2/20/2012 8:03:00 AM Damokleez to rock Spirit Room this weekend
Clockwise from top left - Kevin VannLipe, Todd Wiley, Bogart Whitcher, P$ychobunny, and Steve Warren
In 2004, lead singer Bogart Whitcher found himself wanting to put together a band and in chatting it up with a fellow musician, he said, "Sometimes I feel that putting a band together is like having the sword of Damocles hanging over my head."
In a flash of inspiration combined with a slight spelling change, the name of the band was decided. The first time that Damokleez went out to play, it was magic and mayhem. A packed house caught what was then the Highway Cafe completely off guard and short of bartenders. There were traffic problems from lack of parking as cell phones came out and people called their friends telling them that they just had to come right now and hear this band.
Then after that tremendous first show, the band promptly exploded and disbanded.
Flash forward to spring of 2011 and Damokleez is back together with original members Bogart Whitcher as front man and accomplished bass player Steve Warren.
"The energy and the songs are a blast", Steve says. "But for me, none of that would do it if it didn't come with the camaraderie and respect that we share with one another in this band. I am truly blessed!"
Long time rock 'n' roll warrior Rich "P$ychobunny" Biggs is a raging landslide on the drum kit. P$ychobunny says, "I've had my 15 minutes of fame. I've been signed with Capitol Records, I have toured Europe. Now it is all about having fun in doing what I do." Guitarist Todd Wiley has a lead style favoring left-hand-dominant scalar runs, with an emphasis on legato hammers and pulls. Combined with SPEED, it certainly grabs audience attention. Finally, guitarist Kevin VannLipe is the most recent member to join the group. Kevin brings a lot to the table with his great technical skills on the guitar and keyboard capabilities.
Lead singer Bogart says, "When we first started going out and playing last year, we did a number of Led Zeppelin songs. Simply because we could and almost no other bands in the area were touching them.
"So a few people wanted to immediately think we were a Zeppelin cover band although we never limited ourselves to just that. Then we were doing Aerosmith and adding Billy Squire to the mix. And everyone was scratching their heads trying to put a label on us. I don't care what label they want to give us, I just want them to come away from our shows thinking WOW!"
It's hard to put a label on a band that will perform ACDC and then switch to a song by Neil Diamond that has been transformed by Damokleez's own hard rocking spin.
Avid fan Morgan Hatch tries never to miss a show. Morgan says, "The first time I heard them do 'Sweet Caroline' I was just shocked. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was crazy and people were going nuts."
And it is not just cover that Damokleez is performing. With catchy originals like "Mr Charming" and "Who Are You?" that have their followers never missing a beat on the dance floor, the band now has their fans wondering what will be next?
Indeed, the addition of Damokleez's newest guitar player brings a fifth strong singing voice to the group, not to mention the rich, fat sound of having two lead guitars.
What will be next is a very good question. Damokleez will be playing at the Spirit Room in Jerome on Feb. 25 at 2-6 p.m. More information can be found on their website at Damokleez.com.
As P$ychobunny says, "Welcome to the rock 'n' roll circus."