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  • Writer's pictureCharles I. Guarria

Initial Kick Drops First CD But Release Party Changed

Updated: Jul 2

I caught up with Initial Kick frontman Steve E. Ojane a few days before the band's first album, Plays With Mercury, will be released. That same day, October 6, they will be hosting a CD release party at the Debonair Music Hall in New Jersey.


(Note: Per a Facebook post from Steve, the release party is now a CD Listening Party. He wrote that a member of the band has Covid. Steve continued, "We are so disappointed. We were really looking forward to doing a full show for you, but we are still psyched to be throwing a listening party bash to celebrate the day! I’ll be there to sell and sign CDs and merch, and we’ll be cranking up the new album Plays With Mercury from 6:00 - 7:30! FREE drinks to the first 15 people with the password: MERCURY! And FREE CDs for the first 10 people with the password: KICK!)


Please continue reading as we discuss the LP and what lies ahead for the band.


I have seen Steve perform live as the bass player in Angel on many occasions; he is a high-energy performer. Undoubtedly, he has brought that same passion to Initial Kick.


Let's find out what he and his bandmates have in store for the rock n roll world.


Charles I. Guarria

Hi Steve, thanks for taking the time to talk. Please introduce us to the members of Initial Kick.


Steve E. Ojane

Thanks, Chuck! Great to be talking with you. Initial Kick is Frankie Schaffer on lead guitar and backing vocals, Johnny Zabo on drums, Rick Weitzel on bass and backing vocals, and myself on lead vocals.

Charles I. Guarria

How did you meet, and how long have you been together?

Steve E. Ojane

I met our guitar player, my partner in crime, Frankie Schaffer, in 2006 when we started a band called Sweden Has The Bomb. We played around the Philadelphia area for a few years before that project ran its course. We stayed in touch and always talked about doing a unique original project together. After a few false starts and stops, we eventually landed on a band direction we were really psyched about with Initial Kick. We started recording our album, and we did a handful of shows in 2016. But then I had a fortuitous meeting with Punky Meadows, which resulted in me joining Angel and having to put Initial Kick on the back burner for a while. With the help of Stevie DeAcutis mixing for us, we finally finished the album for a late 2023 release.


Charles I. Guarria

Who are your musical influences?

Steve E. Ojane

We’re heavily influenced by the theatrical anthem rock we all grew up on - Slade, Mott The Hoople, Hanoi Rocks, Alice Cooper, KISS, T. Rex, and, of course, David Bowie. These are the ever-present musical voices in the backs of our heads.


Charles I. Guarria

How did you come up with the band name?


Steve E. Ojane

Ha! That’s a funny one. Frankie and I couldn’t agree on a name for quite a while. All the names that he came up with, I didn’t like, and everything I came up with, he didn’t like. Finally, one day, we were in mid-conversation, and I used the phrase “initial kick,” then paused and said, “Not a bad band name.” We looked at each other for a second and said, “Done!” It was essentially the only name that we collectively didn’t dislike, and the rest was history. In a general sense, the name refers to all those first experiences in life, usually in our youth, that are so dynamic and have such a deep, lasting impact that they stay with you forever and are rarely repeated or equaled.

Charles I. Guarria

Your first LP, Plays With Mercury, is available now as a pre-order and will be released on October 6. What can fans expect to hear when they give it a spin?


Steve E. Ojane

We consider this album to be our love letter to rock and roll - good, melodic, old-school rock and roll tunes. I feel like there’s something here for everyone, a real variety - up-tempo rockers, mid-tempo melodic, anthemic, catchy choruses, and even the 3/4 waltz timing of the haunting song Tranquilizer, which appears on the award-winning independent film Boxanne soundtrack.


Charles I. Guarria

Which song on the LP most exemplifies the sound you were looking for with Initial Kick?

Steve E. Ojane

Wow, That’s a tough one. It’s really the collective effect of all the songs that define our sound and vibe, but if I had to pick just one… hmmm… perhaps Rock and Roll Saved My Life. That’s a real anthem, a statement. But then there’s Big In Singapore, Sloane Road Kids, Wish You Well, Me and Rock and Roll… I love ‘em all! Ha!

Charles I. Guarria

October 6 is also the date for the CD release party at the Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, NJ. [sic] What is next for the band after that?

Steve E. Ojane

We’re actually working on the follow-up album already. There was just so much material we couldn’t fit it all on the first record. So it’s gonna be a one-two punch to get it all out there in a short amount of time - the complete Initial Kick musical experience! (Actually, it might require three records! ;-))

Charles I. Guarria

Is there anything I didn't cover that you want readers to know?

Steve E. Ojane

We’re just so appreciative of all the love and support we’ve received in the making of this album. Huge thanks to Deko Entertainment, Warner Music, Sound Spa Productions, all the talented musicians who contributed their time and creativity to this project, and all our friends and fans who are sharing in this journey with us. We hope you all find something you love on this album. We loved making it! And thank you, Chuck, for giving us this opportunity to talk about the band and the album!

Charles I. Guarria

You are welcome, Steve! Thank you for making the time for this interview!

You can find the Philadelphia-based Initial Kick's LP for sale at Amazon and available on all streaming platforms.


The Debonair Music Hall is located in Teaneck, N.J. It is a fun venue and great choice for a release party. As of this writing, tickets are still available.

Initial Kick is Steve E. Ojane ( lead vocals) Frankie Schaffer (lead guitar/backing vocals) Johnny Zabo (drums) and Rick Weitzel (bass/backing vocals)

Great rendition of The Archies Sugar, Sugar!

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See ya soon!


~30~



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