colossal Street Jam did when it released its latest studio recording, No Way To Live. Released Friday, it is only the band’s second album behind the band’s 2016 debut album, Live Free and the band’s third album behind the release of the band’s 2018 EP, Take Hold. Colossal Street Jam’s established audiences will agree the 11-song record was worth the wait, as its featured musical arrangements show. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements make for their own interest and will be examined a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of No Way To Live. All things considered, this album proves itself a work that will appeal to guitar rock purists and Colossal Street Jam’s established audiences.

No Way To Live, the sophomore album from independent rock band Colossal Street Jam, is a positive new outing for the band that proves it was worth the wait. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. As with both of the band’s existing records, the arrangements featured in this record throw back to another era of rock, a more creative era. The record’s title track, which also opens the album, immediately exhibits influence from the likes of Deep Purple and Heaven & Earth, what with the pairing of the keyboards and guitars. Front man Gene Potts’ vocal delivery offers an enjoyable subtle sort of 80s rock front man vibe. That is meant in the most respectful fashion possible. The whole makes for such an engaging and entertaining composition.

On a completely different note, the fully instrumental composition that is ‘Morning Light’ completely changes things. Yes, the classic rock influence is just as evident here as at any other point in the record’s 47-minute run time, but it stands so starkly apart from the rest of the arrangements. In listening through the nearly three-minute composition, the almost ethereal opening bars, what with the subtle keyboard line, gives the song an almost Pink Floyd-esque sort of sound and approach. That is just this critic’s interpretation. The subtle, controlled use of the cymbal rolls – performed by drummer Dave Halpern – and equally controlled guitar line from Sal Marra add even more to that sense. It would certainly be interesting to know if in fact the band was trying to emulate Pink Floyd here, because the comparison is inescapable, but in a wholly positive fashion.

On yet another completely different note, a track, such as the record’s penultimate entry, ‘Nothing Like It’ takes listeners in yet another direction, this time in a composition something very similar, stylistically, to works from KISS. That is evidenced through the bombastic, guitar-driven approach and sound featured throughout the arrangement. Right from the song’s outset, the KISS comparison with the pairing of the guitars, vocals and drums. The choral approach taken in the choruses add even more to that sense. The overall arrangement is among the best of the record’s arrangements and is certain to fully engage and entertain audiences. When it is considered along with the other arrangements examined here and with the rest of the album’s musical content, the whole leaves no doubt that the album’s musical content plays a crucial part in the album’s presentation.

As important as the album’s musical arrangements are to its presentation, they are just part of what makes No Way To Live worth hearing. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements make for their own interest. Staying on ‘Nothing Like It,’ it is just one example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. That is because this song’s lyrical content is a full on celebration of rock and roll. Potts and company make no bones about it, either, singing in the song’s chorus, “Turn up the volume/Let’s crank it high/Let’s tear the roof off until the sky/When you feel it coming on/Let me tell you/There’s nothing like rock and roll.” Again, this is just a full-on celebration of rock and roll and the joy that it brings. The rest of the song’s lyrical theme follows in similar fashion, proving this even more. Between that celebratory theme and equally infectious musical arrangement, this song proves even more to be among the best of the album’s best songs.

Changing things up slightly is ‘Look It Here.’ This song is interesting in that it comes across as being one of those songs that centers on the all too familiar topic of relationship troubles. This is inferred as Potts sings, “Look here/What are you trying to tell me/Look here/What it is, I don’t know/It was only yesterday/I was feelin’ so fine/Can’t understand/Why you and I fight.” From here, he continues in the song’s second verse about thinking things were going right, only to get an unpleasant surprise even more so. This is a familiar theme in so many songs across the musical universe. What’s really interesting here is that the theme here takes a new identity thanks to the infectious bluesy groove established in the song’s arrangement. It would have been so easy for the band to go in a more traditionally melancholy direction. Rather than do that all too easy track, the band instead opted to take a different road, and in turn made the moment more of a moment of introspection but not in a negative way. It all makes this theme fully bearable even despite being so familiar. In turn it will resonate all the more with listeners, showing even more the importance of the album’s lyrical content.

‘Before I Sleep Again’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. Right from the song’s outset, Potts sings about the morning’s first light waking him up and looking forward to the start of the day “so I can breath some more/Before I sleep again.” How often can a band or musical act of any kind say it has a song that fully celebrates simply living another day and welcoming each day? This is a theme that is sure to resonate with audiences just as much as the others examined here. When all of these themes are considered together and with the rest of the album’s themes, the whole makes just as clear why it collectively is just as important to this record as the album’s musical content. Together with the musical content, that collective gives audiences all the more reason to hear this record.

As much as the overall content featured in No Way To Live does to make the album engaging and entertaining, it is just part of what makes the record worth hearing. The cord’s production rounds out its most important elements. That is because of its role in the album’s general effect. From song to song, each composition’s instrumentation is expertly balanced to ensure no one member of the band overpowers his band mates. That includes Potts. Even with so much going on in so many of the songs, what with the energy and instrumentation, it would have been easy for the production to allow the songs to get muddied, but thankfully that did not happen. The result is a positive general effect that is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained just as much as the album’s content. All things considered, the production and content featured in No Way To Live makes the album a work that is certain to appeal to Colossal Street Jam’s established audiences and to guitar rock purists alike.

No Way To Live, the latest album from Colossal Street Jam, is a strong new offering from the independent rock band. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements featured here follow a stylistic model established in the band’s 2016 debut album, Live Free while also establishing their own identities. That is done by once again leaning on the band’s classic rock influences. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are just as important to note. That is because of their familiarity and accessibility. In many cases, when those themes pair with the songs’ arrangements, the lyrical themes create a whole new identity that is certain to engage and entertain audiences all the more. The production that went into this record puts the finishing touch to its presentation. It ensures a positive general effect for the album, finishing the record’s production. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, No Way To Live proves itself an early candidate for a spot among this year’s top new independent albums. - Mayhem Rock Star Magazine

"COLOSSAL STREET JAM – No Way To Live (2023) HQ *0dayrox Exclusive*"

COLOSSAL STREET JAM is a 5-piece band based out of Red Bank, NJ, that plays a late ’70s / early ’80s style brand of infectious and melodic rock and roll. The guys have toured with the likes of Deep Purple, Zebra, Kings X, Sebastian Bach, etc, so expect top quality into their music.
Now 2023 Colossal Street Jam are ready to release their brand new album “No Way To Live“, a wonderful slice of classic rock plenty of energy. Mix the gritty, soulful vocals of Gene Potts with the guitar fire of Sal Marra, the pulsing bass of Anthony Flora, the war-hammer drums of Dave Halpern, and the one man festival that is Eric Safka on keys, and you get Colossal Street Jam.
With synergistic reminiscences to the glory days of ‘real rock’ plenty of swagger, this is the type of rock n’ roll we need on the radio.

