Looking for entertainment for a small (socially distant) gathering?

Look no further! Check out the combos of the Actually Not That Bad Band below…


Castle On The Hill
Hooked On A Feeling
No Diggity
More by Bobby Darin
Bailando – Enrique Iglesias
Duo with Eddie (trombone/fiddle):
I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Instrumental)
Say Hey By Michael Franti
Chan Chan/The Way You Look Tonight
Duo with Carlton (keys)
Body/Safe and Sound
Uptown Funk
The Way You Look Tonight
Steal My Kisses
Trio – w/ Eddie (trombone/fiddle) and Darrell (drums)
Oh What A Night (Dec. 1963)
Wagon wheel
Trio w/ Carlton (keys) and Darrell (Drums)
Waiting In Vain, Body, Blurred Lines, Circles, Truth Hurts, Freebird
Trio with Russ (Sax) and Darrell (Drums)

Also available as part of the full 10-piece party band SOUND IMAGE: www.soundimageband.com


Summer Dates are going up!

 Click Here to Join the Email List

Check out my updated Song list HERE to make a request at solo gigs!

The spring is finally here and I’m excited to get back out there!  You may notice that I’ll be playing fewer public shows this year than in the past.  That’s because I’ll be spending more time with my family (three little kids that won’t stay little forever!) and also because I’ve got lots of private events booked already.  I’m also making an effort to limit my time on social media, so that means you need to join the email list to know when you can catch a show!

I’ll be playing lots of the old favorites, The Cabana, and Castaway in Long Beach from time to time, Minnesota’s in Long Beach every Wednesday night, John Scotts Surf Shack in Westhampton Beach on lots of Monday nights, and with the band, I’ll be singing at classic clubs like The Borgata, The Nutty Irishman, and Claudio’s, as well as some new spots like Plattedeutche Bier Garden and Smith’s Point Beach Hut with Peat Moss & the Fertilizers.

Back to School!


After two glorious months of summer, it’s that time of year again.  I’m heading back into the classroom to mold another set of young minds!  In my eighth year teaching middle school general music, (amongst other things), I am feeling really optimistic about this fresh start.  I thought this would be a great time to write my first blog about my passion for teaching!

I have a dream job. I have a classroom full of iMacs with Logic on them, a closet full of hand drums and amps, a set of ukuleles and MIDI keyboards, and I’ve collected a set of guitars.  I get to teach everyone in my school who has opted out of band, orchestra, or chorus. Those who have not yet found their passion for music, or those who are so dedicated to their school work, that they don’t have the time to practice for an ensemble. My hope is to ignite a love of music and create informed listeners who know that they can use music as a form of self expression.  

With that goal in mind, over the last 8 years I’ve put together two separate curricular tracks that my kids can choose from: General Music and Music of the World.

In General music, my students spend a lot of time working with computers to learn about the elements of music, music production, music history and the paths of influence that lead to the music they listen to today. In Music of the World, my students and I explore the cultural musical styles from around the globe together, with an emphasis on West Africa and the Caribbean.

I have been incredibly lucky in my teaching career. I never knew the struggle of searching for a job, interviewing and doing demo lessons. I was lucky to have spent my first five years substitute teaching, as a daytime job while I toured and played locally at night.  When a position teaching middle school general music came up, I was lucky that I already knew the class well due to my experience subbing. I had already had the experience of inventing fun projects for the kids to get a handle on multi-track recording. I was lucky when the head of the arts department at the time believed in me and found a way for me to work as a permanent sub while I frantically collected 15 more credits and became certified.  I was even more lucky that, while in a month to month leave position, my district held my job for me while I went to Nashville for two months to record “Here’s to You” after a successful Kickstarter campaign. I really lucked out when they gave me the time I had spent as a permanent sub and on leave towards tenure, and now I am absolutely blessed to be tenured in the same district that I attended as a student.

