So apparently it started with my friend Nick driving somewhere the other night and listening to BBC Radio 1 when he heard the new White Stripes tune, which then once the singing started turned out not to be the new White Stripes song at all but was much more the new Pavement song, but Pavement are sadly no longer with us and this was surely no Stephen Malmus effort so what was going on, it turned out to be a completely new band called… Well that was the problem, sadly the DJ didn’t announce the name of the band at the end. All Nick could remember was that the song was probably called Mountain.
So what to do about that? Luckily the BBC being a very useful public service broadcaster have complete track listings of every show they broadcast on their website – a very very useful feature. So he was able to find out the name of the band and that was…
…well when I say it started with my friend Nick driving somewhere that wasn’t really true. Well I know, and so do you, I’m sure, that we could happily be going back to Nick’s parent’s first meeting, how Nick’s parent’s parent’s first met and so on, and go into the whole Irish, German not really English thing, but it’s best not to. That leads us back to the big bang or otherwise and that would help no-one. I could claim that there is limited space, but that would violate the infiniteness of the universe that is predicated by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.*
The actual story part of this story starts in an attic in the Mississippi Delta. A young man was looking through his grandfather’s effects and found a number of lyrics written on cracker boxes. He, as you would given half the chance I’m sure, called up as many friends as he could think of at the time – 5 – and got them to come over as soon as possible. They all made excuses to their respective parents, pretended they were going to each others houses while actually going to this attic. They almost got caught out due to one of them making a foul up, but his younger brother who wanted desperately to go along covered for his older brother and then was allowed into the band just to stop him ratting out the entire operation. Eventually they all arrived and decided to set the cracker lyrics to music. The only problem was that none of them had any instruments let alone knew how to play them. Luckily an old gypsy man who was passing nearby was able to show them, all too briefly, a small ladybird book of instruments.
This is how the group looked moments before they realised they were about to be photographed for this picture
The group got to work immediately chopping down trees and carving instruments from the wood and out of the very living rock (and to a lesser extent roll) that was lying about the place. Eventually, after a few peanut butter sandwiches, they were able to play something that resembled music. It was at this point that one of them, history doesn’t record which because it was busy doing something else, said “And what shall we call ourselves” and one of the others said, “Led Zeppelin”**.
After some negotiations they decided that as they were appropriating the lyrics of this old man they should name the band after him. This turned out especially well because this being the guy’s maternal grandfather he wouldn’t share the name with any of the band members. These guys were smart, they knew that naming it after somebody would be a recipe for disaster down the road.
It seems the moment to pause for a second and tell the chilling story of the band Baccara who had the “hit” record “Yes Sir I can boogie”. The band split soon afterwards, but still wanted to cash in on the fame. So one of the women from the group started a group called “New Baccara”. Not wishing to be out-done the other woman started “New Baccara 2”. This really pissed off the first “New Baccara” who changed her group’s name to “Baccara 2000”. “New Baccara 2” woman then went back to being just “Baccara”. And one of the less talked about Y2K effects was to strip off the number 2000 from anything that had 2000 attached to it, and so it was that “Baccara 2000” became “Baccara” as well in 2001. So both of the women are still Boogie-ing as “Baccara” which would be really confusing if anybody really cared.
So yes, I seem to have been sidetracked. The grandfather’s name was Roy Spinto and so they called themselves “The Spinto Band” and I saw them last night at the Dublin Castle, Camden Town. I may have embellished the story about how they came into being a bit but then so did they.
I’ve been to the Dublin Castle about 15 times but this was the first time I’d ever seen that many people there. And they all looked slightly, erm, different than usual. Everyone who was there was from the music industry. All trying to get a look at the next big thing, which if there’s any justice in the world will be, The Spinto Band.
