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The For Squirrels/Subrosa

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Table of Contents

I) For Squirrels
                       1. Who are "For Squirrels?"
                       2. Brief history of For Squirrels
                       3. Personnel
                       4. The Accident
                       5. What does "Mighty KC" mean?
                       6. What are all the official For Squirrels releases?

II) Subrosa
                       1.  Who are "Subrosa?"
                       2.  Brief History of Subrosa
                       3.  Personnel
                       4.  What are all the official Subrosa releases?
 



 

I)  For Squirrels


1. Who are For Squirrels?

    For Squirrels is a band that started in Gainesville near the beginning of 1993. Like most local bands, they started out playing local clubs and parties, and gradually expanded their range to playing around Florida, and then the East Coast. After signing with Sony/550 in Januarry 1995, they recorded their second album, but before that album was released, three of the five members of the band died in a car accident when returning for touring. After a period of healing, the remaining members of the band decided to continue their musical journeys. The band has filled its complement and is currently on the road following the addition of two members and a name change.

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2. Brief History of For Squirrels

     Jack Vigliatura, Bill White, Travis Tooke, Jay Russell, Mike Amish, and Andy Lord grew up together in Clearwater, Florida.  After they graduated from high school, Jack, Bill, Travis, and Jay ended up at the University of Florida in Gainesvillle.  Mike and Andy persued school elsewhere, Andy went to South Carolina to play soccer.  In high school, Andy, Mike and Jay were in a band called Caspin Ropetoast.  Ironically, they wouldn't let Jack join.
    One day in Gainesville, Bill and Travis bought a couple of guitars in a pawn shop. "We would mess around for hours in the dorm--order in food and have all-night sessions 'til five in the morning," Jack remembers, who arrived at UF a year after Travis and Bill. None of the band had any formal musical training, except for Bill's stint in his high school marching band. "We'd fool around and write songs about basketball or something, but occasionally a real song would pop up."  Their first band was called the Fully Gnarlies, consisting of Jack V., Travis, Bill, and a drum machine.

    They began playing open mike nights at an on-campus pub, but the shows were more of a lark than an exercise in musical proficiency. "We were 80% schtick, 20% music," says Bill. "I played most of the shows sitting down while wearing a kayak crash helmet." "We definitely were more of a comedy act than a musical talent," adds Jack Vigliatura. "At our first show we did a hokey folk version of LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out.' "
    After many more such open-mike nights, they realized that they had to take their musical development a little more seriously.  They recruited Jay Russell, who eventually left to pursue law at Stetson. The void was filled by a relocated drummer from Jacksonville. A friend of Jack V.'s worked at Y&T records.  Through him, they met Jack Griego, who's wife worked next door to Y&T.   For Squirrels played their first show with Jack Griego in August of 1993.  They took their student loan  money ("broke our parents' hearts," Jack admits), recorded a CD ( Baypath Rd, released on 1/21/94) in six days for $6,000, and began toiling away on the Florida club circuit.  This release of 1000 CDs has since sold out, with no plans for a repress.
     With a record out and consistent club dates, For Squirrels were seemingly on the rise. Yet something was still missing from the mix. "We still weren't taking it seriously enough," says Bill. "We had the vision and the ideas, but we didn't have the music to back it up." Or as Travis bluntly puts it: "We had the stage presence but couldn't play worth a damn."
    In June 1994 For Squirrels played a show that became their wake-up call. "We were opening for a really good band, and we played an absolutely terrible show," recalls Bill. "We could do one of two things: quit, or work at trying to become a band." They chose the latter, and took some time off from the road to write a batch of new songs. Jack Griego remembers it as an extraordinary time:  "Instead of just playing through songs, we took them apart and worked on various parts until we got it right. We really came together as a band during that time."

    Through Y&T records they came in contact with a "manager" type from Miami, Rich Ulloa who liked their sound. Hooking up with him, they built a good fan base playing on South Beach in Miami(Stephen Talkhouse, Rose's), and start touring around Florida/southeast(Summer '94), and then up the Eastern Seaboard(Fall '94) on $5/per person/day. Having been touring for a while, they pretty much had most of their songs ready for the next album to be recorded.  At the end of the year, they were working their way towards a record deal with few record companies, and they choose Sony 550.  For Squirrels signed to Sony 550 Music in January, 1995. By May, they were recording with producer/engineer Nick Launay at Compass Point in the Bahamas and at Criteria Studios in Miami. Over the summer, they continued to play in clubs up and down the east coast. As the summer winded down, anticipation grows about the upcoming release of their album. On September 7,  they finished off a round of north east dates by playing at CBGB's at the CMJ music festival.
     While driving home from this concert (New York to Gainesville), their van blew out a tire, and went out of control. It flipped, and skidded, and rolled. Three of the five passengers were dead at the scene: Bill White, Jack Vigliatura IV, and Tim Bender(road manager and full "non-performing" member of the band). The other two: Travis Tooke had a few minor injuries, and was released from a hospital within two days.  Jack Griego, required surgery on his neck.
     There were funerals for all three, followed by a CD pre-release/rememberance at The Covered Dish in Gainesville. It was a packed house with fans, friends, family. There was video from old concerts, slides, and all their recorded songs were played, culminating in the first hearing of the new album Example.