This summer, I took a week to look back at all of my experience, all of the projects I’ve come up with, and brought it together into a three year curriculum for both the General Music and Music of the World tracks.   The tweaks I’ve made have got me so excited to start this year!  

First of all, everyone in all of my classes will be working for part of the year on a harmonic instrument of their choice, choosing from ukulele, guitar or piano and prepping for in class recitals.  (I get crazy for the recitals and black out the windows, bring in stage lighting, setup screens and audience seating, but I have seen some of these kids do amazing things! We spend a unit on it in every class, and I try to squeeze some practice time in between other units too.

In general music we’ll be working with MIDI to recreate genres and creating pieces from recorded sounds from their lives.  My older kids will be getting that chance to try their hand at songwriting, recording, and marketing an album. It’s a curriculum that few out of my personal experience songwriting, home recording, and marketing.

In Music of the World, we loosely follow the “World Music Drumming” curriculum by Will Schmidt, but We also dive into new cultures music styles whenever the kids are into it.  We spend most of the time working with West African and Caribbean rhythms, and arranging cover versions and songwriting in those styles, but based on the interest of the class, I’ve created units on Indonesian gamelan, Tibetan throat singing, Puerto Rican Bomba, Mexican Mariachi and Cumbia, Maori drumming and singing from the Islands of the pacific, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the world with my kids this year. As one of my teachers, Sowah Mensah said, “if you want to learn about a people, about a culture, just look at their music. It’s all there.”

So that’s basically what I’m up to for ten months of the year!  Now that you guys know the basics, I’ll write some more blogs about specific units, teachable moments and more.  

Ok social media, it’s time for a break.

I’m going to go on a social media hiatus for the rest of the summer. My accounts will still be active, but I won’t be posting and I won’t be checking. I’m going to delete the apps for Facebook and Instagram from my phone until the fall, so if you want to get in touch with me you can call, text or send me an email at brycelarsenmusic@gmail.com. I’ll be sending out updates on my show schedule, blog, music, (and maybe a few baby pictures) via the email list, so make sure you’re signed up on there!

Click here to join the email list

I want to fully experience the rest of this summer, enjoy my kids and wife when I’m home without a part of my mind worrying about getting ready or promo for the next show. I want to enjoy playing shows and not have part of my mind on whether I’ve set up the feed right or how many likes I am getting on the broadcast. I want to use my free time (during baby naps) to practice, write music, and work on creative projects that are more fulfilling than editing photos and video for posts and coming up with a great caption and hashtag list.

Social media has a lot of positives. I love that I can quickly stay up to date with old friends, share great moments with my family, and find communities of people with like interests and more experience than me to learn from. I’ll miss the connections, and though I might want to sneak on with a computer over the next month, I’m going to lock myself out, and promise to stay in touch in more personal ways.

For a small business, musician, or artist, it can be really time consuming. I constantly feel like I need to create material to stay relevant, and it seems like we just keep adding and adding to the work load with smaller and smaller returns. It never feels like enough, there’s always someone doing it better who I can learn from and change my approach, I can’t seem to get ahead and I think it’s time to let this all drop and see what happens.

In the fall, I’ll see how I feel. Maybe I’ll just start going on once a week without computer to stay in touch, maybe I’ll jump back in with renewed vigor and crush your feeds, but until then, come see me at a show and hang out!


My American Idol Experience (Part 1)

In 2009, I was a contestant on the Fox TV show “American Idol”, and it was a life changing experience for me.  Each step along the road to Hollywood was a new challenge for me as a musician and as a person, and when it was all over, I was a much more confident performer than I had been before.  I made it to the top 90 on season 9, which was the last season with Simon Cowell.  The other judges were Kara DiGuardi, Randy Jackson, and in Boston, Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) and in Hollywood, Ellen DeGeneres.  In the years since, it’s been a really fun story to tell and a source of questions for lots of people.  In the first part of this blog I’ll talk about the experience up to getting the Golden Ticket, then in a future blog I’ll tell you all about how I prepared and what Hollywood was like.

