Las Vegas musicians show love for defunct local acts

Jake and Elwood knew what’s up.

Three decades ago, the Blues Brothers sagely articulated the value of putting the band back together.

Now it’s time for Spun in Darkness to follow suit.

And the Sparkler Dims.

And Jupiter Shifter.

Those are but a few of the defunct Vegas bands we’d most like to see get back in action.

But what about local musicians themselves? What’s the one band they’d most want to reunite?

We reached out to a few of them to get their thoughts:

Jeff Murphy, The Bitters guitarist

“As an impressionable teenager in the ’80s, I lived and breathed metal — before it became an advertisement for hair care products — so if I could only choose a single band, they would be metal. They would have to have a shredding guitarist, perhaps a poor fashion sense, and the willingness to blatantly offend everyone without mercy — a band you could never explain your love of to your mother.

“That band would be A.I.F.F.H.

“For those who are unfamiliar, A.I.F.F.H. released only a single cassette demo (“The Movie”), and only ever played a handful of shows. If you know anyone who’s heard them, you may have experienced hyperbolic praise, or gotten the (what’s that smell?) face.

“There is no middle ground here.

“I’m not sure the band members would even want to be identified at this point in their musical careers, but their six-song demo (which I think was recorded on a four-track, but sounds like 24) remains, hands down, the best metal to ever come out of Vegas. Fight me.”

Brian Garth, Black Camaro singer-guitarist

“Oh, easy, The Skooners. One of the few Las Vegas bands I actually enjoyed watching perform, and one of the few bands who could get me out to a show I wasn’t already a part of. The Dewane brothers had something magical there, but somewhere along the way, someone told them they had to grow up and get serious. They transformed into the pop-folk outfit Rusty Maples, proving that no matter who you are, corporate rock drains the fun from your soul.”

David Rosen, composer, MC

“With all the Las Vegas bands I checked out while putting together those local music compilation CDs I made back in the early 2000s, there’s only a few I still listen to on a regular basis.

“Red Light School District is definitely at the top of the list.

“Combining members of probably my second choice for this discussion, Jr. Anti-Sex League, with Ian Shane Tyler’s amazing pop songwriting, it’s so easy to love.

“Those songs he wrote never get old.

“It also helps that I spent a night getting lost in New York City with them when I almost got them signed to Sony Music shortly before they disbanded. They put on such great shows, though, and it would be amazing to see them live again.”

Jules Manning, We Are Pancakes bassist

“One band in Vegas that I’d like to see reunite is one that has had a huge influence on me as a musician and how I perform in general: Rooftop Ridicule.

“These guys were masters of their craft from performance to songwriting, captivating audiences with a variety of genres, playing everything from experimental rock, grunge and psychedelic rock. In songs like ‘Familiar,’ ‘Woz’ (Joseph Wozniak) would turn a Game Boy into an actual drum machine to set the beat for the song. Also, who could forget the hauntingly distinct grungy vocals of Brett Bandriwsky in ‘Blue Beta’?

“These guys have seen a few reincarnations in Vegas throughout the years, but officially called it quits in about 2014, releasing one last live EP. But that doesn’t mean the world, and myself, couldn’t handle another reunion.

“Understandably, though, the band has moved on to bigger and better things with AJ Gerst going on to play bass for downtown Las Vegas mainstay Strange Mistress and Woz and Brett going on to work on other projects throughout the years as well. From the Aruba Hotel to Backstage Bar & Billiards, seeing Rooftop Ridicule in their prime was always — and still could be — a mind-blowing experience.”

Rob Bell, The Psyatics, The Unwieldies, Gentlemen of Four Outs bassist-singer

“Since (LVHC punk rock reunion organizer) Danny Breeden has been doing a damn fine job bringing back local ’80s punk bands from my high school years, I’m going to go early ’90s with one of my faves: Scrubs. Ray, Kug and Gary (Scrubby, RIP) seamlessly blended hard rock, punk and jazz into tight songs like ‘Smokers Delight’ and ‘Harmon Ho.’ Equal parts rocking and inspirational, these guys still find rotation at my house 25 years on.”

Brett Vee, singer-songwriter

“The first time I saw Organic I was 15 years old. I think they had already been a band for nine years by that point. They always seemed to me more like an institution than a long-running Vegas band. While their peers indulged in the modern flair of whatever was going on at the time, Organic tapped into something else. It wasn’t for everyone — sometimes it was only for 30 people packed into a Henderson living room — but it spread beyond this place throughout the country and, to some extent, even the world, if you were paying attention to it.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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