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Meet The Band

[photo of the band]
photo taken at Sutro Baths, San Francisco, by Robert Toren

from left to right:
Gil Ray - Alison Faith Levy - Scott Miller - Kenny Kessel

Scott Miller: The only original member of the band.

Bio: I was born in Sacramento, CA in 1960. In 1969 I took a batch of my songs into the session that would produce "It Was a Long Summer, Baby." While establishing my longstanding use of this sense of the word "baby," which one might call "the professorial 'baby'," the song signaled the end of my status as spokesperson of the flower power generation, and in 1972, my junior high school chorus sang for Governor and Mrs. Ronald Reagan at the state capitol Christmas ceremonies. Despite my wrestling with inner demons, my success continued, and 1973 culminated in an Oakland Coliseum show playing guitar with the junior high stage band during half-time at a Warriors game.

After eleven years of negotiations, I signed with Enigma Records and put out several albums with the group Game Theory. At the peak of Game Theory's popularity, the band played New York City's China Club to an audience that included Mason Reese.

Five more years of contract negotiations followed, resulting in Alias Records signing my current band, the Loud Family, and marking the beginning of an ongoing effort to get Lance Loud to come to one of our shows.

See Scott's lists of the top 20 albums, 1965-1999

E-mail Scott at scottmiller @ loudfamily.com


Kenny Kessel: Bass and vocals. Joined the Loud Family in 1995.

Bio: I started playing the guitar after my Aunt Becky gave me one for my eleventh birthday. I used to sit around playing that song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" a lot. Sometimes I'd even call girls from school on the phone and sing it for them.

When I was fourteen I began hanging around with a guy who actually had an electric guitar, and his brother who played drums. I got a paper route, and pretty quickly acquired my own Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty. We played a lot of Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, etc. I was also way into Todd Rundgren and Utopia, Frank Zappa, and progressive rock (Kayak, anyone?), but that was a little beyond the reach of my friends and I to play at the time.

In my junior year I started going to the Arts Magnet High School (this was in Dallas, where I grew up). At that time I switched from guitar to bass. In my senior year I began playing semi-professionally, doing jazz casuals with some faculty members. At this point I actually got really seriously into fusion (it was the 70's).

I went to college at U.C. San Diego, and did a lot of gigging with a "contemporary jazz ensemble." After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles, and indulged my fusion inclinations with various projects. I also did a little "hired gun" work - my favorite was a gig I was called on to do with Burleigh Drummond (from Ambrosia; remember?) on drums. That was cool. While I was in L.A. I worked as a software engineer for Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo.

Eventually I moved to the S.F. Bay Area to go to graduate school at U.C. Berkeley. I continued to do some session work while earning a Master's degree in Operations Research. I joined another jazz-type group and did a fair amount of gigging with them.

All this time, though, I wasn't a "jazz snob" - I was really into XTC, Hüsker Dü, and a bunch of other "pop" stuff, and I was always looking for a decent rock band to join. In late '91, I finally found one I wasn't embarrassed to appear with in public: Indian Bingo. They had one CD out on Independent Project Records. After I joined, the band signed to Rockville and recorded an album called Overwrought. I decided to leave shortly after that, though. And eventually the jazz group I was in disbanded when the leader left town.

So I was looking for a new musical opportunity. Then one day my girlfriend read Robert Rossney's "Online" column in the S.F. Chronicle, and he mentioned "loud-fans," the on-line mailing list for the Loud Family. She knew I was a big fan, so she told me about the list and I subscribed. On the list I learned about Sue Trowbridge's Web page, and on the Web page I learned that Rob Poor, the LF bass player, had just left the band. (Actually, I'd met Scott at an LF gig at the Starry Plough in Berkeley a few years before, and I almost told him to call me if they ever needed a bass player, but that seemed too farfetched.) And so I was able to meet my destiny.

Since the vast income I now receive from the Loud Family is still not enough to support my Scottish Terrier in the style to which he is accustomed, I continue to work as an independent software contractor in the Bay Area.

See Kenny's list of the top 10 albums of 1999

To e-mail Kenny, please send mail to webmaster @ loudfamily.com and put "Kenny" in the Subject: line.


Alison Faith Levy: Keyboards and vocals. Joined the Loud Family in 1997.

