Funny name, Tabasco Fiasco. Maybe not the best he's come up with, and, believe me, there have been many over the years. Personal favorites? Well, Felonious Monks for the jazz reference, and Magnificent Bastards, just for the sheer gall. But we're also fond of the Maldens, especially knowing that the musicians were from Everett. And Alan Laddd and the Abashed, for the inside joke: Alan Ladd was the actor who played Shane, the world-weary gunslinger who just wanted to settle down, but gets dragged into into that complicated ethical world once again — and the name North Shore rocker Gary Lavenson adopted so many years ago because ... well, because it was way more rock and roll than Lavenson. Go ahead, try it out: Gary Lavenson and the Detour. Just doesn't work, does it? But, yeah, funny name, Tabasco Fiasco. Shane didn't come up it. His banjitarist, a guy with a familiar name, having ... What? Banjitarist?
Yeah, funny name, banjitar. That's what the cool kids call it, anyhow. It's more properly known as the banjo-guitar. Usually spelled without the hyphen, which we just cannot abide. Funny instrument, too — one with identity issues. It's a six-string banjo, which is outside the box to begin with, and it's tuned like a guitar. So you can play the guitar, essentially, and have it sound like a banjo. It's been around since the '20s, but not a whole lotta people play it. Mark Aleo, the guy who came up with the name Tabasco Fiasco, does. He's a Shane regular, these days, playing bass with the former Amesbury resident, in Monks, the Magnificents and, come to think of it, going back to the Silvertones days, but playing guitjo, another cool made-up name — with Tabasco Fiasco. He doubles on mandolin. The current line-up of the band includes Steven Paul Perry, former guitarist with Berlin Airlift and Luna, playing dobro, and Steve Ruest, from the Gary Shane and the Detour Mach 3 (or is it Mach 4?) line-up. Also in the lineup are Dan Colbert and Eric Bistany, former members of Imojah and the Skylight Reggae Band, yet another interesting, if not funny, name, which found Shane detouring into reggae with Wade Dyce, former vocalist with the Jamaica-based Cultural Roots, on guitar and drums.
So, then, the big question is, has Shane — best known for his power-pop megahits from the '80s, like "Shadow World" and "Johnny's Coaltrain," a name that, like Felonious Monks, references a jazz icon — become a bluesman? After all, the band is playing Smoken' Joe's (not a funny name, exactly, but definitely a funny spelling) which is a blues club, right? Yeah, but ... no. This is not a blues band, although it is still not exactly clear what it is, musically, making this one of those times that Wendy Dodd, a former Rocks Village resident who owns and manages the Brighton nightclub and restaurant, stretches the definition of blues and soul, which she does occasionally when she finds someone so interesting that she says, well, “close enough." And so it is with Tabasco Fiasco, who "sounds crazy and off-beat enough to fit right in," she says.
JUST THE FACTS, MAN: Tabasco Fiasco plays at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Smoken' Joe's BBQ and Blues, 251 Washington St., Brighton, For more information, call 617.254.5227.