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The GroanUps began in 1983 as an all-original-music band featuring Frank Cox, guitar/vocals; Richard Wise, bass; B.J. Davis, drums, Ed Nicholson, guitar/vocals and lead singer Dave Chance. In '84 or '85, Joe Marchese joined as their keyboards player. They performed a set of music at local festival-type gigs (like Riverfest) designed to play to their being grown up businessmen who still liked to rock and roll. They performed in the suit and tie uniforms of their corporate day jobs and composed such songs as "Savings and Loan" (about buying that first house), "Back Burner" (about procrastinating as a workday art), "Generic Man" (about the stereotypical corporate mode of the 80s) and "I Want It All" (about the appeasement of the acquiring urge that accompanied that corporate mold). Their anthem was "All Grown Up" written by pal Steve Patrick.
As their friends and fans began to want to hear them at parties as well as festival-type settings, they began to book engagements that required them to perform non-original cover songs to pad the time frame and allow for dancing party-goers. In late '85/early '86, Dave Chance had to make a job move to Texas, and Gio Bruno was asked to become the new lead singer.
Later in '86, Andy Griebel replaced Joe Marchese as keyboardist (along with his alto sax) and the core band of The GroanUps became stable for many years. In the late 80s, the horn players from an offshoot project called The Taterheads began joining The GroanUps on occasional gigs and were billed as The Tater Horns (Art Holiman, trumpet and David Puckett, trombone--soon replaced by Mark Walters, baritone sax). By the time the 90s rolled around, they were assimilated into the band for every gig including the addition of Tommy Eubanks on tenor sax.
During the 90s, Sterling Tucker became the swing guitarist who replaced Frank or Ed if their day job workload prevented them from attending every gig. At times, Steve Patrick replaced Andy as keyboardist for similar reasons. Mark Walters left the state, and Jeff Woodward joined on trombone. By the end of the 90s, Tommy Eubanks was replaced by Matt Dickson on tenor sax. Also, at about this time, co-founder Ed Nicholson took a PR job with Tyson in Springdale, AR and left the band. Veteran guitarist Jai Lambert was recruited to replace Ed on guitar, and remained with the band for nine years, until 2008, where he and Frank shared guitar duties. In 2008, the GroanUps undertook a major change of direction. The horn section was replaced by two new GroanUps: Paula Long, a wonderful singer and piano pounder and Mark Hays, who also sings and plays keyboards and guitar.
The GroanUps feature four lead vocalists (Gio, Paula, Mark and Frank) and all of the great harmonies that can now be sung. This, along with the two keyboard setup, open up many opportunities to add new songs to the band’s repetoire, ranging from Michael Jackson to the Mamas and the Papas – and everything in between. You have to experience it to fully understand, so be sure to catch a GroanUps show soon!