The story

The roots of Tweeter are very deep and entangled.  The original Tweeter began in 1996 when the four piece band “Four Front”, which consisted of Ted Kuhn, Pat McGill, John Chadwick, and Jason Maloney, invited Shawn Haley to replace Jason, their departing drummer, and Mike Jones to join as a fifth member to play keyboards. 

Mike, who started playing in the late sixties had been with several area bands such as “Bad Apple”, “Justus”, “Moon Dog”, “Euthanasia”, “Beam”, “Maxidyne”, and “Stargazer”, had just ended a ten year retirement (and a ten year marriage) a year earlier, and was playing solo and duo gigs in the area using a midi rig.  The solo acts were billed as “StarMan”, a nickname he acquired doing Karaoke a few years earlier referencing his job at StarTech Computer.  The duo performances featured area guitarists Bob Girard and Mike Parmer, who was the guitarist for the “Night Life” band.

Shawn, who started playing in 1979 in a duo with Pat McGrath, was not currently playing either.  He also played in area bands such as “Steel”, and “Blazing Star”.  He had done a stint with “Sudden Impact” from 1988 to 1994, which included bass player Mike Taberski, who had played with Mike Jones in “Maxadyne” and guitarist Ray Stoddard, who had played with Mike both in “Maxidyne” and it’s successor band “Stargazer”.  Taberski left the band to travel around 1992 and was replaced with Nick Cutry.  Shawn left the band in 1994 after breaking his leg.  He started playing again in 1995 with “Take It or Leave It”.  He also hosted a Wednesday night jam session at Massena Springs Tavern with “Phil ‘n’ the Blanks” which included John Chadwick, the bass player of “Four Front”.

Mike and Shawn had discussed trying to form a band previously, and when they were both invited to join the same band, it seemed like the thing to do.  “Four Front” was the house band every Friday night at Picky’s Friendly Tavern, but now as a five piece band they decided they needed a new name.  They started traveling and playing at different bars on Saturday nights.  One Sunday, while practicing at the Outback tavern after playing there the previous night, the band members were sitting around brainstorming name ideas.  The Bear radio station, who had done several remote broadcasts at the bar, was playing (as usual) in the background.  Pat McGill, the lead singer for the band, said “how about Tweeter and the Monkey Man”?  (The title of a song originally performed by the “Traveling Wilburys” and later remade by the “Headstones”)  A silence filled the room as everyone looked at Pat wondering where this absurd name came from and why we might ever consider naming the band something so bizarre.  After a few moments, a song on the radio broke the silence, and that song was, “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” (the Headstones version).  Believing it to be some sort of omen, the band decided to assume the name.
 

