Tarantuela
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Tarantuela

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"Battle of the Bands...with a 24 hour twist."

By Dale Clifford

It was like buying front row tickets to an all-star game.

It didn't feature bats and balls and the best players the game could offer.

This one, and the first of its kind in the area, featured keyboards and guitars, among other instruments, and some of the best musicians the area could offer.

Hosted by Peterborough musician and filmmaker Rob Swales and musician and The Cannery Centre owner Mike Duguay, the 24-Hour Music Project featured more than 30 local musicians engaged in a unique activity which began Friday and finished at The Historic Red Dog Tavern on Hunter St. Saturday.

They were divided into five bands, including two songwriters, and they rehearsed at different locations in town throughout the morning and afternoon Saturday in preparation for sets at The Red Dog later that night.

The 10 songwriters were paired off at random Friday to put together their five bands. They began at 9 p.m. and had 12 hours to write a 20-minute set of original music. Early Saturday morning, they put together their bands from a draft out of a hat and the creativity unfolded.

The five bands featured imaginative names like Sprang, Not Now Clayton, The Glory Plant, the Banned Family and The Kyotochords. Each set featured about four songs and the evening concluded with a performance by local band Tarantula.

Most musicians were selected from a variety of other local bands, including many familiar names.

Swales partnered with Jill Staveley in the writing end of the things and they selected Frank Girard, Tom Reader, Steve Kerslake and Liam Wilson to be part of Sprang. They are all part of other bands, including The New Moaners, The Burning Hell, When All Else Fails, The Silver Hearts and Tarantula — among others.

Swales was on keyboard while Staveley and Reader were on vocals, Kerslake on drums and Girard and Wilson on guitar. Reader also played trombone.

"We chose the name Sprang because it's about spring," said the 39-year-old Swales who said the idea for the project came out of the 24-hour Theatre Project. "It's the Peterborough dialect for spring. We wanted a spring theme with a Peterborough touch to it. Jill and I both have kids and it was about being outdoors and seeing your mood improve. We love it."

The songs they wrote were called Spring, Spring Has Sprung, Bring It On and Why You Gotta Play Like That? He said they each wrote two songs while criss-crossing the lyrics yet working in harmony.

Swales said their creations were a combination of funk, folk, country or what he refers to as that "Peterborough sound."

No matter, it was a deemed a time to celebrate local music and promote the talent in the area.

"We did it to have fun," said Swales. "It was part of promotion and a chance for people to come and see all these musicians. We are fans of each other and it was chance to play with others. It was a good time to play with new people. We are musicians, actors, filmmakers and painters. We are all artists."

Girard agreed and added: "It was great to jam with these people we had never been with before and play some new songs." - Peterborough Examiner


"Tarantuela's Got Game"

Tarantüla (tare-un-too-la), a blues band from Peterborough, came to the Silver Dollar for a little Honky Night in Canada. Bathed in the blue light of the Silver Dollar stage, they opened their set with a slow sexy melody that made the beer flow a little more smoothly and my hips sway a little more freely. They enthralled the crowd with their bluesy melodies incorporating major scales with flattened thirds, fifths and sevenths and their lyrics made me want to light up a smoke (something that hasn’t happened in quite some time). The harmonics created by their guitarists and bassist combined with the steadfast rhythm of Steve Kerslake on the drums meshed in a beautiful combination. The rough and tumble quality of James Swinnerton's voice was really the icing on the cake.

Their second song had a little more country flavour that had the band moving a little faster. This led to increased stage presence that got the crowd moving. This is so important for a live band in this day in age since the general public is more likely to pay money to see a good live show rather than buy a CD. The drop in record sales and the inevitable pressure for bands to put on a show is something recognized by Tarantüla bassist, Marty Kerslake. I’ve seen Marty in other bands throughout the years and this man always brings it to the stage, we even dubbed him “Party Marty” at one point in his career. A name he no doubt loved, so feel free to revive it when you’re out to see them.

Tarantüla not only played an entertaining show, but it was quite clear that these are some talented dudes. Their range of instruments on that Friday night included electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums and mandolin; their songs posted on mypace (www.myspace.com/tarantuela) also boast the organ, trumpet and accordion. My favourite track is, “She’s So Sad.” It’s the kind of music that would be my soundtrack to a music montage of the dramatic break-up with the love of my life and the inevitable make-up sex that follows. “Leave us Strong” makes me yearn to throw on my straw cowboy hat and hit up my favourite summer music festivals. This diversity in their sound reinforces my opinion that Tarantüla’s got game, and I can’t wait for what they put out next.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Marty after the show to learn a little more about these Peterborough boys. They released a limited edition LP in 2009 titled, “Leave us Strong”. A video of the title song was impressively produced for only 200 bucks and can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/8003065. The EP, “Summer” is being released May 2010 and will be available on itunes. I’m told that the band will also accept a few drinks in exchange for their songs. Okay they may be joking but all jokes aside, you should always pay your artists with money as it will almost always be put to much better use. Throughout this summer they have many shows booked in Toronto, Ottawa and everywhere in between.

