Rob Oxford: Welcome - The Good Ideas

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Max Beene (gtr.-vocals))
and Jack Smevik (keyboards-vocals)
Story and Photos By Rob Oxford

Will you please welcome "The Good Ideas"

Considering that names like Ian, Cameron, Jordan, Emily, Taylor and Meagan have been extremely popular over the past several years, chances are better than good that if you were successful in naming your children Jack Flash (his real name) and Ruby Tuesday (her real name) you've got at least two things going for you, a true love of rock-n-roll and a wife that literally... ROCKS!

Such is the case for my friend Ron Smevik. Ron is a local musician who plays in several tribute bands. 

He's also affectionately referred to as the "Reuben Kincaid" of the "The Good Ideas" and those are indeed Ron's children's birth names... and his wife truly does ROCK!

So do The Good Ideas.

Who are The Good Ideas or better yet, who is Reuben Kincaid?

Any child of the 70's will undoubtedly recall the befuddled manager of the musical Partridge Family played by actor Dave Madden. 

Noah Bender (drums and cool hair)
Reuben had his work cut out for him booking gigs for the family band, providing a male influence for the fatherless children and especially keeping young Danny Partridge out of the constant trouble in which he would inevitably find himself.

Ron doesn't face quite as many challenges with The Good Ideas, but if I were him, I'd keep my eye on that bass player of his. 

A group of 6th and 7th grade musicians from Shoreline have started more than what I would call a "garage band". 

Together for about a year now, the group was rehearsing for an upcoming gig at the Historic Everett Theatre and I decided I needed to do a little investigative journalism. 

Afterall, I've been trying to get my band booked into the "Historic E" for months now. How did a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds get a booking there before me?

One of my first questions for the group was, "Do the chicks at school dig you guys?" (Which by the way, really shows my age).

I was surprised by the answer.

Max Beene (under the watchful eye
of Ron Smevik)
It appears that at this point not many of their classmates know about The Good Ideas and that in itself is not such a bad thing. It tells me that these kids are more interested in walking the walk, rather than just talking the talk. 

All of the members of the band are currently in the Jazz Ensemble at school and most play several different instruments. 

Drummer Noah Bender and guitarist Max Beene have been students at Seattle's School of Rock for some time and I would contend the money their parents have invested so far has been well spent.

When asked about their musical influences, clutching his silver strat lead guitarist Max, the only 6th Grader in the group, mentioned several of the masters, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and U2's The Edge. Obviously this kid has great taste in music. 

What struck me most about The Good Ideas was the confidence they exhibited. Noah with his massive head of red hair that can be seen from the worst seat in any auditorium. Max and his "Buddy Holly glasses" that make him look even more serious about rock-n-roll than he is already. 

"Jumpin'" Jack Flash Smevik who's keyboard setup rivals that of Deep Purple's Jon Lord and Ronan Connell, in his trademark red fez, plucking the bass sans plectrum. 

Ronan fits in quite nicely as the group's "Danny Partridge," providing comedy relief while holding down the bottom end of the rhythm section. 

Ronan Connell (bass-vocals)
When asked who was "the leader of the group," I believe it was Ronan's hand that went up first. But truth be told, they all seem to have a voice in this burgeoning 4 piece.

Not only do these kids play their conventional "rock" instruments, but cumulatively they play cello, trombone, sax, trumpet, piano, banjo and most likely anything else one would care to put in their hands. Several of the members also play in their school's orchestra, which means two periods of music per day.

One might be curious as to how these future rock stars are doing in school? What kind of grades are they bringing home? I can confidently tell you that most are averaging A's and B's, but like any other middle school student, there are a few subjects that need extra attention. Music, however, is not one of them.

Drummer Noah Bender was quick to tell me about a project he did for one of his classes that revealed "those students who learn a musical instrument before the age of 7, experience better brain development." I'm thinking for that, his teacher probably gave him an A.

When I arrived at Studio Smevik, the band had just finished rehearsal but agreed to perform a couple more songs for the old geezer with the pen and paper. After Tom Petty's "The Apartment Song," Vivian Zittle, The Good Ideas "5th Beatle", sat in on the drums for another Petty classic "Change Of Heart". A charismatic young lady, Vivian mentioned Peter Criss of KISS as being one of her influences which made me smile as Peter is unquestionably the most approachable of the four legends. After some tuning, Vivian clicked her sticks twice and away they went. Mr. Petty would have been extremely proud.

Vivian Zittle (drums)
Ron's son Jack, also a multi-instrumentalist, made one of the most sincere and relevant comments of the session when he acknowledged his piano teacher, 85 year old Nancy Phillips, as being his biggest influence. I sincerely hope this article is shared with Ms. Phillips. 

When it appeared I had enough material for my article, I thanked the band for their time, they in turn thanked me and in a "Jack" flash disappeared into the next room for some Oreo cookies. I'm guessing it was part of their concert rider.

The Good Ideas already have a Facebook page, they have merchandise coming soon and undoubtedly more dates on the horizon. In fact if my band can ever get booked at the Historic Everett Theatre I'd love to have The Good Ideas open the show... or maybe they'll let us open for them?


Anina October 21, 2018 at 2:13 PM  

I just happen to know that Leslie a.k.a. the wife, literally rocks because she was the front person and leader of an all-women Rolling Stone cover band that played all over Seattle!

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