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The best kept secret in music


"Cover Story"

"Keep The Money, We'll Take The Fame"

They'd make history if they weren't so busy rewriting it

by J.R. Taylor

"Here's a question for you," asks Reno Bo as I sit with the Fame. "If we were suddenly the hottest band in New York City tomorrow, would we be any less cool?"

That's a trick question on about 10 different levels. The only way that the Fame could be any less cool would be if they became the hottest band in New York City. It'll take a lot more than a New York Press cover story to make that happen. I haven't heard a band like the Fame since those carefree geniuses in the Sighs back in 1992. They didn't stand a chance, either.

It's certainly understandable if the Fame's target audience has never heard of them. The band's big breaks consist of opening for acts that aren't nearly as good. You can guess the sad litany: the Shins, Robbers on High Street, the Bravery. At least it was pretty smart to pair the Fame with Sahara Hotnights (who, to their credit, sought out the band to open for them after hearing a demo).

Just how uncool are the Fame? They finally made it above 14th Street a few weeks ago with a gig at B.B. King's opening for .38 Special. That was some inspired billing. The proudly hirsute .38 Special spent their heyday as a misunderstood pop act with a southern-rock heritage.

They were amazing," adds Fame bassist Alana Amram. "'Rebel to Rebel' made me cry. I'm serious. I was in tears."

She knows the tape recorder is running. She does not care. The Fame is fearless.

Apologies to music fans, but let's recap for the benefit of rock critics who might be taking notes: There was a brief moment when Midwest rock 'n' roll was again in vogue after the rise and fall of the Raspberries circa '73. (You might find "Go All the Way" on iTunes.) Cheap Trick had broken through with Budokan, and there seemed to be a place for catchy rock that was polished enough to be safely out of the garage. A few bands immediately dated themselves by buying new synthesizers and dolling themselves up like the Cars. Others put their faith in the legacy of this guy named Dwight Twilley and went for denim jackets, modified shag cuts and tight t-shirts in primary colors.

Groups like Off Broadway and a reformed Artful Dodger were too aggressive to be power-pop and too heterosexual to be New Wave. (Those pop geniuses in Shoes liked girls, but most guys wouldn't like a girl who liked Shoes.) None of these bands broke through, and the slate was pretty much wiped clean once Duran Duran and Adam Ant came along as the new British Invasion. The few LPs that made it out remain cherished as a brief shining moment in regular-guy rock.

The important thing is that all those Midwestern 70s bands were pretty awful. They whole trend was really more of a pleasant notion. The Fame, however, is everything anyone could have ever desired from those acts. They are the true spirit of all-American greatness in a city where un-American rock acts have become the norm.

If there were a decent fundrinkery around, I'm sure I'd be sitting with the Fame in a corner booth. I don't know why we're sitting in the Beer Garden at Queens. None of the members of the Fame lives nearby. Maybe they just like the place. I'm pretty much at ease, having gone into this expecting to be better off interviewing the Fame's graphic designer. Their Get on the Beat EP is a masterful parody/homage of those heady Midwest rock days, perfectly duplicating the look of major-label product that wanted to be modern yet not too punky for the Bloomington scene.

The only thing that keeps the CD from looking like a total anachronism is the blurb for Nothing wrong with that. It's not like the band's some kind of retro novelty act.

That would be in contrast to the usual embarrassments: the Strokes, the Bravery (again), Interpol and all of the other dopey poseurs who haven't figured out that it's only okay to be derivative if you're also an improvement. (The leading exception remains our close personal friends in the Star Spangles.) The Fame reject all the trappings of what's supposed to be a New York City rock band. They rank the highest possible compliment you can pay any local rocker: They do not look like total douchebags.

The only disagreeable thing about frontman Reno Bo is his name. Ryan Daniels and Patrick Wood would seem more believable as lovable soap opera stars than as, respectively, guitarist and drummer for any NYC rock act. Alana's a true find as a local rock gal, sporting a healthy wholesomeness that suggests she's never even considered moonlighting as a sex worker.

