Cheap Shot

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‘Cheap Shot’

just together for duration

By Mike Farkash

Every aspiring musician and singer is attempting to clamber to the top, through recording contracts, doing studio work or playing clubs, producing demo tapes and scrounging for the right jobs.

Sometimes the artist has to drive a good many miles to get there. The actual mileage figure for Cheap Shot, currently playing at Rubes Valley House of Bar-B-Que racks up a good odometer total each day. The drummer and the keyboard player drive out from Hollywood. The bass player comes front Manhattan Beach. Cheap Shot's vocalist lives the closest to their current gig, in Simi Valley itself.

The harsh reality of Cheap Shot is it is a band of convenience, a few months old. They have hooked their musical talents together to play at Rube's, which they will be doing through the first week in January. Each of the performers, though. is on his or her way into bigger and better heavenly spheres.

Two of the band members asked that their stage names be used. Drummer "Bob Ronzoni," 28, and keyboardist "Don Funk,"

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SINGER: Patti Glacalone, vocalist with "Cheap Shot," is a Simi Valley resident who arranged for the group's gig at Rube's. The band will be playing there for the next two weeks.

28, live together in a house in Hollywood, pursuing their musical dreams, producing tapes and trying to put a "real" band together. Trouble is, working at Rube's has put a kink in their evolution into better musicians, they Say.

"It's terrible," said Funk,, referring. to Rube's. "It's too far, too small and there's not enough money." Earlier in the evening, the band had been told by the owner that they would be playing an extra half-hour or more on New Year's Eve. Funk and Ronzoni immediately began jockeying for more money. The club owner said he might give them an extra $5 or so. It was difficult to determine whether he was joking, or not.Funk comes from a musical family. He has a brother involved in a group called "Hot," and two other brothers involved in classical music on the East Coast. Funk started playing keyboards when he was four-years-old, has been playing in rock bands since the age of 12. and in fact, played the cello until he was 22.

Both Funk and Ronzoni are studio musicians, having played with a number of bands.

"We're a new band. so we’re paying our dues," said Kenny Johnston, the bass player in Cheap Shot, whose view of the group, and of their current job seems a whole lot less irreverent than Ronzoni's and Funk's.

Johnston, 33, grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he started out playing steel guitar at the age of 9. He played the baritone horn in high school, then switched to has. guitar.

Johnston has done the music for various radio commercials, including one for the Whale's Tail Restaurant in Ventura County, which was voted the best commercial of the year. He's also worked on radio spots for Fredericks' of Hollywood and for Tune-Up Masters.

Cheap Shot's singer is Patty Giacalone, who has lived in Simi Valley for about seven years.

"It's a good place to put bands together," said the singer, who has worked at the Belwood Lounge and other clubs across the country.

"This time of the year, they book in advance," said Funk. "It's a hard time to get jobs.

Giacalone, who was born in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, keeps finding herself "back in Simi Valley." She currently rents a house in the area.

Johnston met Giacalone playing in Hawthorne; later a mutual friend told him to call her regarding a possible job. It was Giacalone who located the job for the group at Rube's.

Johnston said they also play all styles of music, "the sign of a professional group."

"Basically," said Ronzoni. "I did a lot of Vegas shows. I was part of the back-up groups." He and Funk decided to put a top 40s band together.

He and Funk were let go from the Summerhouse Restaurant in San Fernando Valley because "we were a little too progressive." The duo played their own- brand of music at times, upsetting the management, even though they were drawing a lot of attention and followers.

"People like bad bands," said Funk. "People here want to party." He explained that the audience is interested in "partying" with the band. It doesn't matter that 'the band is doing personal music, or following their own artistic bent. People want the familiar, what they can identify with.

"Good music is entertainment." Johnston claimed, but the band's ideals are not all polarized in the same directions.

"Doing other people's music is restrictive," said Ronzoni.

Cheap Shot is determined to keep this job, however. The intimation here is they are only-in it for the money, since the cramped quarters are not helping to

progress the quality of their music. In fact, Ronzoni said he couldn't fit all of his drums onto the small stage at Rube's.

"We try to sneak in a little of what we like to do, said the drummer, which for him includes jazz and funk. But they are also evidently acceding to Rube's program. "Start out with softer, dinner music," he told them as they began playing one evening. Later in the evening, they could move into harder rock and disco. Most everything they play is on the charts.

Ronzoni said Rube's was a good place to try and tighten up the band as a musical unit.

"We accepted this ,job as a tightening-up situation," said Ronzoni.

The band will be playing at Rube's through the first week of January, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Cheap Shot will probably hold together as long as there are paying jobs for them. They perform at Reuben's in Redondo Beach, or the Grand Hotel in Anaheim, next month.

Johnston's assessment of the band's future is rosier than the one expressed by Funk and Ronzoni. "We plan to keep this band working," said Johnston.