From left to right: Joe Dorsey (Keyboards), Patrick McGowan (Vocals, Guitar), Daniel McGowan (Vocals, Guitar), Daniel Monda (Drums), Jamie Wolff, (Bass, Violin)
The Tea Club is a band from New Jersey consisting of Patrick McGowan (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Dan McGowan (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Jamie Wolff (bass/violin/cello), Joe Dorsey (keyboards) and Dan Monda (drums).
In 2008, the band was discovered by producer Tim Gilles (Anthrax, Taking Back Sunday, Hades, Bear vs. Shark, Thursday), who recorded, produced, and mixed their first album at Big Blue Meenie Studios. “General Winter’s Secret Museum” was released in July 2008. The album included original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan, with an album cover by artist Kendra DeSimone.
Following a brief East Coast tour, The Tea Club returned to Tim Gilles and Big Blue Meenie Studios to record their second album entitled “Rabbit“ which was released on October 9th 2010. The album featured guest keyboardist Tom Brislin (Yes, Renaissance, OK Go, Meatloaf, Camel).
Like General Winter’s Secret Museum, the album cover was painted by Kendra DeSimone and featured original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan. Rabbit was met with very positive reviews. The Organ ‘zine praised The Tea Club for being a band that is ”not afraid to nail their colours firmly to their mast and fly directly in to the face of fashion”. Indie Music Reviewer said that Rabbit ”can appease any listener of just about any genre”, giving the album 5 out of 5 stars.
They spent the rest of 2010 and 2011 touring the East Coast, including performances at the ProgDay Music Festival in North Carolina, the Philly Film & Music Festival, and the NJ Proghouse Music Series. Reviews and articles about the band were featured in publications such as Metro Philly, Indie Music Reviewer, Origivation, and JUMP. The band also released several homemade music videos for songs from the Rabbit album. They ended 2011 by opening for Jimmy Gnecco of the band Ours in Philadelphia.
In early 2012, The Tea Club once again returned to Big Blue Meenie Studios to record their third album with producer Tim Gilles. Following these sessions, the band was invited to support Beardfish on their mini-tour of the United States in May 2012.
The Tea Club’s third album, “Quickly Quickly Quickly”, was released on November 15th, 2012. Once again, the album cover was done by Kendra DeSimone with artwork by the McGowan brothers. Quickly Quickly Quickly was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and made several “Top Albums of 2012” lists. Dangerdog Music Reviews called the album “wildly inventive”, while Instrumentali.com said that “The Tea Club has taken the dormant rock beast and tied a choke chain onto it.” Conor Fynes of The Metal Observer had this to say in his review of Quickly Quickly Quickly: “Although 2012 was a year host to output of impressive records from some of progressive rock’s finest, The Tea Club just may have topped them all.”
In 2013, The Tea Club travelled to Canada to perform two 90 minute sets at the Terra Incognita Festival in Quebec City. In August 2013, the band toured the United States with Thank You Scientist. The tour included a performance at Indie Music Reviewer’s IMR Music Festival 2013 in Atlanta, GA.
The Tea Club spent 2014 writing and recording at Big Blue Meenie Studios. These recordings became The Tea Club’s fourth album, “Grappling”, which was released on November 17, 2015. Grappling was met with critical acclaim, with many reviewers calling it the band’s greatest achievement, solidifying the band as a major presence in progressive rock.
The Tea Club started 2016 by doing a 2 page interview in PROG Magazine, where they were described as a band with “an incredible future”. The band played several shows throughout 2016, including a show with Toby Driver of Kayo Dot and multiple shows opening for HAKEN on part of their “Affinity” Tour of the USA. They also released a live in studio music video for their song “The Magnet” from Grappling. Later in the year, The Tea Club released Grappling Book One: The Magnet, the first issue of a comic book series that elaborates on the stories told in the lyrics of their Grappling album, written by Patrick McGowan, drawn by Dan McGowan, and colored by long time collaborator Kendra DeSimone. The Tea Club ended 2016 by touring the East Coast with Thank You Scientist and Moon Tooth.
As of 2017, The Tea Club is writing material for their fifth album, which they are planning to release in late 2017/ early 2018.
Praise for Grappling:
“… A challenging, modern and frequently scintillating album… With a little luck, exposure and continued self-belief, this Philadelphia band could have an incredible future…” –Prog Magazine
“…Once again I find myself almost at a loss for words other than to say if you’ve never listened to The Tea Club you MUST check them out. They get my highest recommendation…” -Jerry Lucky, author of “The Progressive Rock Files”
“…The Tea Club are the real prog rock deal…” -The Organ ‘Zine
“…One of the best progressive rock records this side of 1975… Truly a must listen for pretty much everyone that likes anything even remotely progressive related…” -Kevin Zecchel, The Monolith
“…This is beautiful, forward-thinking, strange music that will deeply resonate with you if you have heart and a desire to more deeply understand the human condition. ‘Grappling’ is a testament to musical dedication and creativity…” -Greg Erie Murfty, Pseudo/Sentai
“…If you resurrected Poe and Lovecraft, gave them guitars and synthesizers and called them a band, then set them loose on the world, you probably still wouldn’t get a cast of characters as unique, twisted, and fantastical as Dr. Abraham, Simon Magus, The Eternal German Infant, and Big Al. New Jersey gem The Tea Club, on the other hand, continue to do just that…” -Justin Carlton, The PROG Mind
“…Grappling impresses with its courage and its venturing in a scene all too often contained within comfortable parameters that are already approved…” -Lorenzo Barbagli, altprogcore.com
“…With Grappling, The Tea Club prove they have reached their full maturity as a compositional force, and are ready to assume a leading role in the overcrowded modern prog scene…” -Raffaella Berry, Fire of Unknown Origin
“This is not about skill or sound… this is about vision…” -Robert Walton, ProgArchives.com