This illustration of the band PBM is from a poster promoting the band’s upcoming show in July, a  record release party for the band’s new CD.

This illustration of the band PBM is from a poster promoting the band’s upcoming show in July, a record release party for the band’s new CD.

Image provided by PBM

Getting the band back together for a good cause

By: K. Michelle Moran | Metro | Published July 11, 2023

 From left, PBM musicians Tom Torrento and Nate Castle, both music educators in the Grosse Pointes, hope to raise money for school music programs during an upcoming PBM concert.

From left, PBM musicians Tom Torrento and Nate Castle, both music educators in the Grosse Pointes, hope to raise money for school music programs during an upcoming PBM concert.

Photo provided by PBM


METRO DETROIT — They’ve played to crowds across the globe, appeared on national television and recorded several albums, but the one thing the band PBM can’t do is categorize their music.

Lead singer and guitarist Nate Castle, of Grosse Pointe Park, took a stab at it: “Just probably alternative rock,” he said after some thought.

Trumpet player and vocalist Tom Torrento, of Grosse Pointe Woods, said the band’s new CD, “Do It Again” — which will be celebrated with a record release party and live video shoot July 27 at the Crofoot Ballroom in downtown Pontiac — is tough to define because of the band’s eclectic mix of instrumentation and blend of vocal harmonies.

“Every song (on the new album) is a completely different genre,” said Torrento of the recording that references rock, country, bluegrass, 1950s rock, alternative and more.

“Over our history we’ve always said, ‘If you don’t like the song you’re hearing now, just stick around and you’ll probably like the (next one),’” Torrento continued.

PBM is rounded out by trombone player and vocalist Jeremiah “Miah” Hoehner, of Warren; bassist and vocalist Dave Krogh, of Madison Heights; drummer Steve Zdanio, of Royal Oak; saxophonist Matt Marion, of Holly; and Castle’s dad, accomplished veteran musician Gerald Castle, of Warren, on guitar, mandolin and banjo.

PBM originally stood for Peanut Butter Mosquitoes and was later changed to mean Poor Boy Music, but the band members say it can now stand for whatever people want it to stand for. The band simply uses the acronym. The musicians first met more than 20 years ago, when they were all band students at Cousino High School in Warren.

The band was touring full-time from about 2003 to 2007 and had a nationally released CD in 2006 — that’s also the year the band was featured on the first season of “America’s Got Talent.”

“We didn’t even know what it was,” Castle said of the now long-running TV competition show. Castle said they were playing a blues club when they got the call to audition for “AGT.”

He said the show in its infancy was a far cry from what viewers see today and recalls judges that season included actor David Hasselhoff and TV host Regis Philbin.

But being on the road full-time became a grind, and the musicians eventually decided to stop touring and start careers that would enable them to be close to home and their families.

“It’s very difficult to make music (for a living),” Castle said.

Castle is now a church pastor in St. Clair Shores and a music teacher at Grosse Pointe Academy in Grosse Pointe Farms. Torrento teaches band at Grosse Pointe North High School, Parcells Middle School and Brownell Middle School, and he’s also the director of the Grosse Pointe Public School System’s north-end pep, jazz and marching bands.

When they decided to record a new album, the band members agreed they should do a release party that doubled as a fundraiser for school music programs, because those same programs played such an important role in their lives and continue to do the same for students today.

“All of us are products of high school and middle school music programs, and all of us are seeing how these programs are continuously being cut,” Castle said.

Proceeds from their record release party will be distributed to school music programs.

The band members are now in their late 30s to early 40s, with the exception of Gerry Castle, who’s 68. When PBM was on the road in 2003, Gerry Castle was 48.

“I used to joke that we’re touring with an old guy (in 2003), and now that I’m 41, I don’t think that’s funny at all anymore,” Nate Castle admitted with a laugh.

While they haven’t been as active on the music scene in recent years, the band members have remained connected.

Torrento married Castle’s cousin, making them cousins, but because of their already tight bond, Torrento said, “We were brothers before that.”

“We’ve been seeing each other every day for the last 20 years,” Castle said.

Both are the parents of four children apiece.

“Our kids have grown up together,” Torrento said.

And Hoehner “married one of our collective good friends, so now he’s part of the web,” Torrento said.

Recording a new album is something they’d been discussing for years, and they finally entered the studio a couple of months ago to lay down the tracks for “Do It Again.”

“I think we’re having so much fun with the recording process, we’re going to keep on doing this,” said Castle, adding that they hope to record and release about five songs at a time.

Castle said he doesn’t think any of the other bands they once performed with are still together. The bandmates attribute their longevity to deep friendships that started in high school.

“Unlike a lot of bands that are out there, first and foremost, we like each other,” Torrento said. “We don’t stay together for the music.”

Besides being a fundraiser for school music programs, the July 27 concert is also going to serve as the launching pad for a performing arts scholarship in the name of Tim Webber, a former PBM drummer who later played in The Killer Flamingos and died suddenly early this year at the age of 42. Castle said Webber’s twin brother, Matt, will be performing at the show. PBM and the Webber family hope to create a lasting legacy for a talent taken too soon; Castle said besides being a musician, Webber was also interested in musical theater, which was his major at Oakland University.

“I think it’s a good way to honor Tim (and) his memory and keep the memory of his passion for the performing arts alive,” Castle said.

Like the show July 27, Castle said any future PBM concerts “are going to have a purpose.”

Because they want student musicians to be able to attend, this is an all-ages show.

PBM hopes to introduce up-and-coming musicians to audiences and will have a jazz combo playing when people enter the venue and an opening set from Romeo-based punk band Mass Dispute before PBM hits the stage.

“At the end of the day, the 27th is going to be a massive party, a massive celebration,” Torrento said. “The atmosphere is going to be very light and very entertaining.”

The Crofoot Ballroom is located at 1 S. Saginaw St. in Pontiac. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the concert will start at 7 p.m. Admission costs $15 per person. For more information, visit Anyone wishing to donate to school music programs or the Tim Webber Foundation who can’t attend the July 27 concert can contact Torrento via email at