For the first audition, I happened to be playing shows in Boston and New Hampshire with Stealing Jane surrounding the audition dates at Gillette Stadium.  I drove separately, and waited overnight for early tickets, then I didn’t worry about being first into the stadium a few days later, thanks to some fantastic advice from some friends I made on the overnight line, Bobby and Katie.  Once I got the ticket, I headed to Boston to play with Stealing Jane, then up to New Hampshire. The morning after the second show, I headed back down to Gillette Stadium and found my seat. I arrived after most of the line interviews and crowd shots, and just found my seat in the stadium and waited for my section to be called to the field.

I had a few songs planned, in case they asked for more.  I started off with I’ll Be by Edwin McCain, two lines of the first verse, then right to the chorus.  I honestly can’t remember what the other songs I had planned were now.  I’d been practicing them for days, to make them short and sweet clips to show off my voice.  After a line of the chorus of I’ll Be, the judge, or intern, or whatever stopped me and asked for something else. I got nervous because I’d already seen them deny people, and choose people based on one song, so this felt like a death round.  For some reason, without thinking, I started singing Hey Jude.  It was just the first song that came into my head.  I let myself think “wait, why am I singing this” one time, then just committed, and looked for some long notes I could fit in there.  I skipped around in the song, and the stopped me after about 20 seconds, thought, and sent me through. I didn’t even fully process what had happened, I had to wave goodbye to Bobby and Katie and follow a path into the locker room area of the stadium.   I didn’t know what to expect, would I turn a corner and see the judges and lights and suddenly be on TV? Would they just take my name and tell me to come back that afternoon? Nope. I was there for hours filling out psychological evaluations and nondisclosure agreements, getting information on the next steps, and waiting for processing.  When I finally got out it was mid afternoon and they were still working through the stadium of people. It was a beautiful summer day in June and I met up with Bobby and Katie and had 5 Guys burgers for the first time. Then we said our goodbyes and I went back to long island to wait a week or so for the next round of auditions.

Second Round:

I didn’t get any details about how many rounds there would be, so each time I entered a judging room, I thought “maybe this is it!”.  For the entire week running up to the audition, I was going over I’ll Be and a new song for me that I was super connected to, “Dig” by Incubus.  The second round would be in a Hotel in Boston. I recruited my girlfriend at the time, now wife, Melissa and #mybestfriendBunce to come along, in case this was it and I needed a crowd to share the news with, or in case I totally bombed and needed drinking buddies.  We got a room in the hotel, got up early and headed down to the audition in the morning. Even though I thought we were early, we totally missed the early lineups and crowd shots and screaming and yelling, but I was fine with that, I had a number and so there wasn’t really any reason to get there at the crack of dawn.

The first song I sang was “Dig” by Incubus for a table full of producers I didn’t recognize.  They seemed impressed with my singing but they were not into the song choice.  Their thought was that Incubus songs usually need the instrumentation for the melody to sound right, even when you nail it acapella, it can be hard for a listener to follow without hearing the band.  I took that advice to heart, and they decided to move me on to another round that was apparently later that day.

Now I sang for a camera crew and some higher up looking producers, and I decided to go with a song Id been singing in solo gigs for a while, “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal.  I didn’t get to many comments from this group of bigwigs, but they did decide to move me on, and told me that the next round would be with the TV judges, in a few days.

My favorite memory of the whole thing:

When I got out of that audition, the anxiety that had been with me all day hit like a ton of bricks and I took a stress nap in the hotel room, it was about 2pm.  Bunce decided to sleep too so we could recharge and go out that night. Unbeknownst to us, Melissa left the room, found a laminated sign board and but my chest number in it, went out and bought some beers and a bottle of wine and set up this beautiful display in the hotel room for me to see when I woke up.  THAT was when the validation of making it this far, the pride, the strength of the support I had around me really hit home.

