From Scan to the Shambles

(Bart Mendoza of Manual Scan and the Shambles talks about how he got from there to here.)

Detail: The Shambles’ first lineup (collection Bart Mendoza)Of course the various members of the Shambles knew each other for years before the band’s formation, but I can put down the beginnings of the band to two events.

In the late ’80s, Kevin Donaker-Ring co-produced Manual Scan’s “Days & Maybes” EP with Ray Brandes (side note: humorous liners by Mike Stax), and we were all part of a group of musicians that frequented Megalopolis on Fairmount Ave., often playing round-robin style — David Moye and Jon Kanis amongst the round-robiners who didn’t end up in the band (though we did back up Kanis on a compilation-album track).

Detail: Shambles at the Casbah (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Manual Scan, Adams Ave. Theater (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Manual Scan, Tower Bridge (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Mark Zadarnowski / The Shambles (collection Bart Mendoza)

Post-Manual Scan split, the two began to collaborate, with Mark Zadarnowski and David Klowden entering the equation next. Though, like Ray, David’s stay was relatively short (up to some first album tracks), Mark has been crucial to the band’s sound since the beginning — check out the song “Change” for one particularly cool listen. Although he retired from live shows with the band in 2005, he’s still part of the action and will be holding down his usual spot on the band’s next recordings.

I wasn’t an original band member but came aboard soon after, just prior to our UK road trip in 1991. Bill Calhoun and Ron Silva were part of the group for a while as well –- check out Bill’s killer playing on the song “Rain” from our album “Clouds All Day” or the “We’ve Got a Groovy Thing” single, in particular.

Detail: Mark Zadarnowski / The Shambles (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Manual Scan, Rock Palace (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Manual Scan, Fresno (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Tom Ward and Kevin Donaker-Ring with The Jetset’s Paul Bevoir (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Manual Scan’s Ron Friedman at The Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Ad for The “Phase III” EP (England) with Manual Scan, 1986.

The transition in lineup can be noted on the group’s first single, “(She’s Used To Playing With) Fire,” which includes recordings from the first lineup but pictures the one with Ron. Lots of other drummers have joined for short spells. (More on that in an upcoming post.) We were fortunate to have had indie-label interest right away — particularly in Europe, and yes, Spain — so releases have been fairly steady.

Next up is “Forty One Sixty,” the first of two discs with artists covering songs from The Manual Scan or The Shambles catalog, from Michigan’s JAM Records.

Detail: Mark Zadarnowski / The Shambles at The Old Casbah (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: Ad for The Shambles’ “Fire” single (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: The Shambles in Madrid, Spain (collection Bart Mendoza)Detail: 27 Various with Bart Mendoza (collection Bart Mendoza)

Funny to think that Manual Scan was around for nine years, but the Shambles have now been gigging for 17 years –- and that doesn’t count all our other bands. The current live lineup of The Shambles is Kevin Donaker-Ring; Bart Mendoza; multi-instrumentalist Kenny Howes; and drummer Todd Woolsey (Static Halo).

1) The Shambles’ first lineup at the Marquee, London, England.

2) The five-piece Shambles at the old Casbah, l-r Mark Zadarnowski (in mirror), Bill Calhoun, Bart Mendoza, Ron Silva, Kevin Donaker-Ring.

3) Manual Scan at the Adams Ave. Theater, l-r Kevin Donaker-Ring, Paul Brewin, Kevin Donaker-Ring, Dave Fleminger.

4) Manual Scan at Tower Bridge, London. I seem to recall some of these pictures ended up in one of the British ‘zines of the day. We’re a three piece at this session because Ron Friedman was on the road, as tour manager, with UB40.

5) Mark Zadarnowski / The Shambles at Java Joe’s in Ocean Beach.

6) Mark Zadarnowski / The Shambles at The Marquee, London.

7) David Anderson and Ron Friedman of Manual Scan at Rock Palace.

8 ) Manual Scan’s Kevin Donaker-Ring and Tom Ward at an outdoor gig in Fresno.

9) Tom Ward and Kevin Donaker-Ring with The Jetset’s Paul Bevoir recording the “Lost Sessions” EP at Circle Sound Studios.

10) Manual Scan’s Ron Friedman at The Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco.

11) Ad for The “Phase III” EP (England) with Manual Scan, 1986.

12) Mark Zadarnowski / The Shambles at The Old Casbah.

13) Ad for The Shambles’ “Fire” single. The first 45 featured Kevin, Ray, Mark, David and Bart.

14) The Shambles in Madrid, Spain – Bart, Mark, Frank Barajas, Kevin Donaker-Ring and Mike Kamoo. Francisco “Paco” Poza not pictured.

15) Legendary Minneapolis trio 27 Various (with Ed Ackerson) at Soma / New Sounds. I joined in for a few songs at the end of the set. Here’s the amazing part; their bass player was Bart Bakker, and Bart Davenport joined in on vocals for the next song …

– Bart Mendoza

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2 Responses to “From Scan to the Shambles”

  1. Kevin Donaker-Ring Says:

    Another thing to note: The acoustic round-robin often went under the name “The Fiascos”. Ray and I talked several times about going to a full band situation, as Manual Scan was not doing anything at the time. A very early pre-Shambles full band lineup included former Manual Scan drummer Brad Wilkins. It was during a jam with him that we started bantering about a possible new name, and riffing on “The Fiascos” moniker. After jokingly going through several possible names, thesarus-wise, Brad blurted out “The Shambles”. And everyone stopped. Yeah. That was it.

  2. Richard Brubaker Says:

    All in all, a very pleasant, informative read.

    Ritchie Rooster

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