Plattsburgh’s local band: The Gallery

The Gallery practicing in a home. Photo provided by Billy Gagnon.

Legendary bands like AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Iron Maiden often started as unknowns, playing their music in small-town bars and impromptu venues. The Gallery, a band based in Plattsburgh, New York, is at that stage in their career: playing in bars and other small venues hoping to spread the word about their music.

The Gallery’s members are bassist Billy Gagnon, drummer Stevie Geiling, and two guitarists, Erick Steckler and Logan Valerio. They seemingly came together as if it were fate, although, first, Valerio found Gagnon on Facebook Marketplace while searching for bandmates. After that they found Geiling and Steckler through mutual friends

The band started playing in the basement of deFredenburgh Residence Hall on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. 

“The CAs would come down and be like “‘it’s OK as long as you’re not playing past Quiet Hours.’” Valerio said. But they played anyway; Steckler said that he had been written up a number of times.

As they were playing in the basement of deFredenburgh, they were looking around at the signs on the wall, when they spotted one that read “maximum occupancy.” This became the band’s first name. They would go through one more name, Quiet Hours, before arriving at The Gallery. 

They were throwing around names until they got to The Gallery,as if they were Mötley Crüe in the movie “The Dirt.” Valerio took inspiration from Dire Strait’s song “The Gallery” but explained that it meant more than that. “It’s almost like above music, we have art to show,” hence,The Gallery.

Steckler described the band’s sound as “loosey goosey rock ‘n’ roll.” But Gagnon said that if you listen to them play you would definitely hear blues and psychedelic rock. The band is inspired by all kinds of music, even outside rock and roll. 

In fact, Steckler said that he actually listens to a lot of hip-hop. Additionally Geiling explained that when listening to music he may hear something he likes, in which case he will incorporate it into his own music.

“I listen to hip hop, I listen to bluegrass, I listen to r&b,” Geiling said. As a drummer, he throws in drum beats and fills from all genres of music; if he likes something he’ll include it in his own music.

The Gallery creates their own music, and when making a song they usually begin with a riff. They start with that and then build off of it. Each member contributes to the song until it sounds right and they are happy. The band is very open minded when it comes to creating music, especially because they don’t have a lead singer. They try to split up singing evenly  amongst themselves. “If Billy wanted to take a whole set of singing, no one would be like ‘Stop,’” Valerio said.

The Gallery playing at Monopole bar in Plattsburgh, New York. Photo provided by Billy Gagnon.

Reflecting on the memories of their band, each member has one that comes to mind. Valerio recalled the first time they had played at a bar. “The dream as a college kid is to play a bar, and we got asked to play at a bar and I was definitely really nervous,” Valerio said. 

He did not know what the outcome would be, especially since this was their first gig at a bar, but he got up on the stage and played his heart out. “It was like everything you could imagine, like I just peaked in that moment,” Valerio said. The audience even moved the tables so that they could stand up and watch. 

Gagnon and Steckler share the same favorite memory: when they put a song together in 15 minutes. Gagnon put together a baseline, while Valerio and Steckler sat “2 feet away” on a couch ripping on their guitars. Gagnon’s brain was on “rapid fire” and 35 minutes later they had an entire song.

But the band is still in the early stages of its career. The members are trying to build up their reputation so that they can play at bigger and better venues. So far they have played at the Monopole bar and Peabody’s, as well as other local venues. The Gallery has had help from another local band called La Grogg, playing alongside them at venues. They have played for free many times but the band has a genuine appreciation for music despite that fact. They want to share their art and invite people to browse what The Gallery has to offer.

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