Archive for Thursday, January 30, 1992

IDLEWILDS BRING ROCK, COUNTRY SOUND TO LAWRENCE

January 30, 1992

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In case Trip Shakespeare and the Replacements weren't enough music out of Minneapolis, here come the Idlewilds.

The four-person ensemble with it's own 33 rpm disc blows in from the snow-covered north tonight at the Jazzhaus, 926 Mass. The band includes Deb Finstad on guitar and vocals, Rodney Toogood on bass, Brian Swanson on guitar and vocals, Michelle Finstad on vocals and John Gwin on drums.

"The whole band has been around for 4 years,'' Swanson said in a recent telephone interview from Minneapolis. "It started out as a three-piece band with Rodney, Michelle on drums and Me. Then we expanded it to four pieces with Deb on the guitar. But after we played a couple of years, we decided we wanted Michelle up front.

"A lot of people would see the band and they couldn't figure out where her voice was coming from because she was singing from the drum set. So we brought her out front and got a new drummer.''

UP FRONT, Finstad lends the Idlewilds a lot of energy, Swanson said. The group came out of the student scene at Mankato State University in the southern part of Minnesota, and all but Gwin are from up north. During the course of their career they've jammed with members of the Replacements and have basically fit into the alternative Minneapolis scene.

"I would describe it as pretty clearly rock 'n' roll, but we bring other influences into it,'' Gwin said. "We also throw in some country, because some of us grew up listening to country music and were around country bands.''

"We've got a lot of country,'' Swanson said. "But in our college years we listend to a lot of REM and things like that. Thanks to REM we realized you really didn't need to be virtuosos to be playing.''

ALTHOUGH Swanson said he thinks the band is a lot better now, The Idlewilds spent a lot of time in development. But rock 'n' roll was something Swanson said he always wanted to do, and he went out in pursuit of his dream.

"I think when we started, before we put it together, I was pretty bad at it,'' he said. "In college it was like having fun and people were forming bands. I was a singer with a band, and then the guitar player dropped out, so I started playing the guitar. I was forced to take it up.''

The band's name has something to do with Idlewild Airport, the original name of what is now Kennedy International Airport in New York City. But there are other associations as well.

"I think we knew that that was the old name of Kennedy, but there was also an Allman song called "Idlewild South,'' and Debbie and Michelle used to listen to the Allman brothers.''

THE IDLEWILDS are making their first trip to Lawrence tonight on a swing that takes them through St. Louis. Before, they stuck mainly to college-oriented venues in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

"Minneapolis is a pretty good town for bands, but for the long haul we better get out on the road,'' he said. "You can only play so long in one place. Minneapolis eventually gets tired of you.''

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