ARTICLES & FEATURES
band nabs The Police"
Assistant Entertainment Editor
March 24, 2004
at La Salles was ready to hear the sounds of one of Chico's
most popular party bands and a tribute band from one of the
most popular bands of the '80s on Friday.
the ultimate tribute to The Police, hailed from the Bay Area
with Chico being just one stop on the band's journey to conquer
Northern California. Buffalo Creek took a break from touring
the West and recording its new album to play some of the crowd's
old favorites and try out some new material.
over the stage after Buffalo Creek's set and did a tedious sound
check before jumping off the stage to put on their Police jumpsuits.
The suits were complete with a portrait of The Police on a large
patch sewn on to the backs, while lead singer Bee also had his
hair spiked in a very Sting-like manner.
was set with Christmas lights on the microphone stands and a
blue police light. However, it was the stuffed bee on the drum
kit -- affectionately named Lil' Bee -- that brought the ensemble
trio then happily decided to take the crowd back to the '80s
and perform the reggae-tinged pop-rock that made The Police
so popular nearly 20 years ago.
of syllables embodied Sting's to the point where the crowd had
to do a double take.
been doing this (imitating Sting of the Police) since I was
9," Bee said. "And I'm always afraid that I don't
sound as good as I do in my head. Luckily, most people say that
bounced into a portrayal of "Don't Stand So Close to Me"
that had the audience dancing and singing, even though they
didn't all know who the band was. After a while, the crowd realized
that Stung was a cover band and they were soon shouting out
their requests. Most of the crowd was panting for "Roxanne"
but the band held out while they, in Bee's words, "brought
old gems to a new generation."
Stung, for the most part, stayed very true to the original versions
of the songs, the band periodically slipped into more personalized
renditions. The drums became harder and the guitar became faster
as the band went into a trance-like state.
"Nothing is as passionate as unrequited love," Bee
said as the band dove into "Every Little Thing She Does
By the end
of the set, Stung gave in to the crowd's requests and played
a song that was about "the trials and tribulations of falling
in love with a whore."
rendition of "Roxanne" invigorated the crowd and got
them ready for yet another twist in Stung's rendition of The
Lonely" had more of a reggae influence than the original
version and ended with Bee and the crowd singing "No woman,
no cry" to each other.
show, the band was greeted by newly won fans, who showed their
appreciation for the cover band with handshakes and hugs.
been together now for 2 years," Bee said of his bandmates,
who all share their love for being children of the '80s.
band members have never seen The Police perform live, they did
have the opportunity to sit in on a few songs with some of the
former members at a birthday party.
Stung's third trip to Chico, and the band members were excited
about getting their image known in California. Stung hopes to
someday play the clubs of Los Angeles and New York. But for
now, the band gets to entertain the idea of performing in the
Netherlands, where it has an offer to play.
Lum can be reached at email@example.com
Be Watching You: Nostalgic Crowds Just Can’t Get Enough of ‘80s
By Jia H. Jung
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Last Saturday found Brooks "Bee" Lundy, Eric Swihart, and a
mystery companion across the street from Bimbo's 365 Club of
the North Beach district on the cusp of 9 p.m. The trio chatted
coolly with one another while observing the slew of gussied
latecomers realize with ugly gapes that tickets were sold out
before getting in some last draws of nicotine and mild alcohol
before they hit the stage for their show with '80s cover band
so coolly-under the silences that stood between the sparse exchanges
of verbal communication, a charged field of anticipation could
be felt warming up, despite the nippy San Francisco air.
to rock it," Bee declared. He remarked that a sold-out show
promised a paycheck totaling the gross of a meager 12 tickets
for his band Stung, but seemed amply consoled by the exposure
they had already gained from delighting hundreds of people here
the night before. Despite the group's humble mumblings about
the small-spread acknowledgment of their art, the moments that
followed provide good indication of a fan base that is growing,
united in their love of a time that should have never passed.