With so many shows to choose from this coming summer, will I be getting out to see Tarantüla again? Definitely, anyone else wanna join me? - L. Doiron


"Tommy Ramone plays on; Despite some patrons leaving concert early"

As I watched table after table get up and leave the Tommy Ramone show at the Red Dog Saturday night, I wondered, what were they expecting?
Many of those who left were young neo-punks, wearing Ramones T-shirts or jackets with CBGB's patches, the legendary New York club where the pioneering punk band often played.

Others who disappointedly made for the door looked like geriatric punk-era relics, who, upon hearing the last surviving Ramone was making a rare stop in Peterborough, perhaps hoped he would play a punk-folk fusion, or at the very least an acoustic version of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

While some audience members got up and left halfway through, there were many more that stayed.
And the ones who did were treated to some of the sweetest sounding bluegrass folk this side of the Appalachian Mountains.
Thomas Erderlyi (aka Tommy Ramone) was in town as part of Uncle Monk, an alt-country indie-bluegrass duo featuring Erderlyi on vocals and mandolin and Claudia Tienan on vocals, guitar and bass.
The duo is on a small Ontario tour that includes stops in Hamilton, Toronto and Peterborough, where he performed in Underdog, the dingy basement of the Red Dog.
The grizzled, grey-faced gent held his mandolin up high close to his cheek and sang softly into the microphone with a husky tender voice. When I asked him if minded that several people abandoned the show, Erderlyi shrugged and even appeared offended at the suggestion.
"What do I care?" he said. "What did they expect the show to be? They can go. Let them go."
Although the mellow twang of his current sound is a world away from the snarling angst-ridden rebellion of The Ramones, the similarity is the purity of the music.
His passion for this style is infectious; much like it was in the '70s when
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The Ramones garnered legions of fans and influenced an entire musical movement.
The show had a raw rehearsal feel, like an intimate party in a friend's basement.
After an incredible opening set by local band Tarantula, the audience quickly moved to the front, forming an intimate semi-circle around the front of the stage clapping and tapping their feet to the down-home beat.
Uncle Monk's music is the soundtrack of the south; classic Americana played on freight trains by traveling bands rambling through the Bible belt with a bottle of whiskey and a banjo.
Sharing a single microphone, Erderlyi and Tienan sang about spirituality, death, happiness and the perils of dealing with the "Boss Man."
At times it was difficult to hear, mostly because he was constantly competing with the thunderous echoes of Sex Bomb playing upstairs.
About 40 people stayed to the end of the show, at which point Erderlyi took time to sign copies of his new CD and pose for pictures.
"He's so great. He's a legend," said enthusiastic long-time fan Alberta Sanders, who was waiting patiently to meet Erderlyi. "He's just so graceful. I love him."
Another fan, Craig McCrackin, a burly looking biker-type with a kind face, rolled up his sleeve and had Erderlyi sign his Ramones' tattoo.
Erderlyi was more than happy to oblige.
- The Peterborough Examiner


"Local Filmmaker hosts Teaser of Richard Manuel Documentary."

Jeremy Kelly has long been intrigued by the tragic story of Richard Manuel -- the Canadianborn rock singer, called one of the greatest singers of our time, who went on to fame with The Band but whose life was marred by an addiction to alcohol and drugs.
In 1986, after a gig, Manuel hanged himself in his motel room while his wife slept.
Kelly, a 21-year-old who was born in Peterborough and raised in Ennismore, is studying documentary filmmaking at Sheridan College and he and his partner Jason Jeffrey are making a documentary about Manuel's life. Street, will help them continue their work.

The evening will include a 20- minute
trailer/teaser of the work they've done so far on the Manuel film, he says.
Kelly says he hopes to raise about $700.
If you attend the fundraiser, you can go to dinner at Splice, starting at 6:30 p. m., and the presentation starts at 8 p. m.
The evening will also include showings of their previous documentaries and then entertainment by local band Tarantula.
Kelly says he's excited about the project on Manuel -- often referred to by critics as "the white Ray Charles." Manuel also collaborated with greats such as Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton.
Manuel's life story has never before been captured on film.
The filmmakers are interviewing friends, family, band mates, managers, record producers and Hollywood executives for the doc.

While Kelly says the film is "very early on in production," he hopes it will be ready to enter in New York's Woodstock International Film Festival in October, 2009.
- The Peterborough Examiner


"Garage Rock at Pig's Ear"

The third annual Garage Rock and Barbecue is set for The Pig's Ear on Saturday..
The event starts at 4 p. m. with live music on the patio of the Pig's Ear, Brock St., until dusk when the music shifts indoors. There will be approximately a dozen musical acts to take to the two stages.
This musical celebration, inspired by musical festivals of the deep south, has been designed to showcase the local Peterborough rock scene, states a press release.

There will be music for everyone -blues rock, hard rock, melodic rock, pop rock, indie rock and punk rock, it states Muddy's Pit BBQ will be cooking with his portable barbecue smoker featuring 'buck a rib' smoked ribs along side southern style red beans and rice. Music outdoors continues to 8 p. m., and music beings inside at 6 p. m.

