The Professors have a degree in the rock classics
BY ROBERT HICKS
SPECIAL TO THE DAILY RECORD
Friday, December 21, 2007
Lead vocalist Chris Caldiero is the newest member of the Professors, now
predominately a cover band based in central New Jersey.
"We're just a bunch of guys who like to get together and play," he said. "We all
have professional careers. Two of us are actually professors. Music is more of a hobby
than something professionally that we are trying to do."
The Professors will share a bill with Super Snakes and the Ghouls at The Crossroads
in Garwood on Dec. 22.
"We're at our heart a classic rock band," said Caldiero. "We love doing the giants.
I guess predominately the band we do is Pink Floyd."
The group's catalog of songs has changed enormously in the past few years.
The focus is on unique arrangements of classics by David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and
Led Zeppelin, but the band still does some of its longstanding original songs
dating back to 1995.
"One thing we like to do is play songs that aren't radio-popular," he
said. "We'll often change the keys and alter songs. Some songs we try to play as
close to how they're supposed to sound. But we're not afraid of changing things
up a bit and putting our own spin on a song."
British guitarist Gary Radford is the sole remaining original member of the
band and one of the band's two professors who teach Communications and Media
Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
"He comes with a real catalog of classic British rock," Caldiero said of Radford.
Radford's wife, Marie, is the group's keyboardist and his daughter, Meg, is
another vocalist. Bassist Nick Romanenko and drummer Peter Van Emburg joined the
band three years ago.
Caldiero became the band's lead vocalist after hearing the group perform at a
conference at Montclair State University in 2006. He completed his Ph.D. in Media
Studies at Rutgers University that same year.
"I brought in some alternative stuff," he said. "Now we do some Incubus and
Alice In Chains."
He is not entirely new to the music business. During his undergraduate studies at
Montclair State University, Caldiero, 39, played harmonica in various blues bands and
developed an interest in Chicago and Delta blues in addition to his love of classic
"That blend has made for some nice grooves," he said. "It's not unusual for us
in a particular set to play a classic rock song followed by an
alternative rock song followed by a 12-bar blues."