See, Cal graduate Bee (as in Sting, you savvy?) is the lead
singer of a tribute band for The Police. Along with bassist
Swihart and drummer John Messier, he resurrects the sound of
decades past for benefits, private parties, and big little venues
crowding the hotspots of California.
Not on your life. The events that unfurled over the next few
hours certifiably proved Stung to be more than a duplication
of the subject of their homage, and demanded newfound respect
for what it means to carry on the legacy of another in every
last living, breathing detail.
and Swihart took their posts at the head of the cavernous, velvety
venue. Already, blue fog swirled about enigmatically, and diffused
Bee's suddenly hoarse, lilting, and distinctly English voice
into the audience as he embarked upon "Don't Stand So Close
to Me," and closed with the iconic wail, "I want my MTV…"
prom met gala, and girls who were beautiful in that '80s sort
of way spun like circles of electric mist in their teal pumps
and ruched black dresses complimented by giant orbs of faux
pearls. Men in cotton cabled sweaters sipped Bay Breezes from
behind their standing collars and sang along, exposing bleached
teeth against salon tans. The fever of nostalgia was contagious-those
who remained sitting down did so with a self-imposed air of
a too-cool reject of institutionalized society or a daddy's
girl resting her feet.
place had earnestly gone back in time, and what set the occasion
apart from mere pastiche was the musical accuracy of the band.
Each note was sung in proper timbre, duration, and emphasis.
Key riffs warped and echoed with prismatic symmetry to the original
compositions, and the humid pauses of "King of Pain" which are
easily shirked by imposters were thankfully dealt due respect.
Once, before bounding into the chorus for "Every Little Thing
She Does Is Magic," Bee left the audience singing alone.
We got you, San Francisco," he shouted victoriously, before
continuing. As had been predicted from the reaction the night
before, the crowd remained stomping and cheering at the conclusion
of the set, at which point Stung reappeared right away and obliged
all with "Synchronicity II."
half of the night, in juxtaposition to the first, was a testament
to the cleft between New Wave and meathead rock that was a very
real thing during the penultimate decade of the 20th century.
Appearing more No Doubt than Tom Petty or Rick Springfield,
Tainted Love nevertheless managed to pound out startlingly authentic
representations of just about every rockin' track ever heard
on a gym addict's mix tape.
singer John Tea Love pranced about in a sweatband and muscle
tee, embracing the crowd for killer photo opportunities without
missing a beat. The pig-tailed Brett alternated between impersonations
of Axl Rose, Joan Jett and Steven Perry. Loaded with a leather-panted
bassist who received throughout a considerable amount of harassment
from a testosterone-infested drunkard with good intentions,
a bangin' keyboardist, and two additional guitarists who doubled
as vocalists, the crew brought aerobicized insanity to the helm.
they play? A "Holiday," "Angel in the Centerfold" and "Any Way
You Want It" later, it was well past midnight, with no one backing
down. And that's the way they left us, reeling and unwilling
to change-the same way that the '80s left us when the clock
struck 12 so long ago.
the information age is more than a space-dream now. Both Stung
(www.stunglive.com) and Tainted Love (www.taintedlove.com) can
be touched online - if you reach out.
The Daily Californian
Black and White Benefit-Truly a Ball - The Bay Area's Largest
Charity Event Lives up to its Name"
By Jia H. Jung
Friday, June 6th, 2003
It all came
down to this last night of May. Socialite-in-training Dominic
Bocci, and I toddled giddily to the press room in all our black
and white glory. There, we were tagged with green wristbands,
and suddenly, we had all-access to the Black and White Ball,
long-awaited biennial extravaganza for the benefit of the San
streets of the Civic Center area revealed the granite and marble
sheen of the stately buildings that are usually hidden by the
daily commute. Music flowed from every edificial orifice. The
attendees, in get-ups that ranged from classy to trashy (I mean,
quirky), scurried from here to there, scrambling to catch as
many of the 22 scheduled musical performances as possible, while
tasting as much food and spirit being offered by 90 restaurants
of the East Bay.
