Vancouvers New Years Eve is Moe fun
Many guys named Moe are out there.One group of musical Moes is based in Chicago. More Moes have cropped up in places as far-flung as Ontario, Canada, and Kent, England. No matter how many Moes there may be, there are always Five Guys Named Moe. No less, no moe.Here in Vancouver, our local Five Guys Named Moe are 13 men and women who specialize in faithful covers of dance music from nearly every era. What started out as a five-piece rock group in 1984 has grown into a big Vegas-style show band boasting four singers and five horns on all your favorite hits, from the 1960s through right now.It’s thanks to Joe Jackson’s 1981 remake of a stomping 1943 hit by singer and saxophonist Louis Jordan that bands the world over started taking up the name.“Who’s the greatest band around?Makes the cats jump up and down?Who’s the talk of Rhythm Town?Five guys named Moe!When they start to beat it outEverybody jump and shout.Tell me who do the critics rave about?Five guys named Moe!”Getting the band togetherThis newspaper had a hand assembling our local Moes, according to bandleader John Granger.In 1986, recent college graduate Granger came home to Vancouver wanting to get back to the saxophone he’d played in the University of Washington marching band. He spotted a classified ad — remember those? — seeking a sax player for a dance band. The band was already Five Guys Named Moe, and it really was just five guys — but now they were adding brass.Thirty years later, Granger is leader of the band. The personnel have changed and expanded, but not the people-pleasing approach.Our 13 Moes include six Vancouver residents with some impressive musical and community credentials. In addition to Granger there’s saxophonist Mark Davey, band director at Shahala Middle School, and trombonist Mark Neshyba, band director at Wy’east Middle School. Neshyba is retiring from Wy’east next year, and one of his earliest music students in 1978 was Brian Pelky, now a Moes guitarist and incoming president of the Clark County Association of Realtors. Lead singer Rebecca Brown is marketing director at Clearwater Assisted Living.