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Motrendus:   A Most Tremendous Raleigh band

By: Sheryl Bryant


Photo By Scott Chmelar

Drummer Frank Cotrufo was born and raised in Long Island, NY. He is self taught on the drums and has been playing since he was 13 years old. It is apparent by his drumming skills that he was his own excellent teacher and practice has made Frank extremely talented.

Guitarist/lead vocalist Billy Baty is a natural. It’s literally in his DNA: Billy’s father was a rock and roll and country western singer who had a career in the U.S. Army. Billy is from nowhere and yet everywhere. As the son of a military man, his home may have changed often, but his love for music never dwindled. His guitar prowess is evident in his live performances, and Billy is an excellent singer.

Guitarist Pete Bustin was born in The Amboys, N.J. Though he has lived in Raleigh for 15 plus years now, Pete has traveled all around the globe. Seems he’s picked up some really good musical habits along the way. Pete’s guitar skills are most impressive, and it is no secret his is a large contribution to this band.

Bassist and vocalist Steve Msarsa hails from the beautiful town of Knoxville, Tennessee. Steve embarked on his ongoing love affair with music at the age of 17 when he joined his first band. Not only the nicest, most personable person you’ll ever meet , Steve is excitedly big on bass and writes some killer tunes for the band. It is apparent that he lives and breathes music. It doesn’t hurt that his vocals are extremely strong as well.

Photo By Scott Chmelar

The members of Motrendus struck me from the get-go as super nice guys who bring major heart to their music. Playing in the band and for the people clearly means the world to them, and they work diligently to be the best they can be. Lucky for listeners, Motrendus has no weak links; each band member is not satisfied with being just average; they strive to be excellent . This trait comes across hard and heavy onstage in Motrendus’ live sets.

Motrendus has an advantage over the lightweights; they rock like brothers fight; hard and ferocious but all in fun: Motrendus is a tightly woven quilt of a band whose threads intertwine both personally and musically. This connection, both human and rhythmical is essential to a rock band’s success. Each of the band members complement one another to deliver hard, fast and loud. For me, what makes Motrendus rock steady is a combination of things: Collectively they bounce the music off each other and around the stage before they fire it at the audience. I am most impressed by the fact that this band is clearly not complacent with being “okay”. They want to be the best they can be, and are under self-induced scrutiny to excel. Their “Microscopes and Binoculars” CD is clear proof that the band carefully examines and critiques its own work to assure you are brought only the best bangin’ for your buck.

Onstage at Volume II, Motrendus displayed a surprising level of cohesiveness : rarely do I see this level in a local band: Motrendus hangs tight to forge a precision rock engine. With original Motrendus songs like “Alone in the Night”, “Collide”, and the bad-ass “Break Away”, the Motrendus train smoked the rails. Maybe it was “Just Me”, but this powerful tune evoked late night Gotham City; a sort of sinister “Batman on steroids” theme. You really have to experience these guys live to fully appreciate their solid contribution to the hard rock community in Raleigh.

Thanks to Steve and the guys in Motrendus for making me feel welcome and treating me like I was actually important. I must say I’ve never received a more welcome reception or been treated as special by a band or its members. Cliché bullshit aside, I feel as if I’ve reconnected with a long, lost friend. Leave it to the music to bring strangers together in a most tremendous way.

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