Tender Defender: The Not-So Surprise Reunion Of Sorts

As a native Long Islander (excuse me, “Lawnguhlanduh”), the news of a newly released song by a band under the name of “Tender Defender” consisting of 3 ex-members of the highly regarded punk spectacle, Latterman, was enough to strike a chord in me. Although, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. Let me explain.

On Long Island (yes on, not in), a long-term Latterman reunion has always been the butt-end of jokes at shows where cheap beer and sweat could be potent enough to stain your clothes and nostrils up to a few days following the festivities since their unfavored split in 2007. Mainly, what I’m talking about is Iron Chic shows, where current Chic and previous Latterman member, Phil Douglas, plays his signature riffs (I promise I don’t mean for that to sound like something out of Guitar World). Of course, these jokes are always made in-between the songs of honesty and triumphant “woah-ohs” with an underlying pining hope that someday, a reunion would take place.

July 10th is when I suspected that maybe, just maybe, that could be true.

On July 10th in the heart of the ritzy Huntington Village on Long Island’s North Shore lies The Paramount, an upscale 1,500 cap venue where I, and probably very few other people would have ever thought they would see Iron Chic, Timeshares and the Gin Blossoms of all acts, play together. Though seeing Chic play to what was essentially a lot of Mom’s and Dad’s waiting to re-live a 90’s teen-drama was as entertaining as it sounds, the giggles turned to questions when me and my friends became dumbfounded by what we had seen: Mattie Jo Canino and Travis Paduano come on stage to join the screaming, finger-pointing fun. This marked the first of two suspicions.

The second was on July 24th, in a small packed-out venue known to locals as the Amityville Music Hall, where Iron Chic headlined a bill consisting of Beach Slang, Broadcaster and Scout Boys. This time, Canino wasn’t up near the mic, but under the strap of a guitar for the duration of the set. With a room full of long-term Latterman and Chic fans, and not Mom’s and Dad’s dancing to “Follow You Down”, this became the talk of the night, that turned 30-something year old bearded men into gossiping teens. It was today, July 31st, that turned schoolyard chatter into a reality. Kind of.

The group is a trio, thus making it one member short of a full-blown Latterman reunion, because for as exciting as it is, that is not exactly who they are. In fact, on the flyer for (Chicken) Tender

Defender’s first show, it’s noted that they are, “new Latterman.” They will be a continuation of the previous band.

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So what’s the takeaway? There is a new song out called “Hello Dirt” by a new great band with a name that RHYMES, that has members of an old great band that are essentially kind of the same band, that you can listen to here right now, and said great band is releasing a physical form of music in the future via Dead Broke Rekerds. As for everything in regards to Latterman themselves and the possibility of an original lineup, in the words of Fox Mulder, “I want to believe.”

Written by Emily Balcerak (@emilybalcerak)

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