Mean Satisfaction – Crowd warms up to band’s sound at Wichita Pub
By: Kurt "Swingcat" Johnson
The Mean Satisfaction Band is a four-piece blues rock group that plays a varied mix of blues, rock and pop covers. Songs are chosen to get a crowd up and dancing. With songs such as Van Morrison's Moondance and Crosby, Stills and Nash's Love The One You're With, the crowd warms right up to the band's sound and personalities of its members.
This evening's appearance was at the Witchita Pub at the corner of S.E. King Road and Linnwood Avenue in Milwaukie. The Witchita Pub is a long-time neighborhood fixture and watering hole. It features a roomy dance floor, shuffleboard, numerous pool tables and continuous sports programming, video games and video lottery. They offer quality food with attractive food selections. Service is prompt and friendly.
Mean Satisfaction is lead vocalist and keyboardist Liz Reger; lead guitarist Gary Heid; drummer Jon Graham; and bassist Bill Schilling. Each has a long and varied music and performing background. The band has played in it's current line-up for about a year-and-a-half. They describe their sound as rock and blues, not straight blues, not straight rock.
Reger describes the band's aim; "We play music that makes people feel good. We like to get people out on the dance floor. For me, I'm always looking to connect, looking out in the audience trying to connect with the audience. It's an indescribable feeling when you're in the zone. Everything flowing and everything’s working. It's almost effortless."
Heid describes his role as guitarist; "Basically, as the lead musical instrument, it's very important for me to keep a pulse on the drums and bass because they are the rhythm people dance to. As a lead instrument, I bring the flavor, the feel and elements that make up Mean Satisfaction. What brought me into this is I am a Vietnam combat veteran. I lost half my platoon in Vietnam. In 1969, I needed something to ease my troubled mind. I have played in two previous bands, a rock band and a new country band. Then I took a life break and finally got back into music. So, now I'm hoping people will come out and hear our rock and blues sound and make an enjoyable evening of it."
Drummer Jon Graham explains it this way; "We're creating a mood, the bass player and the drummer. We create the groove and the feel. We create the foundation for the guitarist and keyboardist to create the sparkle. And when it locks in, it feels really good. That's why I play drums. When it finally jells and comes together, it feels really good. We have a few driving songs, a few laid back and a couple specifically designed to drag, such as Delta blues and Chicago blues."
Bass player Schilling adds this; "I depend on Jon. The first time we played together, we locked in and have been doing so every since. It's terrific playing with him. Another drummer I play with describes it like this; 'the easel and the canvas'. We lay down the rhythmic foundation for the rest of the band to follow. But we're not so rigid that we can't adjust on the fly."
When it all comes together, it's a mixture of smooth, sultry vocals, solid, punchy bass, tight and crisp drumming. The precise yet understated and never overbearing guitar adds just the right amount of color as called for by the song.
Mean Satisfaction has a CD entitled Means Business and they plan to release a second CD in the fall. You can see more of Mean Satisfaction at their website, www.myspace.com/MeanSatisfaction or see ad and listings this issue.