Despite Dwight, They Keep on Playing

27 June 2012 | The Duxbury Clipper | Written by Maggie Cornelius

It all started when a group of friends came together in Jim Goldenberg’s office to practice for the first time. Jim’s landlord, Dwight, was not amused by the group’s music that ran late into the night.

However, despite landlord Dwight’s displeasure, the band Despite Dwight is going strong. They recently played their seventh year at Solstice Restaurant’s summer party. The band is made up of vocalist Allison Berry and bassist Jim Goldenberg, along with guitarists Mark Endresen and Scott Ferrigno, Mark DiOrio on keyboard and Matt Koomey on drums. The six members of Despite Dwight aren’t your average rockers, they all have busy day jobs as well as children to raise.

Despite Dwight has been playing locally together for years, the show at Solstice last Thursday marks the groups 60th show together.

“If you ask our spouses, it’s 150,” joked Goldenberg, co-founder of the band.

Performing about 15 shows a year, the group is well known for rocking out at charity events, having played for Jordan Hospital events, such as the National Cancer Survivor, and other charities like Crossroads For Kids, Autism Speaks and many more.

“It’s a way of giving back to our community,” said Goldenberg. “It’s also a lot of fun to see our peers out on the dance floor.”

Guitarist Scott Ferrigno agreed with Goldenberg that the real joy of playing is seeing the audience.

“Yeah, seeing the people we love enjoy (our shows) is great,” said Ferrigno.

Despite Dwight began playing local shows at the Solstice event. Patrons of the restaurant, Goldenberg and Berry were familiar with the owners.

“We knew Allison and Jim from the restaurant,” said owner John Cataldi. “They came to the first benefit as guests, and the second year we gave them a shot. They were much better than anyone else.”

Goldenberg reminisces on that first gig with a sense of terror at being somewhat blindsided by a last minute band change.

“We were supposed to play between sets of the other band they hired,” said Goldenberg. “A couple weeks before, they cancelled the other band and told us we were performing the whole event, I was like, ‘what, we only know eight songs!’”

After that fateful gig, the band began playing all over the South Shore and around town at places like the Kingsbury Club Pub, the Winsor House, the Duxbury Yacht Club, and the Duxbury Fourth of July beach party. This year the Duxbury 4th of July committee plans to have the band perform again.

“We’ve done it before, so we know what to expect,” said Berry. “This year we can make it more fun.”

The 4th of July show is a favorite for the band, since they get to play on the beach, and with the exception of two members, the band is all Duxbury residents.

“It’s always a great crowd of all ages, and we’ve had beautiful weather in the past,” said Goldenberg.

The July 4 party is sure to be another successful gig for the band, who plays covers of a wide variety of songs and artists, giving a little something to everyone. If the band’s past performances are any indication, the Fourth of July party will be a ‘don’t miss’ event.

“Oh yeah, they’re great,” said Cataldi. “They’re one of the reasons people keep coming to our benefits.”

While the band loves playing together and clearly knows how to get a party going, music is by no means their only profession. The band members range from a doctor to a lawyer, CEO, and of course parents to many children.

“We like to joke that Mark’s the only real musician in the band,” said Berry of bandmate Mark Endresen. “He is famous… he’s given some of us lessons as well as our kids.”

Although the band may be lacking in “real” musicians they are certainly not lacking in talent. The members have all played in bands in college or at some point and really enjoy having music in their adult lives.

“We just enjoy each other’s company,” said Koomey “Great musicians and great music, it’s an amazing combination.”

Not only is playing together a lot of fun, the band also gets true joy from giving people a night to remember in between all the stresses of life.

“Inspiring someone to sit back and relax or get up and dance,” said DiOrio, “it’s no small feat these days.”

The band’s sense of humor certainly hasn’t died down either as Endresen jokes about having a short commute to play in the band.

“For me, the drive is great, the proximity is perfect for me,” said Endresen.

While having a short commute is one perk of performing locally, the band’s main drive is to have fun and give back where they can.

“We want to continue doing what we’ve done,” said Berry. “Maybe explore some new material or recording, but as long as I get to get all dressed up, maybe once a month, and pretend to be a performer I’m happy.”

While the band seems happy doing what they love there is certainly no pretending going on, they are a performance worth watching.

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