Monday, November 19, 2012

YELLOW – THE SPOONBILLS LIVE CD REVIEW

THE SOUNDTRACK BAND OF MR. PETE & MARY JANE GREEN

Temecula, CA – Well, unless you are a first time reader or live on the other side of the beltway, you are aware of my soon-to-be released narrative history entitled, Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green. Like the general perimeters of the news I cover, the book back cover shamelessly self-promotes the ‘front seat fun house ride through music, pop culture, and politics…’ Though there are many music references, such as song titles or lyrics, only one band runs the background soundtrack of the 80s for me. That band is the Spoonbills.

In the days before Pro Tools and housing booms, if you played music for a living, even a part-time living and you didn’t live in LA or New York, you played in a weekend cover band that rocked well known versions of AOR hits in bars. Bands still do this today, like T-Town’s Master Splinter & The Shredders.

Today when I meet bands I can immediately plug into whatever band stage they are in thanks to the Spoonbills and spending time ‘behind the curtain’, a place few fans ever get to see or even know about. Becoming a ‘seventh’ member who travels with the band but doesn’t play in the band, puts you closer to the band than a girlfriend is. You get to see the band dynamics and the transition from someone just carrying a music case to a group melting faces through a fat bottom, catchy licks, and tight, memorable percussion, linked with admirable vocals plus in-between song ad-libs which indicate some current subplot ‘behind the music’.

That was a typical Spoonbills live music bar night.

They kidded that they were the ‘best [bar/hobby] band on either side of the Mississippi River. On many a night, they were. The band behind the line in Memoirs of getting ‘pallbearers to dance at a funeral’ was about the Spoonbills sound track.

One such night is captured live via analog tape now digitized onto a CD.

When first hearing the recorded live night, a cord of recognition was struck that wasn’t there with the last Spoonbills ‘live’ CD that I got from Woody, the main drummer and sometimes frontman of the band where almost everyone had a song cover they put in the set list from time to time. The ‘Bills’, as close fans called them, also had a few line-up changes. This CD featured the keyboard player and line-up that was present in the late 80s-early 90s and was the last performance of Giulio Savioli with the band. He left the group shortly thereafter and quit playing music.

Listening more and more, I determined that I was indeed there that night and can be heard yelling various comments along with the rest of the ‘wolf pack’, see Memoirs. Captured also that night is a perfect example of the Spoonbills’ magic, a mix of musicianship and professionalism planted with some Iowa fertilizer.

The music is genuine and the rhythm inviting as you listen to the band that would be playing on the honky-tonk night destined to be a memory etched by the beautiful long-legged blonde who just flashed you a chicklet tooth smile that said ‘maybe.’

Good Times. Meanwhile, plans to publically release the recording are in process so keep it here, this is a developing story.


 (Standing, l-r, Dean Jensen, William Vanetta, Giulio Savioli, Jr.; bottom row, l-r, Barry ‘B’, Alan Garcia, Woody Trauffer – The Spoonbills, circa late 80s-early 90s)

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