Santa Tune My Guitar
A little over 10 years ago, Craig Simon and Norb Stracker started playing music together, providing the accompaniment for their church's Contemporary Worship Summer Service. As Craig and Norb got to know each other, Craig shared some of the songs he had written. They continued informally playing at church talent shows, but in mid-1997 Craig began a soccer league association with Fred Canning, in the Pro Audio business, and the Weasels started recording using Fred's equipment in Craig's basement. As Fred added more sophisticated recording equipment in his basement, the band began recording there in early 1998. In early 1999 the name 'Simply Weasels' was chosen and the boys were well on the way to getting enough songs recorded to fill a CD. The marketing potential was great...family AND friends! In January of 2000 the Weasels finished their first CD, 'All God's Creatures' named after the first track on the CD. Friends and family were delirious. The Weasels first big break occcurred in April of 2001 when the band sent a CD containing three of their automotive-related songs to the Saturday morning National Public Radio program 'Car Talk' to see if they could get some air time. Surprisingly, on April 14, 2001 the band's song, 'Loose Wheel' was first played on 'Car Talk'. Shortly after the airplay, the producer from Car Talk contacted the Weasels with a deal. They were getting ready to produce a 'Car Talk' CD and wanted to include 'Loose Wheel'. In September of 2001, the 'Car Talk' CD entitled 'Car Talk Car Tunes Volume 1: The Car Talk Compendium of Disrespectful Car Songs' came out. The liner notes quote Tom and Ray Magliozzi (alias Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers), '(Loose Wheel)...may qualify as the most clever song in this collection. It certainly puts a smile on our faces every time we hear it...the tune generated more mail than every bogus answer we've given in the last five years'. To date the Car Talk CD has sold over 20,000 copies. In addition to 'Loose Wheel', the Weasels have had their songs 'Cruise Control' and 'Oil' played on the show. A few months ago, the Weasels began receiving requests for CD's from Central Iowa. Seems an NPR morning show personality in Ames had gotten a CD and had been playing 'Chipmunk Blues' for his audience...and they responded! In mid-2001, Simply Weasels released their second CD entitled 'Cruise Control'. For the past two years the Weasels have been working on material and have just released their third CD entitled 'Chocolate Easter Bunny'. It is common to find Craig, Fred and Norb in Fred's basement once a month working on their songs, but very uncommon to catch a public performance. Shortly after the Car Talk CD came out, the Weasels performed a couple of times at the nearby Barnes and Noble. As in the studio, the boys are often accompanied by talented friends to play or sing additional parts on their songs. In 2002 the Weasels played at the Liberty Fall Festival and had a great time. In 2003 and 2004 they were invited back to play at the coveted, 'Liberty Chamber of Commerce BBQ Contest' where the Weasels played songs from all three CD's, as well as a few Weasel compositions that will likely never make it to CD, much less be performed in public again. In 2005, the Weasels expect to be playing at the Liberty Festival (End of September). As usual, Fred, Norb and Craig will be accommpanied by Liz Rush and John Backus on vocals. Simply Weasels describe their music as sometimes a little dirty, sometimes a little political, some of it is definitely parody, but most of the time it's just a lot of fun, dealing with common and unusual topics from real life. Each Weasel brings different strengths to the group. Craig is primarily the song writer, Norb the arranger and Fred the Producer/Engineer. But all three enjoy singing and playing guitar, being musicians and involving their talented friends on vocals, instruments and the other creative aspects of recording. The three will agree that with a minimal amount of individual talent, great equipment, talented friends, a little cleverness and a tremendous amount of luck, Simply Weasels is one-of-a-kind. They have gotten all the way from Craig's basement to having their music played and distributed internationally, without a penny to show for their efforts! It sometimes makes them wonder why they've given themselves the slogan, 'We're Better Than We Sound'.