August 2017 - Turn It Up: 3 On A Match
How did the band come together?
Since 2005, our bassist David DeBonis had this vision playing in a Kabarett [a political, satirical form of Cabaret] style band, something that would re-capture the moods, the feel, the desperation and presence of European Kabarett before WWI, before WWII, and during the Great Depression between the world wars…something that conveyed the effect of those events on the psyche and emotions of the citizens of Europe and America. In those times, there persisted a hedonism in the face of social, economic, and political collapse.
David, along with our pianist Brad Clement, had been playing together in a band in Albuquerque, mixing and matching music from different eras, including Cole Porter, Kurt Weil, George Gershwin, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Zappa, and Devo. This band, called the Goldsteins, fronted by Mark Andrews of the Strawberry Zots, attempted to find common threads among these songs from different eras. (Note: Goldstein was the co-arch-antagonist to Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984…a trope the band wanted to utilize in its attempt to show parallels between socio-political musics of the early and the late 20th century.) While the old songs in that band appealed to David, the newer songs did not, so he left the Goldsteins while its remaining members went off to play 1980s electronic New Wave dance music…with sequenced bass parts.
Within a few months, David met Tina Panaro, a vocalist and neighbor in Corrales, and the two began formulating a Kabarett project. Tina was originally from New York City, where she fronted the New Wave band Reverse, which was a CBGB’s fixture. Tina, her husband, and children had moved to New Mexico after the attack on the World Trade Center. Here in Albuquerque, she began singing with a Cabaret group called UpStaged. Although she has since left UpStaged, Tina still was interested in performing cabaret music. This interest found its match with David.
Tina and David then conscripted Brad, (who was still playing New Wave music on synthesizers). After nearly 10 months of rehearsals and much uncertainty whether this Kabarett Trio would even work, the three all met at Hancock Fabrics going-out-of-business sale and bought $300 worth of velvet for stage curtains. After local seamstress genius Susan Palmer sewed up the velvet and it was hung on a framework of electrical conduit and recycled crutches, we knew we were committed as an act.
Who are your influences in music?
Just as performance of classical music for centuries has preserved that music, we are interested in keeping alive the songs of the Kabarett.In this respect, our influences would be composers like Eric Satie, who some would say is the father of Kabarett music, Kurt Weil, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Hollaender, Rudolph Nelson, and performers like Marlene Dietrich and Lotte Lenya, etc.
How would you describe your sound?
We try to remain true to the original arrangements of Kabarett songs, adapted to the trio of bass, piano, and vocals. The songs range from rousing beer hall songs, to dirges and ballads, as well as satirical pieces.
In addition to the sound, however, we are very visual. We have many stage props, lots of antiques, period attire, bits of old movie clips we project on screens, and we do occasional shadow theater performances.
Has the band seen a following in New Mexico?
Nothing huge, but we have some very interesting dedicated repeat customers. What we are doing is unique.
What is your take on the music scene in New Mexico?
Our show is outside any music scene here. It is more a conglomeration of music, stage performance, and a vintage atmosphere, which spans across genres
What are some of your upcoming gigs?
At the end of August, we perform at the Press Club. Our performance at Casa Rondeña will be announced soon. Kelly Jo Designs on the Patio in Los Ranchos is expected in early October, and Friday, January 12, 2018, there will be a CAC SALON performance at Las Ristras Restaurant in Corrales.