“I was actually blown away. Maurice Tani writes songs that sound at once familiar, ethereal and beautiful.”
-Robert Sproul, No Depression Magazine
Born and raised in San Francisco, Maurice Tani was too young for the Summer of Love, but was still profoundly influenced by the California culture that gave the world surf guitar, country rock and psychedelic to the singer songwriter types.
Barely into his twenties and hungry for experience, he moved to central Texas to work the hardcore country, blues and rock circuit between Austin and Dallas, playing five sets a night, seven nights a week for months at a time, eventually making connections that led to his moving to New York City just as the punk rock scene of CBGBs and Max's Kansas City was exploding in Lower Manhattan. By 1977 he was back in San Francisco as punk, power pop and new wave was taking hold in the Bay Area and began a stretch of five years and four critically acclaimed albums with ex-Flamin' Groovies front man Roy Loney's band, The Phantom Movers.
Through the rest of the '80s and '90s, Maurice was the lead guitarist and a featured vocalist for Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra and Big Bang Beat, two large, 12-18 piece dance bands that gained worldwide exposure from a 2 hour PBS New Years Eve tri-mulcast (2 television stations with different views and FM stereo radio audio all broadcasting simultaneously) that was broadcast annually for many years on public TV around the US and Europe.
Tani has spent the past 20 years as an active part of the California alt-country/Americana scene. Fronting his own bands, Calamity & Main, 77 El Deora, he has produced a series of albums for himself and others. Tani has constructed a repertoire of rye humor and darker romantic rumination often described as Oblique Americana and Twang-Noir, Tani calls it “Supercalifornographic”.
Tani & 77 El Deora represent the best in Americana: smart without making a fuss about it. The lyrics are worldly but universal. The musical ideas hit home. The playing is as good as you’re going to hear this side of Austin. Above all, the band covers a lot of ground, from wistful ballads to hard driving honky-tonk rock, from personal meditations to satirical cultural observations, from electrified twang to down-home acoustic. Once in a while, they even find new shades of meaning in some cover you thought had been long since played out. This band is different. This band is special.
“All in all, possibly the best indie ‘Americana’ band to come from the Bay Area . . . ever . . . period.” - Paul Olguin
WHAT IS SUPERCALIFORNOGRAPHIC?
Short for “Supercalifornographicexpealidocious”. While rooted in country music, Tani's writing is centered on a West Coast perspective. “Though much of my material is based on fictional characters and situations, I still write what I know. I'm not particularly comfortable or interested in the rural imagery of tractors, 4x4s or general agriculture common in much country music. What attracts me most about country is the story telling side of it. My stories are more likely to be centered around an urban experience. I'm a Californian from a large metropolitan area and I write about the things that hold my attention. I think of these songs as a sort of cinema for the blind. Short musical narratives of life on the left coast.”