By Chris Jordan

There have been many shows in New Brunswick where Marc Maurizi, presently of the Haskensack band Cropduster, was content to stand back and be the dutiful bass player.

Maurizi, who lived in New Brunswick for a better part of the 90’s, was a fairly anonymous member of the city bands In Blu and Room 11.

“One day I was sitting there doing Room 11, and I was listening to the songs, and I said, ‘Why don’t I do this?’” Maurizi said.

Maurizi picked up a pen, paper, and guitar, went to work and brought what he had done to longtime friend and future Cropduster bandmate Tom Gerke. Gerke liked what he heard.

“There was a sense of musical exploration, a creative light,” Gerke said, searching for his adjectives. “It was the creative sound that I was drawn to.”

 Maurizi and Gerke formed a songwriting team, and Cropduster debuted at the Melody Bar in New Brunswick in the mid-1990s with Spotswood’s Scott Kopitiskie on drums and Hub City ace bass player Pete Novembre. Novembre has moved on, and Lee Estes now plays bass.

The group has just released its second album Drunk Uncle, which is on the North Jersey independent label We Put Out Records.

Drunk Uncle is full of square footed indie rock with a roots base. Every song has a healthy melody and hearty rock drive that’s sometimes tempered by a jangling guitar.

Maurizi’s heavy-eyed narcoleptic singing is distinctive as the band's sound, which often features distorted guitar and effects breakdowns.

Cropduster performs tonight at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick as part of a CD release party for the newly formed management and promotion group Artist Amplification.

Billy, Speadhaus and Spacetag are also on the bill, and there will be a free double-CD compilation of bands affiliated with Artist Amplification available to fans.

Andy Gesner, New Brunswick musician and promoter, is the force behind Artist Amplification.

“It’s a moniker that says we help musicians,” says Gesner who is no longer part of the New Brunswick Underground team.

Tickets are $5, and the number for more info is (732)-545-7265.

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