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Issue: February 1994

Upcoming Live Music
By Bob Bohr

The real reason February is shorter than the other months is because it's too ding-dang depressing to be any longer. Who could stand 30 days of it? And in sympathy of us, the masses huddled under the second month's grey skies, the Music Gods smile on us.

Which is the long way of saying that the gettin' is good in the music scene this month. In addition to Louisville's happenin' local scene, we will be flooded with hot acts currently on tour. Look for visits from jazz drummer Billy Cobham, interactive rock artist Todd Rundgren, the Southern men in the Marshall Tucker Band, jazz at UofL's Jazz Week '94, rock steady reggae from Ital, loopy Led from Dread Zeppelin, poignant gospel from Sweet Honey in the Rock, a Homefront performance from Kiya Heartwood, rebel country from the Charlie Daniels Band, and an always welcome visit from singer/songwriter Alan Rhody. Check the calendar on the following pages for the details.

Scrawl will be at the Phoenix Hill Tavern on Friday, Feb. 18.

LMN spotlights two acts coming to town this month, the dance party of a reunited The World and Indy's original alt-rockers The Oliver Syndrome. Both acts discovered the pitfalls of succeeding on a regional level with cover material rather than original songs. And both are wiser and better for it.

TheWorld

The World was primarily a dance band, but the repertoire that the group chose distanced themselves from other groups. The singer (Brad Cates) was blessed with versatility and an unerring knack for phrasing. The drummer (Paul Serowiak) was polished enough for jazz and powerful enough for rock, and his work in the rhythm section with a bassist who could play any intricate bass line thrown at him (Danny Kiely) produced a groove engine that kept the dance floor packed. The keyboardist (David Barrickman) not only demonstrated tons of technique, but the taste to rein it in. A funky saxophonist (Mauriece Hamilton) set the band apart from others, and the guitarist (Mark Hamilton, no relation) was sickeningly talented. They play again on the Butchertown Pub's Courtyard stage Feb. 11 and 12.

So what broke them up last July? LMN asked Brad Cates for the straight poop.

"Everybody was ready to move on, for various reasons. I guess we were frustrated by our inability to express ourselves musically. And the heavy load of playing in a cover band gives you a sense of false security. Our playing schedule became just so damn busy, it squelched the original writing. And when you play covers, you have people judge you by the music that you make, not by the music that you cover. If The World came out with original material, people would expect it to sound like Steely Dan, Paul Simon, or Sting."

"Plus, we had six individuals that didn't all live in the same city. That makes it hard to write originals, or even rehearse. The job got in the way with that band, and we couldn't fight through it."

Cates has been working with a new band, Godbox, but the group has turned out to be strictly a recording band. Cates said he misses singing on stage, and looks forward to the reunion.

"Actually, it's more or less revisited. Reunion is a bit presumptuous considering we've only been out of the market for a few months."

Getting The World together again was easy.

"We had talked about doing it on and off for literally months, in fact, since we broke up," Danny Kiely said laughing. "It's sort of another chance to play together again. We don't get to see each other very much. And how many chances do you get to play with Dr. P. Edwin [Paul] Serowiak, anyway? Seriously, I always tremendously look forward to grooving with P. Edwin."

How does this reunion affect the musicians' current projects? After all, the six players are now members of other profitable projects.

"I'm looking at this World gig as fun and lunch money, said Kiely. "But lovesauce [& soulbones, which contains Kiely, Barrickman and Mauriece Hamilton] . . . it doesn't have any bearing on lovesauce as far as I'm concerned. We're going straight on for it."

But are there future dates planned for a reunited World?

"I really have no idea how to project that," said Kiely. "In some ways, it's just a shame that we don't get to play with each other occasionally, because people get busy with other things. I mean, it's a fun band."

Said Cates, "It will probably depend on how this one goes. Yeah man, I'd like to . .. I don't want to close the door on anything. I think the real pain in the ass of playing every weekend will just fall away and we'll have fun on stage again."

The chops these musicians have affords them a cavalier attitude toward rehearsal. Cates said the band will be playing their tried-and-true repertoire with no preparation.

"I wrote each of them a note and at the bottom I said, 'Looking forward to the weekend. P.S. Should we rehearse?'" Cates laughed.

