Scott Whelehan: Lead vocals
Larry Restieri: Guitars
Chris Bentley: Bass, vocals
Tim Barnes: Drums, percussion
Produced by Brian Drago
Recorded at Brocoli Rabe Recording Studios, Fairfield, NJ
Won’t Let You Down
Long before stepping up and into rock’s international avant garde with The Silver Jews, Jim O’Rourke, The Essex Green, Glenn Kotche, Lee Ranaldo, and Beth Orton — even before he started Ditch Croaker and played on one of my Time Or Dirt singles — my ol’ pal Tim Barnes smacked the skins for The Barley Boys.
This Long Island-based foursome might be described as indie-pop now, but back then we called it “college rock,” and not necessarily in a derogatory way. The Barley Boys were about as college-rock as it gets: guitarist Larry Restieri and bassist Chris Bentley are both Harvard grads, while lead singer Scott Whelehan and drummer Tim Barnes, are alumni of Dartmouth and Hampden-Sydney, respectively. (You might get a kick out of this 1990 profile on the band in The Harvard Crimson.)
I liked these guys a lot; tight harmonies, jangly guitars, groovy bass lines, and, of course, Tim’s drumming, already impressive in those early days.
Tim, who’s lived in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2007, is still very much in the game. In a remarkable coincidence, The Rumpus just yesterday published a lengthy interview with him, touching on his entire career in music. The Barley Boys are not mentioned. Oh well, we all get to write our own history. 🙂
In case you are curious, Larry Restieri is now an attorney and a managing director at Goldman, Sachs; and there’s photographic evidence that Chris Bentley is still making music, although I was not able to determine its name. Couldn’t track down Scott Whelehan, unfortunately — although I did find this great pic from a Barley Boys reunion in 2015:
Looking good, boys!