I’ve written about Fabulous Bird here before; Peter Alvanos’ project caught our attention when
he played with the R.E.M.-covering, E6 supergroup The Observatory and began to record with Bill Doss. Now Doss
has joined his lineup, and his latest record is almost complete. Alvanos has a dare with Flagpole that he can play
200 shows in Athens this year. He seems to be holding up his end by playing shows at Mama’s Boy every
Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM. (What better way to cope with that hangover and the ringing in your ears?)
Here’s a recent live performance at the Morton Theatre from August 14, where Peter is
joined onstage with Doss, Ryan and Matt Lewis, and Charlie Estes (Dark Meat). Also listen to “O’Kate” on the
bands MYSPACE page…good song...
Here's what Ballard Lesemann (The Charleston City Paper) had to say: “606 Mix”
Dig that snare drum syncopation … dig that cymbal wash … dig those percussive guitar chords … dig the
arpeggiation during the verses … and how about the hollering of “606! 606!” during the choruses, And how about
that hard-plucked, string-strangling solo at the two-minute mark. Man, there hasn't been such a groovy rock tune
with “six” in the title since Chuck Berry’s rendition of “(Get Your Kicks On)" Route 66...or maybe "68 Guns" by
The Alarm … or perhaps “96 Tears” by ? & The Mysterians.
Alvanos sounds like a singer who sings what he means and means what he sings. My brain is hanging upside
down from it all. —TBL
Jul 20, 2005
Peter Alvanos Expands The Lineup of His Band Fabulous Bird
Technology is a thing I typically swear by. As I say this, I sit at my Mac and load
songs onto my iPod while charging up my digital camera and waiting for my new
cell phone battery to arrive in the mail. This morning though, I say, "Technology
be damned." Recently, I joined the boys from Fabulous Bird for a brief Q&A
during one of their practices. We laughed, we cried, we took up a variety of
stances on the smoking ban. Some lives were changed forever and some went on
untouched. Lessons were learned. Meanwhile, my trusty digital recorder
abandoned all that was said and I have no idea why. So, while both Fabulous Bird
and my iPod remain close to my heart, the recorder is sleeping on the couch for a
little while. The fortunate thing is that the members of Fabulous Bird are, if
nothing else, easy to talk to and hard to forget. A Tribute to You is Fabulous
Bird's most recent EP, and the new lineup has plans to release another recording
in time for its performance at this August's Popfest.
Trey McManus and Peter Alvanos
Being the brainchild of Peter Alvanos (ex-Sunshine Fix, Lona, Casper & the
Cookies etc. etc.) with erstwhile midwife Trey McManus, Fabulous Bird is a
song-driven band with standup ideals. The music is a solidly constructed
amalgam of moody Birds-esque pop delivered in a Big Star-styled onslaught of…
well… rock and roll. And that's the end of the categorization. I went and saw the
guys two weeks ago at the Caledonia on what should have been a rainy, dreary
night in an empty town. It was, in fact, just that, but then five minutes before the
band was to have started, folks showed up en masse. It wasn't standing-room
only, but it sure as hell wasn't empty either.
The songs stomped by, guided by Alvanos' voice; he has all the trappings of a
frontman, including the songbird range and a friendly, open demeanor. The songs
stomped by, but were pinned down by a small guitar army. Said guitar army
(guitarmy?) is composed of Alvanos, Scott Dansby (Hamtramck, Touchy, Le
Guano, Annie & Her Guns) and Trey McManus (Beijing, Ordinary Germans Like
Yourselves, the Modfathers), backed up by a formidable rhythm section including
Brian Smith (OGLY, Quiet Men, Pacific UV, the Modfathers) on bass, Taylor
Coggins (Annie & Her Guns, Beijing) on drums and Dan Geller (I Am The World
Trade Center, Baryshnikov, Twin Powers) on tambourine.
The most obvious thing at first glance is that, like so many other bands, Fabulous
Bird is heavy on personnel, but unlike obvious large-group reference points like
the Olivia Tremor Control, this large staff is not built around the idea that quiet is
the new loud or that one person should man a kazoo and a recorder and wait
patiently to play only two notes. Instead, the formula here seems to be: "If it
rocks, then it shall be done." This can be a risky equation, resulting in
overplaying and redundant parts, but in the case of Fabulous Bird it does not. It
completely works and brings to light an altogether different idea that restraint
does not mean compulsory silence.
"So many bands in this town are so wrapped up in their own pretension," says
McManus, "that the music becomes self-conscious and predictable. Where's the
fun there? I might embarrass the hell out of everyone with my enthusiasm, but
fuck that, we're here to rock, so let's fucking do it!"
Alvanos, on the other hand, says, "My dream is that everyone in town can be in
this band, but the six of us will go to practice and everyone else can show up [at
shows], pay the cover and rock with us."
So, all of you reading this have just potentially joined Fabulous Bird. Remember:
when someone asks where the name comes from, just say it is a picture by
Peter's great-uncle Herman DiGiovanno. Your next show is at the 40 Watt on July
27. Don't forget to change your strings, and leave the pretension at the door.
Paul Nunn WHO: Elekibass, Fabulous Bird, Biirdie
WHERE: 40 Watt Club
WHEN: Wednesday, July 27