With “No Way To Live” Colossal Street Jam provide us that ‘Tom Cruise’ moment to get us dancing around the house in our underwear literally saying this is ‘no way to live’. And it isn’t.
But Colossal Street Jam gives us an alternative, however virtual, to rock through this. And it’s brilliant.
Highly Recommended - 0dayrox

"Colossal Street Jam opens for the Winery Dogs and wins new fans"

By Jeff Crespi, Rock At Night New Jersey
Live Review: Colossal Street Jam – Starland Ballroom-February 23, 2023

Colossal Street Jam got to play one of their biggest shows to date in their hometown at Starland Ballroom opening up for The Winery Dogs. They are one badass rock ‘n’ roll out of New Jersey. The Starland Ballroom was packed with a great mix of older and newer fans of some great rock music.

Colossal consists of Gene Potts on vocals, Sal Marra on guitar, Anthony Flora on bass, Eric Safka on keys and David Halpern on drums. In 2019 they went on tour in Europe but due to the pandemic the touring had stopped for 2020. In 2021 they released a new single “No Way to Live” but due to some health issues and the pandemic the full 11 song release was delayed until now. The 11 song CD and vinyl was available at the show and sold like hotcakes. They have since shared the stage with so many great performers like Robbie Krieger of the Doors, Blackberry Smoke, The Black Crowes, Kings X and many more. It’s always so cool when your friends get to play the bigger stages and your there to support. - Rock At Night

"Review: Colossal Street Jam – ‘Living Free’"

A band’s choice of cover versions can usually be a good indicator of what the rest of an album might sound like. So midway through ‘Living Free’, the new album from New Jersey’s Colossal Street Jam, the familiar strains of Frankie Miller’s ‘Be Good To Yourself’ gave me a ‘eureka’ moment. For twenty or so minutes, I had been chewing over who Colossal Street Jam vocalist Gene Potts reminded me of, and then blam! Frankie who? Frankie f*****g Miller, that’s who… as the album sleeve from his ‘70’s compilation proudly exclaimed. Potts has the same powerful, gritty voice that any self respecting blues-rock vocalist had to have in the heady days of Free, Bad Company, The Small Faces, and of course, Scotland’s finest – Frankie Miller. Four starting points for what you might pick up from ‘Living Free’. Mix in some classic New Jersey rock n’ roll, and there you have Colossal Street Jam.

Start with the guitar. The guitar is key. Sal Marra lays down enough cool licks, and makes enough noise during the opening track ‘Won’t Last This Way’, that you end up doubting that there is only one dude playing. Likewise, the strutting guitar sound on the bluesier ‘Skies Above’ is exemplary. In places, the song has a Free ‘Fire And Water’ vibe going on, something that will always grab anyone’s attention. Instead of playing it safe with a by-the-numbers blues-rock standard, they mix it up by changing tempo throughout, and it develops into a full on jam. The rhythms from bassist Tony Flora and Dave Halpern on the skins are quite subliminal. Nothing overly fussy, just clean and precise as they should be, and certainly make their mark. Potts has a warm, natural voice. I can imagine him sitting at the bar… someone shouts “Dude, you’re up”. He finishes his beer, then makes his way on stage. However, the secret weapon is the luscious keyboards of Eric Safka. Dude, you had me at Hammond. Add a Hammond organ to any track, and instantly it rises a level or three. Safka is all over it. Damn, it’s a fine sound. The highlight of the album is the beautiful ‘Songbird’, a great mix of soft acoustic guitar and dreamy electric solos that soar high when they come in. The vocals from Potts are quiet and understated, but the last few moments see him ramp it up, hinting at what’s to come.

The one-two of ‘Hanging Around’ and the aforementioned ‘Be Good To Yourself’ highlight the importance of pacing on an album. The blues rock of ‘Hanging Around’ features some stunning guitar work from Sal Marra, who continues to impress throughout… and then it’s Miller time. ’Be Good To Yourself’ could have been written with today’s turbulent times in mind, but it wasn’t. In the decades since it was released, I have witnessed some pretty bog standard covers, but Potts totally nails it with the same grit, and the same fire in his voice as Frankie himself. This continues into ‘Monday Morning Mass’, which musically, has a Zeppelin thread running through it. ‘I Can’t Take It’ is more funky, whereas ‘Let It Go’ is a cheeky little number with some honky tonk piano from Safka. The band finish the album with a live number, ‘Sweet Little Lady’, recorded at the famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park. It don’t matter a hill of beans if a band can’t cut it live, and this six minute extended jam is proof indeed that these guys can cut the mustard. That Hammond though… Christ, it’s massive!

‘Living Free’ is perfect for those that have a hankering for some classic blues based rock n’ roll. It’s available now, with more information on Facebook.

Review: Dave Stott - Devil's Gate Media - UK

"Colossal Street Jam’s New Release Is Indeed That….Colossal"

New Jersey has been known for producing some great homegrown talent (e.g., Springsteen, Bon Jovi, etc.) and with their latest release Jersey-homegrown band Colossal Street Jam continues that lineage. The band’s most recent effort is entitled Living Free and on it lead singer Gene Potts and crew show why they are one of the mainstays in a highly competitive East Coast music market.

To be clear, Colossal Street Jam is not a newbie to the Jersey rock scene. The band’s origins go back to the early 1990s. Fast forward to Living Free, Potts talked about the writing of the band’s latest album:

The earlier days of CSJ
The earlier days of CSJ

Gene Potts
Gene Potts (photo courtesy of Coucou Photography)
CSJ is comprised of a solid line-up of seasoned Jersey rock veterans. Starting with Potts, he’s simply not your average singer. His voice is distinct. It is edgy. It is also indicative of a singer with some passion….serious passion. As they say in baseball, a lot of guys can throw 90 mph but to get to the major leagues you need more; you have to have movement on your fastball. Potts’ vocals have “movement” and as such, they are major league worthy.

Sal Marra heads up the guitars for CSJ and on Living Free Marra’s style is clear…..crystal, that is. Marra is an intriguing player whose melodic feel is reminiscent of Slash as well as other master shredders. What I liked most about Marra’s playing is that it really fits the music. Coupled with Marra’s mastery of effects which are used oh so appropriately, he really commands the music and on Living Free, he just can’t be missed. The guitar work is outstanding.

Sal Marra (photo courtesy of Coucou photography)
Sal Marra (photo courtesy of Coucou photography)
Rounding out the group is bassist Tony Flora, keyboardist Eric Safka, and rock solid drummer Dave Halpern. CSJ

Flora, though not flashy, works so well in tandem with Halpern that the two become one in an inseparable rhythmic mesh. Together, Flora and Halpern form the critical foundation that allows this band to groove as well as it does. This is the kind of chemistry (sans rhythm guitar) that certain groups like Van Halen–in the Michael Anthony days–could pull off. For CSJ, it’s a very effective style and it works.

