On Tap: So how did you find your lead singer, Laura Manzer, in a Costco?
Tony Dormio: My wife and I were doing a bit of last-minute holiday shopping when we heard some amazing music coming from somewhere nearby. When we got to the end of the aisle, I saw this girl. She had her iPod docked into a Karaoke machine that was on display, playing the backing tracks to a song that she had written, and just killing it on the microphone. She had already drawn a crowd of 30 other shoppers who had stopped what they were doing to watch her.
After she finished the song and drew a round of applause, my mind was set; I wanted to work with her. My band just happened to be playing at an Irish pub the next night, so I invited her out to come see us. After getting home from shopping, I immediately googled her to see what I could learn about her. I learned that she had done some recording in Nashville, had been invited to sing the National Anthem at various NASCAR events, had two albums available for download on iTunes, had gotten a radio push a couple years ago, had done some in-station interviews at WMZQ, and, at the age of 15, was the youngest American Idol contestant to make it through to the final judging at the time.
After she came out to see our band, we got together for a session at my home studio. The first time Laura stepped into the room she literally caught her breath and said, “I’m home.” It’s been full steam ahead ever since.
OT: How did the rest of the band come together?
TD: Prior to AudioWild, I had been a long-standing member of another cover band, Furious George, and I met Gabe Aviles (guitar) and Preston Hall (bass) while playing in Furious. I ran an ad on Craigslist when I needed a musician, and I was lucky enough to have these guys respond. When Laura was officially on board with us, we decided to do a complete make-over and change the band name, and so Audiowild was born.
OT: What kind of music do you play?
TD: We are primarily a cover band, performing a strong mix of current Top-40 Pop songs and hard rockin’ classics. Since we are a 4-piece band, we often will add songs that have 3- and 4-part vocal harmonies, which helps to keep us sounding full. We are also adopting several songs that Laura has written and released. Currently we have her song, “I Wish,” in rotation in our set lists, and it’s quickly becoming a crowd favorite.
OT: We hear you keep having your Nats Park gigs rained out. What’s up with that?
TD: I know, right?! The past two years we have had the Nats gig on our schedule, and it has rained. If it happens again, we’ll be convinced that it must be a curse. Since we are scheduled to play there again on September 1, we’ll have to wait and see if the curse is broken. Just in case, don’t make any outdoor plans for that day other than to come on out to the ballpark.