The Reverb Brothers

R.I.P. Basile Kolliopoulos 1953-2013          Basile's Facebook Tribute Page          My Fortune Tellers Page

The Reverb Brothers have been playing around here for over twenty years. This is the band of Basile Kolliopoulos, one of the Greek guitar-playing brothers from the legendary Fortune Tellers, who were the undisputed rock and roll rulers of the Oklahoma City area for quite a while (mid-80's thru mid-90's). (see my Fortune Tellers page). Since the Fortune Tellers broke up, over ten years ago, the Reverb Brothers have been my top favorite band around here, still keeping rock and roll alive. I suggest go see them anytime you can. Most likey place to see them would be VZD's, but they play lots of clubs in OKC, lately the 51st Street Speakeasy and the Blue Note. (And to update this in November of 2011, the Fortune Tellers are starting to play again. They have played the last few New Years and Miho is moving back from Greece.)

There have been many lineups through the years in various configurations, including 2-piece (guitar/drums), 3-piece (2 guitars/drums or guitar/bass/drums), and 4-piece (2 guitars/bass/drums). Original lineup was Dickie Ray on bass, Pat Macintire and Basile on guitars, Mike Newberry (from the Fortune Tellers) on drums, and Cody Cunningham on harmonica. Drummers have included Michael Byars (now in Hosty Duo), Aaron Preston (briefly), Alan Cory (for a long time), and Marty Dillon (since 2002). Guitarists have included Mike Hosty, Alan Crider and Hector Watts, but usually its just Basile on guitar. Bass players have included Victor Goetz (from the Fortune Tellers), Lance Moulder (from the Skatenigs), Chad Feurborn (Poison Okies), Casey Friedman, and as of late 2008, Mat (from Sleepy Trio). And of course Basile sings, but there have been a couple of guest vocalists. I think Terry Kim might have been in the band for awhile, and would later often come onstage to sing Rattlesnake. And Ernie Locke, (of the Sin City Disciples, and later Tenderloin), would sometimes join the band to sing and play some harmonica.

This is definitely a band that never plays the same show twice. Although the music is simple (in fact it seems to be a study in simple rock and roll rhythm), Basile is very experimental and is always coming up with new songs and arrangements and even changing the whole sound of the band depending on what he is into. They sometimes play a lot of blues shuffles, but mainly play the kind of rock and roll that gets people on the dance floor. I'm going to say that again, because in the midst of all my words here, what I'm mainly trying to get across, (and why I'm obsessed with this band, and why you need to check them out) is that The Reverb Brothers play the kind of rock and roll that gets people on the dance floor. And for some reason, currently, around here, that seems to be rare.

Back in the 80's and early 90's when the Fortune Tellers were playing a lot, the Reverb Brothers played a lot as well. And sometimes people would think of the band as a side project, which on one hand it kind of was, but then it has always been a separate band on its own. As the Fortune Tellers played less and less, and finally broke up, the Reverb Brothers kind of took over the spot as the cool rock and roll band around here.

It has been very interesting seeing all the different lineups through the years as Basile has explored different ideas.

In 1992, Basile recorded El Greco, which was actually a solo record. He went down to Austin and recorded it with Keith Ferguson (bass player from Fabulous Thunderbirds) and Mike Buck (drummer from Fabulous Thunderbirds and Leroi Brothers). This is a super-cool record, which hopefully will be released on CD someday (and I think Basile has plans for that). At the time it was released only on cassette. This one features awesome versions of Bo Diddley's Willie and Lillie, Captian Beefheart's Booglarise You Baby (which Basile later evolved into Swamp Stomp), and RL Burnside's Goin' Down South. Also a couple of very strong Reverb Brothers standards from Basile - Loaded and King of Beasts. An awesome instrumental, Dark Notion, features Basile's guitar-god brother Miho on lead guitar. A couple of other songs and a lot of cool sounding experimental intros and segues.

Blowdry was released in 1995, also on cassette only. Another rare, obscure, forgotten gem that needs to be put on CD.

The Reverb Brothers played quite a bit in the 90's. Probably it was early 90's when they went super-minimalist for awhile, with Alan Crider and Basile both playing their guitars through un-miked Fender amps, Newberry playing a very stripped down un-miked drumkit (sometimes a 2-piece - bass drum, snare drum and one or two cymbals), and just the vocals in the PA.

Then there was a long period with Alan Cory on drums. Lance was the bassist for much of that time, and Victor probably was in the band a lot in the 90's as well. When Alan started with the band, he played standing up, with the bass drum mounted on its side, hitting it with a mallet. I had never seen this before, but I later learned that Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground used to play a similar setup. Later he rigged up a pedal to hit the bass drum from beneath, so it could also still be hit from above. And later, he went to the conventional drumkit setup.