    After a period of mourning and physical recovery, Jack Griego and Travis Tooke decided that the band would continue. After the funerals in Clearwater, Travis went fishing with Andy Lord, who had just graduated from college in South Carolina. Tooke asked Lord to play bass in the band, and he agreed. They had a band again.
    Practicing and playing unannounced gigs, For Squirrels chose to play the first shows under the alias of Revlover in order to avoid publicity. "If we we're going to suck for the first couple of shows, we figured we'd have it under a different name until we got the swing of things," Tooke says.
    The band has made it this far on dedicated effort and a love of playing music for its own sake: "We always said we'd play music for squirrels," says Jack Vigliatura in describing the origin of their name.

Thanks to Chris Auzins for the original text.
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3. Personnel

In chronological order:
genesis through Baypath Rd.
Jack Vigliatura  vocals
Travis Tooke guitar, bass
Bill White bass, guitar
Jay Russell drums
   
Baypath Rd. through Example

 
Jack Vigliatura  vocals
Travis Tooke guitar
Bill White bass
Jack Griego drums
Tim Bender roadie/manager
   
 
 
 

 

post-Accident
Travis Tooke vocals, guitar
Andy Lord bass
Jack Griego drums
 
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4. The Accident

Here is a copy of the press release from Sony immediately following the accident:

    NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Sept. 11, 1995--Two members of Sony 550 Music recording group For Squirrels and their tour manager were the victims of a fatal highway accident on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 8 when their van overturned on Interstate 95, approximately 50 miles south of Savannah, Georgia. Singer Jack Vigliatura (21), bassist Bill White (23), and tour manager Tim Bender (23) all died at the scene, according to a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol. Drummer Jack Greigo (28) suffered multiple injuries, including broken vertebrae. He is recuperating following successful surgery at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah. Guitarist Travis Michael Tooke (23) suffered a broken elbow, bruises and lacerations; he was released after being treated at Liberty Memorial Hospital in Hinesville, GA.
    For Squirrels were returning to their home state of Florida following a Sept. 7 performance at C.B.G.B.'s in New York City. At present, the band's Sony 550 label debut, Example, is still scheduled for release on Oct. 3. Funeral services for Jack Vigliatura and Bill White will be held on Wed., Sept. 13 beginning at 10 a.m. at Clearwater Community Church, 2897 Belcher Road, in Clearwater, Florida. A funeral service for Tim Bender will take place on the same day beginning at 11 a.m. at the Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, in Cary, North Carolina. A memorial fund has been established in Tim Bender's name. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent c/o Doug Bender, Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, Cary, NC 27511. Checks should be made payable to the Tim Bender Memorial Fund.
    In a statement issued today, Polly Anthony, President of Sony 500 Music, said: "There are no words to describe our grief at this terrible loss. For Squirrels were at the beginning of a long and successful future in making music. In our too-brief time together, the Sony 550 staff had come to know Jack, Bill, and Tom for the incredible talented and dedicated people they were.
    "With Example, For Squirrels leave behind a truly great album, one which captures all of the personal and musical qualities which endeavored them to us. Our hearts go out to the surviving members of the band. Travis Tooke and Jack Greigo, and to all family members and friends."

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5. What does Mighty K.C. mean?

    "Mighty K.C." is a song written as a tribute to Kurt Cobain. While the band likes to leave interpretation as an exercise for the listener, the members of the band think highly of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, and the music they made.

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6. What are all the official For Squirrels releases?

    6.1:  Studio Albums
                Baypath Rd.
Recorded in the fall of 1993, this first album was paid for by the band members' student loans. Only about 1000 of  these were made.  They are all long gone.  However, keep checking the used CD bins.  That's how I got mine.
                Example
                    Their major-label debut.  Should be available at any large franchises.
 
