Hello My Name Is…with Morningbell and DJ Le Spam & the Spam Allstars

The first band to slap on their “Hello, My Name Is…” sticker this week is DJ Le Spam & The Spam All Stars. This Latin funktronica collective always seems to be playing around the Miami area, but they also put in time up and down the Sunshine State and this May they have trips planned to California and New York. Somehow, I found time to chat with Andrew Yeomanson (DJ Spam) in the middle of the group’s usual Thursday night gig at Hoy Como Ayer in Miami’s Little Havana district. Leaning against the Spam van, he revealed his secret recipe for a band name:

“Back in 1994 I was going to a little studio with a half-inch eight track tape recorder and I would record little ideas I had every week. One of the first things I made was this little piece of music with a Cuban riff, tres guitar, and a very basic groove, but over the top of it I laid this country music record from a radio show. It had a commercial for Spam, the luncheon meat but it was an 80’s record so the commercial was really bad. The guy would say ‘What do you think you’re eating?’, and people would try to guess what it was. In between the ad there were clips from the ‘Farmer Says’ toy, you know you pull a string and it says ‘this is a pig, oink oink’. That was my clever little track, and it was the first thing I ever took around to play for people. Back then I wasn’t thinking to hard about it so I started to call the band the Spam All Stars.”

I admit to some initial apprehension when I was first handed a Spam record for review, but as soon as I heard the opening beats of “Campanario 64” on the album, Contra Los Roboticos Mutantes, I transformed into an instant Spam lover.

Back in the comfy, swampy confines of Gainesville, Morningbell continues to rock out my favorite venue (The Atlantic on May 2) and pizza joint (Satchel’s on May 8). Their last release was possibly the world’s first choose your won adventure album, Through The Belly Of The Sea. Eric Atria, bassist and all around nice guy, kindly recalls the origins of their homage to an homage:

“I wish it was a grand story about how the Virgin Mary appeared to us in a dream and said, ‘From henceforth, you shall be named Morningbell,’ but it’s much more simple than that. We needed a new name for the band and fast, so we tried the age old practice of randomly turning to pages in the dictionary.  The first few pages we tried had ‘Police’, ‘Car’, and ‘Zeppelin’ on them, so we decided to go in a different direction.”

The band then turned to their CD  collection.

“We pored over various albums in search of an inspirational song name and found it in Radiohead’s “Morning Bell” off of Kid A. Since Radiohead took their name from the Talking Heads’ song “Radio Head”, we felt it was a perfect way to avoid accusations of ripping our name off.”

And so the circle of applying musical inspiration continues.



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