Somers residents got the thrill of a lifetime when their band’s music made its television debut, almost 30 years after they stopped touring.
Their song “She’s a Devil” was chosen by HBO to be featured on the show “The Deuce.”
The HBO show tells the story of the sex-trade industry in New York City in the early 1970s and ‘80s.
The Somers rockers first wrote the song for their band Contagious in the 1980s, and on Monday, Sept. 23, it was featured in Season 2, Episode 3 of “The Deuce.”
The band features Somers residents Steve Geraci, lead vocals, Rick Elliott on drums and Rob Mendola on bass and Las Vegas resident Jeff Cohen on guitar. The foursome met in Westchester County in the 1980s and toured the East Coast as Contagious before eventually going their separate ways.
“We’re definitely blessed and welcome the opportunity 30 years after the fact, go figure,” Geraci said.
That opportunity came one day out of the blue when Elliott’s cousin, Chris Yakaitis, a writer for HBO, overheard a conversation executives for “The Deuce” were having. They were discussing featuring a band that was prominent in the ‘80s rock-and-roll scene, like Def Leppard or Van Halen, but were also trying to find a group that wouldn’t break the bank.
According to Elliott, his cousin said, “If you really want to do this, maybe you want to find a local band who actually played that music and played in the bars around Times Square and captures, authentically, that place and time. My cousin had a band back then and they played all over Manhattan. From what I recall, they were damn good.”
After the recommendation, the band waited patiently to find out whether they were picked.
Then, finally, they got a call from an HBO employee who said they had chosen “She’s a Devil” to be featured. According to
Elliott, the employee told him, “This song is perfect. You guys didn’t know it at the time, but 30 years ago you wrote this song for this very episode.”
Mendola was impressed by HBO’s decision to go with a band authentic to the time period.
“They could’ve used anybody but they chose a band that was on the scene at that time,” Mendola said. “We were out playing in Manhattan and playing in those areas.”
Their band Contagious exists in “The Deuce” universe and is made to seem as famous as Bon Jovi or Van Halen.
HBO kept the band name as Contagious and hired actors to resemble the band members. In the show, the band is featured filming a music video.
The real Contagious later found out that their song would be featured in the show again, in Episode 5.
“Originally it was going to be the song, that was cool. Now, they’ve even written the script around us, which is even cooler,” Cohen said. “The actors who are portraying us are doing what we did back then. It’s a good representation.”
To Mendola, Elliott, Geraci and Cohen, it was bizarre to see themselves being played on TV.
“It was pretty surreal. Being the lead singer and hearing my voice coming out of the TV on HBO was pretty interesting,” Geraci said.
Elliott said that HBO “nailed it,” even down to the lighting.
Elliott, Geraci and Mendola visited the set in Brooklyn while HBO filmed the scene and met the crew and actors who portrayed their younger selves.
Cohen, who still handles the band’s music accounts, said “She’s a Devil” and Contagious’s albums can be found on places like iTunes.
Seeing themselves as rock stars made the band members reflect on their own time creating music together. They all agreed egos never got in the way and it was always an equal effort.
“It was so easy to write songs with them,” Elliott said. “There’s a trust and respect and mutual admiration.”
“Everyone fell into a natural groove and it was organic,” Mendola said.
Geraci said, “When you’re around good people, good things happen.”
Royalties from HBO will be divided four ways, just like the way they wrote their music.
More than bandmates, each member said that they’re still close friends 30 years later.
“We’re still really close,” Cohen said.
“It was an unexpected thing and we’re all really happy it happened. The band Contagious itself is just a gift that keeps on giving.
We’re all very close friends,” Mendola said. “We’re thankful for it. The friendships that we still have, we’re almost like family.”