Saturday, February 9, 2013

Satisfaction Guaranteed - Tommy Conwell's Young Rumblers

Left to right: Paul Slivka, Tommy Conwell and Jim Hannum

Satisfaction Guaranteed
Article from Delaware Beachcomber by Sean Rojas
[Date unknown, possibly 1985]

Talent is not something that can be acquired. It may be tuned or refined, but someone is born with it; practice and discipline bring it out. Some people can practice all they want and never be great, but people like Tommy Conwell that have talent just fine tune it.

Tommy is a young man with a future in the music business. He is 23 and when it comes to music, he is much older than his years. He plays his guitar with talent. Tommy used to play with the rhythm and blues band, Rockett 88. This is where he learn­ed to be the showman that he is.

Tommy says, "Mark Keneally of Rockett 88 taught me a lot. He has a great amount of energy, and so do I, but he taught me how to channel it for the most. 1 didn't calm down. I'm just more constructive." Conwell started playing for Rockett 88 when he was at the University of Delaware as an English major. Once he started playing, he left school.

When queried about his educational future and his parents' thoughts on the situation he replies, "Finish? I hope not. I hope I won't have to if the music does well. When I left school after three years, my parents didn't like me quitting, but they got used to it pretty quickly when I started making more money than I ever had before."

At the time, he hadn't been playing the guitar too long, only since ninth or tenth grade. When he was younger, he had taught himself how to play the piano. He learned some boogie-woogie, tried his lips at the trumpet, and used to buy harmonicas all the time. Then he tried his hand at the bass because it seemed less complicated as the multi-fretted guitar. The guitar didn't come until high school.

At first Tommy's playing was something fun, just something to do. As he started to get bet­ter, he began to play with friends and turn the music into something constructive. Tommy comments, "It happens if you play enough, you start to make money. I kept a good perspective throughout; I always wanted to be in a band that had a name, but I didn't get caught up in a fantasy. It wasn't a surprise when money started coming in, but it wasn't something that I took for granted."

He reflects, "It was fun at first, you know, playing around anytime you want, but then I started playing with Rockett 88 and things began to change. I still had a great time, but it began to be work. I began to have doubts; they seem to spring from hard work. I think everybody has that problem at one time or another. It wasn't until I left the band that I real­ly lost that feeling. It didn't really have anything to do with the band, it was me. After I left them, I sat around for awhile and that's when I realized how much I needed to play. So I got these guys (The Young Rumblers) together."

This band, Tommy Conwell's Young Rumblers, has only been together since Feb. 24, 1984. They started with a good momen­tum and have increased it throughout the past year and a half. The band now is Tommy on hollow body electric guitar, Jim Hannum on drums, and Paul Slivka on bass.

Tommy expounds on the future. "The guys in my band are really good players. As a mat­ter of fact we're looking to cut an EP in the near future. We're just doing some recording on our own now, something that lets us know how we sound. Our record will come out on a small label like Antennae Records, but we have some really good producers lined up. I can't say who, but they're well known in the Philadelphia area."

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