June 27, 1982

L.A. Beat


By Jeff Spurrier


When it comes to putting a label on Fibonacis' (fee-bow-NAH-chees) music, keyboarist John Dentino is open to suggestions.

"How about Euro-techno-disco-Fellini-circus-chamber-music?" he offers.

"Or porno-disco-mobile-home-park-Muzak?"

"Or elevator music from hell"

Whatever the category, the group's oddly framed musical posture is attracting attention. Its seven-song debut EP is due shortly on Index Records.

The Fibonaccis, which also includes guitarist Ron Stringer, vocalist Magie Song, and drummer Joe Berardi, combines a tongue-in-cheek humor with a repertoire that ranges from a lampoon version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" to a wry treatment of Bernard Herrmann's "Theme From Psycho" to its own quirky compositions.

"I think we're a bit more sophisticated musically than some other bands," maintains Stringer. "We introduce strange musical elements without being pompous. I think people enjoy musical surprises. Hopefully, even when we do 'Psycho', we give the impression of just tossing it off."

While "just tossing it off" might sound like the remark of a seasoned pro, only drummer Berardi has previous band experience. Just 8 months old, the Fibonaccis are still establishing an identity.

"We're in an ingenue stage right now so every new song is in a new mode," continues Stringer. "We're trying so many things that not many songs resemble each other. It may not be the best way to establish an image but for now it's the most exciting way to work."

One aspect of the Fibonaccis' sound that is fairly consistent if the influence of Italian composer Nino Rota, noted for his sound tracks to Fellini's "8 1/2," "Juliet of the Spirits" and other films.

"The Nino Rota thing is not really conscious imitation," says Dentino. "It's just that at one point last year I was listening to his 'Casanova' sound track constantly. Also because of our instrumentation and musical tastes, some things come out sounding like him."

Besides a catchy carnival-sounding keyboard tone, Magie Song's frenzied "characterizations" are one of the band's main lures on stage.

"A lot of the songs Magie sings are diatribes," explains Stringer. "The lyrics are portraits of people - they're caricatures."

Magie's caricatures are not always understood by the audiences. But rather than be put off by the sometimes hostile reactions, she seems to enjoy it: "One of the best shows I can remember was at USC when we opened for Oingo Boingo," she says. "About 30% of the audience hated us. They kept screaming at me and I made caustic remarks back. I liked it because something was really going on. A lot of times people just sit there with their mouths open."

It's important to get a reaction, Dentino agrees: "At the beginning we would get disheartened when we would get a negative response, but I think that's the wrong attitude," he says. "Any reaction is good."