Sitting down with the Fame—as with listening to Get on the Beat or seeing their live show—is pretty nerve-wracking. It's a lot like watching That Thing You Do for the first time. Writer/director/star Tom Hanks captured the 1964 pop scene so perfectly that any music fan was dreading the inevitable screw-up. It ends up as a perfect film that doubles as the - NEW YORK PRESS

""Eddytor's Dozen" by Chuck Eddy"

EPs below by the Fame (hereby recommended to people who miss .38 Special, the Babys, Rick Springfield, and Bedford girls) - VILLAGE VOICE


The Fame make 1970's inspired anthem rock to be played as you head down the strip in your red corvette with the windows open and the music a blazin'. Their songs approach music with the game plan of making music fun again. The kind of music that you can party to. This is the boys' debut 6-song EP set for a car stereo near you. I love the comical reference on "The Bedford Girls". It can't possibly reference Williamsburg, can it? - CRASHIN' IN by Lio Cerezo


Built on a foundation of two guitars and 70’s High
school rock anthems, The Fame get audiences moving
and heads bobbing anywhere they play, Equally fitting
on the streets of their native Brooklyn as at the poolhall
in Milwaukee, this is American rock n’ roll. - STUDYBREAKS.COM


New York band the Fame cranks out six slick, lively good-time sing-alongs in the "skinny tie" rock vein on "Get on the Beat" . - KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE


THE FAME (40 Watt) - New York's The Fame recently released the debut EP Get On The Beat. Harmony- and hook-heavy, this qualifies as hott gitar lixx. - FLAGPOLE magazine (Athens, GA)


* Sex Pistol Steve Jones began playing songs from The Fame’s debut EP Get On The Beat on Los Angeles tastemaking radio station Indie 103.1 FM. Jones got the disc at Amoeba Music on the Sunset Strip and began his radio show “Jonesy’s Jukebox” with “The Bedford Girls” the following afternoon.

* The Fame paid a visit to legendary producer and onmipresent L.A personality Kim Fowley while touring on the West Coast. Fowley “auditoned” The Fame by asking them to break into a three-part harmony on the spot. Impressed, he then offered to produce an album for them. They were in Kim’s living room at the time.

* Swedish rockers Sahara Hotnights invited The Fame to play with them at New York’s Bowery Ballroom after hearing an early demo of the band’s music. Patrick met Hotnights singer Maria Andersson in a bar. The two got to chatting and a few weeks later they were sharing a stage.

* The Fame was featured on New York City Rock Station Q104.3 FM’s “Out Of The Box” new music program. “Lost In You” was played alongside new singles from Oasis, Coldplay, Ryan Adams, Audioslave, Nine Inch Nails 22-20’s and Bruce Springsteen.

* Ryan was once prominently featured on the front page of The New York Times’ style section. It was an article on designers who make custom clothing for rockers. He was photographed from the waist down, his better half.

- Did You Know...

"Q & A : "I miss the hot tubs . . .""

On the heels of the band’s first U.S tour, Simona Gugliotta interviews THE FAME for Seattle’s Polaris magazine . . .

Q: Why “The Fame”?

RENO BO: The Smiths was already taken.

Q: Was the decision for this name a kind of positive thinking about the band’s future?

RENO BO: In a way, yes. It seems kind of absurd to call your band The Fame. Bold even. So we did it. We were looking for something that was fun, simple, classic, and had some movement to it. Also, we wanted something open to interpretation so we could fill it with our music and people would make of it what they wanted to. You know what you are gonna get when you hear a band called Metallica. But you scratch your chin and wonder “what the hell does The Fame sound like? I should have a listen.”

RYAN DANIELS: Actually, that’s a lie. We were sitting around in a bar and a friend suggested it.

PATRICK WOOD: And it sounded good, so we used it.

RENO: I also wanted to ensure that people would have a hell of a time googling us. (laughs)

Q: Is the formula of your songs good for radio?

RENO: We are a Rock And roll band in a pretty traditional sense: two guitars, bass and drums, a nice big back beat and some sing-a-long tunes. That’s what Rock And Roll is. That’s what made me want to play guitar when I was fourteen. That’s still what makes fourteen year olds want to start a band now. The way Brill Building songwriters in the 50’s and 60’s did it is the same way Kurt Cobain did it in the 90’s. We like to pack as much into three and a half minutes as possible. We like songs that stick in your head and stay with you all day long. Hopefully for the rest of your life. So in that way, yes, I think what we do is perfect for the radio. Our music sounds great when you are driving in a fast car.

Q: Is some of your music playing on any radio stations?

