By: David Fandray
Mushroom’s sound is based on tight, clean vocals and a precise, no-frills instrumental attack. The group rocks, but seldom with abandon. The tightly arranged songs preclude any of the recklessness that is now being associated with East Coast rock and roll.
The band works well in its selected style. The four musicians (two on guitars, one on bass, and one on drums) are skilled and quite capable of doing justice to their music. The tightness of the band’s instrumental sound, in fact, is Mushroom’s greatest asset. The interaction of guitars and bass is often quite compelling.
Musical vibrations from a Park Slope rock group called Mushroom may have contributed to the collapse of the 119 year old Broadway Central Hotel last Friday night, according to group members.
Mushroom, composed of Nick Schiralli, manager, 196 22nd St.; Joe Tomeck, 193 22nd St.; Tom Charboneau, 231 14th St.; Max D'Auria, 229 14th St. and three others, was preparing for its evening performace at the Mercer Arts Center, located in the hotel complex, when the collapse occurred.
"We were running a sound check of our system when we were told that it would be best if we stopped, since the vibrations were causing cracks to widen in the ceiling and walls of a nearby room," said Schiralli. "We stopped and cleared off the stage and were waiting around for a key to lock up when the whole place started to cave in.
"We went back in and tried to save our equipment, but debris was falling in huge chunks by that time, so we gave up and all seven of us tried to get out the same door at once," he said.
Group members said they had been alarmed earlier by creaking noises in their dressing room, but were told that building officials were aware of the noises. They were also instructed not to enter the next room because it was "being repaired." When they looked inside they said they saw the ceiling cracking and one of the main building arches showing.
Their dressing room was part of the 75 foot section of the building that crashed to the street in rubble, killing at least two persons and injuring 19 others, including three policemen and firemen.
"When the building first started to go," said Frank Annunziata, another band member and former Bay Ridge resident, "it just sounded like a subway was going by. Each time one passed we would feel the vibrations, so no one could really tell the difference. But then all of a sudden a water main burst and some guy came in screaming that the building was falling...
According to Schiralli, the broken water main would have made escape impossible for anyone remaining in the group's dressing room.
"It's a good thing we did the sound check when we did," said Annunziata. "If we hadn't, the vibrations from the evening performance would have definitely caused the building to fall, only then there would have been hundreds of people in attendance."
The group was to have performed in the "Blue Room" of the Center. The stage there was destroyed and the room was extensively damaged during the collapse.
"When we finally got outside after the initial cave-in, we saw that our panel truck was in danger since it was parked on Broadway in front of the Hotel," said Annunziata. "We started to run towards it when another portion of the hotel collapsed, hurling giant slabs of brick and cement on it."
Pictures of the group's demolished truck appeared in New York newspapers following the disaster.
In addition to the truck, Mushroom felt the impact of the cave-in by losing approximately $10,000 in uninsured equipment. "This puts us out of business," said Schiralli. "We have to cancel bookings."
But Mushroom members say they are simply glad to be alive and can't really complain about the outcome of the whole incident.