Photos © 2016 by: Roman Sobus
BE SURE TO CATCH SECRET WEAPONS AT LOLLAPALOOZA ON SATURDAY, JULY 30th AT 6:50 ON THE BMI STAGE!!
Biography: “It’s like they’ve been locked up in a cage for years and just let loose on stage.” That’s how one journalist described a Secret Weapons concert.
Guitarist Danny Rocco agrees with the comparison, “Especially when we’re on tour and we’ve spent 10 hours in a van traveling,” he adds. “It really is like getting out of a cage.” It was him that dropped to his knees while shredding last November during their performance of their viral hit “Something New” on NBC’s Today—the duo’s first TV appearance ever.
“We just have a fuck-ton of energy,” Gerry Lange says of their high octane sets. “It’s like we have too much coffee. We’re really into the songs and want you to believe them. We don’t have any gimmicks. I don’t fly and Danny doesn’t do backflips. But our energy is palpable. It’s something you’d have to see”
Theirs is a bond that began in Long Island, New York, where Danny and Gerry met during 10th grade math class, but began in earnest when they unknowingly both applied for and got the same internship at Sony Records during summer 2009.
“I walked into the first day,” Danny, 26, recalls. “They have this intern’s row and they were like, ‘This is where you sit.’ It was right next to Gerry. I was like, ‘You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. The guy from high school that couldn’t stop talking about guitars? Of all the people at the company, I’m next to him.’ So we ended up really bonding over music.”
But their friendship and musical synergy didn’t lead to instant stardom. The two led fairly normal 9-5 post-college lives. After graduating from State University of New York at Oneonta, Gerry started a dog-walking business in Brooklyn, New York.
Following graduation from Lehigh University, Danny continued to Brooklyn Law School and worked in the legal department at—oddly enough—Epic Records.
“At the end of the day, I’d be dead tired and covered in dirt,” Gerry, 27, says. “And then meet up with Dan and he’d be shot and tired from being a lawyer all day.”
“This went on for two years,” Danny adds. “I would take the train home at two or three in the morning and be thinking, ‘Ah, man. I have to be up in six hours for work.”
All the while they performed under whatever name they’d come up with just hours before showtime. Gerry remembers one of their aliases: “Chained Soldiers. Whatever the fuck we’d think of on that day.” Only those close to the guys even knew that they were musicians.
It’s the reason they stuck with the Secret Weapon monicker. Hardly anyone knew Gerry and Danny had a band. They opted not to be the cliche aspiring artists in the office. Especially Danny, who sat just feet away from label chairman and music icon L.A. Reid each of the two years day he’d go to work.
“I loved being close to music,” says Danny of his time as an Epic law staffer. “And I was around it 24-7. But when I would go to work, I was separating the two in my head. I’d keep it to myself that I was in a band that was traveling every weekend to do shows. I would never talk about it. I never wanted to be that guy there that was like, ‘Check out my band!’”
For two years, the pair would spend all their free time writing together “until we finally came up with a good song and our lives got a lot different,” Gerry says. We needed people to know what we’re all about and set the tone for what’s about to come. We found the right song and put it up on Spotify.”
That cut was “Something New.”
“There’s a stirring in my soul,” Gerry sings on the catchy synth single, where the pair ditches the monotony of life in a suit and tie to run “with the wolves.” Clearly, it speaks to the path they’re on. Also clear is that the track instantly connected with listeners all over.
It made it to No. 4 on Spotify’s U.S. and Global Viral Chart. “It got around one million plays,” Gerry says. “Then we started getting inundated with emails from record labels, but no one that we were really serious about.”
Z100’s Elvis Duran named Secret Weapons Artist of the Month and introduced them to millions of morning TV-watchers on NBC’s Today show.
By then, they’d already made the major decision regarding their burgeoning music careers: what record label they’d sign with after being courted by the best of them. It was an easy pick, though.
“I got the best L.A. Reid education you could ever have,” Danny says, explaining why they signed with Epic Records. “I watched him listen to music for two and a half years. It was such a good opportunity to work with someone I knew so much about and someone that was a perfect fit for the band.”
The October night they signed their deal, Gerry and Danny walked from the Epic headquarters in midtown Manhattan to the Brooklyn apartment plotting on how they were going to enjoy being on a major recording label for a few hours and then immediately get to work.
Lately, the pair’s been touring, opening for the likes of Panic! at the Disco, Nate Ruess, and Atlas Genius. This summer they’ll hit the road for additional dates Panic at The Disco as well as stops at Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot, and Bonanza festivals.
All of it seems to be a thrill they seem to never tire of. Both Danny and Gerry are beyond excited to release their debut album later this year and now that “Something New” is creeping up the charts, the Weapons are set to blow. But do you they have enough ammo? “Fuck yeah,” Gerry shoots out confidently. “‘Something New’ was a great introduction to our band. But here comes the knockout.”
The secret’s out: Their time is now.