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Strutz rocks for APAC - Starbucks manager bellows a song nearly as good as Aretha
n Starbucks manager bellows a song nearly as good as Aretha
ARLINGTON The manager of the Arlington Safeway Starbucks store, Deanne Hansen, has a secret life. Shes the original lead singer in the classic rock tribute band, Strutz, which has been playing together for nearly 20 years.
The band of six has agreed to give a two-hour rockin performance Friday, Feb. 16, for the benefit of their alma mater. Four of the six musicians are graduates of Arlington High School and they are excited to make this contribution to the Performing Arts Center at the new Arlington High School.
Itll be fun to be on that old stage, said Hansen, who graduated in 1977, three years after the founder of the band, drummer Toby Strotz. She was a junior when choir teacher Lyle Forde first arrived and she joined his Swing Choir, which later evolved into the prize-winning Jazzmine.
I hope we get a big crowd, she said. The mother of two nearly grown children (16 and 21), Hansen looks forward to singing for a younger crowd, since they often play in clubs and adult-only parties.
Only when we do the street fair, or the rock fest, do the kids get to hear us, said Hansen who most likes to sing the songs of the band called
Journey as well as Melissa Etheridge songs.
Like most singers, I really prefer to do ballads, she said, but shes great at belting out some good ol Aretha Franklin songs as well.
Four of the six graduated from Arlington High School and five of them live in the Arlington area. Only Paul Christie, who plays keyboards and sax, sometimes both in one song, and bass player Mike Brandvold, did not graduate in Arlington.
We started our 19th year with two great new band members Carol and Mike, Christie said.
A second vocalist, Carol Harvey performed at Strutzs first performance 19 years ago and now she is back.
I got a divorce and my ex-husband got the band in the settlement, Harvey joked. She tried to explain why Strutz thrives on playing the old music of their youth.
Its what we grew up with, Harvey said.
I think its the big wall of sound that I like best in this type of music,?she added.
Bass player Mike Brandvold comes to Strutz having most recently played with the David Bowie tribute band, Changes.
Hansen believes that Strutzs strength is that they choose a lot of different music.
The keyboard and sax player, Paul Christie agrees.
We have the knowledge and skills to perform the more complicated songs, he said. His own contribution of saxophone adds a soulful element to their selection of songs, which goes well with Hansens powerful voice.
Its the last real music, said Christie, referring to the beginning of the electronic age.
Strotz believes the strength of the band is that they play for the fun of it and because they love to play together.
We are like family, Strotz said.
Because they all have families and day jobs, they pick and choose when and where they want to play. Through the years, they have provided dance music on New Years Eve in many different venues, from the Bryant Community Center and Silvana Hall, to the most recent performance at Hawthorn Inn this past New Years Eve.
They have found great pleasure in annual performances at the Classic Rock Festival in Darrington, and luckily, last summer was the first of the seven years of Classic Rock that Strutz was not booked to open the show. Under management of a new promoter, the rock festival reaped lawsuits and bad press for not paying the musicians as promised.
Wed been regrouping this past year, looking for some replacements, Strotz said.
The founder and former promoter of the rock fest, who is also Strutz agent, Pat Robison is an enthusiastic fan of the Arlington band.
I believe this is the best rock-n-roll tribute band in the Northwest, Robison said, and he has worked with a lot of them.
The wall of Strutz rehearsal studio in a shed on a lower Stillaguamish River Valley farm reflects the many years of fun theyve had playing with big-name bands in Darrington.
They played with Bad Finger, Blue Oyster Cult, Randy Bachman, Pat Benatar, Steppenwolf and 38 Special, among many others. They all have their personal favorites.
Pat Benatar put on a really good show, Christie said..
Bad Finger was pretty darn good, Strotz said they had a hard time understanding their British accents while chatting between sets one year..
And dont forget Fog Hat and Creedence, Strotz pointed to another poster on the wall.
They are especially proud of opening a show for Grass Roots and claim as personal friends members of Iron Butterfly.
Strotz started playing drums when he was 8 years old and his first band was Rock High, which he started while in high school. He played with Silver Creek and tried country with Buffalo Nickel and Storm Riders before settling in with his local friends in 1988.
I think its the big wall of sound that I like best in this type of music, Harvey said.
Carol is doing very well, Hansen said. I wouldnt want to be in her shoes learning all this new stuff.
Strotz is also pleased to welcome back to town another old friend for this special performance former Lakewood resident Roger Ingalls opens the show with his own acoustic rock band, Inner Voices. (see story at right on Inner Voices)
Strotz and Ingalls have played music together through the years and Ingalls,has provided technical assistance, too.
He was always my sound guy, until we decided it was too much work to bring our own equipment, Strotz said.
I think its a perfect opener for us, and Roger is really excited too, Strotz said.
Billed as romantic rock-and-roll for Valentines week, the band is selecting some special songs for their debut in the old AHS auditorium. Selecting from the likes of Wild Nights by Van Morrison and Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin to Neil Diamonds Cherry Cherry, and Time Wont Let Me, by the Rolling Stones, Strutz promises a wonderful night at the old high school.
Weve got a list of about 200 songs, Strotz said. We have to pick and choose for each performance.
The last time I was on this stage was 1973, said Strotz who graduated in 1974.
This is going to be a lot of fun.
Hansen said her parents and grandparents were educated in the building.
My great aunt Sigrid was in the first class when it opened in 1936, Hansen said.
Admission is $10 at the door at 135 N. French St. in historical old town Arlington.
The benefit concert series for the new performing arts center is presented by the Arlington Arts Council, with assistance from the Arlington Boys and Girls Club and the city of Arlingtons Recreation Department and the Rotary Club of Arlington, sponsor of
Superior Sound, which is provided at a substantial discount by owner Kyle Blevins.
Im willing to donate my time and equipment, but I have to pay the help, said Blevins, who has provided helped amplify many other events in the Arlington area through the years, including the Arlington Festival for at least 10 years, maybe more, Blevins said.
The final of the three concerts is a Classical Spring Night with Brass Menagerie Friday, March 16, including AHS band director John Grabowski and Oso dairy farmer Bev Soler.