Living FreeRounding out the lineup is Jersey’s own Eric Safka, a versatile, well known, and talented keyboardist. Formerly of the Matt O’Ree Band, rather than dazzle with special effects and electronic gimmickry, Safka is pure talent. Safka’s wheelhouse is the live gig and the man is not only a passionate showman but he will also take to a solo as good as anybody.

As a group, CSJ fits like an assembled puzzle. The chemistry of the talent is quite evident on Living Free but, make no mistake about it, in addition to all that, the album contains some really well written songs. (All the songs on the album were written by the band except one). Succinctly, Living Free sports these 11 tracks:

1) Won’t Last This Way (4:40)

2) Skies Above (4:21)

3) Living Free (5:21)

4) Songbird (5:00)

5) Hanging Around (5:24)

6) Be Good To Yourself (3:07)

7) Monday Morning Mass (3:28)

8) I Can’t Take It (3:35)

9) Let It Go (2:55)

10) Runnin’ (4:28), and

11) Sweet Little Lady (live) (5:57).

Won’t Last This Way gets the Living Free party started CSJ style. This track offers a nice rhythm and an excellent use of open space by Halpern and crew. The open space lets Potts’ voice breathe nicely. Here’s a sample of Won’t Last This Way to check out:

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CSJ live (photo courtesy of Jeff Krespi Rocks)
CSJ live (photo courtesy of Jeff Krespi Rocks)
Skies Above follows and here the group shows off their ability to write music. The chorus on this track is very good; in fact, I guess it has the proverbial “hook.” It’s on this tune that you start to realize that this group is more like a national act than a local one. Up next is the title track (Living Free) which features some nice work by both Marra and Safka. Living Free also features some gutsy backing vocals by local crooner Laura Catalina Johnson of Strumberry Pie. Definitely a nice touch.


Songbird follows and the tune is a nice change of pace. This track showpieces a different side of CSJ in terms of dynamics and progressions. I also found this song to be particularly well written. To see what I mean, check out this short clip:

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Hanging Around is next and it shows another side of CSJ with the hint of a blues overtone. Following that is a song which was not written by the band, Be Good To Yourself, but it is a highlight, for sure. The soul on this track is riveting and uplifting. Check out this sample of Be Good To Yourself:

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Monday Morning Mass is next and this was my sleeper pick to be frank. The tune came out of nowhere and my first thought on this track was “man, they sure don’t sound local.” This song is Potts with an edge; here, you can hear the “movement” on the voice. Additionally, Marra’s solo really works well on this track; it is refreshing when a guitarist wins us over with rhythm and melody rather than pure speed and the mastering of rapidly played (and perhaps pointless) mechanical scales. The marriage of Marra’s guitar work on this track with Potts’ vocals is the proverbial “killing it.”

CSJ 4I Can’t Take It is a further exploration in style for the band. Flora really shows on this track how he can hold down a rhythm section with some really nice bass work. Also worthy of mention is Halpern’s ability to punctuate accents with the band. Again, the effectiveness of the CSJ rhythm section cannot be understated; Messrs. Flora and Halpern are the musical table setters that support strong vocals and guitar and for CSJ, that’s a winning combination. I have to admit that Let It Go, the next song on the album, is a real interesting track. Sung by guitarist Sal Marra (who is endorsed by Oriolo Guitars) the track is a nice retreat for CSJ to a different style much like when Led Zeppelin neatly snuck into Hot Dog on In Through The Out Door. Runnin’–the final studio track on the album–is sometimes the spot on an album where quality starts to fade however, that’s not the case on Living Free. Marra’s guitar work is really good on this one. In fact, Marra’s style and feel is so good that he almost could completely dispense with a lead part and the song would still work. CSJ 5

The final track on the record was recorded live at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park which is arguably the unofficial launching site for icons Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Sweet Little Lady pretty much states what must be an almost obvious conclusion to most listeners; that is, that this band is great live.

CSJ at The Stone Pony
CSJ at The Stone Pony
Frankly, Living Free was really a pleasure to review. I have to admit that I don’t know the members of the band but I would like to after hearing this record. These are some very talented musicians who have surrounded themselves with individual and collective styles that go round and round much like a trending carousel. The songs on this record are well written and well executed and again, although they were introduced to me as “local” band, I think they are much more than that.

This is the kind of group that I would like to see more of beyond this record. Their material is that good and if I was in management, I would not lose their number. Momma always said “go big” and Peter Gabriel even sung of the “big time.” Well, these guys did better than that. They went Colossal. Check them out peeps, you won’t be disappointed. - Beato's Blog

"Colossal Street Jam bringing soul back to the rock industry...."

Colossal Street Jam is 70’s blues jamming with a grungy overtone. Living Free brings vocal runs and a good attitude with soulful riffs and groovy beats.

Take “Won’t Last This Way,” where you’ll beg for the sway to stay. Drum-led play-offs with string-climbing chords drop the tempo to the organ’s choir stride in “Skies Above.”

Blues is the essence of this album while a soundtrack-styled “Living Free” dances with a rock-lovin’ organ. Then, “Songbird” drifts in as a master ballad. The wonder of this track is in the unrushed devotion. It holds you in the languished rhythm and settles into the pocket.

“Hanging Around” brings back the beat and drops you off at the high-spirited ace cover of “Be Good to Yourself;” my favorite on the record. From “Monday Morning Mass,” that dwells in a far-out jive, to the sexy desperation of “I Can’t Take It,” Colossal Street Jam are audio-Casanovas. They sing “Let it Go,” but if those keys keep that swing, I’m holding on tightly. Calm down, it’s not the Disney track.

I dig it. “Runnin'” is a roadtrip maker, an adventure peddler, a ‘get moving’ jive. Then, Colossal Street Jam delivers the live sounds of “Sweet Little Lady,” and I immediately understand the hold-on antics of the mysterious woman they name-drop in the track. I feel you, girl. I’m on the edge of crazy in response to those vocals too.

Colossal Street Jam has brought soul to rock industry with Living Free, and they do it better than anyone else. - Shockwave Magazine

"Colossal Street Jam with Keith Roth"

Gene sits down with friend and XM Sirius host Keith Roth to speak about the new Colossal Street Jam release. - Keith Roth's Electric Ballroom

"Colossal Street Jam Find Their Groove with ‘Living Free’"

An Interview With Colossal Street Jam: Colossal Street Jam Find Their Groove with ‘Living Free’
—by Jessica Guica, April 26, 2017

In this competitive music scene of ours, certain criteria determine which bands will endure. One element is, of course, exceptional musical ability while another is a bit more nebulous, felt rather than seen or heard. Synergy—that symbiotic relationship between the band and the audience—is difficult to quantify. Some call it a “vibe”. Regardless, it is necessary for a band’s survival. If they don’t feel it, then we don’t feel it. If you’ve been around long enough to see the reappearance of certain bands from “back in the day”, you may have noticed their longevity can be attributed to their combination of these elements. And, they always seem to be having a damn good time. Colossal Street Jam is one of those bands. Currently tearing through the scene with renewed energy, a new sense of purpose, and a band of musicians that, together, have found their groove, Colossal Street Jam is back and better than ever. Their electrified new album embodies its name, Living Free, and offers up a satisfying variety of sounds and styles.

