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The Sheaks

Le Sheaks: Hunter Oswald, drums and vocals; Matt Sheaks, guitar and vocals; Eric Napier, guitar and vocals; and Joe Montanaro, bass.

Home base: St. Petersburg

Beginnings: Oswald, a veteran of successful touring punk bands such as Down by Law, the Queers and Gotohells, wanted to start a band that drew on his pop, soul and classic rock influences, cobbling together a sound that would embody the virtues of two of favorite albums, The Beatles' Revolver and Led Zeppelin III. He recruited members on Craigslist, starting with Sheaks in spring 2007. The remaining two members didn't join until spring this year. The group played its first show in July.

Varied backgrounds: Sheaks has written for All Music Guide and the guys say he's as a walking encyclopedia of music knowledge. "Joe is from Chicago," Oswald says. "He cut his teeth on the dueling piano circuit. He's an amazing keyboard player. … We've been toying with the idea of adding another bass player, so we can utilize his talents better." Napier, from Sarasota, says he's played with "more jammy-style" bands and enjoys the Sheaks' balance of improvisation and conventionalism.

'The band I always wanted': Oswald's heartfelt declaration. He says he had this epiphany when all four members bonded over the Meters' Cissy Strut.

Did Matt name himself after the band? "No, it's not a Ramones thing," Oswald says. "Sheaks is his name. We named the band after him."

Infamous inspiration: An overly critical, nay-saying friend of Sheaks inspired the raucous tune Revenge Is a Song Best Played Loud.

Neighborly rocking: Oswald's converted, detached garage at his home in the Central Oak Park neighborhood acts as a practice space and studio. Inside, multicolored Christmas lights provide a festive ambiance. This weekend, the group will open the still-functioning garage door and play to a carport audience in celebration of a neighborhood block party that Oswald helped organize.

Brainy disagreements: The guys don't always see eye to eye about famous musicians. "I got into a pretty intense argument about the validity of (Charles) Mingus with Joe," Napier said. "Joe said he was too cerebral. I said it's probably the most soul-quenching music out there."

Daddies: Oswald and Napier are married with children. Napier has an 11-year-old son, Dylan. Oswald's daughter Chase is 8, son Eli is 2 and one on the way, daughter Ella, will be born in December. Oswald recorded his daughter's first song, a tune she penned herself that just about everyone can relate to: Pickle Burp.

Hear them: The Sheaks will play in the studio for Laura Taylor's show on WMNF 88.5, Surface Noise, at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12. "

See them live: with the Semis, Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander and others at the Disturbing the Peace Festival, Monday at Jannus Landing in St. Pete. Free before 5 p.m., $7 before 7 p.m. and $10 thereafter. myspace.com/thesheaks.

The Sheaks 10/30/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 9:01pm]

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