The Menace Band is a four-piece rock and roll dance band that has been playing clubs, festivals, corporate functions and private events since 1999. We approach each performance opportunity with the same set of goals…”have fun and leave ’em wanting for more.” We focus on the crowd and strive to keep them up and dancing.
The tunes we play are familiar classics from several decades that a variety of age groups will enjoy hearing and dancing to. We occasionally put our own twist on a song to give it a unique feel and so it expresses the energy of the band.
The Menace Band is comprised of a group of guys that hail from different career backgrounds but with similar musical interests. Please read on for more information about us.
Dennis Fieger, Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
I always wanted to play an instrument (drums or guitar) in my teens but the opportunity to learn never presented itself. Music has always been a strong influence in my life and over the years, artists like the Eagles, Creedence Clearwater, Clapton, Skynyrd, the Outlaws, helped to sustain an interest in learning to play someday. After 16 years of marriage and three children, at the age of 37, I decided it was “now or never.” I ventured into Portland and bought my first acoustic guitar. At the start I was fortunate to be friends with some very talented people who encouraged and influenced me to practice, practice, practice. Over the years I’ve been involved with several groups playing a variety of music genres. In 1998, I was between projects and decided it was time to put something new together. In July the first auditions for what would eventually become The Menace Band were held. Slowly the members were selected and we took our time to form our song list and make sure our arrangements were rock solid, and after the turn of the New Year we were ready to play. The band has remained pretty much the same at the core. Our current line-up feels very natural and the personality mix works well. As the band moves into its 19th year we are all still committed to the project and look forward to what lies ahead. I still feel Rick, Craig, Alan and I have something special as a band. Individually there are no virtuosos but collectively there is something unique going on here. I feel very fortunate to be playing music with this group of guys.
My story? Basically… life happened. The summer of 1990, while living in Los Angeles, I married, was accepted to graduate school, had a full-time job, and was playing in a band. Now, I’m normally pretty good at juggling multiple balls, but all this was a little much; so the band had to go… painful decision but it seemed the right one at the time. Fast-forward 12 years… no longer married, since relocated to Portland, and a Master’s degree in hand… a wild idea struck me: wouldn’t it be fun to dust off the ol’ drum kit and find some guys to jam with on occasion? Recall, I hadn’t touched my set in over a decade.
After placing an ad in Willamette Week (no, not one of those ads!) under the “Musicians” heading, the boys of The Menace Band responded and encouraged me to audition. Little did I know the other guys had similar stories to mine… had played before, gave it up, got back into it, or started a little later in life. Feeling hopelessly inadequate, I nevertheless accepted the audition offer anyway and decided to give it a go. To my delight, I was asked to join the band. That was nearly eight years ago (2003) and I am beyond thrilled to have re-discovered my thirst for making music. I also now have three new close friends.
A little about me: I am the proud dad of two beautiful girls, Kendall (13) and Sydney (11); and am remarried to my wonderfully supportive wife, Evelyn. My day job is the Human Resources Director for the DoubleTree Hotel, Portland (which allows for more than a few raised eyebrows when I tell my colleagues that I’m in a band! As well, while at gigs, when I chat with our fans and indicate I’m an “HR Director”). I am also a part-time professor, teaching an HR class at Portland State University. Other than shuttling my girls from one soccer practice/game to another, I squeeze in the occasional round of golf, and enjoy my sacrosanct Sunday evening basketball.
So, for anyone out there who is reluctant to reach out for what may seem to be an unattainable dream, take it from me… it’s never too late, and you can’t even fathom the new doors that will open for you. Simply stated, joining The Menace Band was one of the best decisions, and good fortunes, of my life.
I have played the same Pearl Export Series 5-piece since 1988, complimented with Zildjian cymbals (the absolute best!) and Pro Mark sticks (hickory 5B with nylon tips, if you must know…)
Well now, I hope to see you at one of our shows soon; TMB plays for the unbridled love of music, and we draw energy from our audiences. So c’mon out sometime, and bring your dancing shoes… we’re gonna kick your butt!
It all began long ago, in a land, far, far away…
I remember deciding to play the guitar in high school, back where I grew up, in Maryland. My best friend had just begun to play, and he wanted someone to “jam” with. The rest, as they say, is history.
My last band (while I was attending the University of Maryland) was a country-rock band and we were a frequent performer at the on-campus coffeehouse and in nightclubs in nearby Washington, D.C. That band decided to “go out on top” after opening an all day outdoor concert at American University. I then traded in my gear for a briefcase and I joined the corporate world.
After a twenty plus year break, my interest in playing again was rekindled after watching my brother-in-law’s band perform at a private party in Oceanside. I realized then how much I missed “making” music. After about a year of “remembering” how to play, a notice on the bulletin board at the Portland Music store in Beaverton caught my attention. That’s how I met the “Dennis” behind the “Menace”.
As far as gear goes, over the years I’ve tried various tube combo amps, but lately I’ve “settled” on a 50 watt rack mounted Mesa/Boogie Stereo 2 : Fifty Vacuum Tube power amp/pedalboard “rig” that’s easy on my back and provides unlimited tone flexibility. Because, after all, it’s all about the “tone”! I also have a 20 watt rack mounted Marshall EL84 20/20 Stereo Valve power amp for back-up (when it’s not at Inner Sound for repairs!).
My rack system contains a Furman M-8 power conditioner, a Rocktron HUSH Super C Stereo Noise Exterminator, a Korg DTR-1 digital tuner, and a Sennheiser EW300G2 wireless receiver (I hate to be “tethered”). I have a couple of pedalboards that I use depending on the amount of floor space on the stage. Stomp boxes include a Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb pedal, a Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive pedal, a Hardwire SC-2 Value Distortion pedal, a Plush Extreme Cream pedal, a Lovepedal Provalve pedal, and an Ibanez TS7 Tubescreamer pedal to name a few!
As for guitars, my “collection” (thirty-five and counting!) ranges from a 1961 Gibson Melodymaker to a 2009 Chrome Normandy Archtop Hardtail, with a few miscellaneous Fenders and a heaping supply of Paul Reed Smiths thrown in for good measure. I also build guitars in my “spare” time. My current “flavors of the weak” are a 2005 Vintage Natural 20th Anniversary PRS Swamp Ash Special (it goes to 11!) and a “customized” 2001 Pewter Eric Clapton Fender Stratocaster.
*Just The Guitar Player…
My interest in bass started long before I ever picked up the instrument. While some people will listen to a song and key in on the vocals, the drums or the dazzling guitar solo, I have always been drawn to the sound of the bass. Then, one day in 1978 I was hanging around with a guitar playing friend who was trying to learn the latest AC/DC song and wanted someone to play the bass part while he practiced. He handed me his bass, showed me where to put my fingers and I have been hooked ever since.
I joined my first “band” (and I use that term fairly loosely) about a year later. We were the prototypical garage band and we were not good. We knew about 6 songs but none of them all the way through, but we were rockin’s as best we could and it was FUN! I became the bassists in The Menace Band because the original bassist didn’t want to drive at night and didn’t like driving in the rain, (remember, this is Oregon!). The long standing joke is I got into the band because I was willing to drive on rainy nights!
There have been other bands over the years but by far The Menace Band is my longest stint with any band. I attribute this to a common purpose. We play because we like to get people up and moving and because it is still fun. As far as instruments go, there have been many basses over the years but if I was stranded on an island with only one it would be my Lakland 55-94. It just feels like home to me.
Hope to see you out and about….