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VALLEY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

Partridge Band Has a Knack for Nostalgia : The group re-creates the TV family's songs and its '70s look when playing weekly at FM Station.

February 15, 1996|JAMES E. FOWLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Howard Pattow called Danny Bonaduce's radio talk show in Chicago to tell him about his band, Sound Magazine, which performs its all-Partridge Family repertoire every Wednesday at FM Station in North Hollywood.

"You have a Partridge Family tribute band?" asked Bonaduce, the former child star who became famous on the 1970s sitcom. "Why?"

Good question.

Outside of a certain novelty element, why dredge up 20-year-old music that was not terribly impressive when it was new?

"It's hard to listen to the Partridge Family and not smile," Pattow says.

Yeah, right. Laugh is more like it.

Pattow disagrees. He says he and others of his generation have a special feeling for the sitcom and the music.

"These were some of the first songs we learned as kids that really turned us on," Pattow says. "Even as we got older, we still had this soft spot for this music. The quality of the music was really high. "

OK, he does have a point, although a minor one. Because teen heartthrob David Cassidy was the only musician among the actors portraying the band who was featured in the recordings, the music on the band's albums was performed by top-notch Los Angeles session players such as Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel and Hal Blaine.

But although the playing on the albums was tops, the material never rose above the level of sappy musical pap.

"It's something we all watched as kids," Pattow says. "There's a bit of kitsch, nostalgia and camp."

Pattow says he got the idea for the band in 1993 around the time the Partridge Family reruns began airing on the Nickelodeon cable channel and some of the band's music was re-released on CD.

Pattow says he realized that people had never heard this music live.

"It was a labor of love," Pattow says. "We had the costumes made, we decided to make it a show and re-create these songs perfectly."

To do that, Pattow and bandmate Brian Yaskulka painstakingly worked out the arrangements and recorded a digital audiotape backing track that includes horns, strings, flutes, congas and even the background vocals to augment the "live" performance.

"Part of the show is an illusion, but most of it is live," Pattow says. "We're trying to re-create the songs, but also, we're trying to re-create the Partridge Family look."

After listening to their tape, I must admit they really sound like the Partridge Family. The lead vocals by Yaskulka, especially, have that unmistakable David Cassidy quality to them.

So???????

*

* Sound Magazine and Disco Inferno perform Wednesdays at FM Station, 11700 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood. $6 cover. Call (818) 769-2220.

A Rose, By Any Other Name: A lot of people ask the guys in the H.H.B. R & B Revue what the initials stand for.

"That is the major question," says Willie Perryman, the band's leader. "But it doesn't really stand for anything."

When the band played its first gig about eight years ago, the guys were stuck for a name. Because the band members then lived in the Hansen Hills section of Pacoima, somebody came up with H.H.B., for the Hansen Hills Band. As time passed, the Hansen Hills part was forgotten and the band retained just the initials for its name.

The band, which plays Saturday at the Classroom in Northridge, plays R & B and blues material. Perryman lists among his personal favorites B. B. King, Tyrone Davis, Clarence Carter, James Brown and Sam & Dave. The band also plays regularly at the Studio City Bar & Grill and LGT Vegas in Sepulveda.

* H.H.B. R & B Revue performs at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Classroom, 8333 Tampa Ave., Northridge. No cover. Call (818) 885-0250.

*

Speaking of Names: I Found God is a hard-rock band that's playing at Club Dump this Saturday. Lead guitarist Stress ("as in 'I can't take it anymore,' " he explains) says people are always asking him, "What are you? A Christian band?" Actually Stress describes his band as "Black Sabbath meets Janis Joplin."

The band has been playing around town for about three years at such places as FM Station, The Coconut Teaszer, the Roxy, the Whiskey and Mancini's. The band already has out one CD, "Lure," and is working on another, its working title: "Before He Turned the Gun on Himself."

Besides Stress, I Found God consists of singer Christy Gerhart, bassist Devin Kramer and drummer Todd Wyatt.

Club Dump booker Yowzah reports that besides his usual mix of original alternative bands at the Blue Saloon, some rock celebs have been seen checking out the premises. Most notably Jennifer Finch of L7, Mike Mills of REM and Grant Lee Buffalo, according to Yowzah. Also, he says, the band Kluster is having a CD release party Saturday at the Club.

* Kluster, I Found God, Brazil 2001, One Bad Eye and Nobody's Smilin' play Saturday at Club Dump at the Blue Saloon, 4657 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. $5 cover. Call (818) 766-4644.

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