So many bands have come and gone, and one of the best bands I’ve been in was the last one I was part of, a rock band I started with my brother Kevin and sister in-law Melody … called 49 Fingers. When I moved to Oregon in 2004, it was a natural thing for my brother and I to want to play together – he’s a drummer, and I’m a bass player. Melody sang, so we had everything but a guitarist.

We held auditions for guitar players, but you might imagine that in the burgeoning metropolis of Albany, Oregon, there weren’t many to choose from. The first person to answer the call was a guy named Wayne. His first issue was that he called himself a “professional soloist.” A what? Dude, can you play guitar or not? Turns out not. He couldn’t come in on the one. There’s nothing more crucial in music than being able to start playing when everyone else starts playing, and that, my friends, is the one. That red flag aside, he not only couldn’t remember Melody’s name, but seemed more interested in showing us the engine mods he’d made on his truck than actually playing well. Strikes 1, 2, and 3, sir Wayne.

We were fortunate enough to get our friend Paul to play guitar with us, but only after Kevin had a drunken conversation with him about it. Paul was a novice guitar player, and rhythm at best, but that’s no discouragement – he was an excellent songwriter, and some of our best songs were penned by Paul. Luckily, during a run of the Rocky Horror Show at the Albany Civic Theater in Albany, in which Melody had a role and Kevin and I were asked to do sound reinforcement, we discovered Bill, who gladly stepped in and became our lead guitarist and another songwriter. I wrote instrumental music, and Melody wrote lyrics, so with the five of us together, we had quite the killer setup to write a lot of very good songs. And with three vocalists aboard, I considered us a modern Fleetwood Mac.

We hadn’t come up with a band name by that time, other than Barbara Boo-Boo, a joke that stemmed from Wayne’s ignorance. But since Kevin is missing a portion of one of his pinkies, we decided to call ourselves 49 Fingers. A nice little piece of alliteration that rolls off the tongue. Mostly, people just called us The Fingers.

With a full line-up, we starting writing lots of songs and eventually booked our first show on Melody’s birthday in 2005, at Platinum in Corvallis. What a great time! Some of the early song fodder for the band was Epiphora material, so it was interesting to see people dance to Voice of an Angel. Over the course of 2006, we recorded our first album at Bro2 Studios, and we had our CD release party in March of 2007. My parents were in town for the gig, and I think it was a very successful night.

The line-up of the Fingers changed through 2006 and 2007 a few times, and we had trouble keeping a guitarist on board, but the band had a magical quality to it. The songs were simply scrumptious and still hold their own today. I think they were so genre-less that they will be just as good 50 years from now. Maybe only 49, but you get the idea. The people who came to see us play live really loved our shows, and in 2011 we held a reunion show which was a blast. Maybe we’ll do another someday, but for now, you can hear the Fingers’ music here. You can hear other tunes and see lots of pictures at our website. We’ll always have Quo Vadimus as a timepiece to remember that at one point, there was a very kick-ass band in a small town in Oregon, and we wish you could have heard us roar.


  1. Suspicious Chihuahua says:

    I hear they were pretty good.

  2. Epiphora says:

    They were OK.

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