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The Chaz Interviews - July, 2003
by Chaz and the MP3.com artists

It was the summer of 2003 and MP3.com's active message board community was heating up as well -- with flame wars. Along came Chaz Fanaro, looking to cut through the negative noise. He began to interview many of the musical artists who pitched a tent on the popular indie music forum. Others pitched in with questions of their own. July of 2003 could have turned ugly, but thanks to the interviews blanketing the forum, it became a home for insight and mutual respect. The forums were wiped clean by Vivendi in December, 2003. The interviews live on.

ONOFFON

Artist description
ONOFFON is totally diverse alternative jazz rock from Los Angeles

Music Style
Alternative jazz rock blues

Musical Influences
Harry Babasin, Edgar Winter, Aaron Copeland, Charlie Parker, Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan

Similar Artists
These are groups we've been compared to: Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Brand X, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Red Hot Chile Peppers

Artist History
We met in late '96 and three months later, we recorded "Surrender Now", released in 1997. We've spent the majority of '98 recording our second CD, "Your Mind", released early 1999. We are 100% independent - we produce EVERYTHING ourselves, out of our own pockets, making ALL creative decisions. Both CDs are available at CDBaby.com and Amazon.com as well as many other sites all over the internet.

Group Members
The nucleus of ONOFFON is Don Lake - guitars, harmonica, vocals, Von Babasin - bass, keyboards, vocals, and Dave Goode - drums and percussion. We are joined on many tunes by excellent guest musicians, including featured saxman, Glen Garrett.

Instruments
guitar, harmonica, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion

Albums
Surrender Now (1997), Your Mind (1999)

Press Reviews
We have reviews from around the world on both CDs on our homepage at
http://www.onoffon.com/, plus we are promoted from over 1,500 websites and counting that
review, stream audio and/or video, distribute, or broadcast our music. Here's a sample:
JamBands.com Review http://www.jambands.com/june00/monthly/cdreviews.html#cd14 "Your Mind" -
ONOFFON NFN31922 review by Erica Lynn Gruenberg "Cluttered. Weird. A smorgasbord of
splendiferous sounds. Absolute perfection. I absolutely love it when I am surprised by a
piece of music when I hear it for the first time. I love it even more when it takes multiple
listens to even figure out what instruments are being played. Does this sound like a
familiar sentiment? If so, "Your Mind" may be just what is needed to pok e at, well, your
mind. The very first track, fittingly entitled Your Mind starts off with a loud count-off,
and then what I have come to figure out is probably someone running their hands or some sort
of utility on the actual strings that are inside a pi ano. Stunning. Then, some screams here
and there, and chanting of the words "your mind" over and over again. And then, a blast of
vocals and instrumentation that honestly made my heart jump. This is a strong drug of a
band. And ONOFFON are a talented bun ch. Shadowglass features a flute part that gives an
incredible tribal feel to an already sensuous masterpiece. Perhaps a soprano saxophone is
what brings chills up and down your spine. Look no further than Mardi Gras, an instrumental
tune led by Glen Garrett on saxophone. The percussion on this particular track is absolutely
top-notch. It truly is the essence of the festival, as it is a portrait in melodic symmetry
with Latin influence. ONOFFON indicates that Ocean's Cry would be "...a stark contrast of
surrealistic hues and delicate gradiations reminding one of a dream not yet realized."
Outstanding vocals and an almost Santana-esque feel that gradually builds from pretty and
melodic to somewhat raging proves this to be true to light. ONOFFON is an hone st, creative
band that is not afraid to stand out from the norm. What a good idea... Perhaps Bebe's Song
may be right up your alley. Yes, ONOFFON is not only creative, but they certainly like to
make music from multiple genres and forms. A more jazzy tune, Bebe's Song is a love story of
sorts that sounds like it could be performed on Broadway. Whereas Opus is a simple song
featuring multiple guitar talents and even some occasional background rainstorm sounds that
left this reviewer in tears. All in all, one cannot go wrong by checking out ONOFFON. In
fact, I would stand to believe that letting this one slip through your fingers would be a
mistake you'd learn to regret. Beautiful music does exist, and people are still making
it..." (

Additional Info
Our website also has a Quicktime music video excerpt

Location
Studio City, CA - USA

Chaz the Spaz
ONOFFON is one of the more successful members of this community in the music world. What benefit do you see in having your music on line?

