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The Upbeat: Just Another Band From Detroit

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011

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Formed: 2009 in Detroit

Sound: Frank Zappa tribute band

Members: Andrew Dunaj, drums (St. Clair County); Mike Farr, bass (Royal Oak); Jordan Ferraro, guitar (Chesterfield Township); Scott Fryer, saxophone (St. Clair County); Ari Hajek, percussion (Rochester); Chelsea Hallendy, trombone and flute (Chesterfield Township); Patrick Jensen, trumpet (Dearborn); John Raleeh, keyboards (Warren). All of the band members also sing.

Influences: Frank Zappa, obviously, as well as King Crimson, Steely Dan, Rush and Primus.

Day Jobs: Dunaj works for an aerospace engineering company. Farr works at Custom Music in Ferndale. Ferraro is a high school music teacher in the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools District. Fryer is a middle school band director in Warren Consolidated Schools. Hajek plays with local symphony orchestras and plans to pursue a master’s degree in music. Jensen teaches rock ’n’ roll history at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn. Raleeh and Hallendy are students at Wayne State University.

What’s In A Name? The group name comes from “Just Another Band From L.A.,” the 1972 album by Zappa’s band The Mothers.

Frankly Speaking: Composed of current or former music students, mostly from Wayne State, Just Another Band bonded over a mutual love of sophisticated, difficult-to-play music. “I think we’re all really into the complexity of it, the wittiness of the music,” trumpeter Jensen explains. “Since we’re all kind of classically trained to begin with, there’s definitely a very intellectual aspect to it ... and the humor that’s involved. It’s really fun to mess with the line between playing music that’s right at the edge of our ability and being able to laugh at it at the same time. It keeps our musical intellect satisfied while we’re doing it.”

One Size Fits All: With a repertoire that spans 33 years and 87 albums, including posthumous releases, Zappa’s catalog presents a challenge his Just Another Band admirers enthusiastically embrace. “We try to do a good mix of kind of rare, B-side recordings and more mainstay stuff,” Jensen says. “We play a lot of mainstay stuff like ‘Peaches en Regalia’ ... and also stuff people haven’t heard as much of like ‘Sinister Footwear’ or ‘Big Swifty,’ tunes that pure Zappa fans will know but maybe not the average listener who’s only heard ‘Apostrophe’ or ‘Over-Nite Sensation.’ ”

Hear ’em: Just Another Band has yet to record any Zappa material for legal and copyright reasons. The group does post samples of its work on its Facebook page, however.

See ’em: Just Another Band From Detroit performs at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, on the Michigan Lottery Stage at the Motown Winter Blast in and around Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit. Admission is free. Call 313-963-8418 or visit www.winterblast.com.

Surf ’em: www.facebook.com/justanotherbandfromdetroit

Web Site: www.facebook.com/justanotherbandfromdetroit

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