Originally from Philly, Gene Potts, vocalist for CSJ, made his way through many bands and incarnations of CSJ. His father’s musical influence, along with artists such as Grand Funk Railroad and Prince, instilled a love of music and artistry that is infused within his strong vocals. Known for their “melodic” tunes, CSJ achieve what they do with players who are experimental, expressive and stylistically varied. As heard on Living Free and certainly live, the band is musically diverse, each adding their own style to the dynamic—Sal Marra’s precise guitar playing, Tony Flora’s steady and soulful bass lines, Dave Halpern’s versatile percussion and Eric Safka’s relentless experimentation on the Hammond B3 results in jams that are inevitably…colossal.

Here, Potts talks of the band as family and how that cohesiveness translates into their music. Individuals elevate the whole. As the band plays locally and in or around the trifecta of Jersey, New York and Philly, CSJ represent the spirit of the jam by bringing various fellow musicians on stage. Whether it’s the Teak Rooftop or the Oriolo Guitars Showcase at the House Of Independents, a night with CSJ isn’t just a night of funky, rockin’ tunes, it’s an opportunity to witness community. Often, the band will invite local fellow musicians to join them. This is evident even during the production of Living Free when they invited Laura Catalina Johnson from Strumberry Pie to add her beautiful vocal inflections on the title track. CSJ is open to adding variables that will enhance the song, proving how synergistic collaboration is truly the strength of any jam.

Your dad was a musician, and you grew up in Philly, right? How did that inform your music?

Yeah, my dad was a huge influence on me musically either from just listening to the music that he listened to…a lot of the classic rock type stuff like Grand Funk Railroad which was really my biggest influence. Mark Farner, the singer from Grand Funk Railroad, was—I guess you could call it—my idol. My dad used to listen to Grand Funk when I was younger and a lot of Frank Zappa and also a lot of Motown. There’s definitely a side of me that loves R&B and blues and soul music.

And, you’re a Prince fan?

I’m a huge Prince fan. I have pretty much everything he’s ever released. He was just a huge influence on me—vocally you don’t hear it, but that style of music and the musicianship that he surrounded himself with is a big part of what I love musically. It was such a big hit for me when he passed away. I’m still very upset about it. I listen to Prince probably daily. There will be a record I’ll pick out and listen to on YouTube, on my phone or whatever every day.

You guys are multifaceted musicians in that you experiment and each have side projects…

We try to be diverse. That’s our whole thing. We have that running theme of the ’70s classic rock music, but we still try to be very diverse. That’s where the name came from—Colossal Street Jam. We all enjoy different types of music. We’re all influenced by different types of music, but when we all come together, it works.

So there is a story or anecdote behind who suggested the name…

John DiMaggio, who is a voiceover actor—he is the voice of Bender on Futurama, one of the penguins of Madagascar. He’s on every video game…done so many different things. He even had his own movie called I Know That Voice. When we were younger, Sal and John were very close friends, and John was around us a lot. He had heard us for the first time after we had been together a short period of time, and his quote was, “You guys are like one big colossal street jam.” So Sal was like, “That’s it! That’s the name.” And that’s where it came from.

Will you be debuting some new music—not on Living Free—at the House of Independents?
Yes, we’re not sitting on this record. It only came out in November, and we’re already writing and getting ready to go back into the studio. We’re going to try and put something out at the end of the year. If we can pull off a record a year, we’re going to do it. We’re really enjoying playing together, and it’s really clicked now that the five of us are together—really a band—we’re writing together. The first record was written by Sal, Tony and I with Dave coming in later on, and we finished the record with Dave, but now that Eric’s in the band—with the five of us writing together—the stuff we’re coming up with is crazy. I’m beyond excited with what’s going on here. Even last night at rehearsal we decided we’re definitely going to play some of the newer stuff, one or two songs. We’re not sure yet, but we know we will be playing new music that night for sure that no one has ever heard. We’re not letting anybody hear it. Before, we would bounce stuff off people…but we are not playing this until that night.

How is this incarnation of Colossal different from the past?

I think we’re older, smarter…wiser, and we’ve all been through so many different bands. We’ve put our time in…whether it be a cover band or whatever. We’ve all done so many live performances—I’ve done 175 to 200 shows a year every year. In the old days of Colossal, we played maybe once a month, twice a month if we were lucky, and none of us were doing any kind of side projects. Now, through time, we’ve learned to work together better. We’ve been friends forever. With the addition of Dave—Sal and I have known Dave for a long time—and with Eric—Eric has become, quickly just one of us. Eric has been playing with us for a while live maybe a year or so. Now, putting that time in together, doing the shows, rehearsing together, it has just become more cohesive. It’s a family atmosphere. We’re all brothers, and we just work well together. We play well together (laughs). Nobody’s fighting. Nobody’s arguing. If somebody has something that is on their mind, they speak up, and nobody gets upset. We all just listen to what they have to say…and it works.

Are there certain songs you change up live or approach differently?

There are a few songs in the live shows that we leave the solo parts and the ending parts open. We just did the video for the song “I Can’t Take It”. It should be out soon, we’re just waiting for the final edit. That song is a four-minute song, but live it could go anywhere from seven, eight, nine minutes, because Sal will solo, and Eric will take a solo, and it will build. If they are working off one another then we will just roll with it, and we feel it. Everybody knows where we’re going, and the end of that song could go on forever. It’s dynamic. Tony and Dave are working together while those guys are taking their solo parts, everyone is working in unison. So there are one or two songs that we leave open-ended where they play off one another and see what it turns into. None of us are held back…we don’t go off on a wild tangent or anything…we stay inside the song. I think it all works well. We’re all very respectful of one another, and I think in the old days, that was the problem where some guys just felt that their ideas should be in the forefront or maybe they felt they weren’t being listened to. Nowadays, that doesn’t happen. We’re all mature. We’re all seasoned musicians, and I think that helps in every aspect whether it be songwriting or live performances or even me talking to you—the guys have no problems with me doing this, and they’re not involved—nobody really has any issues with it. Sal and I usually go out and do the radio interviews, and the guys don’t care. They know that we have the best interest of the band in mind, and they respect us, and we respect them. We’d never say anything to ever make anyone feel like they’re not a big part of what we do.

