I’m finding it difficult to locate someone who doesn’t find something enjoyable about Lorenzo’s Music.
Believe me, I've tried. So far, I have played various tracks of theirs for fans of classic rock, hardcore, emo, ska, jazz, swing, blues, funk, and avant garde music. The responses have had a few common threads. “Why haven’t I heard of these guys before?” “You never hear stuff like this on the radio.” "Who the hell is Lorenzo?"â€¨â€¨And the most common response, “Hey...let me borrow that CD.”â€¨â€¨Why does this band out of Madison, Wisconsin, hold such universal appeal? Listening to their album Schematic (2000, Crustacean Records) should provide the answer. If you happen to be the type of person who decides whether or not to buy an album based on one track, I'd pick All I Want as the one which best showcases the band's talents. Like the driving beat? The brilliant use of the horns in the arrangement? The alternatingly smooth and raw vocals? I thought you would.â€¨â€¨But don't be fooled into thinking that the rest of the album sounds the same or even similar. Rather than defining themselves as performers of one style of music or another, Lorenzo's Music moves between styles effortlessly. They are not a punk band experimenting with 30's-style swing, an indie rock band trying their hands at Chicago-style blues, or a hardcore band exploring their love of latin rhythms. They are simply a group of talented guys who obviously see no reason why they can't just do all of the above. As Holly Day of musicdish.com wrote of them in 2000, "instead of seeming like they're stretching themselves out too far, trying to do everything at once and trying to cover all their musical bases, they ease into each new song and genre as easy as breathing."â€¨â€¨Lorenzo's Music is Tom Ray (vocals), Mark Whitcomb (guitar), Scott Beardsley (drums), and Chris Boeger (bass). The band first came together in 1997. Ray was working for a nightclub but had aspirations to form a band to perform his own music. He demoed the songs he had written for Whitcomb and Beardsley, who were both playing with bands that frequently appeared in the club, and the three were rehearsing together soon after. The original band also included a guitarist (Whitcomb was playing bass at the time) and a small horn section (their roles figure prominently on Schematic).â€¨â€¨The inspiration for the band's name came one night as Ray was watching The Bob Newhart Show on Nick at Night, when he caught the name of the show's creator and executive producer in the credits...Mr. Lorenzo Music, better known to most people as the voices of Carlton the Doorman on the sitcom Rhoda (which he also produced) and Garfield the Cat in his self-titled cartoon. "I added the apostrophe to avoid confusion," Ray explains.â€¨â€¨Despite local success and the release of Schematic in mid-2000, changes in career and geography took their toll. The guitarist and one horn player left to pursue careers in law and medicine, respectively. Whitcomb and Beardsley left to tour as the rhythm section for a solo artist. Lorenzo's Music was no more.â€¨â€¨In a bit of irony still too bizarre for me to fully wrap my head around, the day in 2001 that the band Lorenzo's Music officially broke up, Mr. Lorenzo Music (actor, producer, voice of Garfield) died of cancer at the age of 64. Really.â€¨â€¨A couple of years passed. Ray was still in Madison and had continued to write music. Whitcomb had returned to Madison and opened his own recording studio. Ray recalls, "And one night [in the fall of 2003] out of the blue Mark called me to invite me to an open jam he was hosting at a club in downtown Madison. I showed up and Mark asked what I had been doing and if I was still writing songs. He asked me if I would want to work with him. I said, 'Of course!'"â€¨â€¨Soon, Beardsley was also back drumming for his bandmates and brought with him bassist Boeger (their original guitarist was now off practicing law and Whitcomb had taken over guitar duties). These four now make up the core of Lorenzo's Music, and the diversity of their musical experience and influences, which includes punk, metal, blues-rock, jazz, and (of course) high school band, explains their apparently seamless comfort with different styles of music.â€¨â€¨Their reunion is our good luck. The band has recorded a collection of tracks, no less eclectic than those on Schematic, which are scheduled to be released as their second album, Solamente Tres Polabras. For those of you who took French instead of Spanish in high school, that translates to "just three words". And in case you're wondering if that title has some deep or romantic meaning, don't. The group decided on the name when they realized that all of the songs on the album had three-word titles.â€¨â€¨Hot Water Avalanche, I consider it the best of the bunch. As often happens, it was tough for me to pick a best track, but not for the usual reason. With most bands, it's tough to choose a best song because so many of their songs sound the same. With Lorenzo's Music, the problem arises because all the tracks are so unique. Each holds a different appeal for me at different times and when I am in different moods. An album that anticipates my needs...what more can I ask for?â€¨â€¨Sam Gulino The Sleepless Reader on 2/14/2005
â€¨â€¨It seems once you try to pin this down to a genre, they turn around and change on you. The first track hit me like kick-ass electric smoky bar blues, complete with nasty sax and a great, great vocalist (Tom Ray), while the next minute, they've gone and played a sultry tango number with flamenco guitar and even better, nastier horns. However, instead of seeming like they're stretching themselves out too far, trying to do everything at once and trying to cover all their musical bases, they ease into each new song and genre as easy as breathing. If there is any one theme here, it seems to be alcohol, or drunk women, or both, and that, too, seems to be an easy topic for these guys to write about.â€¨â€¨Holly Day - www.musicdish.comâ€¨â€¨
â€¨Madison's Lorenzo's Music consists of musicians who shed their former skins-its members had been in metal, killbilly and blues-rock bands-to dish up a mix of songs. Schematic romps through New Orleans brass band sounds, lazy blues, fuzzed-out jazzy pop, Latin-ti- nged percussion and the rainy-day Paris feel of Eric Satieâ€¨â€¨BY B.T.
Whereas most new artists have a sound and style that is esoteric and difficult, Lorenzo's Music are starting out with a rather accessible sound and style. The press release probably offers the best comparison. These six guys sound something like Tom Waits singing tunes penned by Elvis Costello. The sound is full, punctuated by an intelligent horn section. The music ranges from swift pop to bluesy stuff to just about whatever. Nice sounding material, and just slightly different.
can't remember the name of the band from Austin...they were pretty big, but their biggest claim to fame became the fact that nouveau-Austinite Sandra Bullock was dating their lead singer. If anyone in Austin or the surrounding areas remembers the band that I'm talking about...then Lorenzo's Music sounds a lot like that band to me (which is a good thing, trust me). For those of you that aren't Texan, or don't give a crap about Bullock's throwaways, Lorenzo's Music can also sound like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a poppier Morphine, or the Cherry Poppin' Daddies (when they do swing, not punk). Basically, Lorenzo's Music is a really fun-sounding lounge band with some killer hooks, slyly funny lyricism and a bunch of energy. All of that comes across well on Schematic, with standout tracks like "Straight to Hell" and "All I Want" making you want to get up and shake that ass, shake that ass. A breath of fresh air in a time of misspelled band names and DJs in rock
Thanks for readin!