The band continued the rest of the year playing every Friday night at Picky’s Friendly Tavern and traveling to another location for Saturday night.  They were later offered the opportunity to play the entire weekend at the “Friendly” and opted to take the deal.  They played every weekend there until 1998, when John, Ted, and Shawn left for Virginia to do some recording.  The three then decided to stay in New York city and seek musical opportunities with the promoter that hired them to do the recording in Virginia.  Pat and Mike were without a band, but the job at the Friendly remained.  Pat decided to quit, and Mike struggled to put something together each weekend.  He started to work with Matt Gardner, formerly of “0 to Zero”, and they often times played as a duo utilizing the Midi setup.  After a few weeks, Shawn returned home and was ready to play again.  Lacking a bass player, the band had several fill-in’s, but finally Ed Lauzon from Cornwall, also formerly of “0 to Zero” came on board and “Tweeter 2” was born.  The band stayed settled for a few months, but after a while Matt decided to leave the band.  There were several negotiations to keep him on board, but none were successful.  At the same time however, the five year house band from Nadeau’s, “Night Life”, was also disbanding and guitarist Mike Parmer joined what then became “Tweeter 3”.  The band again seemed to have some stability.  There were a few nights that Ed was not able to play and on almost no notice Nick Cutry, who had played with Shawn in “Sudden Impact”, filled in with the band.  It was not long before Mike Parmer decided (for personal reasons that may have involved his wife, and on very short notice) to leave.  Again the band worked with fill in musicians who included Jay Patrick, Todd Truax, Bill Tracy (Tracer), and Lee Brothers.  The search for a permanent member continued until Marc Muir, also from Cornwall, decided to join the band which became called “Tweeter 4”.  Marc, an incredibly talented left handed guitarist, stayed with the band until December of 1999.  Ed also announced that he would be leaving at the end of the year, and Lee Brothers took over at Guitar until then.  The last “Tweeter 4” performance was the Y2K New Year’s Eve at Coach’s Corner in Massena with Lee on Guitar.  Only Shawn and Mike again remained, and the band was defunct for about a month while they looked for available musicians.  They were soon contacted by Marc, who wanted to return to the band, and lacking a bass player, Marc brought with him Tony Wollanger, who he had played with for his short term away from “Tweeter”.  The band settled down for a while as “Tweeter 5”, but things never really seemed to “click”, and in September of 2000, Marc and Tony both announced they were leaving the band.  At this time the former guitarist Mike Parmer was playing with a reformed “Night Life” band with Bill Tracy (Tracer) on bass in place of the retired Chip Brooks.  Looking for a change, Both Mike Parmer and Bill decided to join with Mike Jones and Shawn and “Tweeter 6” was born.  Soon after the band began to play, Marc called and said if at all possible, he would be interested in returning to the band.  Although doubtful of how to pay everybody, the band decided they would at least give a try to a fifth member.  Within weeks however, Mike Parmer and Tracer announced they would be leaving to join with Chip Brooks, emerging from retirement to reform what was the “Night Life” band with Tracer playing guitar in place of Jerry Morin called “Undun.  This version of Tweeter however continued to perform for several weeks as a five piece (humorously referred to as “Tweeter 6.5”) because it was so much fun and sounded so great, and Mike and Bill’s new band had a very light schedule.
 

Finally in January of 2001, Ed Lauzon decided to return, at least for a while, and Tweeter 4 was again on the road.  Ed brought back with him the influx of numerous “hot off the press” tunes, and the band began a full schedule of appearances (the “Ache to Tweet” tour).  On April 28th, at Charlie’s in Massena, Ed informed the band that he would again be leaving.  Although he was on the fence about leaving for a while, Ed played his last performance with “Tweeter 4” on May 26th, at CJ’s in Winthrop.  With a surprise announcement of his own, Marc also left the band the same weekend.  Again Shawn and Mike were looking for players to play the engagements that were already booked.
 

For two weeks, Bill “Tracer” Tracey and Chip Brooks filled in with the band ceremoniously named Tweeter 7.  Tracer, who played bass for Tweeter 6, came in playing lead guitar.  Chip, who was playing with Tracer and Mike Parmer (also former Tweeter 3 and 6 member) in “Undone” filled in on bass.
 

The next week Tracer and Chip were not available.  Luckily Vinnie Salonick, Rich Russell and Jay Russell of “Misled Ed” had the weekend off.  The three sat in with Tweeter at Georges and they worked well together so there was no question that we would see the first appearance of Tweeter 8.  They played at Georges on June 16th and after Misled Ed lost their drummer, reappeared for their booking the following weekend, then that Saturday at CJ’s.  Two weeks later the group did three packed performances in a row.  Springs, CJ’s, and back to Springs for an all day Sunday jamboree.  The band sounded great and the crowd loved them.
 

There was discussion that the five piece version of Tweeter might be around for a while even though the band barely made enough to support the four piece version, but the appearance of three time band deserter Marc and his longing to rejoin his musical brothers Shawn and Mike left the two original Tweeters unable to turn their back on him.  Needing a singing bass player, the three asked Vinnie if he would be interested in the job.  After days of agonizing, he finally decided he would make the move.  This was the beginning of yet one more version of the band and keeping with tradition was named Tweeter 9.
 

