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Retro rockers go all vintage with vinyl.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

Mentioning his dream in the press may decrease the chances it will come true, but Tony Figoli would like nothing more than to hear that someone had walked into Flicks & Pics and tried to rent "Heavenly Oceans."

Heavenly Oceans, a Eugene-based, retro-instrumental rock band, is set to release "The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" Saturday with two shows at Sam Bond's Garage and an in-store performance at CD World. The band is releasing the album on vinyl, with a free CD thrown into the package.

But that's the gag. There's no movie; Figoli just designed the album cover to look like a soundtrack or promo poster for a spy movie. It's fitting, because the 23 minutes of music pressed onto 12 inches of vinyl is ready-made for film.

It's the band's third release, although the first since the addition of Shehan Nattar on melodica and pump organ.

Guitarist Jake Pavlak and drummer Figoli started Heavenly Oceans in 2000 while both men worked at House of Records. Pavlak was into jazz, Figoli blues, and friends practically dared them to find common ground for a band.

They kicked around the idea for a while, but an experience in the record store gave them the band name and a jolt of energy to start a band.

Both are still in other bands - Pavlak in Yeltsin and Figoli in the West Coast Rhythm Kings. Nattar, who joined about a year ago, is still a member of his high school band in Portland: the Deadeyes.

Cover was another challenge

Vinyl is more expensive than compact disc, but Figoli always has wanted to be on vinyl.

In a recent interview in his south Eugene home, Figoli called the 21-year-old Nattar a young buck. But the two senior members of the band, at 36, are "record freaks" who grew up in the 1970s.

After some Internet research and a cursory look at who pressed some of the better-sounding indie records in their collections, they decided to go with Record Technology Incorporated, a California company.

In recent weeks, the United Parcel Service man has been a frequent visitor at Figoli's home, which has become promotion headquarters for his band's unusual album release. Fliers, posters, T-shirt designs and boxes of CDs covered his tidy home office as he was getting ready for the big day.

Figoli estimated he spent between 30 and 40 hours on the cover, which features ambiguously retro-looking stock photos of sexy women with cars and instruments in the background. The whole image is crossed by the faint lines of a sniper's rifle.

For inspiration, he borrowed "liberally" from James Bond soundtracks. Those get a nod on the back of the album where it says, "Any similarity to pre-existing album covers is totally sweet."

While there's a sense of humor behind almost everything in the band's story, the members take the music itself seriously. Even the funny stuff has a lot of thought behind it.

Take this summer, when Figoli sent a proof to his wife, Heather Quarles, who was in New York for work. She sent it back saying she loved it, but noted the bikini on one of the women wasn't authentic because the wraparound design is very much today's fashion.

Figoli removed the extra strap, and the image was retro-golden.

As for the sound, the band bio says this record is what a remake to "Beach Blanket Bingo" staring Uma Thurman and Steve McQueen would sound like. It was recorded this summer at Billy Barnett's Gung Ho Studios.

Although Figoli's a vinyl buff, he learned something new during this process. He knew a 12-inch record could hold up to 22 minutes of music on each side, but didn't know that shorter recordings sound better because grooves are wider if there is less music.

"Keeping it short was very intentional," he said. "We're instrumental and we don't want to be perceived as a jam band.

`The songs are arranged, tight and done."

CONCERT PREVIEW Heavenly Oceans What: Record release party When: Saturday; 6:30 p.m. all ages; 9:30 p.m. 21 and older Where: Sam Bond's Garage, 407 Blair Blvd. Tickets: The early show is free, and high school band Ogami opens; the late show is $5 Also: Free in-store performance at 3 p.m. Saturday at CD World, 3215 W. 11th Ave. HOLY NAME Tony Figoli was coy about revealing the story behind the name, Heavenly Oceans, because he didn't want it to be misconstrued as making fun of a disabled person. Instead, he said, it's a tribute to a customer who frequented the House of Records when he and Jake Pavlak worked there. One day the man, who had difficulty speaking clearly, came in with his assistant and asked for an album. Figoli and Pavlak spent some time searching for the title. Each considered himself to have vast musical knowledge, so they were puzzled they had never heard of the band Heavenly Oceans. Finally, the assistant realized what was going on and translated for the customer that he was, in fact, looking for Kenny Loggins.

You can call Serena Markstrom at 338-2371 or e-mail her at smarkstrom@guardnet.com.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; The members of Heavenly Oceans are such big fans of "long-play" records, they made one of their own
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 10, 2006
Words:863
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