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July 2006 - Reverso Benigni

SCS: How and when did Reverso Benigni form as a band?

Lee: Charlie and Joe wrote stuff together. Joe and I have known one another since we were little ones. I lived in Iowa and came to Lincoln every now and then to throw my hat in. Once I moved to Lincoln to go to school, we ended up playing more often. Any so the story goes....

Joe: Reverso Benigni for me is something that started the first day that Lee and I started jamming, which was about seven years ago. Neither of us really knew how to play our instruments but we were both in school band together. In 8th grade Lee moved to Iowa and we both separately developed our musical skill while keeping in good contact, swapping mix cds, and meeting each other halfway at Sokol. I met Charlie in Lincoln High band, he played bass way better than I could play guitar. After a lot of jamming and me catching up we started to find a middle ground which culminated into Reverso.

Charlie: Putting together a band is something that Joe and I had been kicking around since we first met. We started coming up with a few ideas and we worked on them in this weird little room in Joe's parents house. For a school project we made this video called 'Don't Get Caught Exploding' and used the songs we'd written in the sound track. That was the start it. Then Joe introduced me to Lee and we got in a fight about some macaroni that ended in the formation of what would become Reverso Benigni.

SCS: How would you define your band or your sound to someone who’s never heard or seen you

Joe: Instrumental rock glam dance punk art life.

Lee: It's a rock opera. Intrumental rock music with a pinch of that extra little something.

Charlie: We always called it Mus-Rock.

SCS: How would you describe a Reverso Benigni show? -- If people come to see you live, what can they expect?

Joe: Tuning, awkward silences, muttering, music.

SCS: That may be the best description of any band, or every band's, show that I've ever heard.

Lee: They can expect Charlie, Joe, myself, music, and fun. (fun is sold seperately)

SCS: What types of music and which musicians/groups influenced the band members?

Lee: I can't speak for everyone but I think that David Bowie is one collective influence.

Charlie: David Bowie (the actor, not the musician!), Thunderstandable, HFM. The acting of Klaus Kinski.

Joe: Too many things to name... Yes, the Clash, Phillip Glass, The Contortions, Johnny Cash, Fugazi, cartoons, macaroni.

SCS: Really? I don't hear the macaroni in yiour sound at all. I assume your name came from a play on Italian actor Roberto Benigni's name, but why did you choose that as your name?

Lee: He is the ultimate persona.

Joe: We couldn't agree on what to call ourselves. It was a toss up between "Carpet" and "Sucking Dickens" but the day before our first house show we watched Down by Law and came up with the name.

Charlie: What to name our band was an on-going argument to the point where all of other friends would just be like "Here we go again..." every time it came up. I wanted to name it Sucking Dickens or Klaus Kinski. But anyway, we watched Down By Law in Joe's apartment and it had this scene where Benigni says "If looks could kill... I am dead now." It still makes me chuckle to this day.

SCS: What are your goals for this band, touring, just playing around town ?

Joe: Up until last fall Reverso Benigni had always been just a thing that we did when Lee came to town. Then Lee moved to Lincoln and we all started going to UNL and practicing a lot more, then booking gigs and meeting more people to play with just sort of evolved from house shows to gigs at Sokol. Although house shows have always been a lot funner for us. I plan on doing more house shows.

Charlie: Touring might be cool.

SCS: How have you grown, musically and creatively, since the band first started?

Charlie: Song writing is one of the most interesting things I've ever done. It's a balancing act between going with your first instinct and letting things develop. And also between Joe/Lee's vision and my own.

Joe: I think I've learned that nothing is a bad idea, it might just need some tweaking, or be done differently. Also I've gotten much better at the guitar.

SCS: Who writes the songs and how do you work them from the idea stage to the finished product?

Joe: Me and Charlie come up with some parts separately and some parts while jamming together, then we sit on the material for a few weeks and hopefully by that time we have a structure for Lee to work off of.

Charlie: It's a really varied process. Joe and I come up with some riffs and other types of ideas and keep each other up on what's going on. Then one of us takes what we've got and structures it into song-like thing. Sometimes it just happens without us having to say anything, sometimes we have to clash and agrue, sometimes I just show up for rehearsal announce that I have a new song and completely bullshit something on the spot hoping that the other guys will be able to make it work. A lot of times the songs come from Joe and I trying to top each other or trying to make each other laugh by juxtaposing really ironic things. The song writing is my favorite part.

SCS: How have you grown, musically and creatively, since the band first started?

Lee: We played a couple house shows with Use One's Fist and HFM, which were awesome. But the first "real" show was at the ol' C-box w/ Use One's Fist. It was fun.

SCS: When and where was your first local show and how did it go?

Charlie: A house show that Use One's Fist set up. It was just all of our friends in a basement. It was really hot and everyone was drinking a lot and our friend BJ was there taking pictures and got hit in the face with a drum stick. I think the cops ended up coming. If I'm not mistaken, we played King Of The Road for an opener.

Joe: The basement of our friends apartment building in fall '05. It went well for us, we played a cover of Pachabell Canon in D

SCS: Likely making that the only bill in history ever mixing those twe songs together! What was your most memorable live performance and what made it that?

