Midlife Melodies 

Egamufin rocks the boomers

Let's say that you're of a certain age -- call it late youth or early middle age. The print's getting smaller, the lights are getting dimmer, people seem to be talking more softly (speak up, damnit!), and the music ... well, the music's a problem. You always liked your tunes, but things have gotten different. You don't like thin-voiced girl singers, boy groups suck, rap's not your thing, Gwen's tedious, and Britney and Christina -- well, it's just kiddie porn with a beat.

So what do you do? Just give up and recycle the Police, U2 and Blondie for the rest of your life? Get really desperate and paw through the junk in your basement looking for that pristine Flesh for Lulu tape?

Fear not. There's a group out there you'll like, even love. They're writing songs, playing gigs and cutting CDs. Best of all, they're right here in Colorado Springs -- the one, the only: Egamufin.

Here's their story. A few years back, a would-be promoter named Sven decided to put together a band that would be the Next Big Thing. He placed ads inviting musicians to apply. His concept: a middle-aged, gender mixed group! Predictably, it was not the Next Big Thing.

But the band stayed together. As bands go, they're atypical. On drums: criminal defense attorney Michael Salkind. On bass: foundation director Jan Brennen. Lead vocals: restaurant manager Kris Scheaffer. On guitar: computer guys Chris Redd and Mark Boger. Average age: north of 35.

As a band, they're tight, competent and too much fun for five people with day jobs. Eleven songs, all written by band members, for the most part collaboratively. Influences? Blondie and Little Feat for sure, hints of Merle Haggard, a bit of Bob Seger, maybe even the Bangles.

As every wanna-be hit-maker knows, it's not easy to write a good pop song. Seems simple enough -- introduction, hook, chorus, hook, a couple of riffs, repeat and finish. If you're lucky you write one. If you're good, two or three. Over five: genius. Over ten: superstar. Stylistically, Egamufin may be ... back in '84/ We were young and wild and we wanted more, but for anyone whose ears are ready for some edgy, intelligent, punk-influenced rock, they're just about perfect.

Take "Nobody" and "Appetite," the first and third tracks on Activity Bus. Listening to the CD for the first time, driving back from Denver, they sounded both new and familiar, the way good pop always does. Blondie covers? Nope -- all original, and amazingly good. Crisp drumming, exceptional guitar, and Kris Scheaffer's vocals are spectacular. She's got the pipes for witty, hard-driving rock; clear, rich, powerful, and sexy. Think Linda Ronstadt, Debbie Harry, Gwen Stefani. And consider: If any of them had done either song, they would have become instant rock standards.

And who knows, maybe they still will. Thanks to tech-savvy under-30s, who get their music over the Internet from Napster clones, CD sales declined 11 percent last year. Pretty soon, the only CD buyers left will be the tender-eared oldsters who buy Norah Jones and the Dixie Chicks. Believe me, Egamufin would do just fine in that environment. Meanwhile, check out Saturday's CD release party at the Utopia Cafe, and maybe you'll agree; Sven was right.

--John Hazlehurst


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