News and musings from Seattle rock trio Mister Spring's lead singer and songwriter Steve Clarke.

"A cross between Buddy Holly and Frank Zappa"?

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I have never wanted to create music that sounded like anyone else. Doubt I could if I tried. So I'm puzzled by the consistent advice we're getting to figure out who Mister Spring sounds like.

Why are people telling us this? Actually it makes sense. To advertise on Facebook, for instance, one of the smartest things a band can do is advertise on the pages of similar bands where fans would be most likely to like you. Also, clubs want to pigeon hole you to some degree so they can figure out what other bands they should book you with.

Buddy Holly

Cover of Buddy Holly

I get all that. But who do we sound like? I don't know. Am way too close. So at our last show I asked the doorman and he said we were completely original. Great, I say, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. But it doesn't help. So I ask the sound guy. "The Belmonts," he says after thinking a second. "Like a new spin on the classic 50s and 60s sound."

Hmm... I used to play Dion & the Belmonts songs about a hundred years ago, I think to myself, but I couldn't name one of their songs now to save my life. Get home and fire them up on YouTube, and it all comes back to me: Runaround Sue, I Don't Know Why... Great songs and singing, which I'm happy and flattered to be associated with, but the Belmonts were basically a doo-wop band, which we clearly aren't. John and David sing great back-ups, but they don't structure them at all like a doo-wop group, at least to my ear.

Frank Zappa

Cover of Frank Zappa

But the comparison reminded me of a couple comments we got a few months back after we did a couple open mics. One person said we reminded him of Buddy Holly, and the other said Frank Zappa. The comparisons were so night-and-day that I wrote them off at the time, but now I'm remembering Zappa's Cruising With Reuben & the Jets album, and suddenly I don't know.

Which all is to say I feel like I'm still flailing in the dark here. For the time being I do like the idea of telling people we're a cross between Buddy Holly and Frank Zappa. It's such an unlikely pairing of originals -- both of whom I love -- that I can't help liking it. Even though I wonder if it's way off the mark, and comparing myself to either Frank or Buddy raises major pangs of "We're not worthy!"

What do you think? Help us out. Listen to our songs at and let us know. Do we remind you of anybody? If we end up using your idea we'll put you on the guest list of one of our upcoming shows.


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This page contains a single entry by Steve Clarke published on December 4, 2011 9:42 AM.

So how do we take the Occupy movement to the next level? was the previous entry in this blog.

Rock stars as spies? No really is the next entry in this blog.

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