This page will be of most interest to reviewers and fans who are looking for more information on band members. It contains:
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All Photos by Jon Pike
Todd Crisafulli, Tommy Berlin, Margo Granfors, Herbie Robinson
Looking for a photo of previous members of the band? Try here.
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All Photos by Jon Pike
Towering Pretzels takes a different approach to putting together a CD When you buy a CD from a major label, you get one or two hits and about 10 cuts of sound-a-like filler material. I'm sure you've noticed... Every song on our CD is uniquely crafted with spirited music and engaging lyrics. Also, we produce a CD with fewer songs on it: This lets us sell at a price almost anyone can afford.
WHAT's THE BUZZ ?
Here's What They're Saying about TOWERING PRETZELS !
IN THE PRESS:
Jay Miller, Patriot Ledger, July 16, 1998:
Often, when rock bands blend styles, they find the eclectic result may please them and delight fans but can be a tough sell for radio. Towering Pretzels, a Pepperell quintet that melds rock, rhythm and blues, folk and even jazz into its vibrant pop, is an exception. Its debut eight-song CD, "Plastic Palms" has been gaining impressive airplay in the Boston area.
"For our first CD, we wanted to see if we could do a radio-friendly sampler of different styles," said vocalist Margo Granfors, who shares primary songwriting duties for the band with keyboard ace, Herbie Robinson.
Towering Pretzels has been together about two years, although some of
its members previously appeared with other bands and as solo acts, and it
just began playing club dates in February. So far, it's been embraced
by audiences as diverse as those at the traditional rock club, Sir Morgan's
Cove in Worcester, and those at the cozy, folkie Kirkland Cafe in Somerville.
Brian Goslow, Worcester Phoenix, May 22, 1998:
TWISTED PAIRS. After spending years toiling in bands led by others, Margo "Dizzy D" Granfors and Herbie Robinson decided to strike out on their own as the Towering Pretzels, who twist their musical influences ('70s pop, New Orleans party music, and funk-driven blues) into the soundtrack for a lazy afternoon. When their vocals melt together, as on "Our House is Burning" from their Plastic Palms CD (Curbside), they're a delightful listen.
...powerful and wide-ranging ... catchy title cut ... Robinson provides tasty kyboard licks...
ON THE RADIO:
Renee Johnson, WHMC, April, 1998:
I can play any combination of tracks and know that my listeners won't
get bored hearing 3 songs in a row by the same band. Each song on
[their] CD exhibits a separate musical style and element, making it unique
to the album as a whole. I am looking orward to hearing what sounds
develop in the future!
The music on "Plastic Palms" is just the opposite. More wood and water than metal and plastic. Drawing from various musical styles the Towering Pretzels' versatility bridges not only genre but also format as they move easily between acoustic and electric. "Carnival of Years" conjures up a lifetime of Mardi Gras in the Big Easy. "Mr. Tequila" takes us on a sourthern trip when the world is closing in. This disc frees demons whether they be alchohol induced as in "God in a Cup" and "Mr. Tequila" or the hard liquor of love as in "Treasured Illusion" and "Missin' You".
Anyone who has ever loved and left can relate to the wondering of "Missin'
You" which might be the gem of the disc. Margo Granfors vocals hit
the mark with all haunted by a past love that has sailed over the horizon.
The Towering Pretzels true talent lies in the ability to take life's experiences
and translate them into a musical perspective that sets them free.
ON THE WEB:
Vernon Tart of Vinyl
Trade has a nice review on his web site.
Tom Garfield, Boston Songwriter's Workshop, March, 1998:
Great job! Hot grooves. Nice variety of moods and flavors.
Excellent playing, production and engineering.
This song goes beyond the noisy, tawdry world of dating bars into the area of social commentary. Ken and Barb become victims of their own illusions, while remaining blissfully unaware of their situation. Herbie's satirical lyrics blend with Margo's music to give us a hi-energy rocker with an Attitude! Matt Thompson's pyrotechnic guitar gives voice to Ken's frantic and futile search for love. Herbie's synth solo portrays Barb's mistaken certainty that this is the man for her. Straight-ahead rhythms by Seth Hoffsommer (drums), Danny Mo (bass), and Margo (rhythm guitar) reinforce Margo's expressive vocals in this song. Guaranteed to wake you up and get you dancin'!
The yearning and lonely lyrics of this song are mirrored by the retro-rock urgency in the music. Margo's emotional vocals lend an edge to the lyrics, accented by Herbie's Andean inspired keyboard rhythms. John Moore's inspired lead guitar soars over the rolling landscape of bass & drums to set your feelings and imagination free!
Herbie's New Orleans-style rhythm-and-blues piano, supported by Margo's keyboard and accordion, lie so smoothly on the surface of this song that you barely notice the passing moments. So, too, Herbie's metaphoric look at the years against the rich backdrop of carnival imagery. Drums and bass provided by Seth Hoffsommer and Danny Mo (plus a distinctive, detuned accordion solo by Margo!) add authentic flair to this song. Mark Paquin's signature trombone lines transport you to the colorful streets, where life is intense and where time is a trickster who entertains us all -- and is gone before we know it!
