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The Upbeat: The Boa Constrictors

of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Formed: 2009 in Oxford

Sound: Blues

Members: Carl Caballero, vocals and harmonica (Grosse Pointe); Glenn James, guitar and vocals (Warren); Pete Berg, drums (Royal Oak); Steve Allen, bass and vocals (Oxford).

Influences: Sonny Boy Williamson, Paul Butterfield, the Blasters, Cajun music.

Day Jobs: Caballero is a logistics coordinator with Ford Motor Company. James is a printer and Berg is a computer analyst for Hewlett Packard. Allen is an animation and visualization designer for Nissan Corp.

What’s in a Name? Allen says the Boa Constrictors’ name was, at first, an acronym for the last names of the original band members. “That doesn’t apply anymore,” he says, “but we like the reptile influence, so we kept it.”

Old School and Proud of It: Boa Constrictors came together, according to Allen, “to play the classic blues in the proper way, not a lot of loud, clanging electric guitars but playing it with a simplicity that it was originally intended to be played with. Playing simple is not always easy, and that has been our focus from day one.”

Lost Comrade: The Boa Constrictors will be using this weekend’s Detroit Music Awards benefit performance to pay tribute to Steve Schwartz, the late guitarist of the Alligators, who died earlier this month. The two bands would fuse together occasionally as Reptile Dysfunction, and some of the Alligators’ surviving members will join the Boa Constrictors during the evening. “We’re going to dedicate at least part of a set to (Schwartz),” Allen says. “Steve was the first guy to step up to volunteer for a good, charitable cause, and I’m bitter because he won’t be there to enjoy it. He and I put this gig together just a few weeks ago, and unfortunately he won’t be able to share that.”

Hear ‘em: The Boa Constrictors, whose set is primarily covers at this point, have been writing their own material and plan on going into the studio during the spring of 2011 to record their first album, according to Allen.

See ‘em: The Boa Constrictors perform with members of the Alligators, the Greg Nagy Band and Lester’s Blues at the 11th Annual Detroit Music Awards Holiday Blues Showcase, 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, at Memphis Smoke, 100 S. Main St. Royal Oak. There is no cover, but donations will be collected to benefit the Detroit Music Awards Foundation. Call 248-543-4300 or visit www.detroitmusicawards.net.

Surf ‘em: www.theboaconstrictors.com.

Web Site: www.theboaconstrictors.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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