by Keavin Wiggins
Back to part I
Guitarist Stu Richardson brings to the music a multi-textured guitar and
keyboard sound that really helps define the core twelvehourmary music formula.
Mark Romans tackles the drums in a way that adds a whole new depth to the
music, it only takes one listen to a song like “The Final Idiot” and hearing
the patterns Mark is playing to see how much his skills adds to the overall
sound of the group.
Lyrically, Brett Bixby can be considered
a modern day Paul Simon because the way he lays out his lyrics they tend
to conjure up images in the listener’s mind, which is something that Simon’s
early work did. The lyrics are not only visual, they are intelligent and
thought provoking and it’s not a stretch to say that some of them would
qualify as poetry. Not the boring stuff you had to read in school, I’m
talkin’ rock poetry!
is a little taste of Brett’s lyrical skill from “Snowshaker”:
“never need to say more / than a listen
can explain / in the wake / I’ve gotten back with lonely /
still I miss the oneoff ways / you punctuate the day / strange
to feel it happen fast so slowly … it feels a bit like furnishing an empty
room / and dropping out the floor / staring at the fixture on the / ceiling”
With the recent addition of Bill Lanham on bass and his exceptional musical
skills and showmanship, twelvehourmary seem to have the lineup to take
things to the top. When the band isn’t winning over fans with live performances
across Southern California, they find time to go into the studio with producer
Rich Mouser (Weezer, Corrosion Of Conformity, FenixTX, Vast, Oleander)
to record the music that will make up their debut album. The results thus
far have been amazing and one of the completed tracks, “The Final Idiot,”
has become a top request on Orange County’s “Cool Radio”. The band
recently updated fans on the progress of the album with the following posting
on their website, “we have a few more tracks to go, we got our producer/wunderkind
Rich Mouser leading us toward the promised land.”
The promise land indeed; this band does
hold a lot of promise and all it will take is one A&R man with enough
vision and a label with the muscle behind them to help that promise be
What can you say about Wonderlove? They simply rock! Ok, there is quite
a bit more to them than that. But damn, this is absolutely one band that
has to be seen live to be appreciated! Every time I see them, the energy
coming off the stage is mind-boggling and the band plays the clubs like
it was the Forum!
It’s hard to accurately describe Wonderlove’s
music without making it sound like less than it is. They have a modern
guitar driven power-pop feel, with an emphasis on power but also capture
the essence of stadium rock of years gone by. They put on a big show with
only their instruments as a backdrop, there is no need for theatrics or
pyro. These guys accomplish with just their music what many bands only
wish they could put across with several hundred thousand dollars in stage
layouts and special effects. Not to give the wrong impression but seeing
them live kind of makes me think that this is what seeing Guns N’ Roses
might have been like when that band was burning up the Hollywood strip.
The music is powerful, loud, and flat out
rocks but it’s also very melodic and accessible. You wouldn’t peg Chris
Paul Overall for a frontman to a band like this after a casual encounter
with him. He doesn’t come off as your stereotypical ego driven rock vocalist,
he is more down to earth and easygoing. So it’s a bit of a shock the first
time you see him take command on stage. But after a few moments of watching
him captivate the audience the initial shock wears off, all preconceived
notions fall away and you know this guy is the real deal and he could give
any seasoned frontman a run for their money. His powerful vocals lead the
way but he doesn’t do it alone.
Guitarist Brian McIntyre is what a lead guitarist in a rock band should
be--an excellent musician who also has charisma and an unmistakable stage
presence. As a rock photographer I love shooting Wonderlove shows, especially
Brian, because with the way he carries himself on the stage it is almost
impossible to snap a bad photo of him. Stylistically and visually he comes
across as a reincarnated Hendrix meets a tophatless Slash. When mixed with
Chris Paul Overall’s stage presence you have the classic frontman/lead
guitarist paring that has made legends out of many bands but is also sorely
missing from most mainstream rock bands today.