Least Favorite memory of the whole thing:

On our way home from Boston Round 2, we got a call that Melissa’s Dad had gone into the hospital with chest pain.  We rushed home and straight to the hospital to find out that he would be undergoing bypass surgery in a few days. I remember going to the diner with the family and discussing the rollercoaster of the day, the positive and negative uncertainty in our future.

TV Round in Boston:

In the next few days, we put together a caravan (they never said how many family members to bring, so I sort of made an open invite). We filled the band’s van and my parents car and all headed up to Boston for the first TV round in which I’d have the chance to get a Golden Ticket to Hollywood. I invited Bobby and Katie, my new friends from the line and the first auditions.  They had been such a huge support and we’d spent more than 24 hours together. I wanted to have them there at the end, or the beginning of the next chapter.

I remember warming up with Bunce in the waiting room, singing some of our band’s songs and cover songs together.  Singing together really helped to release the tension and get my mind off of the audition coming up.

Side note: One thing that did make me a little uncomfortable all along was watching the producers encourage and build up people who were clearly a little bit mentally unstable, or delusional, just so that the judges could deny them and chop them down.  It felt really wrong to see them coming out of the early interviews with big smiles when you know they were there to be laughed at. I’m glad that they seem to have changed that approach in the AI reboot.

Anyway, one moment that I will never forget, was the first time Ryan Seacrest entered the room.  This guy, couldn’t have been taller than 5’8, and in a heartbeat he had the entire room in the palm of his hand.  He spoke so clearly, so intimately, and so rapidly, a few things became instantly clear to me. 1. Being a host is a bigger job than it seems. And 2. Seacrest was born for it.  I remember him giving me a little pep talk before going in, (“it’s just like the last few, you got this” I’m paraphrasing because it’s all a little fuzzy.) I walked into the sound stage on the top floor of the hotel in Boston turned a corner and saw the judges there.  It kind of felt like I was watching them on TV, they were so recognizable and almost unreal, thanks to the lighting and the makeup and all of the glamour. I started by closing my eyes, and sang “Kiss From a Rose” until they stopped me. Victoria Beckham really seemed to like my outfit (which may have been because Melissa had pretty much styled me after her husband).  I recieved the coveted “Yo Dawg that was pretty good!” and they discussed the performance a bit. I really can’t remember what they said about me, but I do remember it not feeling set in stone when Simon called to vote. I remember feeling like someone was going to say no, based on what they had been saying.

Simon: “Yes.”

Victoria: “Yes.”

Kara: “Yes”

Randy: “Dawg you goin’ to Hollywood it’s FOUR YESSES!”

It was strange because I had felt so sure it would happen, I went in with confidence, but then that confidence wavered as they were talking.  It was a surprise, a confirmation, and an affirmation that all of the work I’d been putting in these years was recognized. I remember collecting my golden ticket form the judges, and shaking their hands, and that was when they became real people to me.  I had the realization that these judges are just human, fallible people who have been tasked with deciding the future of other people. They’re actors playing huge versions of themselves for the show, and their decisions mattered for the direction of the show.  As I continued in Hollywood, this impression would solidify as I watched the camera people frantically try to capture footage to be ready for any decision that the judges hand down.

I ran back out toward the waiting room, and I braced myself for what would be on the other side.  I knew that my family and friends were waiting on the other side and they were going to lose it when they saw the ticket.  You can see on the broadcast, Ryan Seacrest chatting them up. Joking that there were “so many of them there, who’s left to watch at home?”  When he noticed Carlos, Sean, Bunce, and Bobby in the back he asked, “Did you bring security?”

