Against this tide of escapist rage, the five young men of PAX217 offer a fresh perspective. Their music is as tight a fusion of metal and hip-hop rhythms as anything on the radio today, but their message is what hits home the hardest. And it hits not like a hail of grievances, but rather as a positive instrument for change, for hope.
Of course, like its name, the band's sound has evolved over the years. "If it doesn't progress, it will die," Tosti notes pointedly. Originally a casual weekend diversion for Tosti and a handful of other school friends, PAX217 began to gel into a focused, professional outfit when guitarist Jesse Craig came on board as a full-time member and the band recorded its first album for ForeFront, 2000's twoseventeen. Shortly after the album's completion, before hitting the road to support it, DJ Bobby Duran ("Bobbito the Chef," after his passion for cooking both on stage and in the kitchen), joined the fold. The band also includes bassist Josh Auer and drummer Aaron "Skwid" Tosti , Dave's younger brother, who graduated from high school the month Engage was released. The result is a sound at once both right in step with modern rock and several bold steps away in every direction, encompassing metal, rap, melodic power pop and even, on the standout love song "Move On This," reggae.
The multi-genre, multi-cultural mélange has helped the band reach out to a broad cross-section of fans, making PAX217 feel at home whether performing at rock festivals or in front of New York City's hardcore punks, and even a handful of dates on the Warped Tour.