That dynamic frontline is backed up by
an excellent rhythm section. Bass player Dave Beste provides the bottom
line that helps make Wonderlove’s music such a powerful force in concert.
He also has a look that causes the girls in the front row to bat their
eyelashes at him. Yeah it’s about the music but we all know that to make
it in rock, with very few exceptions, you have to have the look to back
up the tunes and when you get these four guys on stage it’s no surprise
that they attract beautiful women to their shows. That’s a big bonus for
the guys who show up for the great music but also get the chance to mingle
with the attractive female Wonderlove fans!
Last but certainly not least is Wonderlove’s drummer Dicki Fliszar, who
pounds away at the drums with conviction, bringing it all together to give
Wonderlove their big rock sound.
One thing in Wonderlove’s favor is the
fact that they dropped their keyboard player Jesse Nason. If anything was
holding them back from being a powerhouse rock group it was the keyboards.
Sure they are nice to have for shading but Wonderlove doesn’t need a keyboardist
draining away the energy they put forth with their music. The ironic thing
is Jesse was dropped for going after his fellow bandmates ex, and in the
end that was the best thing that could have happened for the band. So one
day he may be watching MTV or listening to the radio and discover what
he threw away. I hope he’s happy with his leftovers cuz it may be one of
the worst mistakes of his life! (I debated leaving this little bit in but
you gotta point out these things. It’s part of the rock n roll experience.
One of those twists of fate where someone makes a stupid decision that
turns out to be fateful for his bandmates. Just ask Pete Best, he’ll tell
you all about it.)
I know some would quickly disagree but I see Wonderlove finding a place
among the edges of the raw rock revival. Yes, they are far more technically
competent as musicans than the leading bands in that movement and their
songs have much more structure and depth but it’s their energy and the
subtle retro rock shadings in their music that may one day help make them
a band that can take that movement in a whole new direction and become
its clear leader. The funny thing is, Wonderlove like many Long Beach bands
don’t keep their eyes on the trendy music scene, even in rock circles.
They seem content to just make the music they love and hope that the enthusiasm
they generate will catch the right peoples attention and they will get
their big break. So never let it be said that Wonderlove or any of the
bands featured here are trend followers, if anything they have the potential
to be trendsetters, which is just one more reason to respect them.
Wonderlove have the makings of a superstar group. All the pieces are there,
the raw talent and the music. But most importantly they have the willingness
to go to any length to achieve their dream. No gig is too far or too small
if there are potential fans to be had and an audience to rock. They are
one of the most active bands on the So Cal music scene. One look at their
tour date schedule shows the other half of the story of why they have gotten
as far as they have; they have the music and but also go the extra mile
to make sure people hear it. Gigging can be grueling and sometimes egos
get in the way but with Wonderlove they appear to be a band that genuinely
love playing gigs and take every opportunity to perform and bring their
music to the public and it’s paid major dividends, with a large and loyal
fan base, critical praise, a number one song on Orange County radio, and
not to mention pulling in two major awards at the Orange County Music Awards
this year including "best indy rock band" and“best live band.” If there
is a potential fan out there to be converted, Wonderlove’s attitude seems
to be “let’s go!” It hard to imagine even the most jaded person in
the audience not being won over within five minutes of Wonderlove hitting
I can go on and on about these guys, but
I’m starting to sound like a publicist and not an objective music journalist.
But the truth be told, it’s bands like Wonderlove and the others featured
here that inspire me to do my thing; which is tell people about how great
they are and yes when compared against bands like this, it also helps to
tell people how bad some other, even majorly successful, bands are.
As long as there have been rock stars,
there have been “supergroups”. A supergroup generally comes together when
musicians from other notable bands get together and form a new band. Lowfive
fits into that category with former members of three exceptional bands;
Bird3, The Flys and Queens of the Stone Age.
As I said earlier I was a bit upset when Bird3 broke up, they were the
band that introduced me to the whole Long Beach music scene, which was
like honey to a bee for a music scribe like myself. But as sad as the break
up of Bird3 was, in it’s wake we have ended up with two great bands instead
of one. Bird has formed a new band that included Bird3 drummer Michael
Miley and bassist Greg Coates has gone on to join Lowfive.
