Men About Town are familiar faces
by Joe Cannariato
For those Yipes! fans who rocked mournfully to the band's farewell performances at the Palms last June there's good news and bad news.
First the good news. The former core of Yipes!, lead singer Pat McCurdy, bassist Peter Strand and guitarist Mike Hoffmann, has combined anew as Pat McCurdy and the Men About Town. They are joined by former Wigs member Bob Pachner on keyboards and Rich Cook on drums.
Now the bad news. Don't expect the power pop sound that was Yipes! trademark. In fact, don't expect Yipes!.
"The people who are going to come see us or are planning to come see us must remember, this isn't Yipes!," McCurdy said. "We still have that crazy, fun attitude of Yipes!, but the music is more sophisticated. It's classier.
"Yipes! taught us the ropes, the things to avoid this time around. It was a great school of hard knocks. We know what can happen to you from the worst possible to the best."
McCurdy admitted, "I was sick of being an 'East Side Kid' or a 'Good Boy.'"
McCurdy said the musical limitations of the two guitar power pop sound ultimately led to the demise of Yipes!. With the Men About Town, spurred by the added dimension keyboards provide, McCurdy combines rock, jazz, jive, reggae and soul.
McCurdy cited Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Squeeze as recent influences and Elvis Presley, Motown artists and British invasion music as historical influences.
"It's an amalgamation of everything that's ever interested me musically in a show atmosphere," he added. "It's not just a rock band playing songs, we've made a show out of it."
McCurdy was especially influenced by the Broadway shows he attended while Yipes! was performing in New York. "That's the classiest form of entertainment there is."
The Men about will [be] similar to a soul revue, featuring short musical interludes between songs. The interludes will be based on specific musical themes, each used for about a month.
"If you have sensitive ears and you're familiar with the piece of music you'll hear bits of it throughout the night," McCurdy explained.
Pssst. Can you keep a secret? "Rhapsody In Blue" will be the band's first theme.
The spontaneous fun that was often the best part of a Yipes! performance will not be lost by McCurdy and the Men About Town.
"The fun element is still there. We want everybody to have as much fun for their dollar as they can."
McCurdy would like to see the Men About Town surpass the success of Yipes!.
"Everybody's goal is to have the man with the big cigar and the nice suit sign them up and say 'here's you advance.' That's our goal, to be able to make records on a national scale again.
Why, then, was the concept of the Men About Town developed when Yipes! was at its peak?
"I saw what a real success was when we were touring as part of our record contract. The bands we would open for had it. We were successful but there's that next plateau and then the next one with each one harder to attain. Yipes! could only take us so far."
Pat McCurdy and the Men About Town will be making their debut in a big way.
At 9:30 p.m. Jan. 22, in the Presidential room of the Eagles Club, the band will make their first public appearance at the "premiere rock event of the new year," co-sponsored by WLPX and Dr. Pepper. The Men About Town are the first band Dr. Pepper has chosen to sponsor in an event of this sort. Tickets are $2.97 in advance at the Eagles Club.
McCurdy perceives a slightly different future for the Men About Town after the debut.