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 were 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
"Doing other people's music is restrictive,"
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.