9 Feet Tall reaches for new musical heights
CD release party tomorrow night at Joy Underground
BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP, Staff Writer, Sentinel Aug. 12,
PHOTOS BY JENNIFER
KOHLHEPP Above, North Brunswick’s Dan Anderson (l), and Tom Pfau
at 9 Feet Tall’s band practice. At left, Kathy Anderson and
husband, Dan, rehearse. The band (below), based in North
Brunswick, will hold its first CD release party at the Joy
Underground, Route 130, North Brunswick, tomorrow night.
|NORTH BRUNSWICK — They might not be giants in
the music industry yet, but they’re 9 Feet Tall and growing with
a new album.
After almost 18 months of practicing, recording
and mastering their first record, titled "Worn Out Shoe," 9 Feet
Tall will host a CD release party from 7:30-10:30 p.m. tomorrow
at the Joy Underground, located at 1915 Old Georges Road.
"We are continuously impressed by the outpouring of support
for our music, so we decided to invite everyone to share in the
celebration of our new CD as a way to say thank you to the
community," said Kathy Anderson, 9 Feet Tall’s songwriter and
The North Brunswick-based band consists of six artists with a
"passion for writing and performing music with a message,"
Kathy and her husband, Dan, an acoustic guitarist, of North
Brunswick, founded the band in 2000. Keyboardist Rob Hamrick,
drummer Gerry Piazza, electric guitarist Tom Pfau, all of North
Brunswick, and bass guitarist Pete Scibienski, of Somerset,
joined the Andersons on their mission to create music with a
positive message in 2001.
Since their formation, the band has played township events such as
Heritage Day and Winter Wonderland. 9 Feet Tall has also played the
Middlesex and Mercer County fairs, coffeehouses such as Joy Underground, and
fund-raisers for the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department and the Community
Gospel Church in North Brunswick.
The band formed at the Community Gospel Church, where its members are all
part of the worship team, Kathy said.
"It’s not just a good band dynamic because of the great friendships we
share, but also because of our goal to leave our listeners fuller, better
people because of hearing the messages in our music," Kathy said.
said the band’s name reflects what the members hope their audience feels
when listening to 9 Feet Tall.
"We want to produce music devoted to helping the listener grow as a
person on the inside," Kathy said.
She said the name comes from a line in the movie "Hans Christian
"The main character in the film, trying to help someone who is
discouraged, says, ‘When your heart is full of love, you’re 9 feet tall,’ "
The band’s new album mirrors the same sentiment, Kathy said. She said 9
Feet Tall named its first record "Worn Out Shoe" from a line in the track
"Just as a caterpillar emerges from a cocoon as a butterfly, we hope our
audience mentally and spiritually transforms after listening to the messages
of our songs," Kathy said.
The lyrics of "Butterfly" describe a person’s metamorphosis from
"lifeless days" of "mounting malaise," like those of "a worn out shoe" into
days of "light" and "grace" like those of a "soaring butterfly" with the
help of the Lord, Kathy said.
Although all of their music doesn’t directly address religion, Kathy said
many of the band’s songs refer to Jesus and Christianity.
"Anyone can listen to our music and enjoy it, but there definitely is a
spiritual side to it," Kathy said. "My inspiration for writing lyrics and
music comes from my love for people and my love for God."
Other tracts on the record deal with other themes including "Blue Sky,"
which Kathy wrote about Sept. 11, 2001, and "Slow Down for Love," a song
about taking the time to appreciate the little things in life.
"Blue Sky" is a song of hope, in which the songstress sings, "And the
smoke stings my eyes, but I will hold my head up high, and sweep away the
ash of war. Through the billowing high rise, I will search for bluer skies."
In "Slow Down for Love" Kathy sings, "Don’t go for the gusto, go for the
depth and grow. Life is an ocean; I want to dive in and get wet, with no
regret that I wasted a single drop I could have tasted."
The band’s music is just as eclectic as the spectrum of experiences,
ideas and emotions Kathy draws her lyrics from. An amalgamation of rock,
folk, funk, blues, and soul, 9 Feet Tall draws from a wide range of musical
"I come up with the bare bones of the songs — it’s my band mates who
breathe life into them," Kathy said.
