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This is the place to find information about The Shambles,
the individual members (Bart, Kevin, Mark, and Brad), previous
and fill-in guests, a full history of the band, and
links to information on related bands.

The Shambles are a guitar-oriented Power Pop band. They are not a "band without a past" but rather a band with a pedigree. Consisting of Bart (main songwriter, lead vocalist, and rythmn guitarist), Kevin (lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and occasional lead vocalist), Mark Z (bass player extraordinaire), and Brad (quite possibly the last in a string cotaining more drummers than Spinal Tap), The Shambles bring tightly packaged melodic gems to life both on stage and in the studio. Bart's songs, full of catchy melodies, tight harmonies, and guitar hooks (often courtesy of Kevin), rarely clock in at more than two-and-a-half minutes. And in this case, less is more.

Members of the band:
Bart is the main songwriter for The Shambles. While not a founding member, it's safe to say that he is the driving force, with each of his finely crafted songs a miniature pop masterpiece in it's own right.

Mark Z:
Mark Z's bass playing is the foundation upon which The Shambles sound is built. Powerful, solid, and, uh... wiggy (see our press page). Mark has a melodic style that perfectly underscores Bart's songs.

Kevin is the main guitarist for The Shambles. His melodic hooks and straightforward playing are the engine that powers the band on stage, and his ear for a good harmony or song arrangement are integral in the studio. Eschewing flash in favor of feel and tone, Kevin's solos are often as short and to-the-point as the songs they compliment.

It's safe to say that The Shambles have had more drummers than Spinal Tap. While none have exploded on stage (yet), or choked on someone else's vomit (ditto), there seems to have been an endless cycle: The Shambles finding yet another drummer to use-up, burn-out, and leave at the side of the road like a dried-up husk. And there's a sizeable list of names. Each of the following, er... people (if that term can be accurately applied to a drummer) has either been a permanent member or has drummed for The Shambles as a fill-in on loan from another band (These are the ones we know about -- there may be more!): David Klowden, Brad Wilkins, Trace Smith, Brad Kiser, Ron Silva, A guy named Everisto who may or may not have gone by the nickname "V", Joel Valder, Victor Penalosa, John Chilson, Evan ?, Mike Kamoo, Brad Barker, and once again, Mike Kamoo.

Brad v3.0 attempted to "break the pattern" of Shambles drummers and actually stay with the band, and he toughed it out for a long time. However, as is always the case, The Shambles broke Brad. He disappeared one day, and has not been heard from since. It is rumored that he exploded, but no proof of that occurance has yet been authenticated.

Therefore, Mike Kamoo has once again -- and on a more permanent basis -- stepped into the role of Shambles drummer. Mike is more than just a drummer, however. He is a recording engineer/producer, and he sings and plays guitar in a couple of his own bands. A very busy and very talented man, this Mike Kamoo. The Shambles are lucky to count him as one of their own.

Aside from the host of drummers, there were other previous permanent and fill-in members of The Shambles. To start with, one of the founding members of the band (along with Kevin, Mark, and David Klowden) was Ray Brandes, formerly of the Tell Tale Hearts and Mystery Machine. Ray played guitar and shared lead vocal chores with Kevin (and later Bart and Kevin when Bart joined the band shortly after formation). In addition, Bill Calhoun (also ex-Tell Tale Hearts) played his Vox Continental Organ with the band for over a year. Jon Kanis, while never an actual member, has often provided backing vocals both live and in the studio, and The Shambles were the backing band on one of Jon's recordings, "It Is And It Isn't."

More than you wanted to know: The history of The Shambles
A selection from the liner notes to Reviving Spark, written by Matt Fidelibus:

In the early to mid 80's, San Diego was home to a happening sixties revival which produced several exceptional mod and garage bands. At the revival's peak, Manual Scan were the best of the mod bunch while the Tell Tale Hearts ruled the garage scene. A healthy rivalry existed between the two bands for some time; however, the decline of the local sixties scene (by the late 80's) drew the musicians closer together, and in 1989, Kevin Donaker-Ring (then Kevin Ring) and Bart Mendoza of Manual Scan asked Ray Brandes of the Tell Tale Hearts to produce and contribute background vocals to a series of sessions (recorded at the historc Circle Sound Studios in San Diego, CA) for Manual Scan.

By the Fall of 1990, Ray and Kevin began recording demos together, and eventually decided to form a band. They first enlisted Mark Z (ex-Crawdaddies) to play bass. During this time, Kevin, Bart, and Ray were also playing a weekly acoustic round robin at a local bar (the much missed Megalopolis) along with Jon Kanis, a sort of modern day beatnik with a penchant for power pop. They played together under the moniker "The Fiascos", and this is where the special sound of The Shambles began to form. As Kevin quipped, "a musical fiasco is a shambles; so were we." [ed. note: it was actually Brad Wilkins who came up with this name at a very early rehearsal session before the band crystallized into it's earliest gigging form] The name stuck. In retrospect, it can only be seen as inevitable that Mendoza eventually joined the nascent band, and, with the addition of Dave Klowden, another ex-member of the Tell Tale Hearts, a new band was born. The Shambles have often been thought of as a vigorous hybrid of the two bands. A common love of 60's pop music and culture served as a unifying influence and this diverse mix of mod, garage, power pop -- and even a touch of folk -- would become The Shambles' own unique sound.

In the Spring of 1991 the quintet embarked on a short tour of the U.K. (dubbed the "pointy toed road show"), but by the end of that Summer, Brandes began to persue other projects, and by September he had left the permanent line-up of the band. Enter keyboardist Bill Calhoun (yes, another ex-member of the Tell Tale Hearts). In case you have lost track, the line-up now consisted of: Kevin Ring, Bart Mendoza, Mark Z, David Klowden, and Bill Calhoun.

This line-up lasted less than a year, as Dave left the band. And since his departure, the band has been through nearly a dozen drummers. Ron Silva (ex-Crawdaddies) was the Shambles' drummer for several months, followed by John Chilson (ex-Hoods) leading to current [ed. note: this text was written in 1995-96] drummer Joel Valder. Eventually, Bill Calhoun also left the band. But throughout these lineup changes (you'd never know who'd be on stage at some points in the band's career) the core of Mendoza, Donaker-Ring, and Z remained.

--Matt Fidelibus, Graduate Student and Hipster, Tempe, AZ, 1995

Here are some links to information on related and ancestor bands:
Manual Scan
The Crawdaddys
The Melanies
The Tell-Tale Hearts
The Hoods
The Gravedigger Five

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