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October 31, 2000

The Ugli Stick Joins Music Alley

In Mobile, the music scene as a whole has lost much of its strength in recent years. Many people have even begun to ignore it, because of its inability to share all of the sides of music. Its focus on only a few types of music has even begun to have an effect on the local bands of today. While some bands have formed because of their love for the expressed music in Mobile, others have begun to come together for the sole purpose of bringing new and popular genres of music to the Mobile area. The Ugli Stick, an up-and-coming band from right here in Mobile, wants to do just that.

The Ugli Stick has been hailed by fans as the "greatest band that no one has heard of." Although the bandís core is mostly rock, the hip-hop and punk vibes are evident. Their music, while coming from different sides of the spectrum, is molded to be able to meet the needs of both musicians and music lovers alike. Richard Brown, a fan that has attended three of the band's shows, explained, "They have more energy than any group Iíve ever seen. No other band that Iíve seen live can hang with these guys."

The roots of the Ugli Stick are very well grounded. Eric "The Birdman" Erdman, previously a guitarist of purely acoustic nature, sought to takes his skills to a wider audience with larger venues. Tim Stanton, a proficient drummer who was very well respected in the area, was looking to find a band more passionate about music than those in his previous undertakings. Brian Graves, founder of Grave Danger Productions and Erdmanís previous band-mate from Method to Madness, had always had an interest in playing bass, and after leaving Day of the Iguana, decided to take it up. "When we first got together, I felt like it was the first time I really ever played," commented Stanton. "I now feel like I can make the music that I love."

All from Mobile, they give their music not just the flavor of the area, but also give us a side of the world at which most musicians usually donít look: the good side. "We want to make music fun. If you come to one of our shows and you arenít grooving with us, youíve got problems," stated Erdman.

Stanton explained that they "came together because of our passion for music. We arenít doing it for the money, we are doing it because it is fun." The band even goes so far as to extend their fun to the crowd, both through crowd interaction and their interesting choice of cover songs. "We each have different styles of music, and our cover songs reflect that," remarked Erdman. The Ugli Stick uses cover songs to add to their own special flavor of music. "You always hear the same bands covering the same set of songs. We try to break that mold. Songs such as The Digital Undergroundís "Humpty Dance" and Cypress Hillís "Insane in the Membrane," remade in a rock format, give their listeners something truly amazing and new to sink their teeth into.

The Ugli Stick, while trying to focus on their plans for today, has many goals in line for the future. They plan on having an album out sometime in 2001. "We want to put out a record that is beyond our expectations, as well as the expectations of Mobile," stated Graves. The band has a 4-track demo CD, which has become very popular among the underground music groups in the areas. The songs are also very popular on Napster. Graves added, "We usually try to give the demo out for free.

"Iíve been in bands where the other members didnít care at all whether we went anywhere, or made it anywhere," said Stanton. "Iím just glad that I can finally be with people who love and respect the music as much as I do. Hopefully the fans will be able to relate to us as well. We just hope someone out there is listening."

You can see The Ugli Stick around town this November on these dates: Friday the 3rd at Bojangles, Saturday the 18th at Monsoons, and Saturday the 25th at Jagís Bar and Grill. If you have any questions or comments for the band, you can e-mail them at birdman@zebra.net. You can also look for more information about the band at http://www.theuglistick.com/.

If you know of or are involved in an up-and-coming band that you think should deserves a chance to join the Music Alley, contact me at hippyxxx@yahoo.com.

-- Jeff McManus


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