"We are the answer to whatever fans want," says Jeff Myers, lead guitarist and singer for the Fort Wayne-based The Answer Band. "We love to play music for people, so we decided to really make it a customer-oriented band. We love to hear when someone says how much of a good time they’re having.”
Since forming in 1993, The Answer have grown to become one of the Tri-State area’s top rock n' roll dance bands. The Answer, featuring - Ralph Tourkow, bass; Amanda Kittredge, vocals; Chad Reichert, drums; Mike Clark, on keyboard; and Myers on guitar - have performed at several hundred weddings, private parties, Legions, country clubs and bar mitzvahs. Myers and Riechert have each been performing for more than 25 years.
"Chad is well known among other area musicians for the rock-solid groove he lays down every time he plays," says Myers. "Keyboardist Clark “accumulated many road miles while touring with Vice Squad and has run sound or played keys with a number of local bands," Myers says. "Our bass guitar player Ralph has experience ranging from jazz to rock. Ralph's versatility is a perfect fit for the band," he says. "Simply ‘amazing’ is the only way to describe the phenomenal talent of Amanda," he adds.
The band’s blend of cover tunes ranges from 50s pop tunes like “The Twist,” “jailhouse Rock” and “Pretty Woman” to recent hits “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears and Carlos Santana’s “Smooth.” Along the way, the band performs Shania Twain and Patsy Cline country tunes, rock ballads by Bob Seger and Eric Clapton and standards like “Misty” and “Unforgettable.”
"The concept was we wanted to show that the band could play all different types of music," Myers says. “If it’s danceable, we play it. When we formed we decided we would be a fun-loving group. We are really customer-oriented. We take a lot of requests. Requests work out well, because they get the crowd going.”
Myers says the band hasn't gotten too many unusual requests. He recalls, however, playing “Stairway to Heaven” for one bride and groom’s dance song. “It was odd,” he says. “We’ve played some different international wedding songs. We played an English girl's wedding one time. She wanted to hear ‘Hi Ho the Silver Lining.’ One time we played for a bride who was from Denmark.”
In 1994, The Answer were at a wedding gig at the Tippacanoe Lake Country Club in Pierceton. During the band’s show, a fire broke out at the club.
"Smoke was billowing out the vents during the bride and groom song," Myers says. "We saved a couple of people. The lady singer we had at the time got someone out of the ladies’ bathroom. I rescued a drunk from a bathroom upstairs.” The smoke and flames from the fire ruined the band’s instrument cases. They were able to save their instruments, however," recalls Myers.
Myers also recalls a wedding the band played in Huntertown. "The day of the wedding had been rainy, leaving the outdoor venue muddy. “They had a tent out in the field. The entire area was mud. Everyone was muddy. That was a year ago and we’re still finding mud in places."
Each year the band plays the St. Jude’s Festival. "We feel like the Beatles each time we play the festival," Myers says. "All the fans come up and ask for our autographs afterwards."
Although the band does not play original tunes at shows, Myers says he and other members have written and recorded original material as side projects. Myers himself produced and recorded a record several years ago.
The band recently finished recording a demo tape at Fort Wayne’s Tempel Recording Studio. The tape, Myers says, will be sent to potential customers when the band is booking gigs. “We are doing a video to go with it. Part of it will be like a music video. We shot part of it in Los Lagos grocery while the store was open and people were shopping.”
Myers says the band also has a previous similar video which won a Community Access Network Video Festival Music Award in 1997. The film features interviews with the band and shows the different styles of music the band can perform
The Answer Band will be performing at the American Legion Post #241, 7605 Bluffton Rd., on May 10, from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
To book the Answer, call Jeff Myers at 484-1664, or email the band at TheAnswerBand@bigfoot.com. The band’s website, www.theanswerband.com contains a complete songlist as well as up coming gigs, pictures and a short band biography.
by Jonah Crismore