I slowly cracked open the door and peeked out.  They were waiting anxiously. When I pulled the ticket out from behind my back, Everyone jumped on top of me except my mom, who launched herself on top of Ryan Seacrest.  Looking back at those pictures and that video, especially now that I have kids, seeing the smile on my Dad’s face, pure joy, gives me so much pride. I remember how excited Melissa’s sister Juliana was, she was the first one to hug me when I brought out the ticket, she was ten years old at the time.  My sister, Jenny, was jumping up and down barely touching the ground.  Carlos had a boot on from an injury with the NY Redbulls, (which was actually why he was able to come), he had his crutches in the air and was jumping on one leg. My friend Sean had a smile from ear to hear and was jumping and hugging everyone, Bunce and Bobby and Katie were on top of the pile.  I think back to that moment and the genuine joy and excitement that everyone was feeling, and I am so proud that I was able to give them that experience, proud that my work had been validated, and so grateful to them all for traveling for me, showing me that selfless love and support that made it all possible.

Getting ready for Hollywood:

After I got the golden ticket, there were hours and hours of interviews in booths, photos, psychological exams and forms to fill out once again.  A whole new round of non-disclosure forms, and a new schedule to prepare for. It was after 10pm when I finally got out, and most of my family and friends had started the ride home to get to work the next day.  I did go to the bar with my parents and those who were left for a drink, but the day had been exhausting and my mind was already on the next steps.

In my next blog I’ll talk about what I did to prepare, my time in Hollywood, and what it was like to come home with some success but without what I thought was the prize.

I’ve got some BIG NEWS Party People…

After years on my own, this summer I’ll be joining one of Long Island’s longest running party bands, The bash brigade that never fails to bring the heat, the crew that takes no crap from nobody,

You can see my entire show schedule at www.bandsintown.com/brycelarsen including solo dates and all of the public dates with PM&F.

I got excited about joining the band after I saw my first show at the Nutty Irishman last month.  I’m tellin you, PM&F have killer setlists with hit songs from artists like:
– The Killers – MIGOS – Pharell – Blink 182 – Earth Wind and Fire – Zac Brown Band – Sia – Notorious BIG – Katy Perry – Stevie Wonder – Shaggy – Toby Keith – Blackstreet – Sugar Ray – Cheap Trick – Bruno Mars – Maroon 5 – Justin Bieber – Miley Cyrus – Enrique Iglesias – Nelly – Frank Sinatra – Bob Marley – U2 – Fall Out Boy – Bon Jovi – Journey – Biv De Voe – Billy Joel – CCR – Lynyrd Synyrd – Frankie Valli – Ed Sheeran – Marvin Gaye – P!nk – Michael Jackson – Ray LaMontagne – Aerosmith – Rihanna – Sam Hunt – Prince – Linkin Park – Paul Simon – James Taylor – Guns N Roses –
...and MORE!

To book Pete Moss and the Fertilizers contact:
Barbara Klein at Omnipop Talent Group
email: barbara@omnipop.com
phone: 516.937.6011

I can’t wait to see you all out there!

“Santa’s Coming” is HERE!











My new Holiday EP “Santa’s Coming” hits online retailers TODAY,  November 21st!
Three of my kids’ favorite holiday tunes, recorded straight out of my looper (with a few over-dubs). These are the tunes that Naomi requests all year round:

1. Santa Claus is Coming To Town
2. Mele Kalikimaka
3. ¿Mamacita, Dónde Está Santa Claus?

Tell Your Friends! Here’s to a fantastic holiday season, and Merry Christmas!


New Music Alert! “Santa’s Coming” EP Out 11/21!

Get Excited! My new Holiday EP “Santa’s Coming” hits online retailers on November 21st, and iTunes Presale starts November 14th!!!
Three of my kids’ favorite holiday tunes, recorded straight out of my looper (with a few over-dubs). These are the tunes that Naomi requests all year round:

1. Santa Claus is Coming To Town
2. Mele Kalikimaka
3. ¿Mamacita, Dónde Está Santa Claus?

When it’s released, you can find it here:

Mark Your Calendars! Tell Your Friends! Here’s to a fantastic holiday season!

Merry Christmas!