Von from ONOFFON
The internet is the only medium that allows an independent group to credibly promote their music in the constraints of a somewhat affordable budget. Of course, if you have the money, you can dominate cyberspace also, but, with a very small promotion budget, I've managed to put us on 2,500 to 3,000 websites around the world. (I really have to update the number of sites in our info above) With groups I've been involved with throughout my life, I've always been limited to the number of contacts our manager or band representative could actually get our music in the hands of. That is no longer a problem for us. If you know to look for us - we can be found.
That's half the battle right there...

Chaz the Spaz
Von, how did you know to go to my artist messageboard, even before I started the INTERVIEW threads on the main board?

Von from ONOFFON
I closely monitor my 'station links' page and, lo and behold, a new station appeared there -
The Interrogation Station
I think it was originally the interview station but has since changed. Anyway, I clicked the link that said Interview Fanaro and there you have it.
Timing is everything...

Chaz the Spaz
You say you monitor your station's now playing page, after I passed 40 stations I lost count. Do you know how many stations your on? And how did you find out?

Von from ONOFFON
You say you monitor your station's now playing page, after I passed 40 stations I lost count. Do you know how many stations your on? And how did you find out?
It's a painstakingly slow process. Every month, the system resets itself. Today, for instance, has stations on my top 40 page that I haven't seen for months. As more stations cycle into the top 40, I compile a list adding new stations as I see them.
As of today, our total list of stations over the last year totals 339, as close as I can figure.
I have a comprehensive list but it's too large to post...

manicd-
Being somewhat of a bass player myself I cannot help but hear the obvious quality of the bass sound you achieve. What is does your bass rig consist of?

Von from ONOFFON
On all of our studio work, the sound you hear is pure Alembic. I have a '82 stereo Alembic that I plug straight into the board. Every engineer I've ever worked with immediately says, "Don't touch a thing!" It's a great bass. The only recording I didn't use the Alembic was "Wet Legs" - there I play my five-string fretless Yamaha with Bartolini pickups I had installed - for that wet legs sound.
My live rig consists of two Eden cabinets - a single 15" and a four-10" - powered by a Galien-Kruger 800 RB with a built in crossover.

manicd-
"I have a '82 stereo Alembic that I plug straight into the board."
OH MAN do I envy you. The Alembic was my goal to achieve as a bass player when I was playing in bands. I wanted one so bad after listening to Stanley Clarke. He was a hero of mine at that time. But with a price tag of two grand at that time was impossible...still is...but back then that was like five grand today. So I settled for a Ric 4001 Fretless and that's what I played for years.
So you basically plug in direct which makes total sense with the bass you own. But do you effect it at all? Do you use any bass effects in your live show?

Larree*
Hi Von! Happee 4th! We touched on this topic at the last meeting of the No-Talent Movement. What, do you feel, is the future of jazz music in America and the world?
What, do you feel, is the future of jazz music in America and the world?

Von from ONOFFON
But seriously, I'm starting to see a renaissance in music. I truly believe people are getting fed up with the technology and realizing musicianship is where it's at. If not for real players, where would these guys get their samples?
Jazz is the 'classical' music of our times and will be the culture that lives generations from now - far beyond the pop stars and one-hit wonders.
As far as one direction for jazz - there is none. Diversity is where it's going - the more diverse the better. And I intend to contribute to that, both musically and with the museum.
Happy 4th to you too, Larree - I hope you have a great time, wherever you go!!!!
"So I settled for a Ric 4001 Fretless and that's what I played for years."
BTW - pretty nice bass to 'settle' for...

Chaz the Spaz
Von, what's the latest with the Jazz Museum?

Von from ONOFFON
Big meeting next week...
I am cautiously optimistic, but this company seems like a good fit.
I think they see the long term vision...
Think good thoughts and send me all the positive energy you can muster...

Chaz the Spaz
What are your goals and what do you have planned for your music?

Von from ONOFFON
The only real goal I have for our music is that we continue to strive to be better. I've done everything I can on my budget to get our music out there, promotionally speaking. I just want us to push the envelope and be true to our artistic integrity.
As for the museum/broadcast facility, I want it to be a bastion of excellent musicianship. A place that celebrates instrumental virtuosity and accentuates creativity and innovation at the highest level. To honor those players from the past that will inspire new players in the future.
That's pretty much it...

Chaz the Spaz
Practice makes perfect, do you practice?

Von from ONOFFON
At least an hour each day, unless I'm on vacation...
Keeping the live show sharp - writing new material - keeping my fundamentals on...it all works together.

MORE INTERVIEWS WITH CHAZ

  -- Rick Munarriz

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