Joe: Playing a house show with HFM, it was our second show ever and they agreed to play the day of. It was a great time, no cops, lots of sweat and beer.

Charlie: The face exploding house show with HFM.

Lee: For me it was when we played with Mr. 1986 at Sokol Underground. Mr. 1986 is such a phenomenal live act. So we got to see them for free..and they let us rock before them. Another show with TSITR and Bright Calm Blue was reaaal awesome too. Both of those bands rock from here to Canada and back.

SCS: At least! So what do you like and dislike about the music scene in Lincoln?

Joe: I like its diversity, there are a lot of great bands doing extremely original things, like Gamma Goat, The Show Is The Rainbow, Axes To The Sky, Bright Calm Blue, Thunderstandable. We have a strange untouched niche of creativity here. I don't like the lack of city or UNL support of good music.

Charlie: The Lincoln music scene has been very supportive of us. HFM, Prints of Apple Island, The Show is the Rainbow and probably a few others took us under their wing and helped us out a lot. There so many awesome undiscovered acts, like Jodie Loves Hinkley.

SCS: Have you learned anything in your experiences in a band that you feel newer local bands could learn from, or made any mistakes they should avoid?

Joe: Try to think of your music as your own unique work of art, don't strive to be a cliche. Always fix your own instruments and equipment, you will learn more about them and it will take less time. Record yourselves as much as you can.

SCS: Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?

Lee: Mr. 1986 is great. Jodie Loves Hinckley be doin' there thang. The Golden Age is great. Prints of Apple Island are thiefs and I offer a bounty on their heads. And, of course Use One's Fist

Joe: Gamma Goat, The Show Is The Rainbow, Her Flyaway Manner, Bright Calm Blue, Thunderstandable, Prints of Apple Island, Rrent Money Big, Jodie Loves Hinkley

Charlie: Voltage (Chicago), HFM, Jodie Loves Hinkley. And of course our sister band, Use One's Fist.

SCS: Who's your favorite local band to play with?

Joe: Use One's Fist.

Charlie: UOF, they are completely nuts and really fun.

Lee: So far tons of bands have been great. Nice peeps in Lincoln

SCS: Do you think growing up/living in Lincoln influences your music in any way?

Joe: Probably

SCS: Are you working on a new album now, and if so, when do you expect it to come out?

Lee: Yes...soon.

Lee: We recently self-recorded a bulk of our songs. We hope to get some CD's pressed look for a release in the not-so-distant future

Charlie: We are working on an album right now. It's really hard, though. No saying when it will be done but if it's not done by the end of the summer then it will never be done. I really wish we had recorded more of our shows.

SCS: Was there one defining moment which led you to a life of rock and roll?

Joe: My elementary school music teacher brought his electric guitar to class and let me play it.

SCS: If you could tour with any band in history, who would be your dream band to tour with?

Lee: Joe Strummer and the Mescaleroes or Willie Nelson!

Joe: James Brown, Lightning Bolt.

SCS: What was the first album/CD you bought?

Joe: The Simpson's characters singing songs.

Charlie: The Apollo 13 sound track.

SCS: Whose music are you listening to right now? -- What other bands would you recommend people check out?

Lee: I'm listening to some Woody Guthrie, Lightnin' Hopkins, The Advantage, Battles.

Joe: Coltrane, the Advantage, Polvo, Brian Eno, Trans Am, Tortoise, Ravi Shankar.

Charlie: Sonic Youth, The Talking Heads, Voltage, Brian Eno.

SCS: What are your 5 favorite albums of all time?


  • Live at the Old Quarter - Townes Van Zandt
  • Live at the Royal Albert Concert Hall - Bob Dylan
  • Earth is not a Cold Dead Place - Explosions in the Sky
  • Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
  • Combat Rock - The Clash


  • All I can say is: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

    SCS: What’s the best gig you've ever seen, local or otherwise?

    Lee: Probably Sigur Ros in K.C. or Explosions in the Sky and Mr. 1986 in Omaha.

    Joe: Thunderstandable, Volara, Signal to Trust at the Culture Center... My first show ever, SeaSick Bob and Boycaught at Knickerbockers. Explosions in the Sky and mr 1986 at Sokol. Voltage at Duffy's

    Charlie: Thunderstandable, Volara, Signal to Trust at the Culture Center. I snuck in without paying and after I heard the bands I went back and paid.

    SCS: That's awesome! Who do you think is the most underrated artist in the music industry?

    Joe: Her Flyaway Manner, they should be huge.

    Lee: Probably Darren Keen or A Silver Mt. Zion

    Charlie: Ditto on the HFM.

    SCS: What can we look forward to in the next year from the band?

    Charlie: Right now we're taking a breather. The future is definitely uncertain.

    Lee: I'm in North Dakota for the summer, and we will playing shows again in September or so..hopefully with CD's

    Joe: An album, new songs, shows and stuff.

    SCS: Anything else you want to share with our readers?

    Joe: No.

    Charlie: Support the local music scene b/c they support us.

    - Tery Daly