Stay Tuned for New Music From The Circa 68

Restaurant Director Pete Palladino’s Passion Project
Mar 12, 2019
Photo by: Chris Seiz

Pete Palladino is a familiar face to many as the Island’s longtime director of operations for Fearless Restaurants (Plantation, daddy o, Tuckers), but his passion has always been music. For 25 years as front man for the roots-rock band The Badlees, he sang and recorded and toured his heart out, ultimately acting in the 2016 movie about the band called “All in Time,” which will screen in this year’s Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival, next Saturday. The Badlees have since disbanded, freeing up Palladino to focus on his songwriting and to “start putting music out into the world with no agenda other than creating art.”

Cradling his Epiphone on his lap, Palladino sat in his sun-soaked home studio in Deer Lake Park in Manahawkin last week and chatted about his musical philosophies. He describes his songwriting style as powerpop, in the tradition of such bands as Squeeze, the Foo Fighters and songwriting superstar Max Martin, who is third only to Paul McCartney and John Lennon in number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Palladino calls his new project The Circa 68, a collaboration with some of his oldest and closest musician friends to help him unveil a bunch of new songs. They’re upbeat and infectious, short and sweet, following the unspoken rules of writing pop hits: spare the intro, get to the chorus in under a minute. “Pure feeling,” he said. When he edits his songs, he does it with a stopwatch, his aim to cut any and all dead weight. 

“I’m no Bob Dylan,” he said.

An album is a showpiece, but it’s become a thing of the past, he said. Today’s music consumers buy their favorite songs, not whole albums. So he’s responding in kind, seizing the opportunity and freedom to pull old songs out of his notebooks, to nurture his current creative whims, and to release them at will into the wild (i.e. the internet) for immediate feedback.

For any given session he can draw from a pool of talented friends, e.g. Brooke Milano from August and Oak on vocals and The Pickles’ Todd Raupp on bass.

The themes running throughout The Circa 68 are positivity and honesty, he said – the goal is to conjure the sensation of driving with the windows down on a sunny summer day.

“This is the beginning of letting things out of the bag,” Palladino said. A single can be the start of a conversation, a multimedia work with a life of its own.

But the live shows are where the magic truly happens, he said. (His degree from Susquehanna University is in communications and theater.) People go to shows to be reminded of something meaningful, to have an uplifting experience, he said. A concert is like a celebration of songs and the relationships they represent.

Palladino will perform Sunday, March 17, at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pa. For tickets, visit Stay tuned for additional show dates closer to home this summer, possibly at the new Bird & Betty’s in Beach Haven and other select venues. In the meantime, find and follow him on social media for updates and new releases when they happen.

— Victoria Ford

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