SWAT is an American Pop/Rock band from Mystic CT, formed in mid- 2011. The band currently consists of vocalist/ guitarist Finn Pryor, guitarist Marcus Gram, drummer Ben Holmgren, and bassist/ backing vocalist Stephen Russo.
The band first came out with the local debut EP “Frenemies” in December of 2012. “Frenemies” was a DIY 6 song EP that was recorded by SWAT in their studio (Guitarist Marcus' bed room) and featured songs like Monkey Man and Stupid Dumb Whatever. The album cover was captured by local photographer Maddie Pryor with local friends Sarah Monk and Audunn Arason on the cover.
Early Years (2010-2011)
Before the bands rise to local fame, the band started out with only two members, Finn Pryor and Marcus Gram, in the summer of 2010 in a garage in Mystic, CT of Marcus' grandmas house. The original members started off as Finn Pryor, Marcus Gram, and former drummer Owen Sullivan. While sitting on top of a wooden dumpster at their local yacht club, the young rebels where thinking of a small idea of creating a band to play the summer Bathhouse Follies talent show at their yacht club. After the success of covering The Kinks and becoming loved by the young kids and older adults themselves, Owen left to go back to his home city of New York. The band was left with just Marcus and Finn switching between guitar and drums. After realizing that it wasn't in the best interest of the band for Marcus and Finn to switch between guitar and drums, they adopted Finn's cousin Ben Holmgren as per monte drummer and has helped since. He was taught how to play drums by the other 2 members all in less than a day. A year later in 2011, SWAT reunited for the Bathhouse Follies and played She by Green Day which made the crowd go nuts. It was time for the younger band to take it a step bigger and play small house shows. The trio played a handful of small local shows at Marcus' house and drew about 5 of their closest friends, some family members, and a few family friends to witness the phenomenon which was the first few actual shows preformed by SWAT.
The Big Boom (2012-2013)
In February of 2012, SWAT really started their big boom to rise to local success. They'd thought they needed an actual bass player instead of Finn playing bass. So on February 11th, SWAT preformed played a small house show for some of the earliest concert goers that still attend today. One of them, a classmate of Marcus’ named, Stephen Russo, came to check out this band called SWAT. Marcus had previously messaged him on Facebook and asked if he would join the band as a permeant member of the band. Stephen previously knew how to play a guitar, but their wasn’t a open spot for him to play guitar. Later that month, Stephen joined the band as the first real bass player for the band. He taught himself how to play bass and became a great member to the band.
In April of that year, they had their first real concert with the new and current line up at The Workshop in downtown Mystic for about 80 people. That show is when all of the members knew that the band was going to be something that they would be doing for a long time. After playing the last note of Good Riddance by Green day, SWAT promised to be back, and they did.
They released a music video for their self-titled original song called “Monkey Man.” The video got 900+ views on YouTube and it was big leap for the band kicking off the new and improved SWAT.
The newly formed band started to get some shows in and outside Mystic with some pretty well known bands that year like Angry Bears, On My Honor, Audiostrobelight, Above The Underground, The Runarounds, Seven Year Plan, Drained Glory, Newbury, Times New Roman, Portland, IWasLeftOnAMountian, Sydney's Armour, Logan's Run, and Days Of Season. After playing a few local shows, on September 28th, They went up to New Haven to guest in a tour called the All In This Together Tour with currents friends Angry Bears, Audiostobelight, Above the Underground, and On My Honor. This was a leap for band because t was their first out of town show and was also the show that they had met Angry Bears. Angry Bears, is a local Punk/Pop band from Norwich, CT and became the bands best friends. SWAT and Angry Bears met in New Haven for the All In This Together Tour. They grew found of each other and wanted to play a show to benefit a local food pantry. With help of the The Runaround, they helped out raising over $1,000 after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast. The two local bands developed a great relationship and now doing a lot of work with each other. which later turned into many more shows from then on. Currently, both bands have played countless shows together, including the Golden Shower Tour in the summer of 2013.
In the summer of 2013, the band and Angry Bears went on their first tour around New England. Kicking the tour off in New York in a small coffee shop. SWAT tasted what it was like to be on the road in the blistering upstate New York summer heat, little food and water, hard labor, and of course, the bad promotions. The first night of tour, the bands found themselves to be playing around 11 o'clock in the evening for one person who left before SWAT's set was over. Tired and hungry, the bands left for West Virginia, to their hometown of Mystic, Boston, Enfield, and them Maine where they finished their tour off without their frontman Finn who got sick. Returning home weak from the brutal conditions of touring, SWAT was ready to take it yet again a step further.
After various shows with bands like Audiostrobelight, Seven Year Plan, and the new local Alternative band from Mystic called Sydney's Armour, the band started becoming the phenomenon of what it is currently one of the best local bands of it's genre in the area.
The four punks from Mystic kicked off the new year with a bang with playing two shows in early January. The first show was held at The Webster with Picture Perfect and the second was for their friends, Angry Bears who kicked off their second tour with Lila Ignite and Light The Avenue in Mystic. In March of that year, SWAT went up to The University of New Haven and did a radio interview and acoustic session with Katelyn Clark of channel UNHU 88.7FM. On March 31st, SWAT played will be playing with Picture Perfect yet again with their buddies in Angry Bears in their new eternity.
SWAT currently has said that they will be releasing a new EP later on in later 2014 as well as possibly a new tour, merchandise, music videos, and many more shows to come in the near future.
Finn Pryor: Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Marcus Gram: Lead Guitar/Piano
Ben Holmgren: Drums
Stephen Russo: Back-up Vocals/Bass