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Spinning sweet music whoa dizzy: Oly rock band members who started as neighbors play county fair MOLLY GILMORE; Contributing writer | • Published August 05, 2011 Imagine if the nice state worker couple next door teamed up with a few co-workers and decided to start a band. The result — if those neighborly folks had a weakness for old blues, modern pop and even hard-edged rock — might be something like Olympia’s Whoa Dizzy. The quartet is enjoying a new level of success this summer with gigs Saturday at the Thurston County Fair and Wednesday at Olympia’s Music in the Park. Just how neighborly is this band? Drummer David Bacon was invited to join by lead singer Nick Lutes, who lived across the street. “I’d just moved into the neighborhood,” Bacon said. “Nick’s daughter heard me playing drums in the basement, and she informed him. He stopped me on the street one day and invited me to join.” Bacon was a proficient bass player and had played in bands before, but he’d just begun to learn the drums. “I’d gotten this drum kit from a friend,” he said. “I set it up and had literally been slamming away at it for two weeks, and I got invited to join this band. “I had never played drums in a band, and I was pretty rough around the edges,” he said. “I got to learn on the job.” From those subterranean beginnings, Whoa Dizzy has begun to rise. The band’s second full-length album, “Long Black Limo,” is set for its official release at the Music in the Park show on Wednesday. The band has another album of material on the way late this year. And the higher profile gigs locally have Bacon, Lutes, bassist Cheri Keller and guitarist Eric Mandt thinking about branching out further, although there are no plans to quit their day jobs. (When the group formed in 2005, all four worked for the state of Washington; Bacon has since taken a job in the private sector.) The group has played a few Tacoma shows and one in Spokane and has its eye on playing more Northwest festivals. But at heart, Whoa Dizzy will still be the band next door. When asked about the band’s name, Bacon chuckled. “Eric and Cheri’s daughter was out in the yard one day spinning in circles like kids do. She was spinning, spinning, spinning and then stopped and fell down. She got up, and her comment was: ‘Whoa. Dizzy.’ ” The name stuck, he said. “There’s definitely sort of a cheekiness to some of the songs. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. It sort of fits.”” - Molly Gilmore

The Olympian

Music Without Borders: Whoa Dizzy and Gillian Welch by Tucker Petertil Whoa Dizzy “It’s widely thought – within the group – that Eric has actually been abducted by aliens.” This is Whoa Dizzy bassist David Bacon trying to explain songwriter Eric Mandt’s lyrical bent. “He’s got that Blue Oyster Cult vibe going on,” David continues, shedding a bit of light on why so much of Eric’s songs contain Sci-Fi and UFO imagery. I met with David Bacon, drummer and keyboards for the pub-rocking quartet Whoa Dizzy at his East side house. A big guy, around 6’-2”, with a faraway look in his eyes, he grew up in a small town in Alaska playing bass and keyboards in high school bands before moving down to Aberdeen to play basketball and study at Grays Harbor Community College. Aberdeen turned out to be a little to similar to Alaska in terms of isolation so he moved to Bellingham and then eventually Olympia where he found PNW bliss in the form of Whoa Dizzy. Besides David, Whoa Dizzy consists of lead singer and acoustic guitarist Nick Lutes, Cheri Keller on bass, and the aforementioned Eric Mandt, lead guitarist and main songwriter. The band formed 7 years ago when Nick (on a hiatus from his relationship and home) moved into Eric and Cheri’s basement and began jamming with the married couple. David joined later when he was spotted in the neighborhood with a drum kit and invited to join the trio. “I was terrified but I said I’d give it a shot” explains David, who at the time had only been playing drums for two weeks. The band’s name comes from Eric and Cheri’s daughter who uttered it after spinning around in circles. In 2007 they put out ‘Lunacy,’ their first long player, and followed this past spring with a 5-song EP called ‘Your Ways’. They’ve also just finished a new long playing record entitled ‘Long Black Limo’ which they hope to have out by August or September when the cover art is finished. David is already talking about another record’s worth of songs that they hope to have out by the end of the year. The new record ‘Long Black Limo’ is a blast of hard rock and a showcase for Nick Lutes’ big sounding vocals. One of the best tracks here is ‘Life of Leisure’, a slow burning ballad that starts small and ramps up into an arena size power ballad. The majority of the record is upbeat blues and rockabilly as well as a Chuck Berry type rock song punked up in the manner of X. David says that ‘Long Black Limo’ has a bit more of a political agenda. They rant against the media with ‘Your Ways’ which is a new arrangement of a song that appeared on their previous EP. “It has a little more jazz element to it,” says David. There’s also relationship songs and even some spiritual/religious songs such as ‘Church of the Non-Believers” about what would happen if atheists started a church. And ‘Snake Handler’ about a person emulating the Southern Snake Cults (it ends badly). The band members are all fans of classic rock, though David also cites punk, prog rock and blues as influences on the Whoa Dizzy sound. David records all of the band’s music and is also working on a side project entitled Bacon Moon, When asked what Bacon Moon sounds like, David comes back with “Is Indie Rock a genre, does that even count?” We agree that it’s a pretty vague term and David decides that ‘a bit heavier guitar rock than Whoa Dizzy’ is more apt. David at 35 is the youngest member, with the rest of the band’s ages hovering around the early 40s. Everyone has families and day jobs with the state so they’re a bit more grounded in the day to day reality, as opposed to living the rock and roll fantasy. “When it comes right down to it we’re pretty regular folks, we work 40 hours a week and get together and blow off steam,” he concludes “the band channels those frustrations of working those cubicle type jobs”. With that I say goodbye and promise not to write about the first record he ever bought. Whoa Dizzy will play Music in the Park on August 10.  They’ll also be at the Thurston County Fair on August 6 and a Combined State Employee Fund Drive motorcycle run at Rochester’s Lucky Eagle Casino on August 20.” - Tucker Petertil

Olympia Power and Light