Tweeter 9 continued a fairly heavy schedule, but the band agreed to take one night every other weekend off to give Marc and Mike a chance to spend some time with their kids.  The band had always toyed with bits and pieces of original material, but in January of 2002, Marc, after purchasing a small digital recording system, introduced some of the tunes he had written.  They decided the material was good enough for the group to record, and a deal was struck with Mike “Scruffy” Scriminger of Fourth Coast Productions to record in his studio and in March, the band started laying down tracks for the first original Tweeter CD.  It was a hard schedule, but the band pushed on, working in the studio just about every week for almost four months.  In July, Scruffy had to move his apartment into the area that the studio occupied.  The original plan was to have the CD finished by that time, but setbacks and schedule conflicts caused things to be way behind schedule, and in August, work on the project ended.  There was also internal disagreement in the band about scheduling and money, and Vinnie informed the band that he would be leaving at the end of August.  At this same time, immigration problems at the border kept Marc from entering the country for a couple of weekends.  At this point everything seemed to fall apart.  Marc also decided to leave the band.  Bill “TracerTracy played as bass player, taking Vinnie’s place for a couple of weeks.  There were discussions and rumors that Ed Lauzon would return to the group for at least a short time, but his girlfriend threatened to leave the former T4 bassist if he were to start playing again, so Ed decided to pass up the opportunity.  The last weekend they were to perform, Marc was sick and Tracer took over as lead guitar and Vinnie came back on bass.  The last T9 show was Friday Sep 13th 2002, and the last Tweeter show for some time (nicknamed Tweeter 8.5) was on Saturday Sep 21st 2002 at the Pirate’s Pub in Moira.
 

After nearly six years of performing, there were no more Tweeter shows scheduled.  Many discussions and ideas changed hands, but nothing became concrete.  Vinnie and Shawn formed a band with Rich Russel and original “Tweeter 1” member Pat McGill called “Stereo Type”.  There were negotiations with many area musicians in an effort to assemble another version of “Tweeter”, but nothing seemed to fall together.  In June of 2003, Ed Lauzon decided to begin playing again.  He and Mike Jones began rehearsals with Bill “TracerTracy on guitar and fresh out of retirement Rick Nadeau on drums.  Practice time was sparse and soon Tracer left the band (for personal reasons which we are all sure involved his fiancé).  There were more discussions with area guitarists, but nothing panned out.  After a few weeks however, Tracer decided to return to the band, at what would have been the first reformed rehearsal however, Rick announced that he would have to leave to pursue employment opportunities that would not be compatible with the band schedule.  Again Tweeter was missing a piece and the search began for a new drummer.

Wednesday, October 1st.  A sad day when former Tweeter guitarist and good friend Mike Parmer passed away.  He was in a motorcycle accident the previous Friday, and to spite reports on Tuesday that he was doing well, Wednesday did not bring such good news when we heard that he was gone.  We will miss his ever present smile and good nature, and of course his astounding musicianship.  We have made a Mike Parmer memorial page at:

http://www.tweeterandthemonkeyman.com/photogallery/mikieparmer/mikieparmer.htm

We all miss you my friend.
 

After several long discussions and changed decisions, Shawn Haley, original Tweeter drummer, decided to rejoin the band.  They started rehearsing in early October with a plan to be performing by November.  This plan was upset when Bill “Tracer” Tracy informed the band that his plans were to leave as soon as “Undun” was ready to play again.  This started the boys looking for another guitarist to work with that would plan on staying for a while.  They began rehearsal with a Cornwall guitarist Denis Benoit.  His personality was great and he fit in with the boys socially, but musically they just couldn’t seem to bring it together.  Soon after the group was contacted by Terry Fisher, former guitarist and lead singer for “Wickerman”.  He had taken some time off after the breakup of his former band but was about ready to start playing again.  After a few rehearsals,  Terry joined the band and they began bookings.  A few of their shows included original lead singer Pat McGill.  After a few weeks on the road however, Terry decided to return to the power trio environment and put “Wickerman” back together.

