Many of us who grew up around Towson in the heyday of WHFS-FM radio cherish memories of the local modern rock music scene in the 1990's. Going out to see bands perform live was the highlight of many a night! One local band that found success has been pulled back into play by popular demand, and rocked an electrifying show June 2 at Rams Head Live, in Baltimore.

No Presents for Christmas formed in 1989 and quickly evolved from a college circuit favorite into a sought-after local act, headlining at music venues throughout the mid-Atlantic. Their catchy original songs feature churning electric guitars and driving rhythms and pop stylings that hint at U2, Matthew Sweet, the Beatles, the Cure, and Prince. The band made two CDs with producer John Grant. In 1991, its debut release, "Unify," was named one of the "best in local music" by Maryland Musician magazine. Its follow-up, "Pearls Before Swine," was released to critical acclaim in 1993.

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NPFC members are Jai Seunarine (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Chris Glassman (lead guitar and vocals), Don Ready, Jr. (keyboards and vocals), Andy Ruggiero (bass guitar), and Mitchell Shaivitz (drums and electronic percussion).

Don, of Towson, joined the band about six months after it was formed, after replying to an ad in City Paper.

"I was part of a Deadhead jam band, and had an affinity for alternative music," Don recalls. "I auditioned on a Sunday, and they said, 'Learn these 30 songs by Wednesday,' which was intimidating, but exciting."

The band played to a packed house at the Dulaney Inn Towson that week, and became regulars.

Jai, Chris, and Andy were Loyola University grads and developed quite a following on the local college music scene. Last year, Loyola University alumni contacted Jai and asked if the band could perform during the Class of 1991's reunion weekend, since NPFC had been a pivotal part of the soundtrack to the class's college years.

"We thought it would be a one-shot deal," Don said. But word spread and the Class of 1992 decided that they also wanted to make NPFC part of their milestone reunion weekend celebrations. And so, more than two decades after its split, NPFC is reunited and energized, performing and writing and recording new material, which is scheduled for release next year. How cool!

These days, Don, Chris, Jai, and Mitchell are married with children, and still living locally. Andy lives in New York City.

"We joke with each other that the five of us are all alive, not in prison, and have grown to be relatively normal and successful guys," Don said. "It has been a blast since we started playing together again, and when you play a place like Rams Head, for about 24 hours we feel like rock stars."

"It comes in handy when I tell the kids, 'Take out the trash, your father is a rock star,' " Don quips.

Does that work? "They usually roll their eyes at me."

Rock on, NPFC!

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