I Am the Avalanche's Vinnie Caruana is a glass-half-full kinda guy.
That outlook was stretched to the limit when he was working on the band's latest album "Wolverines" (I Surrender), flat on his bed in his Long Beach apartment, recovering from a serious back injury, in the middle of the destruction that superstorm Sandy brought to the area. While he worked, he also knew that guitarist Michael Ireland was leaving the band to focus more time on the two bars he opened in Bushwick and that bassist Kellen Robson was leaving IATA to spend more time at home.
However, Caruana was determined not to let the situation get him down. "I didn't want it to be a pity party," Caruana said, calling on the way to a tour stop in Orlando, Florida. "I didn't want people to feel bad for me. ... That's just the kind of guy I am. I don't want to come off as complaining."
Caruana was so successful at hiding his pain that "Wolverines," with the help of drummer Brett "The Ratt" Romnes and some riffs from Ireland and bass work from Robson offered before they left the band, actually sounds upbeat and inspiring. Caruana's raw vocals over the roaring, hardcore-influenced guitars and driving beats sound more gritty and determined than pained. (Romnes, and new members guitarist John Oliva and bassist Cory Perez, will back up Caruana when the band plays Revolution in Amityville Saturday.)
All the struggle that went into "Wolverines" makes its success that much sweeter for Caruana. "It makes me proud to be where I am," he said. "I feel kind of victorious. All that stuff could've hampered things, but it didn't. I think it's become inspirational for other people too. To see them singing these songs back to me at our shows, I'm filled with pride."
The most stunning of the new songs is "Where Were You?," written about the aftermath of Sandy. "It was the first song I wrote for the record," Caruana said. "I couldn't get out of bed. I was crawling to the bathroom. And I would look out my window at the devastation in Long Beach. I wrote the song like I was speaking to somebody else, but I'm the guy. The questions are being asked of me. Because of what I do, I'm away from home a lot. I miss a lot of births of nieces and nephews, a lot of funerals. I can't always be there for everybody. This is the life I chose. There is always going to be a downside, but there's an incredible upside, too."
And that's what Caruana is going to focus on.
WHO I Am the Avalanche
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WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Saturday, Revolution, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville
INFO $14-$16; 631-264- 7712, revolutionli.com