The Bee's Knees
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The Bee's Knees

Band Americana Pop


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"The Bee's Knees- Long Before"

Back in the late '60s and early '70s bands and artists
like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Dave Mason
fused the harmonies and rhythms of country and folk
music with a pop sensibility and a rock attitude to
create something called country rock. Bee's Knees
recapture much of this same sound, without the
self-indulgent instrumental solos, or the post-summer
of love hippie sappiness that eventually doomed
country rock to the likes of The Eagles. Featuring
several stellar songs (particularly "Dear Carpenter"
and "Saturday Sigh"), Long Before flows from beginning
to end like a single, well-conceived piece of music.
Lyrically, the songs here tend more toward happy than
sad, more toward light than dark. But it's hardly
bubble-gum. These are serious songs about life,
written by someone who happens to be living a good
life. Good stuff. (Brian Mosher) - The Noise (Boston, MA)

"The Bee's Knees- Long Before 2"

From the great west (well they are from Worcester which is about an hour west of Boston), come country rockers, The Bee's Knees. Recently celebrating their cd release at O'Briens in Allston, The Bee's Knees have earned a reputation for songs that are addictive as a nicotine and caffeine breakfast. The Bee's Knees, recently have won two 2004 Wormtown Sound Awards: Best New Act and Best Roots/Country Act.
Fortunately, The Bee's Knees are a little better for you. Listening to the gentle harmonies and southern twang that canvass this album will soothe your soul and put you in a much better mood. If you like The Birds, Wilco or Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, you should definitely check out these guys. - What's Up Magazine (Boston, MA)

"Summer Sounds- The Bee's Knees"

As the musicians, members of theThe Bee’s Knees, situate themselves onstage, the raspy voice of the group's drummer Joe Giotta filters out into the crowd. “Chicken-pot, chicken-pot, chicken-pot pie,” he says, testing the microphone. Standing beside him, John Donovan, bassist, chatters with his band-mates in a mock British accent.

Watching them from a small table at Southbridge’s Mill St. Brews, it’s impossible not to find their anecdotal stories and practical joking amusing. “Normally we feature harmonica in this song,” Donovan says to the crowd. “But we hid it on our lead singer.”

This fun atmosphere the band creates - which is also incredibly contagious - is clearly their secret to success. Well that, and their collection of rockin’ songs. “We’re the fun band that everybody wants to see,” Giotta explains.

Featuring Michael Thibodeau on lead vocals and guitar, Donovan on bass, Giotta on drums and Ed Barnett on lead guitar, The Bee’s Knees sport a unique brand of music. Infusing elements of folk, blues, country, and pop, their melodies appeal to a wide variety of discerning tastes. “So many people come up to me and say ‘you sound like…’ And it’s always a different band,” says Thibodeau.

Currently recording their debut album at Tremolo Lounge, The Bee’s Knees came together “basically by accident” says Thibodeau. When recording his solo CD, “Raise High the Roof Beam,” the lead singer needed a little help, so he recruited fellow musician Giotta. Shortly thereafter, they started rehearsing together, enlisting Barnett and Donovan along the way. Country Joe’ Giotta, who sports a white cowboy hat, explains. “We’re not new guys, but we’re a new band.”

Sitting in a corner of Southbridge’s Artist’s Development Complex before the show, the group talks music, occasionally digressing into discussions about cooking, which, next to music, is their prime passion. A recipe book is in the works, and their website, even features a recipe message board, where fans can share and swap their favorite dishes. “We actually don’t like playing music,” Giotta quips. “This is all about getting on the food network.”

Their success stems from the fact that they sincerely enjoy each other’s company. “It makes for a horrible rehearsal,” Thibodeau comments, chuckling. “Long and incredibly unproductive,” Giotta returns, “but fun.”

Seconds before they step onto the stage, they talk future goals. “We’ll take this to wherever it takes us,” Thibodeau explains. Giotta adds: “One area code at a time.” - The Pulse (Worcester, MA)

"The Bee's Knees Buzz into the Burg"

By Craig S. Semon, Telegram & Gazette

FITCHBURG - Whoever said too many cooks spoil the broth never had a sampling of the Bee's Knees. With a musical recipe that mixes roots, country, folk, rock and a pinch of blues for good measure, the buzz around town is the Bee's Knees will swarm from their collective hive and unleash their stinging hooks and honey-drenched harmonies on an unsuspecting Fitchburg audience during a semi-homecoming of sorts Thursday night, Aug. 5, at The Compound.