Greg Coates provides the Long Beach connection
for Lowfive, having been a long time fixture on the Long Beach music scene
as a member of not only Bird3 but Twelvehourmary as well. Readers who have
read our coverage of Bird3 in the past know that Greg is one of those rare
bassplayer who approaches the bass as a lead instrument, so he really adds
a lot to any band he is with.
The other talented players in Lowfive include frontman Nick Frost, guitarist
Peter Perdichizzi and drummer Nick Lucero. Peter and Nick Lucero worked
together previously in the Fly’s but Nick is best known for playing drums
with Queens of the Stone Age.
It’s nearly impossible to nail down Lowfive
musically since their music is constantly evolving. Nick Frost employs
a unique style with his primarily tenor vocals that sneak into falsetto
at key moments. That technique really helps give the songs a signature
sound. Matched with Greg’s progressive basslines and Nick Lucero’s
hard hitting drums, the band would be compelling enough even without a
talented lead guitarist but that just makes Peter Perdichizzi shine that
much more. The first time I saw Lowfive live they reminded me of Tool meets
the Cult. The Cult connection comes from the lead style of Perdichizzi
but that sound has changed over time and the band has moved into a realm
all their own. They recently entered the studio with producer Chris Goss
(Queens of the Stone Age, Stone Temple Pilots, Kyuss) with his guidance
and the evolutionary character of this band, it is hard to predict what
their debut album is going to sound like. But one thing is for sure, it
will be cool as hell! Look for more coverage here as this band moves
along their path to stardom.
Overall, sister of Wonderlove frontman Chris Paul Overall, is the final
artist we will looking in this first installment of our look at the Long
Beach music scene. Technically, she isn’t part of the Long Beach music
scene but after witnessing her open for Wonderlove about month ago, I just
had to write something about her. My exposure to her has been limited to
one show and a couple of MP3’s I found on the web but that was enough to
really get my interest going.
first thing that struck me when watching Sara’s band was the level of the
musicianship in the group as a whole. Typically female fronted bands stick
to the basics and the instrumentation play the simple role of background
but not so with Sara’s band. The lead guitarist is the secret weapon in
this group that makes Sara’s exceptional vocals that much more potent.
The songs are first rate, Sara’s voice
falls somewhere between Alanis and Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo. She
has a powerful voice like Alanis but like Hanley she doesn’t have to resort
to the strange distortions that Alanis employs to get her point across.
The music is pure modern rock with strong lead vocals and
masterful guitar leads that really sets Sara apart from other female artists.
She has an exceptional voice and the song writing is world class.
For the record, with few exceptions I don’t usually go for female rock
vocalists. Very few can pull it off convincingly but Sara can hold her
own against any male rock vocalist on the block. Overall, from my limited
exposure to Sara and her band I was blown away and really expect big things
from them. Unlike her brother’s band, Sara’s band doesn’t have a very active
gig schedule. I have to assume that they are holding back and honing their
craft getting ready for the major assault, but even given that fact, there
is already major label interest in the group. I can only imagine how far
things can go once Sara and her band take the bull by the horns and head
out to actively take on the So Cal music scene. They will be a force to
be reckoned with!
That wraps up our first installment of
this special series. Check back soon as we look at more artists emerging
from the Long Beach scene so you can have even more proof at your fingertips
why this is the music scene to look to when you are looking for a center
of creativity to make a major contribution to the music mainstream in the
coming years! Johnny Jones, Buchanan and Bird are just a few of the artists
we will be looking at in the coming weeks, so stay tuned… lots more to
For now check out the links below to learn
more about the bands featured here today and more important listen to the
songs to hear for yourself why Long Beach is the scene to keep an eye on!
Until next time, I've got shows to go see so I can tell you about them.
I’ll see you next time! - Keavin
Visit the official websites