The following article was published in ECHO Magazine.
Retro Rock - Everybody In The House set to release full-length CD
Local musician Franki Ambrose is glad to be performing again. The singer fronts Everybody In the House, an "electro-pop" band he founded in Phoenix, AZ with friend Jimmy Saccoman in 1987. Echo readers may be familiar with the group from its well-received performance at the Community Center's Night of Musical Bliss on March 22, 2002.
In its music, Everybody In the House has transformed the sounds of its genesis, New Wave Rock and pop, and brought to them the dance sensibilities of the new millennium. They're really a local band "done good," scoring an underground club hit with "Pretty People" in the summer of 1998. Two years later, the group made a name for them selves with the European dance hit "Deeper Daddy" in the summer of 2000. Currently, the group is burning up the dance floors with the new QUBIQ remix of "Close Up."
Everybody In the House came in to being during a particularly campy period in music. It was the high point of '80s rock, with performers like David Bowie and Boy George bringing an androgynous artistic sensibility to the music scene. Ambrose himself was an ardent Boy George Fan, and still is, running the artist's US Fan Club "Club Boy". "He had the balls to do what everybody else was afraid to do, and not care what people thought," Ambrose said.
So it's no surprise that the group of Valley teenagers, just out of high school and listening to the upbeat, the lyrical, the quintessentially "pop" music, decided to strike it out on their own, and see if they could blaze their own musical trail. "Actually, in high school, I always thought about being an entertainer of some sort, but never thought it would happen. So it was wonderful when we got the band together," said Ambrose.
Working with his friends, they came up with a modification of the idea of music "killing everyone in the house," or having a great performance. Eventually, they came up with what Ambrose considers "a really neat band name" for a group of friends who were musicians performing for the pure fun of it, rather than money or fame. Many people didn't think the band would get anywhere, according to Ambrose, but that wasn't what the endeavor was about.
"I think they thought, 'Oh well, nothing is going to happen with this," Ambrose said. But the dedicated band members hung on and kept playing. Of course, as part of the music came the performance, and with such idols to model themselves on, developing what Ambrose calls "Franki's Freak Show" was only natural. The stage presence of all the current band members, from the grand and gaudy "Lady Zina", the world traveler, to their "back-up chicks" Mindy & Linda, "Muscle Man" Dan and his partner in crime, Jimmy, only enhanced the group's crazy reputation. The band's shows and music are "full of camp, being in love, being out of love" which carries across ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Ambrose believes it reaches down into the wild side of people, and lets them cut lose.
"I think people like to dress up and not be themselves," Ambrose said. "You always want to be the center of attention when you're at the front of a band."
Yet, Ambrose felt that while many of the songs, including "Deeper Daddy," "Pretty People," "Boysexual," and "Dead Love" can be interpreted as inherently gay or queer-themed, Everybody In the House wasn't pigeonholed in a particular category. "I didn't want us to be known as a gay band," Ambrose said. "I just wanted us to be a band, that's it." Ambrose has had several interesting run-ins with fans in any event, with an especially puzzled inquiry from his father over "Deeper Daddy." He said, "'Son, I need to talk to you about this song. Did I do something to you when you were a kid?'" Ambrose said, laughing.
Ambrose was amazed that, eventually, people recognized him out at clubs; friends he didn't really know started coming out of the woodwork, and he was even stalked by one overzealous fan in 1998. "It kind of freaked me out," Ambrose said.
The fame that Ambrose and Everybody In The House has was hard won. After Everybody In the House's period of initial recording high, when twelve people were cramming together to participate in jam sessions, the energy faded. Performing for other friends and at local venues wasn't sustaining enough. Everybody In the House dwindled, down to a dedicated four, and then three, members. The group hung together, and after recording several songs for an intended album of dance-tracks, which never bore fruit, Everybody In the House parted company a year later. But, after making music sporadically across the globe for the next six years, the boys reformed in 1994. Slowly but surely, the band started building a fan base again, in time recording some of their biggest hits.
These days, Everybody In the House is rereleasing early tracks in the form of 2 new CD's, Decade of Decadence and Mixer, and are currently still recording their first full length CD, Glamorama. The band has rejoined with former members and are planning future recording sessions for even more musical tracks along with live shows. No matter if the glory fades, Ambrose's love for music is something he'll always hold on to. "I have this, this is my escape, my poetry," Ambrose said.
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