The band was pretty active through 1999. Basile put together an R.L. Burnside tribute show at VZD's on 12/26/99 with Victor on bass and Marty on drums. They did not play again until 07/01/00 at the 66 Bowl, with Victor on bass and Newberry on drums. Newberry hadn't played for many years. (After that, he joined the Deviants, put in some solid years there and later played with Watermelon Slim for a few years until the end of 2008). It was a great show. Basile had started using a BOSS GT-3 effects processor to get some cool guitar sounds. As usual, he had 3 guitars, all in different tunings (in addition to standard tuning, he uses a couple of open tunings for slide).

Then the band did not play for a long time until September of 2002 when the lineup became Marty Dillon on drums and Chad Feuerborn on standup bass. Basile started getting even more experimental and the band began to work on recording. I think the record, Adult Entertainment, was pretty much done in 2003 but did not get finished up and released until 2005. Chad left after the recording, due to his job. Casey Friedman played bass for awhile. (Casey recorded Adult Entertainment at his Inner State Studio). This record featured the current crop of Basile's songs plus In The Fog, which the Fortune Tellers had been playing before they broke up.

The Reverb Brothers performed as a 2-piece, with just Basile and Marty for a few years, like 2005-2008, playing probably 8 or 10 shows a year (and holding up just fine, with just the two of them). During this time, Basile started using a digital pickup, which allows automatic retuning, so he would usually have just one guitar. Sometime in 2008, Mat was added on bass. They played regularly in OKC from 2008 through 2012.

I caught their show at the Blue Note on Friday, 04/10/09. This was a last-minute unadvertised show, but still a good turnout - and a very active dance floor. The band played two full sets, sounding super-good, plus we got two new songs. Both were really cool, featuring some unusual tricky rhythms and/or killer hooks. One of the new ones, The Wall, is an instant hit. And more new ones are coming (Scrap Iron, 1000 Faces). So they're still totally gettin' it done.

Caught them again at The Speakeasy the night of the Norman Music Festival. The place was nearly empty (due to the festival) but they played a great show.

And then a couple weeks later (05/09/09) at VZD's. This time we had a good crowd and a full dance floor. Miho was in town, so he and Victor came up and did a few songs (I Can Tell, Roxette, Rumble). A super cool fun show.

SAT 03/19/11 - VZD's - They played as a duo (Basile and Marty). Basile was running 2 amps in stereo (I always wonder why everyone doesn't do that - never seen anyone do it). Non-stop rock and roll dance music. And they will be playing next Saturday 03/26/11 at the Blue Note, this time with Mat on bass.

SAT 11/19/11 - CD Release Party at VZD's - Finally the new CD, Shakes of Too Little, has been released! This record is revolutionary in its sound - it sounds exactly like the band playing a show - nothing extra - pure rock and roll. Loaded with hits - too bad the radio has been dead for so long. It might not be easy to find this record, but I suggest you get it now.

Check out the Reverb Brothers! Around these parts, Basile is the king of rock and roll!

Some Links:

Basile's Facebook Tribute Page:

Reverb Brothers on Facebook:
The band's official site (not quite up yet as of 11/24/11).
4 songs from Shakes of Too Little can be heard here.
3 songs from Adult Entertainment are online here.

My page on the Fortune Tellers

The Records:

Shakes of Too Little - Reverb Bros - 2011 - CD

1. Lighter Fluid
2. Rattlesnake
3. The Wall
4. Dead End Blvd.
5. 1000 Faces
6. Scrap Iron
7. Coloring Book
8. Someday
9. Blood
10. Wheel of Fate

Basile Kolliopoulos: Voice/Guitar
Marty Dillon: Drums
Mat Hilburn: Bass
Recorded and mixed by Trent Bell at Bell Labs, Norman, OK, summer 2010
Produced by Trent Bell / Reverb Bros.
Executive Producer: Mr. Marty Dillon
All songs written by Basile, arranged by the band.

(Released at VZD's show 11/19/11)

Adult Entertaiment - Reverb Bros - 2004 - CD

1. In The Fog
2. Lighter Fluid
3. Oscar Wilde Blues
4. Shark Skin
5. Short Eyes
6. Silence
7. Swamp Stomp

Reverb Bros:
Drums: Marty Dillon
Songs, Guitars, Bouzouki & Vocals by Basile Kolliopoulos
Upright Bass by Chad Feuerborn
Space Guitar on 1 by Miho Kolliopoulos
Voice on 1,6 by Lin Sanchez
Djembe on 6 by Terry Stilwell
Spoken Word on 4 by Miguel Pinero

Paramahansa Yogananda: Blessings

Photography by Beau Brand
Engineered by Casey Friedman
Produced at the Inner State Studio, OKC July 2003
Copyright Flatfoot Publishing July 2004

Blowdry - Reverb Bros - 1995 (cassette only)

1. The Groovaphonic
2. Let It Come Down
3. Dalmain Domain
4. Rough Trade
5. Ice Cubes
6. The Rev Comes Down
7. Nagahyde Booth
8. So Sick
9. I Can't Relate
10. Rattlesnake
11. Open Y'eyes
12. The Craving
13. Blowdry!

