Spanky Van Dyke: Whipping it back to the SLC scene for primo project action

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After four years of the New York thing, J.Majesty front man Spanky Van Dyke is back in Salt Lake. He decided to come back on a whim.

“I was here visiting because my sister was graduating from the University of Utah,” Van Dyke said. “I ran into these guys (old band mates/friends) but I didn’t have time to record so I sent them songs I wrote. I flew out in June and rehearsed for a week and then recorded for a week.”

Those two weeks in June of ’03 were such a “positive experience” for Van Dyke that he short-circuited plans to form an East Coast based band with members of Jets to Brazil, Texas is the Reason, and the Promise Ring. The recording last June produced Spanky Van Dyke’s first album Capsized.

Van Dyke speaks of his time in J.Majesty with little regret.

“We toured Europe twice and I’m proud of the records we put out,” he said. He is also quick to point out lessons learned. “I found our what not to do and to do.”

Collaborating with talented musicians must have been on the “to do” list because his group is made up of some of the Salt Lake area’s more versatile players. Guitarist S.S. Rabb and drummer Daniel Day were in the long ago defunct Utah band the Gladbirds with Van Dyke. Day has bands like Cosm and Iceburn on his resume and is respected for his ability to cross genres with ease. Jeff Juip (currently in Gerald Music) handles keyboard duties. Another Iceburn veteran, Doug Wright, fills out the lineup. Wright plays bass and his time spent as jazz session player have earned him a positive reputation.

While Van Dyke respects the crew he works with, it isn’t their talent that excites him but the chemistry they share.

“The music flows naturally,” Van Dyke said.

The musical synergy and understanding have proven to be fertile ground for lyrics Van Dyke describes as semi-autobiographical.

“They are an amalgamation of true things that happened to me and fictional stuff,” he said, “…although one girl thinks the whole record is about her.”

Time and perseverance need to be consulted before Spanky Van Dyke can ruled a success. But if the crowd reaction at live shows is any indication, Van Dyke is already on his way.

“I want to do this professionally,” Spanky said. “…I don’t want to have to work in a restaurant anymore.”

A return trip to New York has been tentatively scheduled for sometime in August (they hope to have multiple California shows done before then). If they keep this up, Spanky won’t be waiting tables much longer.

SVD’s disc Capsized can be purchased at Orion’s Music and Wasatch Music.