The Oliver
Syndrome

Oliver Morris is a veteran at age 25. The lead singer of The Oliver Syndrome, an Indianapolis-based band with a strong regional following, has been playing bars since he was 14. He operates a 24-track studio in Indy that has served as the birthing room for albums from Antenna, Big Wheel, and The Why Store. The Oliver Syndrome will be appearing at the Butchertown Pub on Feb. 11. And with two self-produced records under his band's belt, The Oliver Syndrome is ready to leave their cover band history in the past.

"We've had two identities, one strictly original and the other about 60% covers," Morris told LMN in a recent phone interview. "The original music is the only way to further our career. The covers may be fun to the audience, hearing music that they know. But that reduces it to a job. And most of the people seem to understand that, if for no other reason than I tell them. And the music-friendly audience is starting to come see us, not just the bar schmucks."

The Oliver Syndrome's popularity has spread across Indiana's college towns, where they always play the city's largest venue, to Chicago. The four-piece band is playing the original rock circuit there, even as they shy away from towns where they are known as a cover band.

"In new markets, we're not preconceived as strictly a covers band," Morris said, adding that IU alumni who fell in love with the band during their stay in Bloomington now provide support for The Oliver Syndrome in the cities where they finally ended up after graduating. The band — Morris on vocals and occasionally guitar and keyboards, Dave Edmunds on guitar, Brent MacNamara on bass, and Wade Parrish on drums — makes alternative rock that veers from slightly funky to more guitar-oriented.

At Butchertown, Morris will be mixing college-oriented covers (i.e., Cracker, Gin Blossoms, Stone Temple Pilots) with Morris' originals. The self-described iconoclast said he tries to take songwriting a bit beyond the traditional limits of pop and delve into "real issues."

"I deal with the big questions . . . I'm not a religious person, but I'm a spiritual person. My songs are about guidance and self-development."

The Oliver Syndrome also deals head-on with the tendency of young people to follow someone or something blindly. Morris calls them "sheep," and he has a message for them.

"We spent a very large portion of our early history playing to sheep," Morris said. "I'm not going to be hypocritical. They paid our bills. And they need our music more than anybody.

"There's a lot of sheep following cult bands too. They are not just the ones who dress nice and wear baseball caps. There's a lot of people with pierced noses that are sheep. I don't condemn any of those people, but I do suggest that they evaluate from time to time. That's never a bad thing."

The four-year-old band's growing popularity is not dazzling the self-assured Morris. The Oliver Syndrome may be a good-sized fish, but Indiana is a ridiculously small pond.

"The Why Store is a perfect example of how unimportant the Midwest music scene is," Morris said. "You can't get any more popular than the Why Store is in Indiana, and they are very good musically, yet they are not signed. There are plenty of bands that come in to the studio and don't have any of the drawing power of the Why Store and yet they are signed because an A&R person saw them somewhere. That's the difference between music and the music industry."

TheWorld

The World was primarily a dance band, but the repertoire that the group chose distanced themselves from other groups. The singer (Brad Cates) was blessed with versatility and an unerring knack for phrasing. The drummer (Paul Serowiak) was polished enough for jazz and powerful enough for rock, and his work in the rhythm section with a bassist who could play any intricate bass line thrown at him (Danny Kiely) produced a groove engine that kept the dance floor packed. The keyboardist (David Barrickman) not only demonstrated tons of technique, but the taste to rein it in. A funky saxophonist (Mauriece Hamilton) set the band apart from others, and the guitarist (Mark Hamilton, no relation) was sickeningly talented. They play again on the Butchertown Pub's Courtyard stage Feb. 11 and 12.

So what broke them up last July? LMN asked Brad Cates for the straight poop.

"Everybody was ready to move on, for various reasons. I guess we were frustrated by our inability to express ourselves musically. And the heavy load of playing in a cover band gives you a sense of false security. Our playing schedule became just so damn busy, it squelched the original writing. And when you play covers, you have people judge you by the music that you make, not by the music that you cover. If The World came out with original material, people would expect it to sound like Steely Dan, Paul Simon, or Sting."

"Plus, we had six individuals that didn't all live in the same city. That makes it hard to write originals, or even rehearse. The job got in the way with that band, and we couldn't fight through it."

Cates has been working with a new band, Godbox, but the group has turned out to be strictly a recording band. Cates said he misses singing on stage, and looks forward to the reunion.

