Local band releases debut album


NAUGATUCK — The musicians who comprise local rock band Eight n’ Up may work in the real estate sector, but they sure don’t sing songs about mortgages or home appraisal.

The five-piece group, whose members hail from towns all along the Route 8 corridor, just released its debut album, “Rock by Num83r5,” a classic rock-inspired original work that wears its Rolling Stones influence on its sleeve and contains songs, as singer and guitarist Andy O’Hazo put it, about “Rock and roll topics — jilted relationships, drinking, partying, bad habits.”

O’Hazo, who grew up in Naugatuck, and singer Marion Szarzynski, a borough resident of 16 years, formed Eight n’ Up about two years ago.

Andy O'Hazo, far left, and Marion Szarzynski, second from right, hope their music takes them places — but say it's no big deal if it doesn't.

“Marion kept calling me saying, ‘You’ve got to put a band together, you’ve got to put a band together.’” said O’Hazo, who is a real estate appraiser by day. “I think it was the summer of ’08. We got together, and I set this agenda. … I said, ‘I want a disc done and a website by April ’09.’ Well, we’re a year and a half behind schedule.”

Recording a full-length album is no small task, and the pair readily admits the process was at times grueling and ultimately exhausting.

“I kind of feel just exhausted,” O’Hazo said. “When I wake up every day — we’re doing things to get ready for shows, and get the disc out there at different stores — but the fact that I don’t need to check the mix, or see if we need another guitar track, or redo the vocals, is just a huge relief right now.”

The band is celebrating the culmination of two years’ work with a CD release party this Saturday, Oct. 9 at The Red Door, a live music venue in Watertown. Classic rock fans of all stripes should find something to like in the music, which is influenced not only by the jagged hard rock of the Stones but also by the sophisticated grooves of Steely Dan, the feel-good country rock of the Eagles and the crisp, terse songwriting of the Beatles.

Szarzynski, who co-wrote about half the songs with O’Hazo, said she draws inspiration from singers such as Janis Joplin, Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt. Shades of these influences are evident, as she sings with the slightest hint of a country twinge while flaunting enough rock and roll swagger to hold her own on tracks with a harder edge.

In terms of the group’s aspirations, O’Hazo said, the best-case scenario would be an offer open for a touring act or to get a song on the charts — but they’re mostly interested in playing music and having fun.

“We have big dreams, but it’s not like we’re going to be distraught if we’re not played on the radio,” he said. “Every time we get another notch up, we’re thrilled; we’re shooting as high as we can, but we’re realistic, too.”

Szarzynski, a mortgage officer by profession, perhaps put it best: “We’re not quitting our day jobs,” she said. “Let’s put it that way.”