All songs copyright Reverb Brothers 1995

From the cassette insert:
The Blowdry story:
Recorded at Marty's Barn (Dillon Audio) and Dougie's Shack (Ambient Sound) in Oklahoma City, USA, on a sticky finger July month of '95. Yes we had no AC but enough Black Label on ice, and hey, we made it. No, there was no big budget, no catering services, no art-school jack-offs in some studio for three months pretending we're the Beatles. Just the band playing action music with the razor blade sound on the spot and for real and for you to listen to!!
The Band: Basile Kolliopoulos played guitar and slide, "sang" the songs, recorded the groovaphonic live at his job (Superior Neon), and tried to boss everyone around. Alvoovee AKA Alan Cory was on his standup drums and temper tantrums, Lance Moulder played da bass and remained calm through the ongoing chaos.
The Inn Crowd: Scott Keaton plugged the wires, mikes and rigged all the shit up, recorded and captured the band's *stellar* performance. Also that's him playing slide on Nagahyde Booth, a song adapted from Miguel Pinero's poem. Stevo Winters did the ink-art job, Corey Roberts edited and mastered the DAT, and Bazel Lollipops produced it.
This is our life, bro, this is how we feel! PS - Any resemblance to shit you've heard before is purely metaphorical.

El Greco! - Basile Kolliopoulos - 1992 (cassette only)

1. El Greco
2. King of Beasts
3. Goin Down South
4. Attencion!
5. Booglarise You Baby
6. Dark Notion
7. Memory Rock
8. Quine Es?
9. Willie and Lillie
10. Invocation
11. Loaded
12. Psychedelic Snake
13. Midnight Raver
14. Kon-Juray-Shon
15. The Spell
16. Pop Eleven

Basile - vocals, 5,6,& 12-string Guitars, Exotic Samples, Little Drums
Keith Ferguson - Eel-ectric Bass
Mike Buck- Big Drums
Miho Kolliopoulos - Lead Guitar on Dark Notion

Recorded at: 6021 Austin, Texas by Jay Hudson, and at Ambient Sound, Oklahoma City by Doug Matthews
Spring and Summer of 1991
Mixed at: Ambient Sound with Basile and Doug (who also recored the samples and edited the tape)
Cover Design by: Mr. Nodoe
Produced by Basile K and Doug Matthews
All songs written by Basile copyright 1992 except the following:
3: by R.L. Burnside
5: by Captain Beefheart
9: by Bo Diddley
(intro to El Greco by Ross Daly)

"This tape is dedicated to the Delta Blues Goddess, Jessie Mae Hemphill."

Reverb Bros - Previously Unreleased - 1996

Basile Kolliopoulos - guitar, voice, maracas, shakers

Lance Moulder - bass

Mike Byars - drums

Recorded in Austin, Texas July 1996

1. Guitar Intro
2. Alley
3. Oscar Wilde
4. Sad Eyes
5. Cheapo Bar
6. Crawling King Snake
7. In the Fog
8. Devil Eyes
9. Junkie Christ
10. Protection
11. Papa Oom Mow Mow
12. Monster Go Go
13. Silence is Cruel
14. Guitar Outro

Magazine article transcribed from Oklahoma Today - May/June 2009

Rock & Roll Fantasy (pages 24-26) (interview with Basile and Mooneyham)

A rock-and-roll lifestyle is not for the faint of heart, as this pair of long-timers can attest. At fifty-five, Athens, Greece-born Basile Kolliopoulos has spent nearly forty years as a singer and guitarist in a myriad of bands, including the Fensics, the Fortune Tellers, and, for more than fifteen years, the Reverb Bros. Jon Mooneyham, forty-eight, whose resume includes bands like the Memluks, a brief stint with the Flaming Lips, and the Melodious Thunk Infinitet, not to mention years of deejaying, has been a fixture on the Oklahoma music scene since the late seventies. Here, the two Oklahoma rockers talk about everything from tattoos to life lessons.

What have you learned from a life in music?

Jon: Not much money to be made in music.
Basile: I was just gonna say that!
Jon: But that's not why you do it. You do it because you're motivated to do it; sometimes you can't even explain why. And because you love it.

What's Oklahoma's best rock venue, past or present?

