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The Menus... 27 Years And Still Flying High

CV: First off let me say, holy Jesus Mary Joseph and Judas too! Your January Bar Seventy One show gave us smile cramps for three days and our ears are still blissfully ringing. It was a sight to behold. All congrats and 30 slow reverent bows to everyone in the band and crew, seriously. I first saw the menus at Caddy’s (what a bar that was!) back in the early 90’s. I can truly testify that the band is better today than ever, even though I thought it couldn’t get any better than it was then.
The “new” bass player (Jimmi) brings a dynamic to the show like no other that has came before him. He plays great, he sings great, he’s got all the right moves and lest not forget that sexy mile wide smile! He fits the band like OJ fits his bloody black leather glove... perfectly. Everyone is at the top of their game and it really shows what pros you all are (crew included).
It’s been a long time since anyone has spewed the juice on what’s going on with the greatest rock & roll show east of Pismo Beach for all to read. So we thought what better way to kick off our new city wide all local live music magazine than a cover and an uncensored interview with the king of rock & roll party bands... The Menus. So without further ado... LET”S GO!

CV: What the hell has been going down all around and how the hell are you all!

Menus: As we cross the cusp into our 27th year, we are all doing surprisingly well. We are certainly anticipating this year being another phenomenal tour. As good, if not better than the previous ones. We’re just happy we’re still alive and kicking. Of course, our old man eyes make it quite impossible to read the map in our van. Praise the GPS!

CV: A band is a small business is the truest sense of the term but often overlooked, how many family members collectively have relied on The Menus’s income for family support over the last 27 years. What are some of the accomplishments the band has achieved with this income (homes, college, etc.).

Menus: Well, we all have children of varying ages who indeed do rely on our income. Tim and Jimmi Jam both have two. Brandon has one. Jimi has three and we believe Steve has about twenty to thirty. We lost count right before the Clinton administration. It is a common misconception that guys in bands are irresponsible. Of course that can be very accurate at times for sure but we all own our homes, have college funds for our kids still young enough to need them. We even have retirement plans and health insurance. Playing in a crazy traveling rock band is certainly fun, but after so many years, priorities will kick in.

CV: Your show is known for righteous rock & roll classics and outrageous antics and costumes. When did this ingenious irreverent invention initiate and how?

Menus: We have always felt that the reinvention of the visual aspect of our live shows is as important and as powerful as the performance of the songs themselves. Plus people laugh. The crazy costumes started somewhere in the mid ‘90s.

CV: Tell us about the new DVD! We were so amped from the buzz of the show we walked out without one. Now. we desperately need one to keep our Menus fix in check and are left sadly empty handed. Where can people see a preview?

Menus: The DVD was created about year ago. It is a 4 minute compilation of video clips from five or six live shows from various venues throughout our tour. The soundtrack is actually an original song we recorded many moons ago, which we have actually revived and are playing at our current gigs.CV: 27 years onstage as king of rock & roll party bands with very few member changes is insane, what’s the secret to your success?

Menus: We can attribute our incredible longevity and success to a number of aspects. We have a very strong work ethic as well as a dedicated sense of professionalism. We are also in an incredible alliance with everyone who sees us play live. They are so loyal. We don’t call them fans. We call them friends.

CV: What other side projects do the band members have goin on? We really dug Curly & The Cue Balls!
Menus: Depending on what time of year it is, The Menus gig keeps us all pretty busy. Especially during the summer. But we all dabble in other things. Tim has been pursuing an acting bug he caught this year. Brandon is an established writer and our new bass player, Jimmi, runs a remodeling business when he’s not traveling with us. Steve loves to sit in his bathroom and smoke cigarettes. And Jimi’s main passion is trying to confuse us on a regular basis. But the band has always been our main source of income.

CV: Tim, have you ever considered a career in stand up or even comedy yoga?

Menus: I think I’ll just stick to my night job.

CV: The Menus are the favorite band of countless thousands, what local bands do you guys dig?

Menus: We admire a lot of the local talent around here. And there is quite a bit. But luckily for us we don’t really get to see that many perform. That means we are working. Which is good.

CV: We absolutely love the many elements the “new” bass player Jimmi brings to the menus show! His vocals are awesome as well as his bass performance. When did he join your circus and how did he end up on the menu?
Menus: We picked up Jimmi Muench back in January of 2008 after our bass player of 10 years decided he had enough. “Jimmi Jam” as he is often referred to really clicked with us almost right from the start. But in all honesty, we really hired him because we heard his smile can get you out of tickets. We are very pleased he is under the big top with us.

