First it was the Beatles, until the best musicians in that band died. Then it was the Ramones, until the Reaper wiped them out, too. Now the biggest musical reunion imaginable (at least here in Miami) has arrived. Thirteen years after its demise, Natural Causes the beloved roots rock supergroup will reunite for one show.
The Causes left as legacy only a few albums' worth of recorded material, along with the sweet memories of countless live shows, witnessed by their often awestruck fan base. Musically the Causes had nothing but a rock and roll heart in common with their more famous brethren. Essentially the Causes were a jam band, although that's a woefully inadequate description of the group, which could do anything musically.
It was quite a combination. The frontman was Arlan Feiles, a profoundly gifted songwriter possessed of a technically superior but also interesting voice (the way the voices of Springsteen and Dylan are interesting) and a way of banging minor-chord-major-lift hallelujahs out of his treated electric piano. ("I removed the keys I don't use," Feiles once explained about his favorite keyboard.) At his side were five especially skilled players. Guitar god Joel Schantz met Arlan at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where they formed a band with the goofy moniker E-Z Walkers. (Schantz enticed Feiles to Miami with a promise of "lots of gigs" back then such a promise could be kept.) Guitar god Sean Edelson, whose fluidity was a perfect fit with Schantz's stinging innovations. A pounding but resonant rhythm section bassist Matt Coogan and drummer Jim Wall culled from the well-regarded reggae band Ragamuffin Soldier. And Karen F. (Feldner, née Friedman), who provided additional vocals and keyboards and percussion.
Natural Causes perform Friday, May 11, at 10:00 p.m. at The Office, 2701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Visit www.myspace.com/naturalcausesrock.
Also important to the group's quick-flame success was devoted manager Keith Schantz, Joel's cousin. It's in honor of Keith and his wife Ginger who are leaving Miami for Gainesville that members of the band are reuniting after more than a dozen years in separate orbits. All have had plenty of post-Causes success, but in this flashback gig, the focus will be on prescient lyrics such as "Pledge allegiance to no flag/ That can't put an end to this." Tune in for some timeless music.
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