The Solemines formed when roommates singer-guitarist Jim Gerke and guitarist-singer Tim Anthonise combined forces with drummer-singer Dan Lancelot and began rehearsing at a storage space in Tempe, Arizona in 1989. Inspired by the Tempe music scene‐and in particular the rising star of the Gin Blossoms‐the three set out to craft pop tunes that combined their penchant for Squeeze‐like vocals and harmonies with a stylistic guitar approach reminiscent of Jimmy Page & Johnny Marr, all in a Tempe bar‐band package. Most distinctive was their syncopation of Anthonise's guitar hooks with Lancelot's hi‐hat work, a groove so strong it was debatable the band required a bass player. Still, rock tradition prevailed, and the threesome signed on Art "Buddy" Edwards in January 1990, two weeks after his arrival to Tempe from Illinois.
With the addition of Edwards, gone were covers by Paul McCartney, and in came one by R.E.M. Out were mellower originals such as "Enlightened," and in were songs penned by Anthonise and Edwards, including the linked "Native Son," and rockers with more personal touches such as the Gerke penned "Never Pass Away." Still, the band boasted songwriters in every position, and vocalists in three. It wasn't long before they had an originals set they were proud of, and the foursome debuted their act in April of 1990 at a warehouse party somewhere in Tempe. Edwards wouldn't turn 21 until May 4th, which coincided nicely with the bands first bar gig at Mill Ave. staple Edsel's Attic in early May.
The Solemines played regularly 1-2 nights per week in Tempe and Scottsdale for about a year. They started by playing Tuesday nights at places like the Sun Club and Long Wong's on Mill, but they soon found themselves regularly leading off for the Gin Blossoms around town, which typically constituted weekend gigs in front of comparatively larger audiences of 150-250. This peaked when the band got its first weekend gig at Long Wong's, which required them to play three full sets. Despite these achievements, success paralleling that of the Gin Blossoms was not forthcoming, and the foursome decided to call it quits by June of 1991.
It's hard to find accolades about the Solemines that render the skill and impact of the band during its heyday, but three stand out. First, the band once led off for A Flock of Seagulls at Anderson's Fifth Estate in Scottsdale. (Incidentally, the Flock opened with "Space Age Love Song.") Second, the Gin Blossoms' manager Laura Liewen gave the band $600 to make a professional demo, conceivably with the intention of shopping the band to the industry. (Nothing materialized.) Third, various Solemines members went on to form acts such as Gloritone and the Refreshments‐both of which signed to major record labels. Still, the legacy of the band lies in its music. We hope you click on some of these links and enjoy what you find there. ~ Art Edwards
Solemines at Long Wongs, Tempe, AZ circa 1990