Cosmic Pinball

Love Your Local Band: Cosmic Pinball

Cosmic Pinball plays Thursday, Jan. 4 at Moe’s Alley.

Bret Bailey has been drumming in local jam bands for years. He was hoping to do something a little different, so he figured he needed to start his own project.

“Usually the people singing are the ones picking the material,” says Bailey.

Together with bassist Pete Novembre, a longtime friend, he started putting together a band that in a lot of ways would be the exact opposite of the style he was used to playing in. His main emphasis would be the vocals.

“I’ve been playing in a lot of jam bands where vocals were really kind of an afterthought, and long instrumentals and improvisations were the emphasis,” Bailey says. “I really wanted to do something different. I wanted to have a funky, crunchy kind of vibe where the vocals were really the emphasis.”

He felt so strongly about having mind-blowing vocals that he got three lead singers to join the project. At first, there were two lead singers and two backup singers, but when the two backup singers quit, he replaced them with a third lead singer and figured whoever wasn’t singing lead at any given moment could be the backup singers.

“We’re doing songs that work best with at least two people backing up the lead singer. Like ‘Baby I Love You’ by Aretha Franklin,” Bailey says.

The group is partially a cover band, but also has its fair share of originals. The primary style of music is funk, and the band’s name is a reference to that.

“When I think of Cosmic Pinball, I think of more funk and disco retro, ’70s retro,” says Bailey.

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $7/adv, $10/door. 479-1854.

Contributor at Good Times |

Aaron is a hard-working freelance writer with a focus on music, art, food, culture and travel. In addition to Good Times, he's a regular contributor to Sacramento News & Review, VIA Magazine and Playboy. When he's not working, he's either backpacking, arguing about music or working on his book about ska. One thing's for sure—he knows more about ska than you.

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