Well that kind of ruins the conclusion of this review. But I’ll be totally blunt now: I really really liked them. You might not whoever you are, but I did. They probably aren’t for everyone. I’m afraid to say that I doubt that they will ever get a number 1 hit track. But they could come close. They are the kind of loveable cult band that should be massive. The kind of band that everyone who actually loves music loves rather than the kind who buy Britney albums love. But another caveat, ask yourselves did you like Pavement. Do you like the Flaming Lips? Some people don’t get this kind of music and then maybe The Spinto Band won’t be for you, or maybe they will. I can’t tell you the answer.
The main thing that you notice about the band straight away is that there an awful lot of them. If you’ve been keeping a running total through this article and have come up with 7 then you’d be wrong largely because I’ve kept a piece of information from you. The deadly secret of the band is that one of the members is missing. He was there on that fateful day in the Mississippi Delta when some crackers were eaten but now he is absent. I pressed one member of the band about this last night and they swore that he was doing the “artwork” for the band. But I could see right through this and decided to do some digging of my own. That’s right they’d buried him out in the Delta. Apparently there was a disagreement about the exact colour to use for some of the album artwork and that was the last he was ever seen.
So the cull has begun. Now there are six, but by the time they make the big time mark my words there will be a few fewer members.
Let’s examine each member in turn and see how they stack up:
Nicholas Krill Guitar / Voice
It was Nicholas’ grandfather who’s name is lent to the band and as he was effectively lead singer he seemed to be the serious core of the band. A bit angry and dangerous, but perhaps that was just because he had sinus trouble. When he asked if anyone knew any good remedy one of the journos shouted back “Crack”.
Thomas Hughes Bass / Voice
The second in command, but slightly more in the captain strange camp. He was very happily playing a kazoo with Jon Eaton in the last number. He is definitely the best dancer in the band.
Jeff Hobson Drums
With five other people going crazy in a very controlled way in front of you the drummer has to be almost the conductor. The band seemed incredibly polished and tight. I think that this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned a drummer in a review, but here goes: I believe he had a lot to do with the tightness.
Joe Hobson Guitar
Joe unfortunately seemed to be the most superfluous of the band. It was hard to tell exactly what he contributed but then there’s always going to be a bit of that in an operation like this. They were going for a complete sound thing and that would be difficult without Joe’s guitar.
Sam Hughes Keyboard
I couldn’t really hear the keyboards from where I was which was interesting. They seemed to be under the mix supporting the stuff on top. So I can’t tell you if Sam Hughes can really play, all I can tell you is that he’s a dynamite reviewer of soft beverages.
Jon Eaton Moustachioed Guitar
When Jon stepped up there at the beginning I thought he looked the most separate from the rest of the band. He was wearing a sweater and had the top button of his shirt done up despite it being on the warm side. At first it seemed like he was trying to be in the band but he wasn’t really cool enough. It wasn’t until he put on a fake moustache for the second track that I suddenly figured out what was going on. Jon is clearly off on his own journey and currently that journey has taken him two feet further to the left than anyone else – that is all.
So yes, I’d like to tell you to catch their next gig, it’s in Philadelphia I think. If you’re geographically challenged by this then why not buy the album. Nick did from the band yesterday, but I couldn’t get organised in time. Instead I’ve bought it from amazon and I encourage you to do the same. Check out a sample first though. To follow The Spinto Bands rise and rise check out their blog: The Spinto Band Crave attention
* Don’t worry about Nick’s family history – it’s all relatives.
** The legend of the Led Zeppelin’s naming goes something like this: The band was about to go out on stage for a tour where they had been booked but they still didn’t have a name. As some of the members were refugees from “The Yardbirds” they decided to call themselves “The New Yardbirds”. Keith Moon who was back stage suggested that the name was so bad that it wouldn’t even just go over like a lead balloon but would be worse, it would go over like a lead zeppelin. They decided that Lead Zeppelin was a much better name so went with that instead. They dropped the “a” in Lead so that people wouldn’t think they were suggesting that there was a whole squadron of Zeppelins but that they were the lead one and would therefore pronounce it differently.