Bands confirmed to take part include:
Paupler Auction, All Girl Band, No Pussyfooting, The Charming Ruins, Rippin Donnies, Tropics, Tarantula, The Diplomats, Mississippi Grover (from Kingston), Sun RaRaRa and C'mon.
Tickets are $7 in advance at the Pig's Ear, The Spill and Bluestreak Records, both on George St.
- - -
Garage rock andbarbecue schedule
Outside stage
4 to 5 p. m. -Pauper Auction 5 to 6 p. m. -All Girl Band 6 to 7 p. m. -The Bats Pijamas 7 to 8 p. m. -Rippin Donnies Inside stage

5 to 6 p. m. -Ancestors 6 to 7 p. m. -Sorcerer
7 to 9 p. m. -No Pussy Footing 9 to 10 p. m. -Tarantula
10 to 11 p. m. -Mississippi Grover 11 to midnight -Sun Ra Ra Ra Midnight to 1 a. m. -The Diplomats
- The Peterborough Examiner


"Paying Homage to Tradition."

A dose of 70's soaked Americana straight from Peterborough, steeped in the poignant rootsy approach of The Band, Dylan, CSNY, heartfelt vocals, and a joyous, smoky musical spirit into a distinct style all their own. Tarantula demonstrates that we must pay homage to tradition, the classics, to forge ahead. Onwards and upwards for the band - Lonely Vagabond


"Cutting Their Teeth."

Tarantuela are a five-piece bluesy-folk rock band from Peterborough. Their spacey basement sound, reminiscent of Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson and The Band, is filled with rollicking rhythm and blues augmented by beautiful vocal harmonies and guitar licks verging between harmony and cacophony.
Cutting their teeth in Peterborough's music scene, Tarantuela have been wowing crowds with their heartrending original tunes, and impressing with the seemingly endless number of songs by The Band put to memory. They literally can play everything off The Band's "Basement Tapes." Tarantuela's recently released EP "Suburban Cries," is a balance of lo-fi and hi-fi recordings, providing the listener with a glimpse of Tarantuela's breadth as a band in its beginnings. - The Trent Arthur


"Tarantuela Off to East Coast"

By WERNER BERGEN , EXAMINER ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Local roots band Tarantula is set to take off for the East Coast.
The band will be gone for approximately two weeks, said Ryan West, band mandolin player, in a telephone interview.
"We'll be playing all the way out there and back," he said.
The band includes Jay Swinnerton on lead vocals and guitar, Rob Viscardis on guitar, Steve Kerslake on drums and Marty Kerslake on bass.
???????????????????????Before the band takes off, it has a concert in Toronto tonight and a show at The Montreal House tomorrow.
"We play Saturday in Montreal," said West.
The schedule includes two days in Charlottetown (Aug. 17 and 18), Windsor, N. B. (Aug. 20), Sydney, N. S. (Aug. 21), Halifax (Aug. 22 and 23), and Ottawa (Aug. 25). The band plays Peterborough again on Aug. 26 at the Montreal House, corner of King and Aylmer streets. On the bill will also be Benj Rowland and Gentlemen Husband.
"The band has been together a year and a half," said West.
Steve Kerslake, Swinnerton and Viscardis had been members of a band called The Psycs. West, originally from Cobourg, said he knew Swinnerton and they wanted to start a project in the roots vein but in the modern category that would appeal to a younger generation today.
"We call it dark roots rock," said West.
The band has been playing local nightspots, including a show at Pappas Billiards called Blues and Cues with Al Black and Wyatt Burton.
- The Peterborough Examiner


"uncle monk"

"You guys are good" - Tommy Ramone - Tommy Ramone


Discography

Tarantüla has independently produced all their releases to date:
Black Cat EP (2007)
Suburban Cries (2008)
Leave Us Strong (2009)
Now I'm Sitting Here EP (2010)

Photos

Bio

TARANTÜLA (tare-an-too-la - alternate spelling= Tarantuela)

Formed in the winter of 2007, the band began as a loose collective of young Peterborough, Ontario musicians who shared a love of roots and blues music. Immediately putting to tape their first e.p. and adding more members who brought along with them new influences, the band refined a list of blues and folk covers into a prolific group of fresh, energetic original songs. While continuing to wear their influences on their sleeves (The Band, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, the Kinks, the Beatles), TARANTÜLA have developed a unique sound through constant writing, recording, and performing - at home and abroad.

Recently, virtually the whole band was part of an exciting event in Peterborough called the 24 hour music project, in which they were interspersed with a bunch of other musicians, and divided into bands. Within 24 hours, these bands had to write original music and perform a set live that night. Tarantuela members strived in this venture, which is a testiment to their versatility.

The band has toured to the east coast of Canada playing cities such as Halifax, Charlottetown, Sydney, and Windsor, and other places on the way. They also frequent major cities such as Ottawa, Montreal, Kingston, Oshawa, Hamilton, Windsor, and of course Toronto, where they often play the Dakota Tavern, and have had a residency at the Cameron House Theatre.