    6.2:  EP's
                Plymouth
This EP was merely a subset of Baypath Rd. which was made after For Squirrels signed on with a management team in Miami. This was to fill the void between Baypath Rd. and their next album. These are also long gone.
  6.3:  Example Promo Discs
               The Immortal Dog and Pony Show/Superstar
               Mighty K.C.
               8:02 PM

 6.4:  Compilations
              One Foot In the Grove
             This CD is a compilation of North/Central Florida bands. For Squirrels have one track on this album, "Burnin'    Coals", which is not on any of their   other releases. This CD was sponsored by The Covered Dish. I do not know if their are any left. If you are interested, you can contact The Covered Dish and ask about it.

Relaxing The Undertow
    6.5:  Videos
                Mighty K.C. Promotional Video

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 II) Subrosa
     


1.  Who are "Subrosa?"

    It was in September of 1995, on the way back home after performing at C.B.G.B.'s during the CMJ Convention in New York City, that the van in which the band was travelling overturned on Interstate 95 in Georgia. Singer Jack Vigliatura, bassist Bill White and tour manager Tim Bender were killed.   The remaining members of the band For Squirrels - Travis Michael Tooke, Jack Griego, and new member, fellow Floridian, bassist Andy Lord - have decided to change the name of the band to Subrosa.

    A joint statement from the band members explains: "We changed the name out of respect for our deceased friends and the music we created together, which is very sacred to us. Subrosa is a different band, performing and writing songs differently from the four of us who were called For  Squirrels. Subrosa is our collective vision of the present and future."

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  1. Brief History of Subrosa
    In January, 1995, a promising new band from Gainesville, Florida called For Squirrels was signed to 550 Music. In the spring and summer of '95, For Squirrels recorded their debut album Example with producer/engineer Nick Launay, working at Compass Point in the Bahamas and at Criteria Studios in Miami. A release date of September 26, 1995 was set.
    On September 8, 1995, For Squirrels were driving home to Florida following a performance at C.B.G.B. in New York. Their van was traveling on Interstate 95, approximately 50 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, when a tire blew out and the vehicle overturned. Singer Jack Vigliatura, bassist Bill White, and tour manager Tim Bender died; drummer Jack Griego and guitarist Travis Michael Tooke were injured.

    When the surviving members had recovered physically, they determined to release Example on schedule and to carry on as a band. With extensive radio and video play for the track "Mighty K.C.," Example went on to sell over 100,000 copies. At the beginning of 1996, Jack and Travis recruited a new bassist, longtime friend Andy Lord, while Travis took over the lead vocals. As their new songs began to take shape, the three musicians began to feel like an entirely new band. They called themselves Subrosa.

    This is the story of Subrosa, in the words of Travis Tooke:  "On September 8, 1995, I lost my three best friends. Jack and I lost our band. Jack, Andy, and I lost a piece of ourselves that will always be treasured but never regained.   When something dies, two things happen: The spirit moves on, and the body stays. For Squirrels has died and moved on to bliss; the body remains.  In medieval times, knights brought to the brink of death, consumed under oath, could be reborn under a new oath an oath to the death for their cause, their loyalty, their integrity. This was called an oath under the rose, their private crusade to a new life, a new meaning: Subrosa.  Subrosa is our band, inspired For Squirrels, for us, and for all.  We changed the name out of respect for our deceased friends and the music we created together, which was, and still is, very sacred to us."
    In April of 1997, Subrosa added a guitar player, high school friend Mike Amish, to the ranks.   Amish's additional guitar and electric piano allows Tooke to concentrate on vocals.  "It has really allowed us to open up new avenues with our sound," Tooke said. "Mike is the backbone that we needed to stabilize our music. His addition helps complete the music and his technical skills really help to do the songs justice," Lord adds.
    Following a tour in support of Creed (October 1997 through January 1998), Subrosa was released from their contract with Sony.  Subrosa responed with the threat of a lawsuit for breach of contract.  Eventually, Subrosa agreed not to sue Sony for breach of contract in return for some $$$, the song rights, and the right to place the album with another label. Sony gets a pretty decent overide ( % of profits).  Meanwhile, Jack has decided to go back to school.  This will limit his ability to tour. Their manager, Walter Winnick, is waiting for them to demo the new material they have and resolve the drummer issue, and then he'll look for a new deal for them.  It is possible but unlikely that the new label will rerelease NBTDYH and promote it.  Unlikely because that means that the new label willl have to give Sony a profit percentage and the record companies have all this competitive ego shit going on.

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