With their built-in, tongue-in-cheek Beatles reference and whimsical Marx Brothers mannerisms, the Bee's Knees are made up of seasoned musicians (some classically trained) and aspiring cooks (some culinary challenged). "A writer will come in with a song, whoever it is," drummer Joe Giotta said, "and it will not only form as a band behind it, but we will add our own parts, and it will transform into something almost entirely different and in a positive way."

Rather than be on MTV's Total Request Live or VH1's Behind the Music, the Bee's Knees dream of having a guest spot on the Cooking Channel someday. No kidding. They even have a recipe book in the works and some of their favorite dishes have been posted on their website (

Three of the four members of Bee's Knees are avid cooks. Singer-guitarist Michael Thibodeau is the band's self-confessed meat-and-potato guy. All agree that Giotti is the undisputed gourmet of the group, while bassist John Donovan gets high marks for his great home cooking.

The remaining member, lead guitarist Ed Barnett, likes to eat when he's hungry and sometimes when he's not.

Donovan, the elder, rock 'n' roll statesman of the group, has fond memories of bobbing his head to the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and mimicking Pete Townshend's windmills at Who concerts in the early '70s.

"Sitting on a blanket with a bowl of popcorn in front of me, watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, that was it. Right there," Donovan recalled. "The Beatles are my number one, first guys, until I heard my boys the Who, and that was the other half. It's been that pop influence on one side and that rockish mayhem on the other."

A quality assurance engineer for a software company by day, Donovan, a musical institution who currently calls Westboro his home, did his time in the rock 'n' roll trenches with The Deal and many other local bands.

"Clean living, good beer and rock 'n' roll keeps me young," Donovan said.

Although he was born way after the height of Beatlemania, Thibodeau, a classically-trained timpanist and conductor, cites listening to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" over and over again in his parents' living room as his earliest musical influence.

The Fitchburg native was "a good ol' fashion union musician" who used to play with the Ashby Band and was the Thayer Symphony Orchestra production manager for a year. Currently, Thibodeau is program and events coordinator for the department of visual performing arts at Clark University in Worcester.

Being that his dad was a radio DJ, Giotta was raised up on a homespun diet of hot wax and virgin vinyl. "We had lots of records that said "Not for resale" on them when I was a kid," the Holden resident recalled. "My dad used to play Heart, Hendrix and the Beatles more than anything else. And I used to listen to all of those, all the time. Then in high school I started listening to jazz and that was it.''

Giotta, who teaches drums and works behind the counter at Kurlan Music, was also in the popular group Mossberg, prior to the Bee's Knees. As a classically trained percussion, Giotta did his share of pit gigs for orchestra shows and stage plays. In addition, he was once in the jam band Religion of Sound with fellow Bee's Knees member Barnett.

"The only reason why we were in Religion of Soul is I was in because he was in it and he was in it because I was in it," Giotta said.

"We saw them play at Tammany Hall and Woooh, this band gets some girls to their shows," Barnett added. "I want to be in this band."

The first band Barnett started buying records of was U2, followed by Led Zeppelin (he said he thought guitarist Jimmy Page was God) and The Who. In the illustrious past, Barnett has been in The Cartridge Family, 9 Volt Superhero and the Who cover band Substitute. He lives in the Tatnuck Square area of Worcester and works in human services, as well as teaching guitar.

"Those guys (Barnett and Donovan) listen to the Who and me and Michael played in orchestras," Giotta interjected.

Thibodeau proudly takes the blame for bringing this unlikely foursome together. While doing the "folkie thing" on his own, Thibodeau started combing the city streets for local musicians to serve as his backup band for his solo disc, "Raise High the Roof Beam." One thing led to another and Giotta and Barnett were on board. All they needed was a bassist.

"Then we went through like 600 bass players and John was in the wrong place at the wrong time one night," Thibodeau joked.

"I filled in one night," Donovan added. "And that's it. They slapped the cuffs on me."

"He still wears manacles when we got him at a gig," Giotta snapped.