Everyone will present a different account of the grand occasion
that heretofore ensued, but all will agree that the ball was
absolutely outrageous. The gala embodied decadence without presumption-gorgeous
socialites and shuffling press personnel alike strode through
the larger-than-life, Gothamesque hallways created by the roads,
which were empty, save immaculate Mercedes, which shuttled the
lazy, the intoxicated, and the silly from block to block.
For my date
and I, the decadence began in the press room, which was laden
with skewers of chicken dipped in peanut sauce, a torturous
multiplicity of gourmet pizzas, pita chips next to five different
dips, and a whole lot of the bubbly. Even while reveling in
this secret bastion for gluttons, however, we were not to be
denied from our real mission, which was to truly experience
the event itself. Of course, this entailed the viewing of the
San Francisco Symphony, which played waltz music from atop a
high stairway in City Hall, as the true lovers of music danced
in circles and praised the performers with raised arms. Conductor
Michael Tilson Thomas responded to the warm crowd by turning
around now and then with eyebrows raised, as if to incite the
audience to join the fray.
yet hardly so, we moved on to see The Emotions at Davies Symphony
Hall. The trio sang bewitchingly, but when it seemed like they
had either already played, or were not going to play "Best of
My Love," it was time to cut our losses
and catch Stung, the cover band of The Police.
Bee Lundy, whom I had interviewed just days beforehand, was
belting out "Every Breath You Take" in the courtyard of The
State of California Building. Dancers swayed, eyes closed in
nostalgic passion. As the set wrapped up, I scurried to the
stage. Squeezing through all the other people clamoring for
his attention, I greeted him. With a grin, he took my hand and
kissed it. It was as if Sting himself had laid his lips on my
skin. I was starstruck.
point, I was also three sheets to the wind. Indeed, the refined
occasion allowed an excess of alcoholic pleasures along with
everything else-Amstel Light representatives were distributing
personal blood alcohol content testers. "Why should I take this,
when I know I'll fail?" Chuckled a silver-haired man in a tuxedo,
thereby voicing everyone's thoughts. Despite the unanimous carousing
spirit, though, most people were generally well behaved. As
the hours ran away from us, it became evident that the college-student's
tendency to slug down chocolate martinis lest they disappear
is what distinguished us from the generally older crowd.
up at The Civic Center Plaza tent, triple-fisting honey roasted
ham, high-scale Mexican treats, and French pastries. Suddenly,
Berlin was playing "On the Metro," God I love that song even
if I was probably an infant when they first came out with it
and "I Love Rock and Roll," holy mackerel, it's Joan Jett, wait,
her hair's not black, it's blonde, that's not her, yes it is,
and everyone's twirling and dancing I can't feel my body but
every muscle aches ...
was over, and the revelers dispersed to their separate realities.
Leaving, I willed myself to have had ten bodies, twenty stomachs,
and thirty livers, but when I woke up the next morning, I realized
that I had had the time of my life with the one of each in my
possession. Immortalized in my mind is the image of that beautiful,
beautiful symphony orchestra, bathed in rosy light, perched
on high as if reaching for the firmament with their notes, calling
back from the depths of my forgetful soul my utter love for
music. And that is what it was really all about.
"Bee Lundy Floats Like a Butterfly,
Sings Like Sting"
By Jia H. Jung
Friday, May 30, 2003
In a giddy
stroke of luck, I also had the opportunity to speak with the
guitarist and lead singer of Stung,
an up-and-coming band hailing from the East Bay, which will
perform in one of the earliest shows responsible for kicking
off the entire event.
to go see one of our local heroes," he began, smiling from his
comfortable seat in a cool Chinese restaurant on a sweltering
afternoon. This said hero was Stewart Copeland, drummer of The
Police. Watching him in the Greek Theatre, Lundy underwent a
transformation for which the Police-loving world may be forever
grateful, for the Copeland fascination fueled enough energy
within Lundy, drummer John Messier, and bassist Eric Swihart
to inspire them to devote their fiercest musical dedication
to the revival of one of the most heralded bands of all time.
after Christmas in 2001, only months after their inspiration,
Stung's members played for Wicked Wednesday, an AIDS Benefit
in San Francisco. The rest is history.
