||Beatles, McCartney, Fountains of Wayne
|Send a Message
|Support This Artist
This artist hasn't added any content yet. Please post a comment here and request this artist to add your desired content.
About Mimi Betinis
Singer-songwriter Mimi Betinis has been obsessed with music since early childhood.
Growing up in suburban Oak Park, Illinois, the Betinis house was usually filled with the sounds of his mother’s imported Latin, Greek and classical records. “Everything from Mariachi to Vivaldi,” says Mimi, when asked about his early musical influences. “I even loved Eydie Gorme and Trio Los Panchos.”
The British Invasion of the mid ‘60s impacted Mimi forever though--especially at age 12, when his Mom took him and his sister (in the family’s Pontiac Bonneville) to see the Beatles play live at Comiskey Park. “The year 1966 was ‘the year’ for me,” he says today of the experience. Within a few short months, he’d seen the Yardbirds (with both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar) at Chicago’s Civic Opera House--and the Jimi Hendrix Experience play there as well.
Soon after, Mimi taught himself to play guitar and keyboards, and began writing his own three-minute pop-rock songs. By the fall of 1971, Mimi was jamming with friends on his originals—and on covers of Kinks and Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tunes.
In what initially became the group he’s best known for--Pezband--Mimi’s initial lineup consisted of himself (on guitar, piano and vocals), Mick Rain (on drums and vocals), John Pazdan (guitar, piano and vocals) and Mike Gorman (bass and vocals).
With Tommy Gawenda replacing Pazdan--from 1977 to 1979--with Mimi as the engine and frontman of the group--Pezband blazed a trail of hard-edged, hook-laden and harmony-drenched pop-rock on three critically-acclaimed albums and two ferocious live EPs (on Passport Records/ABC Dunhill/Arista)--which “Rolling Stone” and “Trouser Press” cited as some of the best pop-rock records of the entire “power-pop/new wave” era.
As John Dougan, an editor at the All Music Guide (AMG), noted recently, “With such great, great songs, Pezband should’ve been huge.” In fact, Pezband could arguably be the first group to be crowned with the moniker “power-pop”--as their record label promoted the group at the time with print ads that read “Sparkling Power-Pop from Pezband.” For the full history on Pezband, see the essay, “The Best Band You Never Heard Of” at: http://www.well.com/~llange/BLOG/pezband.htm
Despite missing out on the success he so richly deserved, most rock critics agree--that it would not be accurate to compare Mimi’s Pezband legacy with the skinny-tied power-pop/new wave poseurs that followed in the band’s footsteps in the early '80s. In fact, groups like the Knack, the Romantics, and even Cheap Trick--owe a huge debt to Pezband's pioneering hard-pop style--dreamed-in all those years ago by a suburban kid from Illinois named Mimi Betinis.
After parting ways with Passport Records in 1980, Pezband was picked up by producer and Mimi fan, Paul Broucek--now President of Music at Warner Brothers Pictures, and who’s since overseen the “Austin Powers” and “Lord of the Rings” soundtracks (to name but two)--to record an EP at the Record Plant in L.A. The resulting tracks, entitled "Women and Politics"--were sadly, never released, and Pezband decided to call it a day.
Mimi did launch a few other pop-rock projects in the ‘80s--including a stint in Tom Petersson’s band (Petersson was on a break from Cheap Trick at the time)--and he worked as a session player in Los Angeles as well.
Back home in Chicago--the 1990s saw Mimi team-up with Off Broadway’s Cliff Johnson to form the group, Black & Blonde--but by then, Mimi had decided that raising a family and committing to his art had become more urgent priorities for him. He attended the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago, received his BFA, and later his teaching certificate. Today, Mimi is happily married with four children, and teaches art for the Chicago public school system.
In 2005, Pezband’s 50-song catalog was released on CD (by AirMail Records, and distributed by Not Lame)—and Mimi even played a few sold-out shows with some of Pezband’s original members.
Autumn 2010 will see Mimi’s long overdue return to music--with a new single, (“Love is Just a Thin Veneer”), a new 10-song album, (“All That Glitters”)--and a possible tour in the works as well.
For the first time in three decades, Mimi is creating music that is true to his broad range of musical interests and talents. Shedding the “power-pop” label nearly completely, save for a few songs--Mimi’s new material will feature his Latin stylings, his symphonic and jazz influences--and there’s even a modern-day electronica dance-pop number.
Since he is also a fine artist himself, specializing in illustration and handmade collage work--Mimi has created the compelling covers for both his new single and album.
The return of Mimi Betinis to his eclectic musical roots will give a new generation of fans a chance to hear what the rock critics and his old fans have already known for several decades: That Mimi Betinis is one of the premier pop-rock singer-songwriters in the world today.
Mimi’s essential singles:
Beatles: From Me to You, It Won’t Be Long
Yardbirds: Happening Ten Years Time Ago
Mimi’s essential albums:
Yardbirds: Over Under Sideways Down
Beatles: Meet the Beatles
Fleetwood Mac: Then Play On
Jeff Beck: Truth