While the Bee's Knee's sound is very accessible, it's very difficult to pigeon hole them. The individual band members' musical backgrounds and the band's musical influences are all over the place and are from all great bands.

Artists and bands the Bee's Knees are commonly compared to are Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, the Rolling Stones, Richard Thompson, Kinks, the Byrds and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

"Carl Perkins, James Burton, Paul McCartney and Max Roach got together in the studio and said, "We're going to form a band that sounds like the Kinks meet Uncle Tupelo," Thibodeau explained. "That is about as close to a description of the band as I can possibly get."

"We have a little twang in our band, so people say, oh its kinda like country," Giotta added. "And we have a hard edge in our band, so people say, oh it's kinda like rock music. We have really good harmonies, so people say, oh its kinda like pop music. We have a little bit of a lot of things."

"It's hard to say that we're not a pop band but we have so many roots music elements," Thibodeau continued. "We're not your prototypical roots band. We play loud. We play rock music."

For the band's first big show, the Bee's Knees went live to the world during an in-studio broadcast on WICN. During the gig, war was declared on Iraq.

"We did the first set and then we played a song call "Goodbye." It was weird playing that song," Barnett admitted. "I was thinking about this guy leaving his girlfriend, going off to war."

The Bee's Knees recently celebrated its one-year anniversary together. Currently, Thibodeau and Barnett do all the lyrics but all members of the band have creative input on the arrangements and the final product.

"It really started as my songs," Thibodeau said. "The band played and then it just evolved into the band."

"As soon as we started playing together, the music changed a little bit," Donovan said. "We still play lots of songs that Mike wrote by himself. We play songs that Ed wrote by himself. We have a bunch of songs that we started writing as soon as the band came together."

"There's a bunch of songs we still do from Michael's solo album, almost all of them. But I say 75 percent of them have changed drastically," Giotta said. "It's like a different world."

"Yeah," Barnett, the man of few words, interjected. "It's like Atlantic Records stepped in."

As songwriting styles go, one can say Thibodeau is McCartney to Barnett's Lennon, (or Thibodeau is Tom Waits to Barnett's Friedrich Nietzsche).

"Michael writes a lot of things that have to do with a general scope, where people can identify with them specially because they're very basic", Giotta explained. "Eddy writes things that are very personal that people can identify with on a completely different level because they're very personal."

The Bee's Knees has been building up a steady following and a reputation for being a band that anyone can go out and see and have a good time listening to because they reach the crowd on so many different levels.

"There is one word that describes us and it's big," Giotta said. "If nothing else we have the ability to satisfy whoever comes out. If they're looking for a crazy rock 'n' roll show, we'll give it to them. If they're looking for a dynamic soft music, we'll give that to them too."

"We don't leave anything back," Donovan said. "We put the songs over hard." "We like to get on stage and show the other bands that are on the bill that we know what we're talking about. We can do what they do and we do it real good," Giotta continued.

Besides doing its share of headlining gigs, the Bee's Knees, recent winners of two 2004 Wormtown Sound Awards for Best New Band and Best Folk/Country/Roots Band, opened for Colin Hay of Men at Work fame, legendary Boston garage rocker Jonathan Richman (of "Roadrunner" fame), and NRBQ during its 35 anniversary tour. - Worcester Telegram & Gazette


Long Before (LP, 2004, self release)
It's A Very Local Christmas (2003)-
One track, "Black and Blue Christmas" (written by the Bee's Knees)

Another Day and Dear Carpenter (from Long Before) played regularly on Boot Liquor Radio (
Many songs from this record are played on local shows through out New England and on Americana shows through out the country. List will be provided upon request.



Soulful, gritty and twangy, with sweet harmonies and a hard to contain lead guitarist, the Bee’s Knees are in a world of their own. Taking leads from classic country, '60s pop and psychedelia and the country rock movements of the '70s and '90s, the Bee’s Knees have fashioned a unique Americana infused pop sound that is quite their own.

The Bee's Knees are currently finishing their second CD which is to released in the Winter 08/09.

The Bee's Knees have won the 2008 Turtle Boy Award for best Americana/Country Band for the third year running.

The Bee’s Knees have won the Worcester Music Award for Best Roots/Country Act four of the last five years.