the Shim Sham Rebellion
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the Shim Sham Rebellion

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With vast influences such as Charles Mingus and Miles
Davis, to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, The Shim Sham
Rebellion is a unique blend of jazz, rock and blues
music. Formed in 2003 in San Francisco, the band plays
a mixed variety of original and cover songs. Having
played shows at venues such as The Boom Boom Room, 12
Galaxies, and The Hotel Utah, they have a growing
number of fans who are inspired by their unique fusion
of musical styles. I had the chance to witness these
talented musicians strut their stuff recently at The
Connecticut Yankee on January 26th. I could see how the
crowd was totally digging the sound, from
straight-ahead jazz to reggae, even some Zeppelin
covers -- the overall vibe seemed danceable, to get
the collective groove on. I was pleased to have the
opportunity to sit down with frontman (and
multi-instrumentalist) Mark Schuh. At this show, he
was mostly playing the part of the lead vocalist and
lead guitarist, but there were several guest
appearances to change up the sound. I had not seen
the Shim Sham play live before,
and I was very impressed. Very funky, indeed.

RMR: Having a multitude of talents, when did you start
playing, and what is your instrument of choice?

Mark: Well, I don't have an instrument of choice. I
love that every instrument allows you to express
emotions and ideas in different ways. There was a
piano in my house my whole life. My mother was an
elementary school music teacher before she had four
kids of her own. So I was exposed to music very early.
I tinkered on the piano as a kid, and I took guitar
lessons briefly when I was about twelve. But I didn't
really pick up the guitar until I was about sixteen.
Lately I've been practicing drums a lot, and I've
recently done some touring as a bassist. So I can't
say I have a favorite instrument, just that I love
playing music, more than just about anything else.

RMR: That's awesome. What are your musical influences?


Mark: The earliest memories I have of music are of my
older brothers' LPs of Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Jaco
Pastorius, Ozzy Osbourne, Blackfoot, John Coltrane,
Iron Maiden. So I heard classic rock, jazz, and metal
at an early age. I distinctly remember when I was
about ten, I put on Dark Side of The Moon with my head
between the speakers. I couldn't believe it. I was
utterly fascinated and overjoyed by what I was
hearing. From that moment on I was corrupted. Heh heh.
But really I'm influenced by everything, I'm musically
very open. Miles Davis and Charles Mingus became big
influences later on. And bands like Steely Dan and
Frank Zappa were huge, in that they bridge a gap
between rock and jazz in a unique and compelling way
to me. Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville had a huge impact
on me for awhile. Really there are too many too list.

RMR: With your original songs, are you the primary
songwriter, and, if so, what inspires your lyrics?

Mark: With the Shim Sham, some stuff I have written
alone, some with Max and Tom. Some songs they have
composed and I have played a supporting role to that.
Lyrics? Well I've definetely written a number of songs
about women. And about heartache and loneliness. I've
written about forces of good and evil. All the typical
rock 'n roll crap. Ha. I've written political stuff
too about the war in Iraq and issues like gay
marriage.

RMR: Yes, those are some definite universal subjects.
When deciding on cover songs, what is it that moves
you to play these particular songs?

Mark:Sometimes I hear a song and just feel the groove.
I understand what the band was saying. Then I wonder,
"Can I pull that off?" If it's great music but it's
out of my vocal range, I look for a singer. I asked
Shawna from Plum Crazy to sing some Zeppelin with us,
because Robert Plant's range is more similar to a
woman's than mine. I love covering Morphine. The songs
generally have a great blues feel, and the lyrics
unfold like a story. Mark Sandman could unleash a
whole novel in his three minute songs. There is a
saying "I miss Jerry." Well, I love Jerry Garcia's
playing. He was amazing. I miss him. But I really miss
Mark Sandman. What a great storyteller he was.

RMR: I agree that there are unique differences between
male and female vocals. It makes for a well-rounded
experience. What do you love about music?

Mark: Well, to begin with....everything. I've seen
Almost Famous. How can I answer that question and not
laugh? "Rock and roll will change the world...and the
chicks are great." [Laughter]

RMR: [Laughter] That's awesome. Are you strictly a
jazz musician, or do you listen to other genres of
music?

Mark: That's very flattering, really. I'm not a jazz
musician -- not yet. I don't understand the guitar
well enough to be a jazz musician, although I study
jazz because it pushes me. I guess you could say I am
a fusion player -- because I love jazz ideas. But,
really, I have a rock and roll heart.
- rockmusicreview.com


Discography

Mark Schuh and the Shim Sham Rebellion. Release 2003

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Bio

The Shim Sham Rebellion is an unconventional mix of deviant blues guitar and meticulous jazz saxophone, soaring over a latin-influenced, in the pocket, down-and-dirty rhythm section. Playing a mix of originals with vocals and progressive jazz/rock instrumentals, the Shim Sham Rebellion is an important part of your daily intake of incredible music.

Multi-instrumentalist Mark Schuh gathered a slew of talented musicians to record the album, "Mark Schuh and the Shim Sham Rebellion" in 2003. Guest musicians on the album include Eric Levy and Alan Hertz of Garaj Mahal, as well as saxophone colossus Ralph Carney, best known for his work with Tom Waits. This album kicks ass - just ask the band...or their moms.

The core members of the Sham met at a jazz improvisation course in San Francisco and began performing upon the album's completion. Innovative songwriters in their own right, jazz bassist/heavy metal guitarist, Max Seeman, and classical/jazz fusion sax player, Thomas Trono, have added depth and range to the Sham's repertoire. Axel Herrera rounds out the sound with his distinctive beats steeped in his Chilean heritage. Check them out live and explode into the polygamous harmonies of the tetra-colored universe