There is a lot of trust then…

If we had this when we were younger, who knows what would have happened? We had so many things going on. I just think it was all like a tornado. Everything was coming at us every which way, and everybody handled it a different way. It didn’t mesh, and it just ended. Well, it really didn’t end, it was kinda, “Yeah, we’re not doing this anymore.” One guy wanted to do it, and another guy was like, “Eh, I’m not going to rehearsal.” It kind of just faded away. Now, it’s crazy what’s gone on in the past year and a half, especially since we put this record out. We did this for ourselves. We put this record out for ourselves. Yeah, we wanted people to hear, but we didn’t think that all these local radio stations were going to pick it up. We’re getting emails and calls for shows all over the place whether it be in this state or other states…other radio stations are picking it up out-of-state. Also, internationally we’ve got 10,000 spins right now. It’s amazing. We could never have done that years ago. For one, there wasn’t social media back then, and I think we just didn’t have the right plan in place, and, now, we do. I love the record, of course, I do, but it seems like everybody else does, too.

A lot of these songs have the components of hit singles such as “Won’t Last This Way”…

That is the one that has been picked up the most, that one and “Songbird”. The other ones, “Skies Above” and “I Can’t Take It” are starting to get some legs now, too, which is great.

You have a live track on the CD…How was the decision to do that?

We had another tune we were thinking about putting on there, and what ended up happening was Brett Smith from The Stone Pony had recorded us when we played with Gov’t Mule and Blackberry Smoke on the Summerstage. He said, “You’ve got to listen to this live recording. It’s crystal clear. It’s amazing. I did several mixes from the board—one from the stage, and one from the house.” When I heard it, I was like, “I’ve got to bring this to the guys.” And I brought it to the guys and said, “What about putting this on the record?” Sal is always big on live…if we could put a live song on every record, I think he would. He heard it and said, “We’ve got to put this on the record.” We all agreed. We brought it to our engineer/producer, Tony Tee Lewis. He took it, brought the levels up here and there, and we used. It’s had a good response. That’s really one of the first times Eric played with us, on that track. His playing is crazy on that. I wish we had a video. That show was insane.

Tell me about this show at the House Of Independents on the 28th…

I am so thrilled to have Kenny Dubman debuting his band that night. His record is amazing. Ken Dubman was the guitar player for Prophet and for Edgar Cayce. His new record, Reckless Abandon, is ridiculous. It’s so good. He put a record out a year ago and finally decided to get a band together to play it out live. This is the first show that they’re doing. And Frankenstein 3000. Keith Roth and I have been friends forever. I am so glad they’ll be playing with us that night, too, and Pete Marshall from Iggy Pop’s band. And Bitter Crush—Lou Vito was with the Whirling Dervishes. That’s his new band, and he also works for Oriolo Guitars. He’s the one who saw Sal play and said, “I’ve got to have this guy on our roster.” And that’s how we became friends with him and asked if they wanted to open the show.

Sal’s original guitar teacher is going to do a song with us at the end of the night. We’ve got some special guests coming on…we’re still working on that. It’s going to be a great night. And it’s hosted by Ryan Maher who is on SiriusXM, MTV, Artie Lange… He’s an awesome comedian and a good friend of mine. He’s going to emcee the night, so he’ll maybe start off with some stand-up and then, in between each band, he’ll chat with the crowd and get everybody fired up…that should be great, too.

Seems you guys are constantly collaborating, keeping it fresh, and the fans appreciate that …

It’s fun. A lot of the local musicians we get to come out and play with us. And it’s exciting for us because we’re learning songs for them. Kenny played at Teak with us, and he played one of his originals. We learned it for him. It’s a family atmosphere, even with other bands, musicians, and that’s the way it used to be when we first started. All the bands were friends. We were all playing shows together. There was no competition, just friendly competition. I think it’s coming back now…bands are uniting a bit more, but there was a brief time during the early 2000s when there wasn’t that…family. I think the resurgence of Asbury Park has helped. So I’m happy to be in the scene and back out playing no matter how old we are, we’re just going to keep going.

Can you tell me how you came up with the lyrics for “Skies Above”?

Yeah, the guys had written the music for “Skies Above”, and I was struggling with the lyrics. When Sal writes his guitar parts, he always has a melody in mind. He had come to rehearsal and said, “Here’s the riff.” That’s how it started. So he and the guys built a song. I was humming along…didn’t have anything set. He had a chorus in mind, no words—he just sang the melody to me. So these guys had the song pretty tight over a two- or three-week period. I was still struggling. I don’t know what was going on. It was like a mental block. I was having a hard time writing the lyrics for this song.

So I was at work—I’m a network engineer—and I see a guy, a friend of mine, at lunch looking upset. I go over and start talking to him. He tells me about how his marriage is falling apart. I’m listening to him, and he’s saying, “Every night it’s like I’m kicking, screaming, crying, fighting to just get this woman to listen to me, you know?” So that’s how the song begins, “Kicking, screaming, crying…why should anyone live this way?” and my lyrics for this song are almost a carbon copy of the conversation that we had. While I find out his wife is doing all these things, by the end of the conversation he tells me how he’s cheating on his wife. So, it was just this idea of here are these people, they’re supposed to be in love, and it’s dark. It’s like a dark love song. In my mind it was…first verse, this is what he’s going through, second verse, this is what she’s going through, and the chorus is, “They shed a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears…their love is darker than the skies above”, and that’s where the song came from. I went back to my desk, and in five minutes that song was done.

The last two songs that were recorded were “Skies Above” and “Let It Go” which is the song that Sal sings. You can listen to that song and understand who he is. It’s great. He wanted to sing it. And some of the newer stuff, Sal and I do co-vocals on. Sal and I have always harmonized so well together that it’s like we breathe together when we sing. Now, we’re starting to incorporate some of that not just in the choruses but in the verses. You’ll see in a lot of the newer tunes that there is going to be some co-vocals. There is going to be maybe I sing a verse, he sings a verse.

Sounds like the next album will be quite a bit different from this one…

Well, we’re influenced by Grand Funk… Grand Funk did that. We’re not doing it purposely, it’s just what is coming out. We’ve got this new one that we’re definitely going to play at the House Of Independents…the musicianship on this…the runs these guys are doing in between the vocals is just crazy. I’m really excited to record it. I’m also excited to play it, but I’m psyched that we have this plan in place where we’re going to try to put something out by November. We put this one out November 12th, and, hopefully, by next November 12th we’ll have something out.

At the end of the day, no matter what is going on, we did this for us. In the old days, we did this to be famous, to make money, and to be rockstars. Now, we’re doing this for us, and I think that’s why it’s working. - Aquarian Weekly

"Colossal Street Jam Takin’ it to the Roof With Their first CD in 20 Years!"