Bio: Alison Faith Levy has had a busy year. In addition to making Attractive Nuisance, she has been working hard on several other projects. First and foremost, there's her latest full-length solo album, My World View, available on Magnetic. My World View is a more fully arranged pop affair than her last album -- the moody, minimal The Fog Show. Magnetic is a small label run by Jonathan Segel and Victor Krummenacher, ex-members of Camper Van Beethoven, and they have recently joined forces with the Pitch-A-Tent Records website, run by another Camper alum David Lowery (Cracker), which features MP3s of Magnetic recording artists.

Levy has also been mining prog rock waters with guitarist Chuck Marcus in a project called Sonoptic. An arsenal of analog keyboards coupled with guitar drone extravaganzas set the pace for hypnotic, improvised songs clocking in at double digit track times. Sonoptic have just released their debut album Chore Overload on the Rhode Island-based experimental label Warpodisc. The album was edited and sequenced with the help of Loud Family friend and co-conspirator Tim Walters.

In the world of independent cinema, Levy finished her first starring role as a sex-starved 60's housewife in Danny Plotnick's film "Swingers' Serenade," for which she also composed and arranged a full-on sleazy mondo jazz score. (Buy it here!) The film has screened at the Independent Feature Film Market in New York, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, The Film Arts Festival in San Francisco and the Mill Valley Film Festival. The film's rocking score features the Loud Family's own Gil Ray on drums. Her song "Bells" appeared in the feature film "The Invisibles" starring Portia de Rossi, which screened at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Alison and Danny (her husband) are also very proud of their 8-minute, super 8 opus "I, Socky," which features the one and only Socky, the sock monkey who was a ubiquitous fixture on the Days for Days tour.

Lastly, Levy has spent quite a bit of time flying back and forth to Seattle to participate in the British folk rock tribute supergroup The Minstrel In The Galleries, featuring John Wesley Harding, Kurt Bloch and Mike Musburger of the Fastbacks, and Jim Sangster of the Young Fresh Fellows. They were even joined onstage during a performance of Fairport Convention's "Percy's Song" by none other than Peter Buck on 12-string guitar. The Minstrels have no gigs scheduled, but hope to go into the studio to record a full-length album of their unique brand of medieval headbanging music.

To e-mail Alison, please send mail to webmaster @ loudfamily.com and put "Alison" in the Subject: line.


Gil Ray: Drums. Joined the Loud Family in 1997.


1. 1st band that I played a Slingerland blue sparkle pearl drumset--w/The Rodents (1966)

2. 1st band to perform with Go-Go dancers wearing white Go-Go boots at a talent show--w/The Rodents (Myers Park Elementary School, 1966)

3. 1st paying gig--w/The Rodents (at friend's birthday party, 1966, $6.00)

4. 1st time falling off a drum stool (during performance)--w/Rock Bottom (at Parents Without Partners party, 1974)

5. 1st band to get stranded in a town for 1 1/2 weeks because we lost the band's keys to a borrowed car beneath a boardwalk in a NC beachtown during the summer that the movie "Jaws" was released--w/Ebenezer (summer of 1975)

6. 1st time actually seeing a drunken businessman dance on a table top and drop his pants--w/Rhapsody (disco-Top 40 band, Spartanburg SC, 1978)

7. 1st disco band to have a knife pulled on by a club owner--w/Skyline (somewhere in W. Virginia, 1978)

8. 1st cinder block thrown at me (on stage)--w/No Rock Stars, 1982

9. 1st time I covered a Residents song (Constantinople) and a Monkees song (Auntie Grizelda) in the same band--w/The Happy Eggs, 1981

10. 1st band to be mentioned in Boston Rocks as the "godfathers of gothic rock (San Francisco division)"--w/Fade To Black, 1984

11. 1st time I shared a record label with Stryper--w/Game Theory, mid 80's

12. 1st time I covered "Kung Fu Fighting" and a Joy Division song ("Love Will Tear Us Apart") in the same band--w/Game Theory, mid 80's

13. Only person living or dead that I have served as drummer through 3 decades--that would be Scott Miller!

14. 1st (and only) time I got to perform on a real movie soundtrack (Swinger's Serenade)--w/The Snugglers (thanks Alison and Danny!)

15. 1st band to have a really cool website!--w/The Loud Family (thanks Sue!)

16. Last band to use Slingerland blue sparkle pearl drumset--w/The Loud Family, now!

To e-mail Gil, please send mail to webmaster @ loudfamily.com and put "Gil" in the Subject: line.

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