The Penny Stinkers began as a folksy “busking” band; however, through the last decade it has grown into a unique, high-energy party band that balances trips down memory lane with the latest in musical genres and hard-charging originals.
The group’s robust vocals, in combination with its multi-faceted guitar and rhythm styles, serve to attract an enthusiastic following wherever the band performs. Above all, the Penny Stinkers is a dance band, one that gets people on their feet and dancing, often starting with their very first song.
Michael began his professional work as a guitar player in the Los Angeles and Ventura, California, region soon after graduating high school in that area. As a Gen X kid growing
up in the LA ’80s, he was exposed to all the funky Glam and Alternative music of the times. Those experiences shaped him into a guitar player that appreciates — and can perform — a wide variety of guitar styles reflective of that musical melting pot.
His guitar heroes range from Angus to Edge, Gilmore to Prince, as well as many flavors in between. Michael relishes his role as a tasteful, smooth lead guitar player but also enjoys kicking on the wah-wah pedal to get the dance floor moving.
There have been many bands and singer/songwriters he has been privileged to accompany on his musical journey, ranging in styles from rock, pop, new wave, reggae, funk, ska, Americana and swing. Michael brings all of those influences to the Penny Stinkers, as well as his many years of experience in playing with original and cover bands in clubs, festivals, amusement parks — and the occasional dive bars — up and down the west coast. Michael knows how to assist audience members in having as great a time at every performance as he does playing and happily brings his experience and enthusiasm to the Penny Stinkers party mindset.
Michael also adds a beautifully melodic voice to the Penny Stinkers songs whenever he
sings lead, as well as doing his part in the three- and four-part harmonies that are a
hallmark of the band.
As the Penny Stinkers primary lead vocalist, Jeffrey’s astounding vocal range and comfortable command of virtually any musical style he tackles ensures crowd-pleasing enjoyment by all within earshot. Jeffrey also provides a rhythm guitar backdrop to the Penny Stinkers sound.
Jeffrey began performing as a musician, singer/songwriter and comedian with the United States Air Force. He subsequently toured throughout Europe for a number of years, playing venues that ranged from grand theaters to small town squares. After returning to the United States he studied musical theater and developed the powerful vocal style that has become his trademark. Jeffrey’s ability to move from smooth-edged balladeer to a forceful rasp reminiscent of Tom Waits — sometimes within the same song — keeps audiences spellbound and in rapt attention.
In addition to performing throughout the United States and Europe, Jeffrey has used his
command of music to teach high school students for over 20 years, and truly enjoys introducing young people to American folk music.
The proud member of a Washington State pioneer family, Ranger began his percussive journey on snare drum in high school band in the mid 1960s. By the next year he was playing in his first rock band and, for the most part, has been a performing musician ever since. He credits his college-era band, Rain, with being the vehicle that financed his progression to become a graduate level economist. Today, he has returned to playing the nowvintage, 1964 set of Gretsch drums he began with so long ago.
Ranger has had many influences, with stints in bands that range from Africana to Zydeco. In addition to drum kit he plays a wide variety of percussion instruments, including all manner of hand drums and frattoir (zydeco rubboard). He has played drums and/or percussion in a variety of bands throughout the Pacific NW, as well as performed in other countries, including Japan, China and Australia. Ranger cites as one of his proudest musical accomplishments being chosen to perform at the 2007 2nd World Music Festival in Nakhon Sawon, Thailand.
In addition to providing a solid backbeat to the Penny Stinkers, Ranger also adds harmonic vocals to many of the group’s songs.
JD was raised in a large family — nine children in total — and from an early age was surrounded by musical influences. He started on the bass guitar he now commands so well back in 1979 when his roommates, who were starting a band, didn’t have a bass player. His influences have been many, from original rock and early blues to the flavors of Elmore James, Muddy Waters, The Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal and many more.
For many years JD took the ‘purist approach’ to playing, utilizing just a bass guitar hooked to an amplifier. As a result of his realization some years back that he could attain an endless panorama of sonic possibilities, today he utilizes a variety of electronic effects in order to attain the exact sound he wants. In addition to the standard five-string electric he plays with the Penny Stinkers, JD also has proficiency with stand-up bass, ukulele bass and electric upright.
In addition to stellar bass guitar, JD offers a striking vocal harmonization that blends so well with the other members of the Penny Stinkers. Along with Jeffrey, JD is one of the founders of the Penny Stinkers. JD may have a first name; if you know what it is, be sure to tell us.
To view the latest on the Penny Stinkers, check out the band’s Facebook page:
For more information and bookings, the band may be reached via email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling JD at 360.393.0924