Fake Frank, a self-proclaimed “eclectic alternative and retro-vibe” indie band from Rockville Centre, has embarked on its first tour this summer. The three village natives and their friend are performing songs from their debut self-titled album that they released in March in venues around the Northeast.
Fake Frank includes the talents of former South Side High School students Dan Masotti, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, drummer Harrison Kravis and lead guitarist Jonathan Chernack.
“Dan and I have been making music together since the fifth grade at Watson [Elementary School],” Kravis, 20, said. “We grew up around the corner from each other and my garage was rigged with drums and amplifiers, so spontaneous jams were frequent.”
Their long history playing music together has helped the group transition from garage band to stage act.
“I can say that being in bands and in the business for this long has helped,” said Masotti, 20, who founded the band. “As tweens, Harrison and I decided repertoire and arrangements, talked to venues and other bands, convinced our friends to see us, and navigated the internal politics and group dynamics by ourselves. As a result, we use our past experiences as we move forward with Fake Frank.”
Before officially becoming Fake Frank, the guys shared their musical talents with their hometown, performing at venues like the Vibe Lounge in Rockville Centre and in local school concerts.
The band members credit their musical education at South Side High School for some of their initial success and motivation to form the group. Masotti noted the influence that Dr. Doreen Fryling and Nicholas Catino had on him in his International Baccalaureate Music and Stage Band classes, noting that they were among his favorite teachers.
“Their method is very individualized and conducive to student growth,” Masotti said. “I felt that I was able to express myself fully within the context of their classes.”
“The beauty of [I.B. Music] is that students explore what makes music work by composing, performing, listening and writing about music,” Fryling said. “Those are all skills that active musicians use on a daily basis and clearly, these fine musicians have put to use as members of Fake Frank. I love that they are part of the musical fabric of our community and I can’t wait to hear more from them.”
The group began taking music more seriously by the end of high school, and started Fake Frank despite going to three different colleges — Masotti attends Brown University in Rhode Island, while Kravis and Chernack go to the State University of New York at Buffalo and Adelphi University, respectively.
After Chernack, 21, graduated South Side in 2014, and Masotti and Kravis graduated in 2016, the guys teamed up with Jeremy Kaplan, a 2017 Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts graduate who was awarded a $20,000 last year from rock icon Billy Joel and now attends Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Masotti discovered Kaplan, of Bellmore, on Craigslist while searching for a bassist, and invited him over to jam. Aside from being a talented musician, Masotti said, Kaplan adds to Fake Frank’s positive chemistry.
“Each of us brings a style to Fake Frank,” he added, “and Jeremy has brought irreplaceable prog-rock bass lines and synth parts.”
Since then, the band has found success as they venture into the music world. In March 2017, Deli Magazine named Fake Frank the “New England Emerging Artist of the Month.”
A year later, the band released its debut album, featuring songs such as “Mad,” “It’s All in My Head,” and “Detonate.” “Harrison and I recorded the first songs right before we left for college,” Masotti noted. “It wasn’t until the following summer that we finished the album and created a live band with Jon and Jeremy.”
The album was recorded over the course of several weeks at Green Room Recording Studios in Amityville and Stereo Hangar Studios in Hicksville. The process became an insightful experience for members of the group. “[It] made me a better musician,” Kravis said. “For the first time I could hear what I sounded like, which helped me think more critically about my own playing.”
The band recently performed at Connolly’s Klub 45 in Times Square and is set to play shows in Boston, Albany and Worcester, Mass. next month. “I think I speak for everyone in Fake Frank when I say that performing live is something that we all crave,” Chernack said. “Each of us carries our own style and influences, and the chemistry together is very strong. That has always been my favorite part about live performance, and it is what I find most rewarding and essential to musical growth.”
Masotti noted the importance of social media to promote their music to fans, as well as to organize when they, as band members, are apart, “so that when we return for breaks, we’re already in gigging shape.”
You can catch Fake Frank at their next show on July 31 at Pianos in Manhattan.