Though the band is up and running in high gear, Rochester cool, rhythm and blues sensation, The Fox Sisters still has a little of that new band smell wafting in there with the Aqua Velva and sweat. The band has now horned up the ranks with a little hard-hitting brass atop the bruising rhythm section. There's also a debut disc on deck. But no matter how great this nouveau-soul platter is going to sound, this is a seven-piece band you positively need to catch live.
Singer Pat McNally and bassist Jimmy Filingeri stopped in to share some soul and give the what's what. Here's what they said. An edited transcript of the interview follows.
City: How did you come up with the Fox Sisters?
Pat McNally: We had some songs ideas and wanted to do sort of an R&B-inflected, rock 'n' roll party band. We ran the idea past Dave Snyder (guitar) and Will Veeder (keyboards). We started out with the drums, bass, guitar, and piano and did our first few gigs that way. We basically wanted a band that sounded like a party — the kind of party Sam Cooke might be singing at.
And you stuck to original material?
Jimmy Filingeri: We definitely wanted to do originals. We tried to do some covers but it seemed all of our original songs worked better. You know, there are a lot of songwriters in the band, so we have no short supply of songs.
McNally: When we did do covers we weren't entirely satisfied with the results. Besides we have so many songs of our own there wouldn't be any point, really.
At least you took something from outside influences.
McNally: A big influence for me is Sam and Dave, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cooke, of course. His album, "Live at Harlem Square," really blew us away. We wanted a band that basically sounded like that without being a slave to it or have it as a homage. And have it a little more rock 'n' roll because that's what we do.
What do the others bring?
Filingeri: Dave and Will are just great musicians and are adaptable to anything. Dave's known for being a singer in The Quitters, but he's such a great guitar player and he loves rhythm and blues music. He's really a secret weapon, superstar of the band.
McNally: We'll come in with the skeleton of a song and he'll just tear off some kick-ass guitar riff. He's just got a feel for this kind of music.
How soon before you nailed the sound you were looking for?
McNally: Pretty much immediately. We knew what we wanted to sound like.
Filingeri: We just used a rhythm and blues template, as a skeleton. And once we put all the meat and muscle on it, it ended up sounding like us. There are so many contemporary soul throwback bands that I think get caught up in trying to sound like they recorded in the Stax Studio. And that's really not our intention, we just want the spirit.
What sort of reaction did you expect?
McNally: I expected people would warm to it more than they ever did to The Thunder Gods.
Is the impending record going to be pressed on vinyl?
Filingeri: It's kind of expensive. We can only spend as much as our wives will let us.
If The Fox Sisters was a cocktail, what would its ingredients be?
McNally: I don't drink.
Filingeri: I can't say that it's a King Curtis Memphis Soul Stew with a dash of back beat drums... but that's the way it comes out.