Marshmallow Overcoat, LP “Beverly Pepper.” Skyclad and Get Hip Records .
By Joe Chemoux
The national success of Marshmallow Overcoat shows that Tucson bands do have a chance to gain the vinyl spotlight.
Their most recent release on Get Hip/Skyclad Records is “Beverly Pepper” and a Best of CD anthology, “1986-1990.” A new video clip is forthcoming, along with a compilation video containing many of the band’s award winning clips of concert footage.
The Overcoat consist of Tucsonans Timothy Gassen on vocals, Mark Panico on guitar, Scott Gassen on drums, Dan Magee on bass, and Debra Dickey on keyboards.
The group began in the summer of 1986, when vocalist “Randy Love“ assembled some friends to cut some 1960’s-inspired “garage demos.” A debut 45 was released when Love’s long-time friend, Lee Joseph, Dionysus Records’ president, heard the tapes. This started the group’s growing international reputation with their unique combination of fuzz guitar, swirling keyboards and a driving beat. Timothy, who uses “Randy Love“ as a stage name, contributes the bulk of original compositions. He also produces the Overcoat recordings. Dan Magee at DB Studios and Steve English at the Sound Factory engineered this recent release. Their music has been described as everything from “modern psychedelia” to “punk-pop” to “folk garage.”
The 1988 effort, “The Inner Groove,” gained praise and airplay across the globe, with heavy response in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, England and, of course, the United States. A year of furious writing and recording resulted in their second LP, “Try On The Marshmallow Overcoat.” In 1989, they released the EP “Alive.” Their success has been greater outside Tucson, though, as Timothy suggested during the release party for their second LP at Club Congress in March last year.
“You see, even though the band lives in Tucson, we understand that many folks here don’t know us,” he told party guests.” We’ve been focusing on the international and European market instead. We would like to raise local consciousness of the band.” They don’t have that problem now.
October 1990– Entertainment Magazine, page 7
Four years of hard work have accumulated dividends for the Marshmallow Overcoat. The Tucson-based five-piece band has amassed radio and video chart toppers, international touring success, critical acclaim, and a growing throng of underground fans. With the release of their third LP, “Beverly Pepper,” and a Best-of CD Anthology, “1986-90,” the Overcoat is striving to burst up from the underground and into wider acclaim.
Comparisons to Hoodoo Gurus, the Damned, The Doors, the Died Pretty, and the Smithereens are flattering, but don’t fully capture the essence of the Overcoat’s blend of raw rock and pop overtones. The Marshmallow Overcoat creates its own atmosphere– arid– and has matured its own identifiable style of delivery.
“Beverly Pepper” is the realization of the band’s maturity. It weaves a tapestry of emotional, outburst from the tender and the sonic, the epic and the personal; a starling combination considering today’s stoic atmosphere.
Likewise, the 22-song collection, “1986-1990,” chronicles the band from its first fuzz tone baby steps through its more elegant endeavors, unashamed of its wild range in subject and mood. Experimentation has long been the rule through the years of Marshmallow Overcoat studio and stage work. “1986-1990” captures the process from its inception.
The Marshmallow Overcoat will tour extensively in support of “Beverly Pepper.” New video clips will soon be completed, with a compilation video for home-release, containing many of the band’s award winning clips and concert footage.
Street Gypsy photo by Jaimie Aguirre , Entertainment Magazine, July 1990, page 5.
By Peggy Rose
As long as music is around groups will come and go as the struggle goes on for viable artistic expression. In one of the most unlikely places, I ran across an individual who is the member of a serious, dedicated rock band.
I was in one of the USA Mailbox stores and in the course of doing business our conversation, as it somehow always happens, got around to music. That’s when John John Neptune told me about the band he plays with and somewhat of the goals they are reaching.
What would be more natural then responding by telling John John that I am a writer for Entertainment Magazine and that I’m always looking for musicians and bands. John John responded enthusiastically and said, “I’m sure the guys would like it and I’m sure our manager Joey would like it also. I’ll have him call you.” I said, “great,” and that’s where we left it.
Joey Sorce of FABCO Enterprises did indeed get in touch with me and he set up a meeting at Summit Recording Studio where the band both records and rehearses. I spent the entire evening listening and talking to four very serious young men, serious about expressing their musical gifts yet having a lot of fun during the strenuous workout. The way I understand it, they neither drink nor smoke. According to Joey, “they save all the energy for their music.” Joey has carefully guided these young men by supervising their efforts and showing them to the public only on specially selected occasions. They are about ready to leave grade school for high school and with the effort and persistence they have got going for them to support their talent, college and graduate school is not that far away either.
Let’s meet them: Mark Bolen, percussion, vocals and the heart. Mark has been totally involved with this concept for at least 10 years. His musical talent ranges from the writing of lyrics and music, producing and engineering, and of course, the performance itself. He is primarily responsible for Street Gypsy’s new release “Crazy In The Night.” Mark writes simple and direct, but sometimes his youthful and penetrating insight about life is quite profound. His percussion experience and use of double bass kick beats to all forms of good music is an asset he has utilized well. I believe you will find him an unforgettable talent. Not hard to look at either if you can find him under all that gorgeous hair.
John John Neptune is on bass, vocals. John John is the newest member of the band. He came along at a time when they needed not just a good musician, but total dedication to the concept and enough flexibility to be considerate of all ideas and talent without feeling threatened.
There you have it– four musically, well-balanced, musicians, from what I see and hear personally. If true, that will carry them a long, long way through the prickly maze of fame, fortune and success. Street Gypsy is fortunate to have such an astute and caring manager in Joey Sorce and FABCO Enterprises is to be credited for seeing the potential and helping to develop it. One day I am sure there will be a big payoff for everyone. Meanwhile the satisfaction derived from the music itself, the creating and the performing of it is enough.
Street Gypsy delivers a high qualify rock ‘n’ roll show. Their selected appearances in Tucson have been well received by the club owners and the public. Their next Tucson appearance is at The Lucky Dollar, July 19, 20, and 21st (1990).
Return to Volume 3 Index.
Purchase on Amazon: Entertaining Tucson Volume 3: 1990s is available on Amazon.com at a discount.
To purchase locally, in Tucson, at Club Congress, Mostly Books, and Summit Hut locations.
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