Monday, December 12, 2016


Tiny Lights - The Young Person's Guide To Tiny Lights (October 17, 1995) 
Tiny Lights - The Smaller The Grape, The Sweeter The Wine (March 18, 1997)

Tiny Lights straddled both the New Brunswick and Hoboken pop scenes when they formed in 1985, the brainchild of singer/guitarist John Hamilton and singer/violinist Donna Croughn. The original lineup included cellist Jane Scarpantoni,  bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and drummer John Mastro (brother of the Bongos' Jim Mastro.)  The group enjoyed a  remarkable decade-plus career, releasing seven albums and touring the country with artists like Michelle Shocked, 10,000 Maniacs, Henry Rollins, Poi Dog Pondering, the Feelies, and many others.   The band's unique mixture of orchestral pop and psychedelic improvisation - often expanding its lineup to include trumpet, saxophone, tabla, and bass clarinet - inspired Rolling Stone to dub the group "Sly & The Family Partridge."

Bar/None released the career-spanning compilation The Young Person's Guide To Tiny Lights in 1995,  and the group's final album, The Smaller The Grape, The Sweeter The Wine, in 1997.  Dave Dreiwitz and Jane Scarpantoni went on to enjoy long careers, Dreiwitz as a member of Ween and Scarpantoni as accompanist for Lou Reed, R.E.M., Bob Mould, 10,000 Maniacs, the Indigo Girls, and Bruce Springsteen. Hamilton and Croughn married and are now raising a family in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where John is a professor at Harvard University.

Tiny Lights (l. to r.) John Mastro, Donna Croughn, John Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz
Dave Dreiwitz:  When Tiny Lights began, our goal was to make and perform beautiful music together. We worked very hard touring and recording. We had our own sound and that was what was most important to us.The very first Tiny Lights concert was in 1983 opening for The Bongos at the Showplace. I was a senior in high school. Somehow we always managed to get on some really cool bills. We played with so many different bands including John Cale, 10,000 Maniacs, Lenny Kaye, The Hoodoo Gurus, Lucinda Williams, Jim Carroll and The Feelies. When we started touring nationally we opened for Henry Rollins, Mojo Nixon and Michelle Shocked all on the same tour! In the early 90's, I remember one great bill at the original Knitting Factory with Kramer, David Peel (with the Pope of Pot!) and Luscious Jackson.


No comments:

Post a Comment