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The Bingers

The Bingers
As noted in my manifesto, in college I started playing with some guys who worked with me at Publix. It was a lot of fun for me, as this was my real first group of guys I played with just for fun. We played rock and stuff, which was also different than what I'd been doing with The Tim Tew Four.

This is where I really started writing songs. Some stuff we wrote together, the songs I wrote were mostly about other people that worked at Publix.

Our store manager was getting promoted, and as part of his farewell party (held in the back of the store, Pubs spared no expense) we were asked to play. When asked for a name, I suggested Mooseboy Alfonzo and His Prairie Troubadours, which we actually used for that gig. The other guys eventually changed our name to The Bingers.

It was raw, but so very fun

It started with just the three of us from Publix, me on bass, plus drums and guitar. We practiced in the drummer's house (his parents were very nice, patient people because we were loud and not that talented). I was the only one of us who had any formal musical training, plus I'd been in a successful working band for 3-4 years, so I kinda became the de-facto leader. Our guitarist had the best voice so he sang most of our covers and I sang most of the originals (having wrote them). As a power trio, I had lots of opportunity to showcase my bass playing, and the "little Chris Squire" in me had a ball. For some songs (Secret Agent Man, for example), we had a bass solo instead of a guitar solo.

Eventually, we added a fourth, a guitar player the drummer knew. That let our front/guitarist switch occasionally to keyboards. This guitarist was also self-taught, one of those idiot savants who can pick a piece out by listening to it. His problems were twofold: 1) He really only knew "bits" of songs. He'd play the riff from some song, you'd say "hey, that's cool, we should play that" and he'd say that was the only part he knew. 2) The boy could not stay in tune to save his life. I distinctly remember one gig, it was in an actual bar so it important for us, I took his guitar beforehand and tuned it for him. Handed it back, said here you go. We start playing. He's out of tune. After the set, I ask what happened. "Oh, I noticed my whammy bar was a little tight, so I took it down some." I said "Oh, you adjusted the whammy bar." Yes. "Which changed the tension on the strings, yes?" Yep. "So HOW IN THE @$#@@%@ DID YOU THINK THAT WOULDN'T AFFECT THE TUNING?" Grrrrrr...and thus begins, my love-hate relationship with lead guitarists. They're all really a bunch of wankers, when you get down to it.

I wish I had more material from this era. We recorded ourselves a lot, but this is all I have. Power trio, no idiot savant wanker lead guitarist in sight...

Let's Go to Doug's

So, as I said, many times my songs were about people we worked with at Publix. In this case, Doug was a few years old than me, somewhat larger-than-life, a big drinker, and a friend. The main song I wrote about him, "Doug", was a showcase piece for the band, with each member getting a solo. I don't have it, but I found this improvised piece from some rehearsal. It's not so bad. My writing style then was very influenced by early Talking Heads.

Let's Go to Doug's <--Click here to listen


Deanna was this cashier at Publix the drummer had a huge crush on. So I said "Hey, let's write a song about her and you can use that to get to know her." Again, very Talking Heads: 77 here. Unfortunately, this isn't the whole song, just a selection.

Later another Deanna started as a cashier at the same store, and we added verses about her too just to keep his options open...

Deanna <--Click here to listen

Evil Ways

Our "big number", the one we thought we did best was Santana's Evil Ways. This isn't our best take on it, but it is a take. You can hear our guitarist/keyboard/front's golden throat instead of mine...

Evil Ways <--Click here to listen