Featured Band for
Band Name: The Fathoms
Genre: Trad surf, Instro, 60's rock
Geographical Area: Boston
Interview with Frank Blandino by email on May 28, 2005
1. What is the current line-up of your band?
Jerry Miller (guitar and organ), Paul Tomasello (bass), Doug Hinman (drums) and me (guitar). I know people have been asking about my sax player, the great Dave Sholl - he's just unavailable at the moment but will appear on any future recordings.
2. How and when did you get started with your band?
With this lineup, it's people I've played with in various forms of music over the years and decided to just get together with them knowing that they are all great musicians coming from the same 60's way of approaching rock' n' roll as me.
3. What bands or music have influenced you most?
The Beatles more than any other had a profound influence on me and every member of my band. Also The Ventures, The Astronauts, The Shadows, countless blues and rockabilly artists from the 50's, etc.
4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?
Live shows right now is about half and half. Recording-wise it's all original. We'll be doing more originals live after a while. I just wanted to get these guys out playing and it was easier at the time to learn a bunch of covers.
5. What recording have you done?
I personally have recorded extensively in many forms of music with diverse and various artists as well as my own projects such as The Cranktones, The Spurs, Little Frankie and the Premiers, The Fathoms, etc. My most recent recording was with J. Geils and Jerry Miller on a CD called "Jay Geils plays Jazz" (available at www.amazon.com). I played steel guitar and Jerry played mandolin with J. Geils on guitar. The Spurs (my western swing band) recorded a CD with folk artist Mark Erelli. I've been on countless albums with so many different people that I would feel like I was bragging if I tried to list them all. It's just from being around the scene so long I get called now and then to do things, mostly because of my steel guitar playing; not that I'm the greatest but I'm one of a few non-pedal players around.
6. What kind of gear do you use?
With The Fathoms I use Fender amps, a 65 Fender Jazzmaster, and for reverb I just started using the Electro Harmonix "Holy Grail Reverb". It's the closest thing to a reverb tank without all the hassles; people can't tell the difference. Also a Dano "Dan Echo" and an old boss "Trem Pan" trem pedal. Jerry uses Fender amps, Gretsch and Fender guitars and my old Vox Continental organ. Paul uses Fender "P" bass and GK head and Ampeg speakers. Doug uses Gretsch drums (I think).
7. What is your bandís favorite food/beverage?
This one I don't know. As for myself I like Irish Whiskey or Jack Daniels and so does Jerry. I guess Doug's a beer man and Paul doesn't drink at all.
8. How do you get gigs?
I grovel....or wait till someone calls me, or just call clubs where I have a longstanding relationship and just pick up the phone and get a gig without too much actual groveling.
9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?
People are afraid to hire an instro band fearing that people won't respond to music with no vocals. I've found the opposite to be true but try convincing club owners... We started doing a few vocal numbers at our shows for this reason and only if they've got a good PA at the club. Also getting any kind of money these days is like pulling teeth.
10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?
We have mucho experience...we've all been playing gigs since the 60's, and have played just about every kind of music in every type of situation. When we play a song, the feel is there instantly. It's all about feel, tone, and arrangement. The drummer is usually the key. You gotta have a rock solid backbeat and a bass player that can lock in with him. It makes everything on top sound heavier (even if it isn't). I'm very lucky in this respect - my rhythm section is fantastic.
11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool youíve used to further your bandís musical path?
A record label with good distribution and a good promo dept. and of course playing live gigs and making it look like fun and not taking yourself too seriuosly.
12. Whatís the most interesting performance experience youíve had?
I personally have had so many it would be hard to narrow it down.
13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?
We, The Fathoms, would like to get our name
back out there and have contact and the support of like-minded bands and folks
who enjoy this kind of music.