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Head-bangers aim to draft Bklyn rockers into the ‘Anaka Army’

Allow me to introduce “The Next Big Thing” to hit rock and roll since the days when a young band named Metallica transformed themselves into the ambrosia-feasting Greek gods of heavy metal. “The Next Big Thing” dines at Spumoni Gardens; it drinks at The Kettle Black in Bay Ridge. “The Next Big Thing” I am referring to is the Brooklyn-born-and-raised hard rock/heavy metal quintet Anaka, whose musical influences vary from Alice in Chains to Zakk Wylde. Individually they would seem to be average Joes, but as Anaka, they become extraordinary, creating a profound and distinct sound that generates a high voltage of energy. Their loyal “Anaka Army”, a dedicated group of soldiers who attend their shows, electrifies the vanguard with the current. Anaka’s members include guitarists Pete Pallis and Kenny Kuehn, bass player Karl Andreassen, Tony Heredia on drums and Jimmy Pallis as the vocalist extraordinaire. Back in 1995, Pallis taught himself to play the guitar in his Bay Ridge home. While practicing one day, his younger brother Jimmy entered his room to inform him that “Some guy is yelling into our front window about the music.” That “guy” would be Andreassen, who lived three doors down and was exulted about the riff being performed. Jimmy Pallis joined the band in 2001 allowing his brother to concentrate on composition and guitar. “I would not give my lyrics to just anybody” said Pallis. “When Jimmy came on board it was very special to me.” The band had been a quartet for some time, until last year when they struck oil on the Long Island shore and found Kuehn. That’s when Anaka, named after a 1920’s steam engine, became complete. Since their inception Anaka has rehearsed and recorded at Fastlane Studios in Flatbush, which has seen other native Brooklyn bands such as Type O Negative, Biohazard and Life Of Agony walk through its doors. Their latest album, “Rust & Jade, is used as a template for other local bands at Fastlane. Anaka credits L’Amour’s as the place where they were raised and educated. L’Amour’s was located at 1545 63rd street and hosted local and national acts played for more then 25 years, earning it the nickname, “Rock Capitol of Brooklyn.” The venue had the likes of Judas Priest, The Misfits, Gun’s N Roses, Megadeth and the legendary Metallica grace its stage. When first getting started, the band went to the owner of L’Amour’s, handed him a copy of their first demo, Down Devil’s Road. Next thing they knew they were on stage. “It was really awesome playing there” said Andreassen. “Just knowing that a lot of your musical influences have performed on the very same stage was an honor.” According to Pete Pallis, “L’Amour’s helped us find our style and confidence. We owe them much gratitude for getting us started.” When L’Amour’s closed its doors in 2004, it marked the end of an era. Since, Anaka’s songs have rocked radio stations around the world as well as huge Manhattan clubs. But the band responds to every single speck of fan mail received, up to 200 a day at times, sticking to their credo, “Treat everyone the same. It’s all about the fans!” At a recent Irving Plaza show, part of Bodog Music’s Battle of the Bands, the crowd bellowed the band’s name in a heated frenzy. Their crowd-surfing set an Irving Plaza record. Nobody had ever made it over the barrier between the audience and the stage before. “These guys are freakin’ awesome,” howled fan Matthew Simon. The “Battle of the Bands” will be broadcast on the Fuse network as part of an 11-episode reality show in mid-2007. Anaka will perform on Feb. 24 at Don Hill’s, 511 Greenwich Street at Spring Street. Tickets cost $10 and the doors open at 5:30 p.m. This is an all-ages event. For more information call (212) 219-2850 or send an email to AnakaMusic@aol.com. Check out Anaka on the web at www.Anaka.net, www.Myspace.com/Anaka, and www.Myspace.com/AnakaMusicCentral.

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