Pino Farina Band
Genre: Alternative Rock
About Pino Farina Band
Led by charismatic vocalist/guitarist Pino Farina, Chicago-based alternative rockers Pino Farina Band offer up a unique blend of music with raw unhinged expression and showmanship. Forceful, focused and fun, their live shows are a blend of the sincerity of U2 meets the outrageousness of Foo Fighters. Together with bandmates John Cwiok (bass), Michael Poupko (guitar, ukulele, mandolin) and Johnathan Schiller (drums, vocals) their hybrid mix of rock and melody-driven songs are infused with Pino’s passionate vocals to create their unique sound.
Daisies, Pino Farina Band’s 6-song EP released in December 2021, is not a sweet flower of an album, but a “pushing up daisies” collection of songs dealing with self-doubt, relationship struggles, rock bottoms and situations where life turns on a dime. The follow-up to their well-received debut album Start Over Again, the independently produced Daisies retains a certain optimism inherent in all their music.
Recorded live in the main room at Kiwi Audio, they focused on capturing the essence of celebration and connection that the band is known for in their stage performances. Punchy bass lines, gritty guitar riffs, amazing feats of vocal dexterity all held together with a driving beat is a strong signature to Pino Farina Band’s sound. Vivid metaphorical poetry flows throughout Rising Sun and the title song Daisies, and is delivered with power, some soft side, and a pop sensibility.
In the Red, Grace, and Stay Awake are filtered through a deeply personal lens with a treatment runs the range of tender to reflective to angry. If there ever was a song that felt like a desperately needed hug, Out of Your Head is it. An earnest welcoming song, authentic in tone, it culminates in a rock-n-roll revival of a full chorus of voices. The Daisies collection as a whole has a universal feel of a fully faceted life, a hard-earned knowledge, a tempered victory viewed through the lens of humble grace, and the sound of a well-versed band giving each song what it needs.
The release party for Daisies sold out two consecutive nights with that being the full band’s first time playing at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights, Il.
In the Beginning
As with most musicians, the love of creation hit early. Keenly tuned into each other’s talent as teens, spontaneous musical gatherings in the parking lot of the local Denny’s restaurant fueled a shared camaraderie, vision, and aspiration for an actual stage. They formed the band Pünsapaya. With their “everything to learn and nothing to lose” attitude and the freedom it allowed, they quickly gained a sizeable following that recognized a fresh and focused sound. Before long, they found themselves performing on legendary Chicago stages; the Metro, Double Door, Elbo Room, Park West, and the House of Blues alongside acts like Cracker, the Wailers, Rachel Yamagata, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Victor Wooten, Soul Asylum and Will Hoge.
In 2005, Pünsapaya won the Chicago Music Awards for Rock Album of the Year with their debut album, Prepare to Qualify. In an effort to rebrand themselves with a more memorable band name, it was changed to Dearborn. They followed up with another album, Always in Disguise but quickly disbanded and walked away from the Chicago music scene for nearly a decade.
The Pause Button
Taking what turned out to be a ten-year hiatus after the release of their second album became a time of rediscovery as musicians, husbands, and a father. They continued to write and record separately and together for the pure joy and therapy of it. Of that time, Pino Farina reflected, “Musically, I cocooned myself into discovering who I was as an artist, with no pressure other than pleasing the song. It was a very freeing time for me, but I missed the stage. I missed the connection with the audience and the effect one song could have on other people.”
A Steep Climb Up
Seemingly coming from nowhere but gaining exponential popularity during the pandemic, the now rebranded “Pino Farina Band” has often been described by their fans as “the silver lining” of these challenging times. The band gained a sizeable and dedicated following with a “build it and they will come” attitude in 2020 when venues shuttered their doors. Taking steps into the livestream world of virtual stages, experimentation was the key to keeping things fresh and audiences engaged. Pino Farina Band once again played together…on split screen videos, on livestreams, and by invitation from other notable artists.
Venues eventually opened outdoor stages and fans multiplied there. With lights, cameras and action, Pino Farina Band constructed pop-up stages in breweries and barns. Hitting the silver screen, Pino Farina Band was featured in the 2021 independent rock-documentary film Cover 21, Ignite Chicago, taking viewers on a journey in the making of their original song Station. The summer festival circuit opened up to them, including the notable Huntley Fall Fest.
For the month of December 2021, Pino joined the Midwest tour of Luminare Christmas, a spectacular rock music staged show, further exposing new audiences to his voice as a featured lead singer.
Pino Farina Band signed on with Gravity Presents for management and booking. The Facebook group, Champagne Buzz – Friends of Pino Farina Band, came into existence. The band released new music including three singles and the Daisies EP in 2021. It’s been a whirlwind of activity that keeps the band inspired and constantly creating.
“We have come to realize that we didn’t appreciate the milestones as they were happening in the moment,” Pino Farina says of their early success as an emerging band. “We were always looking ahead towards the bigger picture and not recognizing that each opportunity and experience was success at its core. Now we take our time, take a breath, and savor the moment no matter what stage in the process we are. A true gift of being an artist is acknowledging these very moments. We are grateful for where we are, and for whatever surprises lie ahead.”
Pino Farina Band is looking ahead to what 2022 can bring. With a new and growing audience and fan base, the energy surrounding the band is seemingly electric. They expect to play more live shows on bigger stages to bigger audiences and plan to head back into the studio with new music. Stay tuned for more from the PFB!
Bryant Haniszewski, ~Gravity Presents, email@example.com
Pino Farina, firstname.lastname@example.org
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