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SPIV – n. [British Slang] 1 one who uses their wits to avoid a real job. 2 a person without employment who makes money by various schemes and/or goes about smartly dressed and having a good time. 3 a rock 'n' roll star.
SPIV writes melody based, modern rock songs: power pop rock and roll with vocals and grooves infused with some wild mojo: a mix of white soul, punk anthems, bitter ballads and straight ahead pop rock and humor. SPIV's style is as diverse as it is creative, infusing solid musicianship with well crafted song-smithing. SPIV creates memorable melodies to deliver unpretentious social commentaries and songs about love and life's unpredictability, sometimes sincere and other times drenched in satire. SPIV albums are produced with the radio and short attention spans in mind, delivering short bursts; most are tight arrangements averaging three minutes. In a live setting, they free themselves to push the boundaries of musical exploration and improvisation.
Jonny Barber formed SPIV in 1997. The name was divined by bibliomancy; Jonny grabbed the biggest Webster's dictionary he could find, closed his eyes, opened the book, dropped his finger on the page, and upon reading the name upon which it fell, knew that the word 'spiv' (one who uses their wits to avoid a real job) was truly autobiographical. So far, Jonny has been a part of four distinct musical epochs. Born in San Francisco, his first words were "pretty lights" and his mom took banjo lessons from Jerry Garcia in Menlo Park; raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, playing in punk rock bands in the "SLC Punk" era; attending the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, from 1990-1993, where he played shows with Nirvana and Bikini Kill, among others, and the current "Mile High City" Denver, Colorado explosion, having played shows recently with other Denver up-and-comers Love .45 and The Fray (Epic).
Jonny's great, great, great grandfather, Charles Wesley Hubbard, was the first white settler of Las Vegas. His great grandma, Hortense Evans Nelson, sang for FDR at the dedication of the Hoover Dam. His mom, Phyllis Barber, was a Las Vegas Rhythmette, was recently inducted into the Nevada Writer's Hall of Fame for a Las Vegas memoir, "How I Got Cultured" and a collection of short stories with Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and others. She also saw Elvis' first show ever in Las Vegas at the New Frontier. And now The Velvet E sings as one fan called it, "Elvis doing Cash better than anyone!" Norm Clarke (Las Vegas Review Journal) said, "not only sounds like The King but couldn't resemble him more...and I'd give [him] two thumbs up!" He is also an ordained minister who can perform your wedding, and the music after the service.
SPIV is currently:
Jonny Barber: lead vocals and guitar
Squaredog (Chris Woodward): drums
SPIV first honed their sound playing the West Coast and Rocky Mountain regions. They recorded an E.P. at The Blasting Room in Ft.Collins, Colorado (The Descendents and All's studio) which led to the band being signed to Olympia, Washington's POP SWEATSHOP label in the Spring of 1999. Their debut album "By Definition" was released October 5, 1999 and received national (mostly college) airplay and glowing reviews. Their latest CD, "Don'tcha Know" (released February 25, 2003) features Ken Stringfellow on bass and keyboards (The Posies, Big Star, touring member of R.E.M.).
The song "Songs to Sway to" from Don'tcha Know was selected for Spin magazine's College Radio Show.
"Everybody's a Rock Star Tonight" was featured on RollingStone.com.
Denver stations rocking SPIV include The Mountain 99.5 FM, 106.5 FM KBPI, 93.3 FM KTCL, and Alice 105.9.
National reviews have included MTV.com, Associated Press, West Coast Performer, Rockpile, and many others.
E! Entertainment Television is using songs from the album for a runway model show.
"The greatest band in the world" - Bo Reynolds, Denver's Alice 105.9 FM
"[SPIV's] melodies rock and roll. Spiv song snippets stick in your head and tumble off your tongue for weeks after a single listen!" -Catalina Soltero, Denver's Westword
SPIV's music is available on iTunes, download it to your iPod today!
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