Like all good things, it started with a conversation over beers.
had spent the better part of the past decade making music for myself, by
myself - writing, recording, producing my own flavor of indie music to
my own great satisfaction and little else to show for it.
I'm not a kid
any more, so what I am looking for out of music falls far short of the
"fame and fortune" kind of motivation that brought me here decades ago.
No, I have been into this for the music for quite some time, which is
nice. You don't have to compromise, or shorten verses or answer even to
your fellow band mates when you bury the guitar lead in the mix more
than he would like. I had done three solo albums like this. But as I was
reaching for the chain to start work on another record, I realized I
needed a new challenge.
I wanted to be in an actual band again.
the three records I made, I played or programmed pretty much
everything. But now I wanted to get into the trenches again, the battle
of scheduling and creative interplay and all of the "herding cats" that
comes with putting together an original band comprised of middle-aged
musicians. Everyone has lives, some have demanding careers, kids and
I wasn't sure what the sound would be, but I knew
a few players who I wanted involved. My right hand man Arch had to be
in this. He had played guitar on the first George Zhen record when we
first put it together a "Life IN a Bubble." Arch is one of the tastiest
lead guitar players I know with a tremendous sense of melody. Then there
was my new friend Vinnie Fontana, who is this monster bass player. He
even did a stint with Sly (yes, that Sly) during his early 80s cocaine
and heroin binge tour. A real road warrior who has forgotten more than
many of us will ever know about rock and roll road life. Ryan Baker was a
friend I had met while in a stint with another band. I stole him - lol.
No really, he has a driving, musical sensibility and actually likes
playing to a met. Go figure.
So that was the core pieces of the
band I was dreaming of. It would have groove, but nice song
sensibilities when it came to arrangements. I know the players were
seasoned and dynamic enough to play just about anything. But we also
needed some other flavors to season it up into something special.
Shira Ridley Risk. Shira is one of those gems you find in the world, a
person incredibly talented at their art who has no real clue how good
they really are. Shira is our "Mavis" - an amazing, soulful singer who
becomes our secret weapon. Doug Tessler is a dear old friend who
musicianship is second to none. He is a wind player who possesses a
collection of strange flutes and other instruments that will make your
head spin. And then there is Sha-Sha Zhang - a gifted violinist we
discovered in the studio who provided just the right color to our sound,
giving it that distinct stamp of fiddle we were looking for.
there it was, this band. It took time to assemble it, and to record it.
But the name - that was a challenge. So this is where the beer comes in.
out at a local brew pub with a friend and I'm telling him about this
band idea. I'm just stuck on the name. My friend telle mw not to worry,
that he and a buddy of his have been playing this game of email ping
pong with band names. One would come up with "The Swordfish Fighters"
and the other would shoot back and email with "Crawdaddy's of Love" and
shit like that. Would I like to hear some?
Sure. And "The Mariana Trenchcoats" was the third band name he blurted out. I claimed it, there and then.
notes on the band name: First, yes we know that in some circles, the
proper reference would be the "Marianas Trench," but our research
(wikipedia) says that either spelling is correct. But if you call us
"The Marianas Trenchcoats" you get exptra smartass points. And secondly,
yes, we are aware of some metalish Nickleback backed band from Canada
called "Mariana's Trench"... Not much to say there. We'll take clever
So that's the gist of it. You'll be hearing more from
us shortly, including our debut recordings which we will post soon.
Thanks for paying attention and supporting our music...