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If you like the variety of Americana made by artists like the Jayhawks, Los Lobos, the BoDeans, Marshall Crenshaw, Steve Earle and the Blasters, you must also be a fan of the Spanic Boys. Huh!?! Yeah, the Spanic Boys – the best roots rock band you’ve never heard of.
The Spanic Boys are the Milwaukee based father and son team, Tom and Ian Spanic. Tom was a self-taught guitarist that loved the instrument so much that he worked to become classically trained. (He even earned a position as a guitar instructor at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.)
Later, when it was time for son Ian to learn to play guitar, Tom made sure he was trained in the classical method on an acoustic guitar before letting him have his own Fender.
Middle aged, overweight and bespectacled; the Spanic Boys are not your stereotypical rock stars. But man, can those two sing and play.
Today’s SotW is “I’m All You Need” from their 1991 album on Rounder Records, Strange World.
The influences are obvious – Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, etc. – yet their sound is contemporary… much like Nick Lowe’s and Dave Edmund’s Rockpile. Telecaster guitar riffs, a tight rhythm section and close harmony vocals with rockabilly influences – that’s all they need.
A bit of trivia about the Spanic Boys is their connection to Saturday Night Live. They’re often credited as being the most obscure musical act ever to perform on the show (though some will dispute that). They appeared on the episode hosted by Andrew Dice Clay in May 1990. The scheduled musical act, Sinead O’Connor, refused to appear with Clay because she felt he was vulgar and misogynist (he was). Her boycott left SNL’s bandleader and musical director, G.E. Smith, in a bind for a last minute replacement. He got permission to call the Spanic Boys, a band that he really liked at the time, and the rest is history.
Enjoy… until next week.