CV: What advice do you have for all the novice bands out there hoping to establish a career in this crazy biz. Would you encourage your kids to pursue a music career?

Menus: Play great songs, stay polished, be on time, and make sure people will always remember your performance. And don’t be jerks. Our parents have always encouraged us in regard to anything we chose to do. If our children had the desire to pursue music, it is doubtful any of us would try to discourage it.

CV: Unlike most local bands, The Menus has never tried to promote originals or market themselves other than an awesome cover band? What’s the philosophy behind this unusual approach?

Menus: Actually, that is not exactly true. We tried like the dickens to be an original band back in the early to mid ‘90s. We at one point, had our live show repertoire at about 60 percent original material. We played countless showcases as well as flying in A&R reps from some major labels. Although there was indeed some moderate interest, things never panned out as we had hungrily anticipated. But no regrets. We’re making a living playing music.

CV: The 2010 Put-In-Bay shows are certain to be worth stealing from the kids college fund over, if that’s what it takes to get up there. We’d like to put together a Cincy bus trip for all who want to take the trip and party along the ride. Aside from those shows, what else can menus fans look forward to in 2010?

Menus: Hopefully a continuing barrage of high energy shows, an abundance of great music and preferably the best time you’ve ever had. Our two night stint at Kettering’s Fraze Pavilion during the summer is one we also consider a must see.

CV: You know we have to ask... 27 years has got to be a record and is certainly an amazing achievement, how long do you all feel you have it in you to keep on rockin’ and doin’ the voodoo you do so well?

Menus: As long as our bones don’t snap mid show and all the stages are wheelchair accessible, I think you can plan on continuing to see us for a while longer… But really, if people are still watching and enjoying us, doing what we love to do, how can we deprive them of that?

CV: Thank you all so much for taking the time to do this interview, making out first issue of Cincy Vibe the best band rag anyone has ever seen and of course for filling our brain with so many great Menus memories. We’re excited to see more Menus shows this year than we ever have before and we will do our damndest to make that Cincy to Put-In-Bay bus trip a reality! We love you all and we always will.

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I must admit the Menus are one of my favorite local bands. I've been going to the shows for going on 15 years now and I think they just keep getting better. The performance is really two (yes Two ) shows in one. One part awesome classic rock and roll and one part broadway inspired comic genius. No one has ever played this music with this idea in mind. Trust me when I say nobody does it better. If your looking for a great time, good laughs and you want to hear songs you can sing aloud at the top of your lungs to, the Menus are your meal ticket. These guys are stone cold rock solid musicians second to none. Frontman Tim Goldrainer must be the only singer/comedian to ever grace the stage this gracefully (and in a dress!) One of therunning shows in town. You simply have to see it to believe it. There really is no other band like them anywhere. Coupling classic rock songs such as, Vehicle (The Ides of March), She’s A Lady (Tom Jones), Rock the Casbah (The Clash), Crazy Little Thing Called
Love (Queen), And She Was (Talking Heads), King of The Road (Roger
Miller), Let’s Dance (Bowie), Let’s Go (The Cars), Cracklin Rosie (Neil
Diamond), Folsum Prison Blues (Johnny Cash) and many more classic tracks with the Menus own distinctive style. I’m certain Elvis would have never imagined this unique cover band would be belting out “Suspicious Minds” to a crazed crowd fiening for more. Many of the songs the band plays are now some of my favorite songs to here on the radio. I always picture the Menus singing them, it brings back good memories of the show and always makes me smile. I wish I could say “pick up a CD at the show” however, I can’t....they don’t record any (a dirty rotten shame guys...I’d pay for one!). The next time they play at Rhinos you better get in the crowd because it’s the only place you are going to see them on the Eastside. The cover is usually $7, and that’s a ridiculously small price to pay for a three hour mini-vacation from reality! Rhinos has a great stage and sound/lighting setup as well, making Rhinos the best place I’ve seen them play since Sleep Out Louies back in 1990.
You can catch the band all over the tri-state area. To see a calender of events look them up on the web at “themenus.org” it’s a cool site loaded with photos, info, a message board,storys from the road, history of the band and more. The Menus are more than Tim Goldrainer (vocals), Brandon Ryan (drums), Jimi Orwig (keyboards), Steve Chiodi (guitar) and John Castetter (bass), the Menus are a Cincinnati music legend, they’ve been playing here for over 20 years and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. P.S. Happy 42 Tim and congratulations on the new Goldrainer!


 

 

 

 

 

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