Stung owes its name to Sting, the frontman of The Police, and
represents a rising phenomenon in the musical world -the tribute
band. Lundy himself now goes by the name "Bee," and has already
been dubbed a "dead ringer" for Sting by a growing fanbase.
He and the other two members of the "power trio" recreate eerily
authentic tracks through painstaking studies of B-sides, live
shows, and other rare recordings of The Police.
frequently in joints across the Bay Area, and, unsurprisingly,
get recruited for weddings, birthdays, and other events demanding
quality music of the most specific sort. Here, we may mention
that Bee's status as a native of the area reaches back to when
he attended UC Berkeley as a student of the class of '96. His
major was English, his minor Education. As seems apropos to
the classic Berkeley experience, the best experiences of his
college career did not necessarily occur in a lecture hall,
or even during a riot on Sproul Plaza.
with a 3.33 GPA and a CD," he said. Indeed, and with a wife
to boot. "She was the manager of the ASUC bookstore, and I was
a temp, working to buy a new guitar," he reminisced shyly. During
the "courting stage," she, under 21, would sneak into Blake's
to support his then-band, and sit in the dank dark for hours
praying that she wouldn't be caught. Now that's love. Subsequently,
the couple got married at the Faculty Club.
bitter students who have quite different accounts about Berkeley
life shouldn't scorn Bee for his unbelievable luck, because
he's the kind of guy who looks comfortably familiar, treats
his interviewers to potstickers and eggrolls, conducts easy
conversation, and just deserves whatever good things are in
store for him in his life.
dutifully directed what could be a self-absorbed personal pursuit
into a commitment to his favorite community, both on and off
the stage. When he's not sending an S.O.S. to world-Berkeley
and the surrounding area, that is-Bee busies himself by informing
the teachers of America about how to optimize the use of technology
in the classroom. When he is impersonating the deity of '80s
rock, he gives his (certifiably incredible) CDs away as promotions,
and prefers to play for benefits. In this selfless tradition,
Stung plans to rock out with all they've got tomorrow night
at the biennial Black and White Ball.
his spacesuit adorned with authentic Police decals, I asked
if he would be sporting similar attire at the ball. Affirmative.
But, he made sure to qualify this affirmation: "There's varying
degrees of obsession to this tribute phenomenon that exists
… we're right in the middle." In other words, they "don't really
do the lookalike thing." Oh, well, judging by the band's on-the-mark
Police reproductions, there's no doubt that Stung gets the job
done, with or without the image.
I had to ask if The Police was his favorite band-I mean, just
how much does he love this band, anyway? With a deep breath,
he hesitated, as a true lover of music is wont to do: "The favorite
band is always such a tricky question, because you develop a
taste for several genre."
let's just say that he played "Beth," Kiss's "syrupy ballad,"
in the first grade, when he first learned to deal with stagefright,
and that AC/DC was one of his "first love[s] of rock 'n' roll."
He also performed "Message In A Bottle" for his eighth grade
graduation ... solo.
his band grows and his dreams expand, Bee keeps a level head,
and left me with the earnest words: "Support your local bands."
Since we are surrounded by venues such as Pyramid Brewery and
Blake's, it should be easy to follow his kindly advice. So if
you can't make it to the ball, you can catch the band's future
tour dates at www.stunglive.com.
San Francisco Bay Guardian
By Lynn Rapoport
March 18, 2003
BAD now. We should all be painting the town red with antiwar
graffiti, defacing monuments to capitalism, and engaging in
nonviolent acts of civil disobedience instead of going to shows.
