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Skinny Alley

By Bruce Lee Mani of Thermal and a Quarter

Rolling Stone IN Mar 10, 2010

How many of us challenge our audiences? As performers – or to use a more grandiose term, ”˜artists’ – more often than not, we play it safe. We play the hits. We’re nice guys. Even if we’re metchul, we growl our thank-yous and tell the crowds we love ’em. It’s hard to find ”˜artists’ that are unafraid to walk that line, unafraid to challenge listeners, to perplex, even confound them; and in the end leave them with a feeling that they can’t easily be indifferent about. In my mind, that’s the line that Skinny Alley walk. It takes a lot of commitment, passion, and (as I think Sting put it), a lot of sheer bloody-mindedness to do that, and that’s my take-away. That’s what inspires me. That’s what makes me want to go deeper into finding that unique voice, and pursue it, no matter what.

Apart from performing with them side-by-side, guesting on each other’s material and other musical adventures, I’ve had the pleasure of spending quality time with them. As people, they’re amongst the most balanced, positive, warm and welcoming folks I’ve met in the music fraternity. With a lot of the music crowd ”“ and this includes us, you, me, whatever ”“ there’s always this competitive angle. It’s a good thing, at some level, but when it devolves to the usual bitching, it’s a pain. Sure, it’s a factor of the ”˜scene’ we’re all in, and how small the pie is, etc etc. But these guys transcend that. And that attitude, I think, is something that would do well to percolate into the selfsame ”˜scene’. We’re all in this together, we’re all doing our best.

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This is a bunch of musicians I’ll always look up to. Sure, we’d all do that just because they’re so much our seniors in the ”˜industry’, so to speak, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. Watch their gigs. Buy their music. And if you’re lucky enough, hang out with them. To use a line from that motorcycle manufacturer: if you have to ask, after that, you don’t need to know.

By Bruce Lee Mani of Thermal and a Quarter


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