Gene Potts was a talented 13-year old when I met him. I could see he had the makings of a fine singer. Gene was dedicated to his lessons, grew confident, and by age 19 he was lead singer in a band we know today as Colossal Street Jam.

I hadn’t seen Gene for 20 or so years, when in 2015, another student of mine told me she sometimes sat in with his band. That was the beginning of our re-connection. When I finally got to see the band live in 2016, I was blown away. The band was a cut above so many others, and Gene had become the exceptional singer whose promise I saw at age 13. I believe his achievement was due more to his musical genes (his dad is a gospel singer) and his own dedication than to anything I did.

CSJ’s bio describes the five-piece band’s sound as infectious and melodic rock n roll. What I heard was performances by real artists who communicate with each other so well, that it’s at a level I call “oneness.” And, by the way, I make no distinction between singers and other instrumentalists as musicians.

Here are just some of the originals on the 11-track CD Living Free and what I like about them:

“Won’t Last This Way” is the opening stunner, and sets the tone for a powerhouse experience. Gene introduces an attractive vocal attitude with just enough grittiness. I like that he has such a command of his instrument that allows him to be a versatile singer---should he choose to be. In this song, the tight unison and harmony in the recurring riffs by guitarist Sal Marra and bassist Tony Flora become the distinctive sound of a “dynamic duo.” Marra uses a fat effect here and on several of the tracks that feels to me like a big, warm blanket wrapping around me. And with the solid punctuation by drummer Dave Halpern, this track becomes hypnotic.

The title track “Living Free” is a beautifully crafted song, with a catchy hook, and vocal harmonies that grow even more lush in a closing vamp with Laura Catalina Johnson’s voice soaring in face belt asides. How do you end a song that has built to such an emotional pitch? You don’t. You just sustain the feeling for a moment or two as it marches past you in gentle fade.

“Songbird,” a love song, has a gentle acoustic guitar intro that is repeated by Marra before each verse. Here, is a more intimate vocal by Gene that reveals his versatility. His emotional vocal climax is executed perfectly.

“Hanging Around” features a few bars of one of the several guitar textures Marra delivers on this disc. I wanted to hear more of it…but then, it’s not a good idea to overdo a good thing, and the seasoned Marra knows that. It’s that sense of good taste one hears from grown-up players that makes a band so good and so interesting to hear. Tasteful performance is the final stage of an artist’s development. There’s a challenge for the listener in this song…like…am I feeling some time changes here…or are they just suggesting or pretending? These are accomplished players capable of raising the bar for listeners.

This is good song-writing and good production. All the songs on Living Free feel different. The varied “feel” and tempos had me looking forward to what I would hear in each subsequent track. I was so into the bluesy “Be Good to Yourself” that it seemed a short performance by guys long on blues chops. You know---how when you’re enjoying yourself, time seems to race by.

“I Can’t Take It” treated me to the Hammond B3 sound I love, and played by Eric Safka. Here, too, is that driving, interesting bass line with novel, rhythmic vocal and instrumental action. I love the musical surprises here and the jazzy chord changes.

“Let It Go” begins with a spoofy Wolfman Jack, then Marra’s vocal on a fun country two-step with tickling guitar and piano interplay. Really, really fun. I didn’t want it to end!

“Sweet Little Lady” the final track, was recorded live at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony. You’ll hear killer solos from all the players. This is the strong, mutual climax a band and it’s live audience wants to feel when the evening wraps up.

You can see Colossal Street Jam on March 22, as they open the new Teak Roof Top, the addition to the Teak Restaurant, at 64 Monmouth St., Red Bank. And upcoming, they’ll be at 10th Avenue Live, Kenilworth, April 1st; House of Independents, Asbury Park, April 28th; and the Jersey Shore Music Festival 2017, Seaside Heights on May 21st. They’re a busy crew, so check out the rest of their schedule at

The CD is available at their gigs; at ; on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and Google Music and can be ordered from the website. - New Jersey Stage Magazine

"Colossal Street Jam wins Australian Internet Radio Album of the Year!"

EP of the Year

​​Album of the Year:
LIVING FREE by Colossal Street Jam

Group of the Year
BABELONIA by Sonar Lights

​PRODUCER of the Year
Producers: COAX, Nathen Cross, Gordon Mills, James Birt & Neil Elliott
Type: Contemporary - Country: UK

​VIDEO of the Year
Artist: Superturtle - Video: - The Industry
Type: PUNK - Country: New Zealand

BACKSEAT LOVER by Black Bone Nation

​SINGLE(s) of the Year per Category
Blues: Motor City Women by Shawn Adam Williams

Country: JIMMY by Manitoba Rock n Rolla

Contemporary: Where Do You Go Now? by The Groovebirds
Link: - USA

Electronica: Cross & Tattoo by Smoke from all The Friction
Link: - USA

Metal: THE LAST TIME by Wild Mighty Freaks
Link: - France

Punk: HARLOT by The Maxwells
Link: - Canada

Rock / Hardrock: BACKSEAT LOVER by Black Bone Nation
​ - Banks Radio

"Makin Waves with Colossal Street Jam: ‘Beyond Happy to be Back’"

Makin Waves with Colossal Street Jam: ‘Beyond Happy to be Back’
Bob Makin Columns January 11, 2023
Cancer sucks! COVID sucks! However, overcoming both to release the best record of your band’s 33-year career is glorious.

That’s the story of Colossal Street Jam, whose forthcoming No Way to Live LP was produced not only in the face of COVID but also co-founding guitarist Sal Marra beating cancer’s ass!

And then there were health problems for co-founding vocalist Gene Potts and burnout in dealing with it all for the five band mates: also co-founding bassist Tony Flora, keyboardist Eric Safka, and drummer Dave Halpern.

Yet in spite of and through it all, Colossal made a record of which they and the entire New Jersey music scene can be proud. Their first release in four years will feature 11 tracks produced and engineered by Tony Lewis of HiVoltage Music. The rich songs not only make for the veteran’s band best album but also its most diverse ranging from straight-up rhythm & blues to psychedelic jams to a signature classic-rock sound inspired by Grand Funk Railroad and Deep Purple.

The new music features guest appearances by Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, Lenny Kravitz, John Waite), violinist Lorenza Ponce (Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Hall & Oates), Mad Men Horns of Grevenbicht, Netherlands, and soul singer Desiree Spinks of the Asbury Park-based band Des & The Swagmatics. Anthony Krizan Band and Des & the Swagmatics will help celebrate No Way to Live on the bill of a record release party on February 10 at the legendary Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. The album release also coincides with a show on February 25 at The Dunellen Theatre also with Anthony Krizan Band, as well as Resurrextion.

No Way to Live will be available on vinyl, CD, and all music streaming platforms and will be supported with a soon-to-be-announced tour, including another trek to Europe for Colossal. Enjoy the following chat with Gene and Sal about the band’s perseverance, upcoming party, and other plans.