But it still seems worth pointing out that if the world were
ruled by obsessed rock fans rather than people who want to kill
and maim one another, this would probably be a happier, if not
necessarily saner, place. Unless there were Hell's Angels on
thinking about this since Noise Pop, an event that brings the
number-one fans out of the woodwork. They're all around us,
the number ones, and they're usually hard to miss. Sometimes
they're just wearing the T-shirt, mouthing the words, and recording
the show on a cassette player. Other times they're also hanging
out at the edge of the stage, gigantically tall, and connecting
with the set in a way that no one around them would ever have
thought of - flashing the sign of the devil during a Smog show,
for instance, and vigorously jumping up and down to the slowest
song on a set list of fairly downtempo numbers. Or twirling.
Or taking their shirt off to display tattooed iconography from
the band's first single. Or calling out, "Pretty kitty!" during
a Cat Power show while everyone else thinks about how they should
have stayed home and listened to The Covers Album.
to be a fan, let alone a number-one fan, when all around you
people are following their baser instincts. And audience members
continue to make depressingly bad choices (like the shushers
and the retaliatory faux-shushers at a recent Smog show). But
fandom has made me happier, if not necessarily saner, recently.
There was the moment at the Mountain Goats show when John Darnielle
started taking requests, and Bottom of the Hill sounded like
a stadium full of WWF attendees compacted into a space the size
of my apartment - because all Mountain Goats fans are number-one
fans. And there was the e-mail from a
local Police tribute group called Stung, without whom I might
never have known that my favorite band of all time, the band
I fell for before I even knew about the FM dial, was going to
be inducted March 10 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
would play together that night for the first time in 18 years.
me feel old. The Police's Synchronicity tour was the last concert
my parents refused to let me attend. After that I was old enough,
meaning I've been old enough for 18 years now - much good it's
done me. The band broke up soon after that tour, possibly reasoning
that they'd made their crappest album yet and should quit while
they still had stadiums full of screaming fans. I held it against
my parents for a long time, but I'm ready to forgive them.
other hand, I will never forgive the producers of the Hall of
Fame event, which screened on VH1 last Sunday, for allowing
Gwen Stefani to do the induction honors for the Police. Gloating,
she related how, during that same tour - while I was sulking
in my bedroom, soaking my pillow over Sting's heartbreaking
beauty, staring at the poster of him and Stewart and Andy I'd
recently received at my first boy-girl birthday party - she
was somewhere backstage getting an autograph from the man whose
name I'd inked into every pair of jeans, every notebook, since
the summer after sixth grade. When Stefani returned to the stage
with Steven Tyler during the band's spiritless rendition of
"Every Breath You Take," I had to leave the room.
real number-one fan have left? Would a real number-one fan be
complaining? Who knows. If I had even a scrap of a clue of what
it took to be that person, I would have started my own Police
tribute band long ago, or at least launched a fan-club chapter.
their stalker hits; Andy Summers said God was at every rock
ceremony; it was fun to watch Copeland break a drum skin; and
Sting didn't talk about how he can fuck for eight hours straight
- that's a full workday! - which was nice. I could see in retrospect,
though, why no one except me, my older brother, and Gwen Stefani
seemed to care that any of this was happening. Including Sting.
to think that the Police are the last band I'll ever devote
so much emotional energy to, in that moody, hormonal way that
wells up from the very core of adolescence. I'll try not to
miss any more Mountain Goats shows, but my days of waking up
at 6 a.m. to stand in line for concert tickets are over. I'll
never skip school again. I'll never make a scrapbook, or cry
over the lead singer of a rock and roll band, unless I interview
one someday and we end up dating and she cheats on me with a
younger, cuter groupie. Is this what growing up means? Some
people would flash the devil sign and say it doesn't have to
be that way. The Police could have used them the other night,
every last one.
Rapoport at firstname.lastname@example.org
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