MOST OF the time, bands form in a haphazard way and hope for the best. Usually, a couple of friends get together and jam a little, one of them knows this drummer, and suddenly you have a group.
Sometimes it works out great. More often, the band is pretty good but the players don't quite mesh. Some bands go through years of personnel changes before they find something that really works. Most don't survive that long.
Local manager and promoter Frank Michaels was acutely aware of the difficulty of getting a good band together, but decided to do something about it. Since he knew most of the musicians in the area, he put together a band himself.
The clean-cut pop rock group, called Sky High, will be unveiled tonight at G. Williker's. The band will play the same venue Saturday night and Josie's Nickelbrook next weekend.
Sky High's hand-picked members are Todd Chapman on rhythm guitar, P.J. Lorenzo on lead guitar, Mike Shill on bass, Chris Marziale on keyboard and Lloyd Soderholm on drums. Chapman and Lorenzo are the lead singers.
The band is doing mostly cover tunes, but will gradually move to more original music. All of their music features solid vocals with strong harmonies.
Michaels aims to make Sky High one of the top pop-rock groups in the area, and says there is no reason to expect anything less -- not only is the band talented, but Michaels has the only management company in the area sponsored by Pepsi-Cola.
The other end of the spectrum is where the Williamsville Mountain Pig Band -- a considerably more traditional group -- plays. The five-piece acoustic band features a wide variety of bluegrass music mixed with splashes of swing, rock 'n' roll, something they call "newgrass" and plenty of originals.
The Pigs, as they like to be called, are: Mike Bellman, guitar; Bill Kraker, banjo; David Ruch, mandolin; Rolf Witt on fiddle, and Kevin O'Brien on acoustic bass. Bellman, Kraker and Ruch share the vocals.
The band members come from well-established local bands, including the Wild Knights, Sonic Gardens and Funkyfoke. That background and the band's fresh approach to its music have helped the group to build a strong and growing following. They will play Saturday at the Essex Street Pub.
More club shows: At the Cabaret on Franklin Street tonight, you can hear David Kane and Them Jazzbeards, a group that is truly doing something a little different. The group creates a '90s version of an East Coast coffeehouse scene. The image is sunglasses, cigarettes, black clothes and cool acoustic music.
Although that may all sound pretty old-hat, Them Jazzbeards has an original sound with strong melodic lines. The core of the band is Mary Ramsey on viola, Jack Prybyiski on sax, Robert Scarafia on bass, B. Moore on bongos and Greg Gizzi on drums. Band leader David Kane completes the scene as the supreme hipster on the beat.
On Saturday, the Cabaret presents the Quakes. This band performs a kind of music they call "psychobilly madness." The idea must be catching on -- the Quakes were invited to headline the International Psychobilly Weekend in Hemsby, England -- but it's a sound you have to hear for yourself.
Tonight, a new version of the Electras -- who describe their music as "rockin' the blues" -- take the stage at Marshall's. Original members Don Rutter and Phil Smith on guitar and vocals are joined by lead vocalist Danny Gambino.
The original rock group Paisley Tease will throw a tape release party on Saturday at Marshall's. The group, led by songwriter, singer and guitarist Pat Kane, includes bassist Annette Kane, lead vocalist Tina Peel and Al Conrad on rhythm guitar.
On Wednesday, Marshall's brings in a Colorado band called Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The three-piece group is led by Todd Mohr on guitar, sax, harmonica, piano and lead vocals. Brian Nevin handles percussion and Rob Squires plays bass. The band's sound is a mixture of rock, blues and country.
Early in 1989, the Monsters released their first album, "Another Mayberry." The album was well-received and is still selling well. The second album, "Midnight Radio," will be released later this summer.
On Thursday, Beat City's Kathy Moriarty and Sue Kincaid will appear on Marshall's stage with bassman John Carusso of Emery Nash. The trio will be performing Moriarty's songs and other Beat City favorites.
Multi-Jazz Dimension returns to Shooters for three hours of music starting at noon on Sunday. The lineup this time has Rey Scott sitting in on saxes and flute, joining regulars Greg Millar on guitar, Greg Piontek on bass and leader John Bacon Jr. on drums. The band will play again (same time, same place) next Sunday.
Guitar virtuoso Steve Morse, who has played with the Dixie Dregs and Kansas, will take the stage at Sinbads at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Morse is equally at home with progressive rock hybrids, intricate classical guitar work and various folk traditions. He places a strong emphasis on precision and imagination, which is documented through his extensive recording.
Morse has made six albums with the Dregs (originally known as the Dixie Dregs) and two albums with the group Kansas. He also recorded two albums with his own group. His latest efforts have concentrated on a solo project called "High Tension Wires."
Morse's skill earned him a spot in Guitar Player's "Gallery of Greats" in 1986. In addition to performing, he conducts guitar clinics throughout the country.