Cousins Dave Schafer and Pete Vale bore the idea of forming a rock band late in 2011 as a therapeutic release from the pressurized day to day of New York City living. Adding on bass guitarist Andrew Wilkes, drummer Ben Selznick, and keyboard player James Gettinger, the band was complete in early 2012. For about a year, they would get together informally, sing, talk, and enjoy the company of each others’ talents, focused initially only on their favorite rock covers and whatever other melodies happened to pass before their minds. But the energy in the room soon developed into something more, and they began to write songs together: ones they liked so much that they felt compelled to share. In January of 2013 they played their first live show in the basement of a small club in Manhattan. From there, things took off quickly as crowds progressively got bigger and bigger. Denizen soon became a staple on the Lower East Side music scene, quickly moving from mid-sized venues like Arlene’s Grocery and Pianos to professional concert halls like Webster Hall, Bowery Ballroom, and Brooklyn Bowl. From there they began touring up and down the East Coast and have grown a strong regional following in cities from Boston, MA to Washington, D.C.
Several lineup changes later, Dave and Pete have remained at the core of the band along with Rashid Galadanci, who joined in late 2017. The trio recorded their debut LP “Afterglow” in 2019 at Studio G in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The album features Ross Procaccio on drums, Dylan Defeo on Keyboards, and Eric Launer on bass, who all toured with the band for years, and have worked intimately with the Denizen catalogue. While the COVID-19 pandemic has put their touring schedule on an indefinite hiatus, Denizen has been steadily building their online following, and released “Afterglow” in the fall of 2021.