When and how did Dave and Eric join original members – Gene, Sal, and Tony – in the band?

Gene: Both Dave and Eric joined around 2016. Eric was just leaving another band and had sat in with us several times and was a perfect fit. Eric’s energy matches Sal’s on stage; it definitely makes for great live shows. His creativity adds to what we do, making it more thick sounding and edgy.

Sal: Gene and I have known Dave for a long time, we had played together in different projects. We needed an emergency sub drummer for a Stone Pony show, and Dave was able to fill in with five days’ notice like he knew the songs for years. He wanted to stay and we wanted him to. He’s the Pro’s Pro.

How and why is No Way to Live a reference to the hardships the band has endured while making the album?

Gene: What’s funny is the song “No Way to Live”was written before anything really went south. The lyrics matched the time that was about to confront us, and then the whole album kind of took that theme. We wrote about anxiety, depression, the state of people’s well-being, relationships when you’re stuck together, and also the effect of social media and media on our lives. It is not a concept album, but it kind of took that shape. I am beyond proud of what we have written. It’s timely, and it just feels like our best work, lyrically and musically.

Sal: Starting with the pandemic, then the personal health scares, the topics of interest became clear pretty quick. It was hard to think of anything else while in the eye of the storm. Songwriting has and always will be the great escape for artists – a sort of therapy, if I may say.


A person playing a guitar

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Sal of Colossal Street Jam / Photo by Penny Charles

The greatest of those hardships was Sal beating cancer. How does it feel to be and have him back in the band?

Gene: I am overjoyed. Sal and I have been friends or played music together for over 30 years. I was heartbroken when he broke the news to us, but I also knew he was a fighter and would beat it.

Sal: While being treated for cancer, I had a lot of time to reflect. In doing so, I made some real internal changes with myself… and did a lot of writing. Beyond happy to be back!

In overcoming cancer, COVID and its cancel culture, other medical issues, and tour cancellations, how does it feel to have this album finally coming out?

Gene: It’s a relief! We have been sitting on this for so long. It felt like we were never going to get it out. It did allow us time to get everything the way we wanted it. We are very excited to share it with everyone.

Sal: Overjoyed is as close as I can get to a word in describing the feeling of the release.

How are you going to celebrate its release?

Gene: We have two shows – the first on February 10, our official release date, at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. The second show will be at The Dunellen Theatre with Anthony Krizan Band and our good friends Resurrextion on February 25. We will also release vinyl for the first time for these shows, as well.

Who’s sharing the bill at The Wonder Bar?

Sal: Very excited to have The Anthony Krizan Band and Des & The Swagmatics joining us. We love both bands. It’s an honor to have them joining us and being part of this special night.

Anything else about the Wonder Bar show you’d like to share?

Sal: We will have a ton of new merch that night, and will play the new album in its entirety while [adding] in a few of the older tunes.

Gene: We also have legendary L’Amour DJ Alex Kayne spinning all night – super excited about this as I practically lived in L’Amour as a teenager. Alex is awesome and offered up his services once he saw we were doing the show. We want to thank Kyle Brendle and Debbie DeLisa for helping us put this night together. It’s an honor to play a legendary place like The Wonder Bar.

Besides Dunellen Theatre, do you have any other shows and/or tour plans you would like to announce?

Gene: We are building some small tours and hopefully getting back to Europe sooner than later. It’s been a huge disappointment not being able to get back there. We are hoping to make some show announcements by the end of January. We are working on a lot and also have been in talks with a few booking agencies for national act shows.

How and why is No Way to Live different from your previous albums?

Gene: NWTL was practically written in the studio. We had never done that before. Not being able to go out and play the songs we were writing was difficult, but we were able to get together weekly and build the songs together. We also had our sixth member, Tony Lewis, our engineer and producer, lend his ideas in a bigger way than before. It was just a family effort. As we are rehearsing now for the upcoming shows, the songs are also taking life, and it feels good. I am sure we will change some stuff as we continue to play them. I am beyond proud of this record and how we were able to do it through a very challenging time.

Sal: In the past, we usually played the songs live for a few gigs to reflect on the direction, the arrangements. This batch of songs was really completed without live playing influencing them.


A group of people sitting at a table with drinks

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Photo by Roland Smeets

What did you like most about working with special guests Anthony Krizan, Lorenza Ponce, Desiree Spinks, and Mad Men Horns of Grevenbicht?

Sal: Each lend a different feel and sound to the songs.

Gene: Anthony is a master songwriter and killer player. Lorenza Ponce is a legend. She’s played violin with so many of the acts we love. What a professional! She came in and knocked out her parts in no time and is just a sweet person. Des is soul personified! Her voice is like butter; beyond excited to have her on the release. Mad Men are our friends from the Netherlands. They back the Supremes and Temptations in Europe; just masters of the horn section, and its awesome that they used a five-piece section for the song they played on. It’s also cool that they recorded it in Grevenbicht.

What did they bring to the album that wouldn’t be there without them?

Gene: They all brought what they are influenced by, and it really meshed with our sound. Made the album even more diverse. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. The main thing that we got out of everyone was top-notch performances, couldn’t be happier, and we appreciate all of them for being part of the release.

Sal: Having these talented and wonderful artists play on the record allowed me to realize the future potential of this project.

Anthony filled in for Sal a couple of times and you go back with him a long way within the music scene, but how and why did you hook up with Lorenza, Des, and especially Mad Men Horns?

Gene: Lorenza came to us from a mutual friend, Tony Perruso, who plays with Anthony. We had an idea while Sal was recuperating to add violin/viola to a song. I gave her a call and she came in and recorded within two weeks. Des works with Tony Lewis at times, and when we decided that we needed soulful female vocals on a song, he said there’s no other choice then Des. Looking forward to playing with her band on February 10! Mad Men is run by Roland Smeets, who is also our agent in Europe. He’s a tremendous trumpet player and good friend. He put together the horn section and the studio time and made it happen for us. They are also on the same song as Des, so it adds to the diversity of the album. Nice to have a good R&B soul tune on one of our records with these killer players.

Did the band write the songs they appear on with them in mind?

Sal: We didn’t, but we knew what we wanted for special guests on the songs, and they all crushed it. We have nothing but gratitude and love for all of them on making our album that much better.

What did you like most about working with Tony Lewis and why?

Gene: He’s family. He works us hard, never lets us settle. He’s got a great ear and also an unbelievable way to make a song that much better. He’s a great producer, not just engineer. When we leave the studio, the work doesn’t stop. He’s always thinking about what we can add to make a song better and will message us ideas to try. He also knows the music business really well and guides us when he thinks we are jumping the gun on things. We love him.