By this time Bill “Tracer” Tracy had found that “Undun” wasn’t going to back together any time soon and he began lobbying to return to the band.  Finding that the five piece ensemble seemed to work pretty well, they brought Tracer back into the band as lead guitar and Pat in as lead singer.  With things relatively stable for a while, the band began booking.  Well received by the bars and nightclubs, the group began a rigorous schedule performing two and three nights a week for several months.  Things were not wine and roses in the band however.  Personality conflicts between Pat and the rest of the band took some of the fun out of playing.  After many meetings and discussions brought only temporary resolve, it was finally decided that Pat would go his separate way from the rest of the boys.
 

The band performed for a while as a 4 piece, but because Bill and Shawn didn’t sing much, Ed and Mike were forced into doing all of the vocals.  This made for a long tough night for both of them and they decided to start looking for another vocalist.  After auditioning a few singers, Rodney Rivette from Cornwall talked to Ed about joining the band and was hired in September of 2004 to make version 12 of the ensemble.

Things went along smooth for a while, but soon Bill found that there might be a chance to reunite with the members of his old group “Undun” and again tendered his resignation.  It was great timing that Pat McGrath, who was in Shawn’s first band, moved back into the area.  It didn’t take long to see that Pat worked well with the rest of the group and, to spite a small amount of apprehension about the next version number, Tweeter 13 was launched and debuted on January 28, 2005.

With some tension in this version, and to spite meetings and discussions, Pat McGrath announced that he would be leaving the band.  Tweeter 13 played it’s final night on August 20th at Legends and Spirits Tavern in Hogansburg.

Ed had been working part time with an acoustic three piece band and moved into that full time.  Mike, Shawn, and Pat decided to stay together and head in a little different direction musically.  After several auditions, they asked Matt Gardner to join the band on guitar with Pat playing bass.  They were rushed into getting ready for the final annual Massena Springs Tavern Halloween Party, and they gave what would be the one and only performance of Tweeter 14 on October 29th, 2005.  Matt and the rest of the boys parted ways shortly after this show.

Again Tweeter was looking for players.  Finally in January of 2006 they joined with former Tweeter member Bill Tracy and bass player Chris Cole from Ten Cent Green and began rehearsal for Tweeter 15.  Only three weeks into rehearsal, Chris decided he wanted to stay with his current band.  The group decided that Pat would move back to bass and they would move on as a four piece with Bill on guitar.  Since they never played a show with Chris, the band stayed Tweeter 15.  They learned very difficult material like, Kansas, Styx, Rush, but the crowd still wanted the old standards like Mustang Salley and Brown Eyed Girl.  They continued playing until April of 2007, when Pat, faced with family issues, decided to close his music store and move back to California.  Tweeter played it last show at Charlies Tavern in Massena.  A short time after the band broke up, Charlies closed too.  It was the end of an era...

Everybody went their separate ways.  Pat back to Cali where he started playing with a couple tribute bands,  Tracer got back with Chip and John to form "Unfinished Business",  Shawn went back to "Southern Impact", and Mike retired from playing to concentrate on his family, and developing television station server for small broadcasters.  They would usually get a group of previous members together to play the MDA benefit at Delmar Tavern in Massena on St. Patricks day every year, but that was all that was heard from Tweeter. 

Nothing much happened until 2014, when Mike and his fiance' broke up, Tracer and his fiance' broke up, and Shawn left his band do to a broken hand.  With the three of them not playing, a few conversations with Ed in Canada sparked some interest in bringing the band back together.  With mounds of paperwork to deal with, Ed was finally approved on a Visa to perform in the states again.  With St. Patricks day just around the corner, the band thought it would be a perfect time to put together a show and see what would happen.  A quick look back at the history confirmed that Tweeter 16 was born.

That’s where we are now.  What will happen next?  We wish we knew.  Hang around and find out with us…

 EXIT