The musicians said they have fun incorporating the sounds of Neil Young,
the Beatles, Dave Brubeck, Michael MacDonald, Harlan Rogers, The E Street
Band, Motown, R&B, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Al Green, Dave Matthews and
many others into their music.
To record such a diverse sound, the band commissioned Plink Giglio, a
sound engineer at 17th Avenue Productions in Manville.
"Plink helped us hear the greatest potential in all of our music," Kathy
said. "The album turned out greater than we ever dreamed it could, and we
want to celebrate its completion with everyone who has supported us."
The band expects to perform some of the songs off their new album at the
CD release party.
event will also include performances by Contra Band, Russ and K.T. Wills,
Dane Lowrie and FireSeed. In an effort to show their appreciation for the
support they have garnered for their music over the last few years, 9 Feet
Tall will give away over 50 prizes during the party.
"The local businesses have been so generous and supportive by donating
goods and services to us to give away during the event," Kathy said.
Although admission to the event is free, the band would like community
members to bring at least one canned good donation for the North Brunswick
Food Bank. For more information, visit www.9FeetTall.com or call (732)
Christian band has more of a mission than just making music
By Raviya Ismail, Staff Writer, Home News Tribune May 28 2003
North Brunswick: Their sound is a fusion of rock, folk and blues, but members
of the band, 9 Feet Tall, have a much bigger mission in mind than just music.
The six band members met while attending church at the Community Gospel Church
in North Brunswick, and found that they had more in common than just a love for
music, that is a love of Jesus and Christianity.
“Most of our songs refer to Jesus, but do not blatantly say His name,” said
Kathy Anderson, lyricist and songwriter for the band. “Our goal is to help
people, not bang them over the head with Christianity. We hope that all people,
no matter what their religious affiliation, can benefit from our music and grow
on the inside as a result of listening… I feel very deeply about my faith, and I
love people. I naturally combine the two when I write.”
Rounding out the band are Kathy’s husband, Dan Anderson, who plays acoustic
guitar; Rob Hamrick on keyboards; Gerry Piazza, drums and vocals; Tom Pfau,
electric and acoustic guitar, and Pete Scibienski on bass guitar.
Dan Anderson said the essence of the band is not what many people would expect
from a Christian band.
“We are not a preachy Christian band,” he said. “We are not going around telling
people they have to believe what we believe. Hopefully people will go away
sensing that we have a relationship with God and that relationship has made a
difference with our lives, and we want to share that with other people… It’s
more, ‘see what God’s done for us, and see what He can do for you too.’”
The band’s name comes from a line in a song in the movie biography of the Danish
writer Hans Christian Anderson: “When your heart is full of love you’re nine
Audiences “have said that our music is different,” said Kathy. “I’ve had people
point out specific songs saying, ‘this song has helped me in a situation.’ Some
of our songs, people can really relate to. Our songs can kind of pull on your
“A lot of times, people don’t hear messages like ours,” added drummer Piazza.
The band practices every Tuesday evening for a three-hour session. On a typical
night of practice, band members assemble, organize their instruments, and start
the rehearsal with sound checks.
“Check, check, check,” began Kathy. “Hello, hello, hello. I can still hear the
ringing,” she said to the band members.
Before playing, the band members said a quick prayer. Members decided on songs
to practice, including “Blue Sky,” which was inspired by the terrorist attacks
of Sept. 11, 2001.
Blue, blue sky, sang Kathy.
You’ve got your briefcase and coffee
We kiss good-bye
News, near and far
It’s time to pray
Meant to tell you, you looked so fine today…
Although the theme is somber, the music is light and happy.
And the smoke stings my eyes
But I will hold my head up high…
I will search for bluer skies
And I will sing this song of hope…
The band has been together for a little over a year and has played in a mix of
community service, fund-raisers and paid engagements. They have played in
Borders Books and Music in Bridgewater and Princeton and area coffeehouses. And
the band is content with this.
