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Monday, Dec. 13, 2010

Eva Grubb Recaptures the Sound of 1966

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The music and imagery of Eva Grubb has its roots in the mid-’60s, with the year 1966 being particularly influential. The band covers that year’s ? and the Mysterians hit single “I Need Somebody,” a song driven by chugging keyboards. Eva Grubb also performs covers of songs from 1966 by The Easybeats (“I’ll Make You Happy”), Small Faces (“Hey Girl”), Love (“Can’t Explain”) and Syndicate of Sound (“Little Girl”), as well as other late-’60s songs by The Monkees and The Pretty Things.

The band’s own material sounds distinctly 1966 as well, and their gear fits into the era—the sparkly gold drum set, old-school keyboards and classy-looking Fender guitars. A flier for an upcoming show features imagery from a 1960s Batman comic book.

Eva Grubb takes its name from a 1966 episode of “Gilligan’s Island.” In that episode, a frumpy spinster of the same name is angry at men for not paying attention to her and tries to escape society, ending up on the island. Mary Ann and Ginger get to work and give her a makeover. Realizing she is now Ginger’s doppelgnger, she escapes the island to steal Ginger’s career, and the frustrated castaways remain stranded. The name stuck to the band when guitarist Ryan King called drummer Jamie Shimon to talk about band practice after the group formed in 2008.

“Jamie was watching ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and told Ryan that his favorite ‘Eva Grubb’ episode was on and he was pissed that Ryan was interrupting it. Ryan proclaimed it to be our band’s name,” bass player Melanie Roe explains.

Eva Grubb tries to capture the fun of this era of rock ’n’ roll dance parties and campy television shows, Roe adds, saying, “Our goal at the time was to have a project that would be fun and relaxing, and 1960s-inspired garage rock was the plan for our sound from the beginning.”

The band, which also features Terry Hackbarth on guitar, switches roles between guitar, keyboards and drums on different songs. All four members have been in bands that incorporated garage and punk sounds; between them they have been part of local acts Plexi 3, Trolley, The Tantrums and The Riveters. Roe also DJs under the name Lemonie Fresh and frequently spins music from the genre. She says that her band mates “are all big vinyl collectors and walking encyclopedias of knowledge. I admire their dedication and I don’t believe they could survive without music.”

The mutual enjoyment of the hits of the ’60s is what brought the musicians together.

“We all had very diverse musical tastes, but we share a love of garage rock, British Invasion, pop and psychedelic rock,” Roe says, describing the era’s appeal to her. “I connect with the diversity and experimentation of the time period. There were so many great new sounds being discovered, yet at the same time there were familiar old sounds that were being reworked and brought to life again. There was a unique combination of rebellion and naiveté in the culture and in the songwriting that would be hard to recapture now.”

Eva Grubb doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but they do recapture the era’s energy in tribute.

“It’s nice to transport the mind into a different place in time,” Roe says.

Eva Grubb plays the Cactus Club Saturday, Dec. 18, with The Mighty Deerlick and The Sugar Stems.