A humorous look at America's de-vine "drug of choice", this song has no fillers or preservatives! Accented by Danny Mo's superbly funky bass riffs, Margo's fluid, clean guitar lays down a tune that definitely makes you want to dance! Seth Hoffsommer's jazz-funk drum rhythms and percussion (metal spoons on coffee cups!) add humor and a tight, solid groove. Herbie's clav and organ parts bring his uniquely colorful zest to the mix. Margo's gutsy vocals and John Moore's smokin' guitar heat up this cup!
World-beat rhythms play out the drama in this song. The arsonist becomes a metphor for social indifference, and "we don't even know" the danger! Seth Hoffsommer expertly embellishes Herbie's original drum compositions, playing complex drum parts which parallel the intricate lyrical content. Danny Mo's bass lines hold it all together, painting in tones and rhythm the fire's terrifying approach. Herbie's vocals and classic organ sound, the tolling of the drums, and Margo's intense vocal improvisations all work to heighten the tension and bring the warning home.
Written on a rainy morning in Winter, this song brings you to a quieter place, where it's OK to say what's in your heart. Like many of Margo's songs, simple lyrics and imagery can be both personal and universal. While her acoustic rhythm guitar provides blues-rock feel, Margo's electric guitar riffs weave around soulful vocals, highlighted by Herbie's keyboard fills and classy organ solo. Tasteful drums and bass, à la Seth Hoffsommer and Danny Mo, provide just the right setting to make the music expressive and complete.
Herbie calls this his country-type 'lament'. You guessed it -- it's a semi-autobiographical song about a poor guy who's down-on-his-luck! Then, why does it make you want to dance? 'Cuz -- what else can you do except party? Best of all, Herbie's lyrics don't take the hero too seriously, and neither do we! The feeling is contagious: Herbie's quirky piano is answered by Margo's rhythm guitar "afterthoughts". Danny Mo's calypso bass lines are delightful, and Seth Hoffsommer adds humorous accents on percussion while still holding the heartbeat of the song together. Margo's country lead- guitar stylings are supportive of the song's lyrical themes. Add background vocals, party laughter, and percussion -- and you are, like, THERE !
Written and performed by Margo, this song reaches past personal insights
to express some of the deeper thoughts that lie quietly inside us all. Though
this song may later be produced more fully, it is included here as a work-in-progress
or 'live track' -- with one vocal, one 12-string acoustic guitar doing the
main track, and one 6-string acoustic guitar added during the introductions
and bridge -- a simpler arrangement than those produced with the full band.
Margo Granfors "Dizzy D" has performed professionally as a singer-songwriter for over 10 years. Starting in N.H. blues-rock bands, she formed a folk duo with Mariénne Kreitlow and later worked with several bands, appearing at clubs, festivals, universities, and benefit concerts throughout New England.
Margo has appeared with or opened for James Montgomery, David Buskin & Robin Batteau, Rosalie Sorrell, Bill Staines, Brooks Williams and Sweet Roy Jones. Airplay and live performances include WERS, WUNH, WMBR, WBRS, and WBIM.
Now, Margo is collaborating with keyboardist and songwriter Herbie Robinson and others in Towering Pretzels, a promising musical venture. Their music has roots in rhythm and blues and combines high-energy acoustic and electric rock with regional and world-beat influences. A prolific songwriter, she is active promoting her concert tour and recording with various local artists.
Herbie has been performing professionally in the Northeastern United States since 1967. Herbie has performed with the Festival of Light and Song (an a-cappella folk chorus which has received extensive review in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and Channel 7), The Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra (heard annually on WBCN), Grand Larceny (playing club R&B since 1991) and numerous older rock/R&B bands.
As a member of these groups he has performed in Symphony Hall, Converse Hall, The Tsai Performance Center at Boston University, and the Adams Morgan Day Festival in Wash D.C. In the above capacity, he has either opened for or backed up such performers as Martin Carthy (formerly of Steeleye Span), The Watersons, Tom Rush, and The Neville Brothers. Herbie has performed live on WBCN, WERS and WBRS.
Jonathan R. Pike has been a photographer for over 15 years. His training at the New England School of Photography and the Massachusetts State College of Art prepared him for his main interests: nature and close-up (or microcosmic) photography and videography. He has taught successful photography courses and offered individual instruction in the Boston area, including a Massachusetts State-Accredited course at the Boston YWCA and, currently, courses in Photography for the Harvard, MA Public Schools Adult Education Division. Equally important has been Jonathan's work as a freelance photographer, presenting photo shows at libraries and galleries throughout the Boston and Metro-West areas. He has produced photographs for schools, commercial firms, a local newspaper, and for individual clients. In addition, a strong retail background has enabled him to be informed about the latest developments in photo and video products as well as keeping him in contact with photographers at all levels of ability. Honorary certifications include Nikon Product Specialist and the Photographic Marketing Association's title of Photographic Councilor. Jonathan has recently been freelancing as a videographer under the name of Mystery Bear Productions. He specializes in nature videos, informal functions, and business conventions. His unique way of seeing as a photographer translates well into the medium of video, and his artistic sense has enabled him to develop video and photography which appeal to the viewer's interest and imagination.
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