At Sitwell's, The Newbees are on an electric high, jazzed-up from a Beatles tribute they just played over the weekend. All multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, they constantly share the spotlight. The anti-ego band. With luminous smiles all around, they agree: "Positive energy is the reward here."
Tim Seiwert (drums, vocals) grew up as "a gypsy." With a dark beard and black-rimmed glasses, he's rather quiet, taking it all in.
Misty Perholtz (guitar, vocals) is lit up, with watery blue eyes and a plaid hat, bursting with life and a caffeine buzz. An audio production major at Ohio University, she met Jeff Perholtz (guitar, keys, vocals) there.
Jeff is talkative, enjoying a full plate of eggs and bacon. He has performed, recorded and produced music for more than 15 years. After the two joined musical forces, they later married
Sharon Udoh (keys, vocals) also plays keys for energetic Pop/Alternative outfit Beau Alquizola Band, among others. Beaming, wearing a Seedy Seeds shirt, Sharon explains, "I play the piano well. I play guitar OK. I play bass badly. God, when he created me, he put all the good in the music part and left the rest dry."
In 1998, Jeff and Misty became full-time engineers, operating a record company, recording studio and mastering facility, producing more than 250 CDs and DVDs annually. They recently recorded The Turkeys' album, which is as clear and crisp as they come in productionland.
By 2004, The Newbees were noted as a group with harmonies, a range of songwriting skill, upbeat melodies and a retro influence.
"It is just timeless music, more timeless than retro," Jeff says. "So many people get hung up on a particular sound or format, but with four songwriters, that's hard to do."
Meshed together, The Newbees have a taste of Pop, old-time Rag, Swing and Jazz, with an added buoyant flair. With influences ranging from Ben Folds Five to Steely Dan, their new album, Amsterdam, includes a whopping 18 songs. A sampling of different styles, Amsterdam wanders around unapologetically, anchored by The Newbees' vibrant touch.
"Morning Sun," a Beatlesque Pop tune, moves into a rolling Grateful Dead sound, then circles back to the cheerful melody. "Molly" is a different animal altogether. The song bursts out with Swing and Jazz influences, female vocals and a classy, ageless feel. "Are You Kidding Me" comes across as a show tune. Well, a show tune on drugs.
Jeff says, "I feel like it starts off with this reckless, early '20s party feel."
Misty says it's about "the growing up process ... the knocks that you meet along the way. But there are still beautiful parts of it if you can sit back and look."
Tim says, "I'm bored with morose music. I'm a positive person and I'd rather my son be a positive person."
Here and now, The Newbees are taking time off to let the creative juices flow. Misty says, "It's the first time in four years that we're not booking as many gigs as we can. It frees us to create."
"We definitely have that problem of over-saturation," Jeff says. "It's better to focus on a few big shows.
As for The Newbees' future, Jeff says, "For us, it's about spreading our music as much as possible."
Smirking, Sharon adds, "At the risk of sounding like an arrogant bastard, we're a pretty great live band."
For more on THE NEWBEES (including show dates and sound clips), check thenewbees.com.