Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Twangy

Roger Clyne and P.H. Naffah embark on a post-Refreshments career with The Peacemakers

"We may have other people come and visit," Clyne says. "I'd like to find somebody who could play a saloon-piano feel, and I'm talking to a fiddle player or two. The core of the songs will stay the same, but different players will add a different feel to it.

"It's gonna be a fluid thing. Whoever wants to come out and play and add their slant to the songs is probably gonna be welcome."

The King Is Gone: Tempe lost a longtime club fixture and secret legend on Thursday, October 8, when Frank Martinez, better known as Elvis "the Cat" Del Monte, died at Tempe St. Luke's Hospital. Del Monte was admitted to the hospital with a collapsed lung, and, after making progress, he suffered a fatal blockage of his arteries.

Del Monte was a fiftysomething music enthusiast who made a modest living with his artwork, but became renowned for joining many of Tempe's biggest bands--including the Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop, The Piersons, and Satellite--onstage. As Gloritone/Revenants manager Charlie Levy says, "Every night he'd be onstage somewhere singing."

Del Monte had a terrible voice, but an unmatched joy at the idea of performing. Dead Hot drummer Curtis Grippe says, "People used to ask, 'Why do you let him get up and sing?' But I always thought that when you can make someone that happy, you owe it to them to do it."

Del Monte was known for his unique interpretation of "Heartbreak Hotel," and he even co-penned an untitled original with Dead Hot, a song that featured him on one knee, sweet-talking the ladies of the house. Grippe says that one of his favorite moments as a musician was Del Monte's cameo performance at the state fair in front of an apparently shocked crowd of 17,000.

"He was someone who had a sincere appreciation of original music," Grippe says. "He was someone who always wanted to be a performer."

At press time, no funeral arrangements had yet been made for Del Monte.

--Gilbert Garcia

Contact Gilbert Garcia at his online address: ggarcia@newtimes.com

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