The roomier, wood-paneled space allows for amenities Smith’s previous shops lacked, ranging from mere elbowroom to a couple of pool tables. Wireless Internet is available for the productive drinkers among us, and daily happy hours boast $2.50 drafts from 4 to 7 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m. More improvements are on the way, including a jukebox, live music and an expanded menu.
Smith banks on wrangling some of his old clientele back from the downtown haunts where they’ve sought refuge since the January ’05 dissolution of Cup-A-Joe in the Old City, which trailed on the heels of Cup-A-Joe on the Strip’s closing in January ’04. “It’s a rotation,” he says. “I’m just hoping they’ll rotate back to the Strip.”
“Quiz Band was a project thought up by an older friend of my family, Patrick Foster,” says Schaeffer . “He did that interview and thought up the songs and stuff, but he backed out at the last minute, and we had to play without him.”
Fair enough, but why do two guys get their rocks off in three different bands? To mix it up, of course. The Bangs offer rock songs with more interesting arrangements and songwriting, while Power Snake dishes out epic, Ratt-inspired, cock-rock anthems.
“Power Snake is definitely the most important project to us,” says Rusk, the band’s drummer. “But unfortunately The Royal Bangs seem to be in higher demand. We’re just going along with that and biding time until everyone comes around and realizes that Power Snake is really the best band in Knoxville.”
So, where does Quiz Band, with its majestic theatrical performances and improvisational genius, fit in? “Since Patrick has backed out on the group, the drive isn’t there as much as it used to be,” says Rusk. “We still feel the music is important though, so we try to play whenever we can.” The band says that even though the mysterious Foster can’t gather the courage to perform, he still wants the music to be heard. “We’ve only played a couple of shows, and Patrick actually showed up at the last one and watched from the back,” adds Schaeffer. “I think he’s happy that we’re still going with what he started.”