RENO: [Sex Pistol] Steve Jones has been spinning stuff off of our debut EP Get On The Beat on his radio show “Jonesy’s Jukebox” on Indie 103.1 FM in Los Angeles. A few college stations have been playing stuff too, I’m told. We don’t have a radio promo company or anything like that working for us. They are playing our music for the best possible reason: because they heard it and they like it.

Q: Seattle was the last city after a two month tour of the U.S., correct? Was it the first tour? How was it? Tell us of any pleasurable happenings.

RENO: I plead the fifth.

RYAN: I plead the sixth.

PATRICK: I miss the hot tubs.

RENO: All I’ll say is “Seis De Mayo!!” Portland, Oregon was great. We are all convinced that the city is funded by The Simpsons.

Q: Which towns of the tour gave you the best reception? The worst?

RENO: We had a blast in every city we played. The most enthusiastic receptions were probably San Marcos Texas, Albuquerque New Mexico and in Los Angeles.

RYAN: That seems about right. I judged which towns liked us the most by how bad my hangover was the next day. We were all pretty impressed by the music scene in the Northwest. Everyone really seemed to rally behind their bands and the bands worked really hard to earn their fans’ respect. That’s what we try to do so it was nice to see that kind of thing happening there.

Q: To Alana Amram (bass): tell us the experience of being the only woman in the band. Do you enjoy that role? Is there something special about it?

ALANA: It’s fun touring with these boys. We all really enjoy being on the road in general, so it’s good company. It’s like having three older brothers. They tie my shoelaces together and pull my hair. They keep me out of trouble and just as quickly get me in it.

RENO: She gets herself into it and then we get her out of it and then we get her into some more.

Q: How did the band come together originally? How long have you been playing together?

RENO: I wanted to put a band together about two years ago and met Ryan first. He sent me an e-mail saying he wanted to work out some tunes. I sent him a CD and then went over to his apartment on Second Avenue about a week later. I brought sheets over with the chord changes on them for him but he didn’t need them. The bugger had learned all the songs off the CD and played them perfectly. He even sang all the harmonies. I thought “Christ, he can sing and I like his shoes.” We started woodshedding immediately. Patrick came soon after on recommendation from a friend. We went through some bass players until Alana joined the band in November 2004 so I really don’t count the start of The Fame until then. She was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Q: Which other bands do you look to for inspiration?

RENO: My eternal favorite is The Beatles. They were the best songwriters and had the best hair.

Q: Is “The Fame” a side project or the full-time work for the band members?

RENO: There’s no such thing as part-time when you are in a rock band. I love playing music with these three other people. The chemistry is there - Polaris Weekly (Seattle)

"New York's Finest"

-This week, some of the city’s most promising acts perform on their home turf.

BY Sara Cardace

The Fame
"The hard-rocking Fame, whose un-self-conscious party anthems are perfect boom-box-at-the-barbecue fodder, are slowly infiltrating the mainstream." - NEW YORK MAGAZINE


Get On The Beat, EP (2005)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Have you heard THE FAME yet???

Three minute songs. Two guitars. One vision. Seems like a simple enough equation. Add to that both style and substance, great tunes, an energetic and charismatic frontman, the blonde and beloved lead guitar slinger, a drummer who knows his job is to make the ladies dance and a bass player holding it all together. Now we’re getting somewhere. THE FAME has quickly built a reputation for electric live shows bursting with pop hooks from start to finish. Feet tap, heads bob and melodies linger long after the shows end. THE FAME has that indefinable ‘certain something’ essential in the making of a rock and roll band – the thing that drives a live audience into a frenzy and makes a rock fan listen to a record over and over again. It’s what makes a good band great and a great band classic. Homework is thrown on the fire. The car is taken downtown. The volume is turned up. This is what THE FAME is all about. Yes please. More of that.

THE FAME is a band from New York City but the songs they write sound just as good driving through L.A, Tucson, Cleveland, Orlando, and Green Bay as they do riding a subway car from Williamsburg to the Lower East Side. These are songs to blare from car stereos in high school parking lots across the country. They are songs to put on when deciding what clothes to wear for your night out. These are songs to love and lose to. THE FAME writes 'em lean: a defining intro, a melodic verse leading to a memorable hook then perhaps a tasteful guitar solo (yes, guitar solo) and it's all over before three and a half minutes has elapsed. At this point, you try to get the song out of your head but fail. Miserably. Brilliant.

You’ll immediately know what to say when you are inevitably asked, "have you heard THE FAME yet?” Yes please. More of that. Turn up the volume and enjoy.