Basile: The Boomer in Norman back in the early days. This is the pre-Wayne Coyne days we're talking about, '79, '80. All the new punk bands would come through.
Jon: And definitely the Bowery.
Basile: Oh, anybody and everybody played there.
Jon: Remember that X show, and the power went out?
Basile: It's stuff we never believed we'd get to see, especially in Oklahoma City.
Jon: We've still skipped over a lot. VZD's has done good things. You know, places come and go. I have to say in my own days, formatively, the Boomer Theater was huge.

Who are your idols?

Basile: Derek Bailey, and English guitar player and the father of improvisation. He died a few years ago, and he is my all-time favorite because he changed my life when I heard him a couple of years ago. Jon turned me on to him. Besides that, all the free jazz stuff.
Jon: Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy. We're talking about the jazz territory here.
Basile: And then, with the blues, the more obscure, like Jessie Mae Hemphill. She was a delta blues guitar player and singer, and R.L. Burnside. Our heroes, our musical idols, were not guys who were millionaires. They were more of the unknowns. These were the guys we looked up to and got inspiration from. If you've never really been anything, you're not a has-been.

Where did you get your music as a kid?

Basile: I came here in 1971 from Athens and enrolled at OCU. There was a record store, Wilcox Records, on Twenty-third street. It was the coolest. An old lady and her husband owned it, and I don't know where they got that taste, but they had the coolest stuff that came out. We're talking Captain Beefheart, Lou Reed, and the New York Dolls. I would walk down there after class or before class - or during class - and buy as many records as I could afford and go back to the dorm and listen to them.

Guys in the music business seem to appeal to a lot of girls.

Jon: You know, I could have met a whole lot more girls if I'd been really aware of the potential. Of course, I find out all about it after the fact.
Basile: It is easier to meet people if you're in the band, but to be honest, that's not why I got into bands and music. I got in because I really wanted to do it and get together with people and play. That was the most important thing.

Do you think Oklahoma is a good place to be a musician? Jon: Sure.
Basile: Yeah, because you can have a job and still do what you want. And pretty much, more or less, people are supportive.
Jon: The playing field is level now. With technology and the way bands promote themselves and communicate, it doesn't matter where you're from. It used to be like, oh, you need to be in some sort of hot cultural center or wherever the scene is right now, be it Austin, or Cleveland, or Seattle.
Basile: It's easier to get around. You're in the middle. When I was in New York in 1980 and 1981, no one could get out of town. No one was really making any money. I knew a guy who played in a band called Suicide; they could not get out of town. And they were my heroes! They couldn't afford to tour.

What have been your greatest moments as musicians?

Basile: Emotionally, the most fun was playing with Bo Diddley the first time. We were his band when we played with him in 1984 at the Bowery. Musically, the third time we played with Bo Diddley in 2001 is my highlight.
Jon: What about the second time?
Basile: The second time was great too. Anyway, playing with Bo Diddley on the same stage was fantastic, and so was getting to hang out with him.
Jon: My musical moment? A saxophone lesson from Ornette Coleman. He showed me some pretty cool tricks, including how to get almost an entire chromatic octave out of just the left hand.

What inspired you to get into music?

Basile: When I was a kid in Athens, I started listening to a rock-and-roll show on an American station. It was a half-hour, once a week. And the first time I wanted to be a rock dude was when I saw a picture of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. He was getting out of a Rolls-Royce and had this furry looking coat on, and the hair. I thought, this looks a lot more exciting than my days at school. Listening to all that, and hanging out with people who used to have a record store in Athens who turned me on to people like Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker, I knew something was going on. It was almost like the world had gone Technicolor when it was black and white before.
Jon: Epiphanic moment? It was probably the first time I got a decent electric guitar in my hand and just wailed on it. It was probably like a C chord or G, but it just sounded big. There's a simple, basic power to that that can really be invigorating. In high school, I was interested in music from the other side of the fence, the oddball sort of stuff, which is probably just inherently part of my personality. At the same time, I was listening to rock. I was always inspired by the ones who had all sorts of instruments. I'm talking about people who had lots of horns, percussion instruments, or marimbas and xylophones and exciting sorts of stuff. That stuff still appeals to me. And of course, jazz.

Tell us about your tattoos.

Jon: This (the tattoo on his right forearm) was done in 1983 or 1984 by a tattooist who used to be in Oklahoma City back in the illegal days. This was unfortunately near the waning end of his career; his eyes were going. My second one is on the back of my neck, by the same guy. Its the central image from the Mandelbrot set of chaos theory, which was something I was pretty excited about.
Basile: I have nine. Most of them were done by Rollo Banks, the godfather of neotraditional tattoo design. I got them done in Austin in the mid-eighties. We played there all the time, and every time we went, I'd make a point of getting a tattoo. The last one is an Om. I got it from a different guy than Rollo.

Do you guys have any kind of motto?

Jon: No.
Basile: Uh, improvise.

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Revised 02/05/13      First posted 07/31/05