Sal: Tony is the sixth member of the band, period. He knows just how to get the best out of each one of us without losing the initial tendencies intended.

Had you worked with him before?

Gene: Dave introduced us to Tony in 2016. We recorded Living Free in 2016 and also Just Take Hold in 2018 with him.


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You turned fans onto the LP in a really fun way with a listening party that turned the LP into a laser light show at Ocean County College’s Robert J. Novins Planetarium. What impact did that night have on the band, the album and your fans?

Gene: We got to be there when people were hearing the new music for the first time. It was pretty exciting, we got to get everyone’s ideas on what the new single should be, we never had that input before. It was really great for the band to hear the responses after all this time of creating the album through the delays. It reminded me of going to see Laser Pink Floyd at the Trenton Planetarium… so happy we were able to pull it off. The Novin’s Planetarium did a great job.

After 33 years on and off in the face of all the typical obstacles, plus the aforementioned extra ones the band personally had to endure, what is about playing in an original independent band that keeps Colossal Street Jam keepin’ on?

Gene: We are family. I think that’s the best explanation. We are great friends who love making music together. When we hit the stage, it just feels right. When Dave and Eric came in, it felt like they were with us forever. This local scene is very hard to navigate. Some bands are held in high regard, some others are ignored. I think we fit somewhere in between. We have a great fan base that supports us, and we appreciate it, so that is what keeps us moving forward. We look forward to taking that next step to continue moving out of the area and breaking new ground.

Sal: Nobody – and I mean nobody – could break the bond and love in this band. In these quite challenging times we live in, its these emotions we share that keep us moving forward always.

Is there a song on the album that sums up and/or was inspired by that perseverance?

Gene: Not one song, per say. I think the whole album is a testament to our perseverance: two cancer fights, a pandemic, tour cancellations, writing and recording when everything was shut down. We just wanted to get this done and complete it. At the end of the day, you want to leave something behind that you are proud of.

Is there anything I didn’t ask on which you would like to comment?

Gene: We are far from done, I can tell you that. I also want to thank Anthony Flora (Tony’s son), who played percussion tracks on the album as well. He is part of the future of this scene and music. He’s the boy wonder. Kid is a monster drummer. We also signed with Tag Publicity out of Iowa to do all of our publicity. We are about to sign with a radio promoter, as well. We will continue to move forward with local and tri-state area shows while we are looking to hit the road late spring/early summer. We will also be scheduling another European tour as soon as possible. We thank everyone for their continuous support. I’d like to especially thank you for all of the years of support. Makin Waves has definitely helped us grow over the years with all the publicity and promo. We love [you], brother!

Sal: First, I would like to thank [you], Bob, for always being supportive and interested in our endeavors. We go back quite a-ways and that is special to me. Our friends/fans as well have had our backs time and time again. Without them, we go nowhere. - Makin Waves


No Way To Live
Released March 1st 2023

Just Take Hold (EP)
Released November 2018

Living Free
Released November 12th, 2016



It’s once been said that all roads lead to home… 

That’s precisely where this long-time band of brothers & creative soulmates found themselves, when their well-traveled, musical roads converged. 

It was at this poignant juncture that COLOSSAL STREET JAM was born. 

One may define their electrifying synergy as the cosmic melding & explosive concoction of abstract minds, unique talent, inherent soul, and tireless passion for their beloved craft. 

Having a deep & mutual admiration for one another, as well as having tremendous respect for their many, and diverse collective influences, who helped shape their gritty, melodic, psychedelically tinged hard rock stylings, each member truly brings their own individuality, and nuance to the mix. 

An eclectic potpourri for the senses, CSJ ultimately, and seamlessly fuse their independent ideas to deliver a singular vision & signature sound that can easily be coined as “New Classic Rock” for the ages. 

This hard-driving, 70’s inspired, 5-piece ensemble is comprised of Gene Potts (vocals)… Sal Marra (guitar/vocals)… Tony Flora (bass)… Dave Halpern (drums)… and Eric Safka (keys). 

With their roots firmly planted and their musical heritage tightly in place, CSJ has long been an integral part the legendary Asbury Park, NJ music scene. 

Always proud to honor these roots, and the place that gave them their start, the band forever carries with them that feeling of tradition, and heart that has endeared them to growing audiences both nationally and internationally. 

In 2016, the band’s release, “Living Free”, was met with critical acclaim and worldwide press. 

The albums single, “Songbird” received extensive radio airplay both locally, and globally. 

In 2018, that same record won an award for Australian Indie Album Of The Year For Internet Radio. 

It subsequently remained on the Indie charts, Down Under, for 6 months. 

Later that year, in November of 2018, CSJ released their follow up album, “Just Take Hold”… 

Once again, they were greeted with extensive Indie and College radio airplay for that record’s namesake single, “Just Take Hold”, as well as for their cover version of the Sugarloaf classic, “Green Eyed Lady”. 

In May and December of 2019, CSJ completed two successful European tours, which journeyed them throughout The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. 

As the world paused for the next couple years, due to the global pandemic, CSJ was still hard at work on their next creative endeavor. 

In 2021, they released a new single, “No Way To Live”… 

Just as before, they garnered massive airplay, both locally and overseas. 

On March 1st, 2023, the long awaited full length, 11- song album, which was on hold, due to that state of the world was finally released. 

Baring the same name, as that previous single, this record triggered the launch of a full-scale publicity campaign, along with upcoming shows in both the US and Europe. 

COLOSSAL STREET JAM has shared stages nationwide with the likes of Mark Farner, of Grand Funk RailroadRobbie Krieger of The Doors, The Black Crowes, Kings X, Stone Temple Pilots, Rival Suns, Blackberry Smoke, The Drive By Truckers, The Hold Steady, Gov’t Mule, Johnny Winter, Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson, Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Morse, Zebra, Deep Purple, Leslie West, Clarence Clemons, and countless others. 

Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Winery Dogs) – “Loved Them!!!” 

Keith Roth (Sirius XM/95.9 WRAT) – “No Way To Live, Colossal Street Jam’s Quintessential Record!!!  The playing, songs, arrangements… Top notch!!!  The band brought their A Game to these sessions!!! 

Makin’ Waves (Aquarian Weekly, NJ)- “The rich songs not only make for the veteran’s band best album, but also it’s most diverse ranging from straight-up rhythm & blues to psychedelic jams to signature classic-rock sound” 

Melodic.Net (Sweden) – “Colossal Street Jam belong just fine in the classic rock revival with bands like Rival Sons, Greta Van Fleet, White Reaper, and The Answer” 

Asbury Park Vibes (NJ) – “Colossal Street Jam, “CSJ” is a true American Rock and Roll band.” 

Mayhem Rockstar Magazine/Phil’s Picks (NC) – “All things considered, No Way To Live proves itself an early candidate for a spot among this year’s top new independent albums.”

Band Members