The Arts

Meet the musicians behind ‘Who Are Those Guys,’ who dominate live music on the North Fork

By day, they are an energy auditor, a wastewater treatment plant operator, a retired signmaker and an RV mechanic.

On many nights, Marty Attridge, Doug Attridge, Jim Gorman and Patrick Petrosini are Who Are Those Guys, a popular rock band based in Mattituck, where three of the “core four” members reside. The band plays about 100 shows a year at various venues across the North Fork, from wineries and breweries to local music festivals, including Rockin’ for the Homeless XIV, which will take place at the Riverhead Moose Lodge April 22.

At their performances, like a gig Saturday at Twin Forks Brewing Co. in Riverhead, audience members can catch Marty on lead vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar; his brother Doug on electric guitar; Mr. Gorman on bass; and Mr. Petrosini on the drums.

Since 1989, Who Are Those Guys have released five studio albums and a best-of collection that showcase their sound reminiscent of ’70s blues rock, influenced by artists like Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Band and especially Neil Young.

Several of the band’s original songs have made their way into films and television shows over the years, including “If You Ain’t Got the Money,” which was featured in the movies “Dear Mr. Gacy” and “Super Troopers 2,” and “Freedom Road,” which was used in the NBC drama “Aquarius.” The latter track marked a rare collaboration between brothers Marty and Doug, who typically write independently before sharing their ideas with the rest of the group.

“That collaboration resulted in a very good song,” Marty Attridge said of “Freedom Road.” “That’s actually one of our most popular songs online.”

Mr. Petrosini occasionally tackles lead vocal and songwriting duties as well. Of the songs he’s written for the band over the years, he is most proud of “Sweet 16 (My Everything),” a track he wrote ahead of dancing with his daughter, Nicole, at her sweet 16.

With more than four decades of experience under their belts, the band shows no sign of slowing down. That’s likely because even when they are not on stage, they are a critical part of each other’s lives.

“We are brothers, hands down,” Mr. Petrosini said. “We all get along, our wives and girlfriends hang out. It’s a family; it’s not just a band, it’s really special.”

Who are those boys?

Marty and Doug grew up in a musical home in West Babylon. By their teen years, they had played various brass instruments in school and the piano in their home before both moving on to guitar. After graduating high school, the two brothers studied music at Suffolk County Community College.

In North Massapequa, Mr. Gorman grew up with a piano in the house as well, before he took a liking to the electric bass. After graduating from Plainedge High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served from 1975 to 1976.

Upon returning home, a mutual friend introduced Mr. Gorman to Marty Attridge, kicking off nearly five decades of friendship and musical collaboration.

In 1980, the trio recorded a 45-rpm single, “All Around You,” at Paris Recording in Lake Ronkonkoma, pressed 500 copies and submitted the song to WBAB’s “Homegrown Hour.” Then they hit the road, promoting the record any way they could.

“I remember driving around in my van. We’d be giving out 45s at the red lights in traffic,” Mr. Gorman said.

“We used that to get a lot of gigs,” Doug Attridge added. “We could take our 45s and stop at bars everywhere and go ‘we got a 45, hire our band.’ ”

Mr. Petrosini, the final piece of the puzzle and member of the “core four” lineup that plays together today, would not enter the picture until a few years later. The Mt. Sinai native got an early start in music sitting in with his father’s band. 

“I’ve been playing music since I was 6 years old, but professionally, every weekend of my life since 1972, at 12 years old,” he said. “New Year’s Eve of 1972 came and my dad said ‘the drummer is sick, get dressed, you’re going to work.’ And I haven’t stopped since.”

Mr. Petrosini met Marty Attridge in 1986 and was soon asked to join the band. 

Go east those men

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Who Are Those Guys frequently played venues like Cinnamon Tree and Drossos in Greenport and the Mattituck bowling alley. Starting with Doug in 1995, the two Attridge brothers and Mr. Gorman each moved to Mattituck independently within the span of a decade.

There are several references to life on the North Fork sprinkled throughout the band’s discography. Perhaps the most pronounced is the title and cover of their most recent album “Modern Snack Bar,” depicting the band’s name on the Aquebogue restaurant’s roadside sign.

“It’s something you pass almost every single day and it’s so iconic so I thought it would make a great cover,” Marty Attridge said. “It’s like the Big Duck, it’s something that stands out here.”

Over the last three decades, Mr. Gorman went from producing vinyl signs to vinyl records. In his home recording studio, he cleans up and digitizes old analog tracks while also producing new work for local artists.

He also produces Who Are Those Guys’ recordings and hosts rehearsals in his studio every Monday. On Wednesdays he and other members of the band have been recording new material, but whether that will become a Who Are These Guys album — their first new release since 2012 — or another Marty Attridge solo effort after his 2017 solo album, remains to be determined.

In the meantime, Mr. Gorman will soon take to restoring a project dear to him and his bandmates.

“I just came across two 10-inch reels of 8-track [recordings] that we did from the 45,” Mr. Gorman said, referring to the band’s debut single. “I just found them in my archives and I got to digitize those and remix them because that will be so much fun.”