"Actually, it's more or less revisited. Reunion is a bit presumptuous considering we've only been out of the market for a few months."

Getting The World together again was easy.

"We had talked about doing it on and off for literally months, in fact, since we broke up," Danny Kiely said laughing. "It's sort of another chance to play together again. We don't get to see each other very much. And how many chances do you get to play with Dr. P. Edwin [Paul] Serowiak, anyway? Seriously, I always tremendously look forward to grooving with P. Edwin."

How does this reunion affect the musicians' current projects? After all, the six players are now members of other profitable projects.

"I'm looking at this World gig as fun and lunch money, said Kiely. "But lovesauce [& soulbones, which contains Kiely, Barrickman and Mauriece Hamilton] . . . it doesn't have any bearing on lovesauce as far as I'm concerned. We're going straight on for it."

But are there future dates planned for a reunited World?

"I really have no idea how to project that," said Kiely. "In some ways, it's just a shame that we don't get to play with each other occasionally, because people get busy with other things. I mean, it's a fun band."

Said Cates, "It will probably depend on how this one goes. Yeah man, I'd like to . .. I don't want to close the door on anything. I think the real pain in the ass of playing every weekend will just fall away and we'll have fun on stage again."

The chops these musicians have affords them a cavalier attitude toward rehearsal. Cates said the band will be playing their tried-and-true repertoire with no preparation.

"I wrote each of them a note and at the bottom I said, 'Looking forward to the weekend. P.S. Should we rehearse?'" Cates laughed.

The Oliver
Syndrome

Oliver Morris is a veteran at age 25. The lead singer of The Oliver Syndrome, an Indianapolis-based band with a strong regional following, has been playing bars since he was 14. He operates a 24-track studio in Indy that has served as the birthing room for albums from Antenna, Big Wheel, and The Why Store. The Oliver Syndrome will be appearing at the Butchertown Pub on Feb. 11. And with two self-produced records under his band's belt, The Oliver Syndrome is ready to leave their cover band history in the past.

"We've had two identities, one strictly original and the other about 60% covers," Morris told LMN in a recent phone interview. "The original music is the only way to further our career. The covers may be fun to the audience, hearing music that they know. But that reduces it to a job. And most of the people seem to understand that, if for no other reason than I tell them. And the music-friendly audience is starting to come see us, not just the bar schmucks."

The Oliver Syndrome's popularity has spread across Indiana's college towns, where they always play the city's largest venue, to Chicago. The four-piece band is playing the original rock circuit there, even as they shy away from towns where they are known as a cover band.

"In new markets, we're not preconceived as strictly a covers band," Morris said, adding that IU alumni who fell in love with the band during their stay in Bloomington now provide support for The Oliver Syndrome in the cities where they finally ended up after graduating. The band — Morris on vocals and occasionally guitar and keyboards, Dave Edmunds on guitar, Brent MacNamara on bass, and Wade Parrish on drums — makes alternative rock that veers from slightly funky to more guitar-oriented.

At Butchertown, Morris will be mixing college-oriented covers (i.e., Cracker, Gin Blossoms, Stone Temple Pilots) with Morris' originals. The self-described iconoclast said he tries to take songwriting a bit beyond the traditional limits of pop and delve into "real issues."

"I deal with the big questions . . . I'm not a religious person, but I'm a spiritual person. My songs are about guidance and self-development."

The Oliver Syndrome also deals head-on with the tendency of young people to follow someone or something blindly. Morris calls them "sheep," and he has a message for them.

"We spent a very large portion of our early history playing to sheep," Morris said. "I'm not going to be hypocritical. They paid our bills. And they need our music more than anybody.

"There's a lot of sheep following cult bands too. They are not just the ones who dress nice and wear baseball caps. There's a lot of people with pierced noses that are sheep. I don't condemn any of those people, but I do suggest that they evaluate from time to time. That's never a bad thing."

The four-year-old band's growing popularity is not dazzling the self-assured Morris. The Oliver Syndrome may be a good-sized fish, but Indiana is a ridiculously small pond.

"The Why Store is a perfect example of how unimportant the Midwest music scene is," Morris said. "You can't get any more popular than the Why Store is in Indiana, and they are very good musically, yet they are not signed. There are plenty of bands that come in to the studio and don't have any of the drawing power of the Why Store and yet they are signed because an A&R person saw them somewhere. That's the difference between music and the music industry."

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