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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Pezband - 1977 Pezband
Pezband - 1977 Pezband

ARTIST: Pezband
ALBUM: Pezband
LABEL: Passport
SERIAL: 9167-98021
YEAR: 1977


LINEUP: Mimi Betinis - vocals; guitars * Tommy Gawenda - lead guitars * Mike Gorman - bass, vocals * Mick Rain - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Baby Its Cold Outside * 02 Tracer * 03 Princess Mary * 04 Runaway * 05 Gas Grill * 06 When I'm Down * 07 It's Only A Girl * 08 Please Be Somewhere Tonite * 09 Lets Dance * 10 It Was Alright * 11 Hold On * 12 Close Your Eyes

Seems we are having a run on 1977 albums lately. Well, I'll play the game and chuck this one into the mix. Pezband is definitely a band that our erstwhile colleague Eric Abrahamsen should be reviewing rather than me. However, I love this album, a classic case of easy-on-the-ear 70's midwest power-pop with an abundance of melody and radio friendly moments. From Chicago, Pezband hail from the same geography (or locations near-enough) as outfits such as Cheap Trick and Off Broadway. The band are quite clear where their influences lie - timewise back in the sixties, and soundwise - a certain foursome from Merseyside had a lot to do with their musical direction, particularly the Paul McCartney/Eric Carmen flavoured vocals of Mimi Betinis. Added to the mix, a heap of sweet melody that only America could apply in all their sugar-coated candiness.

Formed as early as 1971, the band went through a number of personnel, including Cliff Johnson who went on to the aforementioned Off Broadway. Pezband stuck at their British Invasion styled pop, where Beatles and Kinks styled arrangements were the norm. Their most successful period was between 1977 and 1979. Ironically though, they missed the boat. A few years too late to enjoy the fruits supplied by the likes of Badfinger and The Rapsberries, and perhaps too early to join the fray, occupied by the likes of the reinvented arena rock band Cheap Trick and L.A upstarts The Knack. Being stuck with a small label Passport didn't help matters either. Small budgets and minimal production barely scraping the surface of this bands potential.

The Songs
There is plenty to be found on the album (twelve in all), most are relatively short and snappy, though surprisingly the playing time is just under 35 minutes! Long time fans will rejoice in the simplicity of favourites 'Baby Its Cold Outside' and the sixties shuffle of 'When I'm Down'. Take a listen to the excellence of 'Tracer', or the whimsical 'Princess Mary', more Beatles influenced melodia. Taking an edgier path is 'Gas Grill', while 'It's Only A Girl' features orchestral backing and is a pompier arrangement akin to Aviary's material. 'Please Be Somewhere Tonight' has Betinis imitating Eric Carmen to a tee. Great stuff, while the boogie/rock n roll quotient is on display with 'Lets Dance'. If you could imagine the Beatles doing this style then you'd be halfway there.

In Summary
When one listens to a whole bunch of power pop/nu-breed bands during the 1998-2002 era, it is obvious to me that many of their influences are spawned from the same era that Pezband came from. In some cases, it came from a decade earlier. The band released two further studio albums on Passport (1978's 'Laughing In The Dark' and 1979's 'Cover To Cover'), plus two highly sought after live recordings 'Thirty Seconds Over Schaumburg' and 'Two Old, Two Soon Live At Dingwalls', the latter recorded in the UK. Unfortunately the band never had commercial success with their recordings. Not even making a Billboard dent, nor were they able to boost their profile outside of Illinois and the midwest. Pezband, Cheap Trick and Off Broadway were tied at the hip in many ways. Sharing the same manager Ken Adamany, plus inter-crossing bands with their personnel. Betinis and Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson formed a band in L.A, plus Betinis and Cliff Johnson formed a band which later become Off Broadway Part II. Meanwhile Tommy Gawenda joined another Illinois outift called Tami Show, who released a couple of albums during the eighties. However, for a good introduction into midwestern powerpop, you really can't go past Pezband. For the record, Pezband's material is in the digital realm, courtesy of Not Lame Records.

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#1 | Eric on September 06 2006 23:16:33
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant American pop! Seek Pezband out! You won't be disapointed. Wink
#2 | Harvey Mettle on September 15 2006 17:50:19
The 30 Seconds Over Schaumberg EP is well worth obtaining, for the guitar frenzy that accompanies Stroll On (Yardbirds cover) but the Live At Dingwalls EP is much less interesting.
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