Zandelle’s first independent release caught the attention of independent record distributor Denis Gulbey. He offered George a distribution deal for the six-song album to which George agreed. George was completely surprised by the offer. He hadn’t expected the album to be sold to anyone more than his friends and now it was being distributed internationally. It wasn’t long before letters from all over the world from fans were sent to his house, praising the album and/or ordering it. Meanwhile, George and Kirk were in search of a drummer. Amit was unable to stay with them due to his being in Medical School (he has since graduated and is working as a doctor). They tried out a number of people until they found one that clicked well with the band. John Lasanta originally joined the band as a bassist but when the drummer they had been trying out didn’t work out, John switched to drums, leaving George the dual task of having to sing and play bass simultaneously.
It was around this time that George met his now long time friend Dave Pando. Dave contacted George through one of his Bassist Wanted adds and explained that he was looking to start promoting Metal bands in the NY area to help bring back the scene which since the early 90’s had all but vanished. Dave proceeded to book shows for Zandelle, who at the time were still a trio. After a few shows, the members of Zandelle discussed possible ways to enhance the overall sound of the band. Adding another guitarist was one option that George and John liked. Kirk however was not for the idea, preferring to keep it a one-guitar band. In the end however George and John won out. Dave introduced George to guitarist Anthony Maglio who shortly thereafter came down to the studio to audition. George, John and Anthony clicked instantly, both musically as well as personally. Kirk, although he liked Anthony on a personal level, still was not happy about having to share his guitar responsibilities with anyone and within a few months left to pursue other projects. The rest of the band understood and they parted on good terms.
Zandelle was soon in search of another guitarist. They had tried out one or two guys but after playing with them for a little while, they realized they simply weren’t right for the band. Once again Dave Pando came into the picture and suggested local guitarist Joe Hartoularos who at the time was only fifteen years old. The band agreed to give Joe an audition despite their concerns about his age. Within minutes of the audition, Joe had completely impressed the band with his playing ability. They decided to have him come down a few more times to the studio before making any final decisions. Joe came through with flying colors and was accepted into the ranks.
Around the same time, Zandelle had started recording their second independent release, Shadows of Reality. Joe, having learned the songs only weeks prior, came into the recording studio and laid down his portion of the guitar tracks. The album was released and Zandelle was once again offered a distribution deal by Sentinel Steel. The release of the second album brought even greater recognition to Zandelle. It wasn’t long before George began designing a website for the band to help promote Zandelle throughout the world.
As the band began increasing it’s popularity, both locally as well as internationally, drummer John Lasanta found himself uncomfortable with the idea of pursuing a musical career on a serious level. He instead longed to settle down and raise a family and keep music only as a hobby. Though the rest of the band originally hadn’t imagined pursuing music as a serious career, they could not deny the fact that such a possibility was getting larger with each passing moment. Offers to play more shows, including various Metal Festivals around the country were starting to pour in. Anthony, George and Joey knew that with John still in the band, most of those offers would have to be declined. Though it was a difficult thing for the trio to do to their long time friend, they discussed their desires to take the band to the next level with John and explained to him why he could no longer be in the band.
Fortunately for Zandelle, another local band that they happened to be friends with had recently broken up, leaving drummer Bob Delmini in search of a band. Zandelle auditioned Bob. Seeing the potential in Bob’s playing, the George, Anthony, and Joey accepted him into the band. Within a few months, Zandelle found themselves playing Milwaukee Metal Fest, one of the largest Metal Festivals in the United States. Despite not having the greatest time slot, Zandelle made a pretty strong impact. A few months after that, the foursome played another festival, this time in Baltimore, Maryland.
The members of Zandelle were extremely happy with the direction the band had taken since Bob joined. Suddenly, after having practically given up all hope of finding a bassist to relieve George of that portion of his duties, the band was approached by a number of local musicians who expressed an interest in playing for the band. For the first time in years, George suddenly found himself not having to play bass while singing. The change felt strange at first. George had been taking on the dual role for so long, he was slightly uncomfortable at first, but it wasn’t long before his live performance took on an even greater appeal. Without having anything else to worry about, George was not only able to improve his showmanship, but was also able to focus all his energies into his singing, which drastically improved Zandelle’s live sound.
All was not perfect for the group however. Due to personal reasons, guitarist Joe Hartoularos announced that he would have to leave the band. The other members were quite upset upon hearing this however were very understanding. The members of Zandelle once again found themselves looking for a guitarist. George came across an ad in an online musicians classified that truly caught his eye. The ad said something to the affect of, “I want to rule the world with Heavy Metal!” George read on. He noticed that the guitarist’s influences were virtually identical to those of the band. He instantly emailed the guitarist. When he finally heard back, George sent him a sample tape from the Shadows of Reality album. Within a week, guitarist TW Durfy was in the studio auditioning. The members of Zandelle were completely shocked by his ability to play the four songs flawlessly, including the solos. TW became the newest member of the band.
Shortly thereafter, the bassist they had been playing with proved to be less than capable of handling the material and also proved to not work well with the rest of the band both professionally as well as personally. He parted ways with the band. George called up ex-guitarist Joe Hartoularos and asked if he would be kind enough to fill in on the bass for a show they had to perform in two weeks. Joe eagerly accepted the opportunity to help out his long time friends. Joe’s bass playing proved to be equally impressive (if not more) as was his guitar playing and the show was the best Zandelle had ever done up to that point. To this day Joe still plays bass for Zandelle on all their live performances while they search for the perfect addition to take over that responsibility.
Since the band’s early beginnings, Zandelle has played a number of Metal Festivals, including the Milwaukee Metal Fest, PowerMad Fest, and has opened for international act such as Savatage, Fates Warning, UDO, Saxon, HelStar, and Pain of Salvation. They have also completed recording their third album, Twilight on Humanity, which has captured the interest of Limb Music and Publishing of Germany and as a result has earned them their very first offer from a major record company who has a number of incredible Metal bands under their label, including Rhapsody, Angra and Wizard. Zandelle is looking forward to releasing their album under LMP and are confident that with the support of such a well-known and reputable company, they will reach a very high level within the worldwide Metal scene.
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