You've got to be pretty darned talented to earn aa prize such as free burritos for life - and Private Stock is one of the very few bands that make that claim.

"Three out of four of us made a rap video and won the 'Burritos for Life' competition from Moe's Southwest Grill," Mike Squitieri, lead vocalist and guitarist for Private Stock, reveals. "But, we're trying to break free from the incredible level of fame and fortune that something like that can bring. We still can't walk into a Moe's without being recognized - begrudgingly - as the guys who don't have to pay."

All joking and complimentary Mexican cuisine aside, Private Stock takes its band seriously and is excited to have recently released a four-song EP, "Keep Keepin' On," with a full-length album on the way. They're also thrilled with the local fan base it has garneered over the past year.

"Southern New Jersey is the heart of our fan base," Squitieri says. "We've all lived in this area our entire lives, and we play most of our shows around here. We have found somewhat of a second home at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, though."

The band is known for its wide range of vocal and instrumental style and presentation, so it's no wonder they are such a hit throughout the Garden State.

"We pride ourselves on our vocals," Squitieri says. "It's amazing how much people will tell us that they love listening to our voices, but beyond that, people can expect to hear great original music that'll make them want to dance. We'd like to think that we have songs that appeal to everyone, no matter what kind of music they're into."

Get ready to rock with Private Stock Friday, April 23, at 8 p.m. inside the Oyster Creek Inn, located at 41 Oyster Creek Road in Smithville, and again on Saturday, April 24, at 9 p.m. inside Gourmet Italian Restaurant, located at 324 S. Pitney Road in Galloway Township. You can call Oyster Creek at 609-652-8565 and/or Gourmet at 609-652-1398 for further details.

What To Expect: "We feel like we cover a lot of different genres of music: rock, funk, reggae," Squitieri explains. "You might say that we're a little like Dispatch meets Chris Cornell meets Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Sublime. We'll follow a hard-rocking jam with a reggae song, or we'll blend them together. We love not being able to fit into one category. We'd like to think that we simply make 'good' music that makes people happy."

Roster: Mike Squitieri, lead vocals and guitar; Steve Schurtz, lead vocals and guitar; Kevin Schwoer, bass; Chris Wheeler, drums.

Originals: "We're currently in the studio right now working on a full album," Squitieri says. "This past week, we put out a four-song EP entitled 'Keep Keepin' On,' featuring a couple of tracks that will make the final album, and a few B-sides. We expect the full album to be finished by the end of May."

Cover Tunes: "We do everything from Frankie Valli, to rap songs, to Bon Jovi, to Dave Matthews Band songs that haven't been released," Squitieri says. "We love playing Kings of Leon, Weezer, Foo Fighters and classics like 'Gimme Shelter' by The Rolling Stones or 'Hey Joe' by Jimi Hendrix."

Musical Influences: Dispatch, State Radio, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana … just to name a few.

Fun Fact: "This past weekend we covered Bruce Springsteen's 'Atlantic City' at The Stone Pony, a stage he has graced many times, which is just huge for us," Squitieri says. "It was awesome."

Go See Them: This Friday, April 23, at 8 p.m. at the Oyster Creek Inn, located at 41 Oyster Creek Road in Smithville and on Saturday, April 24, at 9 p.m. at Gourmet Italian Restaurant, located at 324 S. Pitney Road in Galloway Township. Private Stock also will be playing the Oyster Creek Inn again next Friday, April 30, also at 8 p.m. You can call the Oyster Creek Inn for additional info at 609-652-8565, and you can call Gourmet Italian Restaurant at 609-652-1398.

Web Site: www.myspace.com/

privatestockmusic

- Story by Rebecca Grites; photo provided by Private Stock