By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Good Rockin' Johnny's first gig, June 29 at Shucker's, was peppered with musicians eager to see and hear the all-star line-up, like gunslingers checking out the fastest draw in the West. Wenzel, Friedman, and company went for the jugular immediately, playing with a fiery two-guitar vengeance. Word spread quickly of the band's prowess, the only reservation being their lack of a strong, polished vocalist. "None of us has ever really had a chance to grow in the role of singer, since we're already pretty well-known for our other instruments," explains Wenzel.
As fate would have it, Linda Lou Nelson was trying to help the newly bandless Lynne Noble find a backing group for a gig at Nelson's South Beach nightspot, the Cactus Cantina. "Linda Lou set it up with the Wiseguys," says Noble. "We were going to do it for just the one gig, but then the more we thought about it and talked about it, we realized it might be the best thing for everyone to try to make it a regular thing right from the start."
"Yeah," agrees Wenzel. "We kind of realized it was gonna be either an ongoing thing or not at all. Imagine if some club owner or somebody caught us at the Cantina, and then we show up to play a gig without Lynne. He's going to want to know what happened to the singer."
Noble, whose background includes stints as a singing, roller-skating hostess at a now-defunct club called Sassafras in the Mayfair alongside warbling waitress Wendy Pedersen (currently with Big Art, another R&B band founded by a Fat Chance alumnus, Bob "Harmonica Hero" Hemphill) as well as belting out Kathy Gibson originals for local rockers Blizzy Nation, is thrilled to be out front with a band as talented as the Wiseguys.
"I'm safe!" she gushes. "I don't have to worry about a thing with them. They make it easy for me. I love the opportunity to do a mixture of rock and blues, and the guys have been real accommodating toward my originals. And the best part is, we've only been together a few weeks. I can't wait to hear how we're gonna sound six or eight months from now. The only way they're gonna get me out of this band is to bury me.