THE FIBONACCI EXPERIENCE
My Life as a Super Fan

 

To begin with, I'm not a writer: I'm a computer programmer. If this page were to be about the mathematics of Leonardo Fibonacci, I might be a bit more comfortable. However, I appointed myself "#1 Fib Fan" long ago. And having gained an understanding of the Internet, I couldn't imagine watching someone else do this site without feeling, dare I say, cheated. This is not so much about the band as it is about a slice of my life and how it was influenced by the them. There isn't much info on the band: That's available elsewhere on the site. This is a story (which I hope is entertaining) about one man (me), and how a single band through no effort of their own, shaped many of the ideas which in turn had a significant impact on my youth.

It was October 20, 1981 and my friends and I were excited that we were going to see Sparks (the Whiskey a Go Go being the venue, made it even more appetizing.) The last time I saw the band was New Years' Eve, 1976, when they headlined the Santa Monica Civic. The opening act was Van Halen (!); Flo & Eddie followed. I was twelve years old at the time and my parents actually sat through the show.

At the Whiskey, waiting for Sparks in an extremely packed club, the first band came on stage and started playing some music I immediately found quite unusual: I liked it. The second song began and from the wings entered a stunning Korean woman in a choir robe, playing a hand-held instrument which sounded like a ratchet, which coincidentally, was in fact called a ratchet. Involuntarily, my attention was diverted from the three other musicians and I stood absolutely smitten by this woman. Her name I later found out was Magie Song (the lead singer) and was (I believe) still living with keyboardist John Dentino.

I assumed after the band finished a marvelous set that they were already signed to some label and had something available on vinyl. I didn't know at the time, that they had only been together four ½ months, and what I saw that night was the first gig with drummer Joe Berardi, so I patiently waited for their first release. After that performance, having found out the band played around LA, I immediately knew that they would be dogged by my presence at as many performances as I could get to. I didn't have a drivers license at the time, let alone a car. Being seventeen years old was a large hindrance to my goal of seeing them as much as possible. Many clubs require all customers to be at least twenty-one years old. A few days before a show at Al's bar in the Summer of 1982, I found an ad in the back of a comic book for one of those cheesy fake ID's where you mail them a picture, a few bucks and you get back what looks like a glorified library card. One problem was getting a picture the right size: I couldn't use my High School ID photo because I was still in High School, but I had an old ID from the eight grade, so I sent them that. Saturday afternoon (the day of the Al's Bar gig), I received in the mail this piece of paper that said I was born in 1960, four years prior to my actual year of birth. I was thirteen years-old when the picture was taken. Quite remarkably, the doorman at Al's bar looked at it and let me in! My friend who came along (also seventeen) just to see if he could make it inside (without any false documents), sat on top of a dumpster near the rear exit throughout the entire night. I got to see another great show. (A great band of that era, Pompeii 99 played as well.) I had another tape (I taped every show I attended). Sadly, the card never worked for me again: Except at Al's Bar.

I continued to attend every show I could that didn't bar teenagers. I was extremely introverted in my youth and for the first three years or so, spoke mostly to Ron and Joe exclusively, only because they once introduced themselves, and always recognized me. John and I spoke on occasion, but I'm not sure he knew my name. Magie? The thought of approaching her frightened me. Not because of her sometimes bewildering behavior onstage, but because she was a breathtaking female and also a Fibonacci. It seemed tantamount to walking up to someone like Cindy Crawford and saying something like "Hi, I'm Craig. I've seen you perform often and your stockings always look fabulous." That reminds me: there was this long haired Chicano, a guy I used to go to church with long ago, who used to take me to shows before I got my license. Unaware of how serious his drinking problem was, we attended many gigs, but never noticed any odd behavior (except the time he asked Joe if he wanted to smoke some pot just minutes before the band was to go on stage.) One night at the Music Machine he got up on the stage and knocked over some of Pompeii 99's (another great band of the day) equipment. Later, during the Fib's set, he walked up to Magie, got right in her face and yelled "Skin tight, mama. Skin tight!" (I think I mentioned them stockings). The only reason I know he did that (and this was not the first time I later learned) was that John mentioned it in an article in BAM magazine. Anyway, as I started to explain about my "shyness", It kept me at arms' length from the band for many years. I grew out of this disability in a big way later in life. Incidentally, once Magie found out who I was, she was always very friendly.

In early 1982, the Fibs appeared on "Stray Pop", a then hip radio show on KXLU; where bands come in and usually play a record they're promoting, as well as music they find appealing. The first EP was just released and Los Angeles got to hear it played on the radio. They also got to hear a song called "Dinkle Dance" by a guy named Zoogz Rift. I don't know who chose the record (probably Ron). The music was impressive so I bought his album as soon as I found a copy. After seeing a couple of his shows, I managed to get myself into the band as a keyboard player, and became a permanent member for several years. One night I will never forget, was when we did a show with the Fibonaccis. I never dreamed of that kind of situation ever occurring. Unfortunately, Magie was ill and in the hospital, but the Fibs carried on anyway doing an impressive instrumental set. Ron Stringer happened to be in the audience. He had quit the band a few months earlier. (Oh well, I guess I should have mentioned his departure before now). To the delight of the crowd, he joined the others for a try at "Had It With Girls." I think myself and half the audience knew Ron's parts better than he did that night, but it still went over amazingly well.

By late 1986, performing less and less, the band began to (as I perceived it) lose focus. I understand they had seen some serious hope of actually "making it." By this time I had attended more than fifty shows. Though they still performed infrequently, I still attended nearly every show. I did what I set out to achieve that night at the Whiskey in 1981: I saturated myself with the Fibonaccis. With the help of various band members I held the largest audio/video tape library of Fibonacci performances/etc. than anyone, including the band themselves. Through various "dry-spells" when the band didn't perform for months; even after the official breakup in 1988, I stayed in touch with most of the band members, picking up tapes I had not yet obtained along the way and keeping up with their own individual musical pursuits. For nine years, I continued to touch base with John at least twice a year.

My early goal was to write a book on the band at some point. Yet since they never achieved the recognition they so much deserved, (and that I assumed they would get), it proved to be an inappropriate pursuit. With the advent of the World Wide Web I was given the opportunity to essentially fulfill the spirit of that dream by doing this site. I am proud to have the opportunity to do so and am grateful for the support and contribution provided by the band. Although this particular piece was a bit self-indulgent, if it gives some entertaining insight into my passion for this band, I'm satisfied. If it inspires others who have not yet checked out the Fibs to do so, my satisfaction is even greater.

 

Craig Unkrich

November 7, 1997