“I think we would like to continue on in the track that we’re taking, doing
outreaches, any place that we can help out, to spread the word of God,” said
Piazza. “I don’t think we want to play Continental Arena; I don’t think that is
our goal. We’re more interested in what God has in store for us than goals of
Along with this common message of hope, the band is built on extreme respect,
trust and loyalty between the members.
“The music is interesting and the way we’re structured, we all contribute to the
arrangement of the songs,” said bassist Scibienski of Somerset. “In a lot of
situations, you don’t get to do that.”
Scibienski said that after hearing about Kathy’s idea for a band, he jumped at
the chance to become involved.
“It’s a different focus in that each of the songs is pointing to another value
other than ‘I’m going to jump in my car and take my baby to the Burger King’” he
said. “I think that we’re giving (audiences) a good evening’s entertainment with
an uplifting message. This is something that we all love doing and very rarely
in our society do people get to do what they truly love.”
Keyboarder Rob Hamrick said band members were there for him during a very
pivotal point in his life when he needed financial help and support.
“My wife and I felt that these were my family, more than my own family,” he
said. “That sort of thing goes a long way in developing relationships.”
Hamrick, who is the self-professed “grouchy band member” said he enjoys being a
part of the band.
“If it was just music, I can play on my own,” said Hamrick, who has played
professional and semi-professional keyboard. “But what you can’t get on your own
is hanging with these people. It keeps the fellowship going… If they decided to
build houses, I would do that. About the only time that we find to be together
is the process of doing this. It’s a deep connection for us, not only in faith.”
Echoing sentiments of other band members, Hamrick said he was immediately drawn
to Kathy’s mission for the band.
“I’ve seen her literally start writing since I’ve known her,” he said. “Listen
to the songs. The music stands on it’s own, the words stand on their own, we
aren’t trying to proselytize.”
The band will be playing at the Refuge Coffee House at Bridgewater Baptist
Church on Friday, May 30th, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Photographer's Talent Honored at Reception
by Jennifer Kohlepp, Sentinel reporter (1/15/2003)
"...Kathy and Dan Anderson of the musical group 9 Feet Tall performed an
acoustic set of original folk rock songs to accompany Yankowsk's work."
"The North Brunswick-based band, celebrating its one-year anniversary, will
play at Border's bookstore on Route 1 south on Feb. 7th..."
9 Feet Tall and still growing
By Elizabeth Hamilton, VOX reporter
“Ours is music with a message,” said Kathy Anderson, lead guitar and
songwriter for 9 Feet Tall.
The five-piece original rock band from the North Brunswick area include:
Kathy; Kristin Perkins, vocals; Tom Pfau, rhythm guitar; Pete Scibienski, bass;
and Gerry Piazza, drums.
Describing their music as rock with a folk and blues edge, this band bases
many of their songs on Christian themes and ideals.
“Actually, the first song I wrote, Tom and I played together for our church,”
Kathy said. A parishioner of the church was having a baby about five years ago,
and Kathy wrote the song for the baby girl, Rose.
Since then various members of the band have played together on and off in
various bands. Finally, coming together two months ago to form 9 Feet Tall.
Even though the band members are firm believers in the Christian faith, they
don’t object to playing anywhere or anytime. Whether it’s benefits, fairs, bars
or clubs, 9 Feet Tall is ready for action.
“Anytime we can get in front of an audience is good,” Kathy said.
According to Pete, finding places to play is much easier than it was in years
past. “There’s not as many bands as there used to be,” he said. “And, there are
a lot more open mic nights and things like that.”
However, Pete explained there was one aspect of the music scene that he found
lacking. “I wish there were more venues available that are alcohol free.” He
said that it would allow for a younger crowed.
One way that 9 Feet Tall can be viewed by younger crowds is on the cable show
Local Band Spotlight, Comcast channel 97 on June 10 at 9 p.m. “It’s a great
opportunity for bands to get exposure in the community,” Kathy said. “And we can
be seen by viewers that wouldn’t normally go to a club.”