BEST BETS: Fuzzbox Piranha ready for First Friday

From left, Fuzzbox Piranha, made up of, from left, Dale Shaffer, Rich Husfelt and Scott Hynson, will play downtown Dover’s First Friday celebration tonight at 6. (Submitted photo)

In the 13 years that local band Fuzzbox Piranha has been around, the band never had a bigger audience than on the morning of May 16, 2009.

“I always say that was the day my voice was heard throughout the universe,” said lead singer and bassist Dale Shaffer.

The group’s parody of “Hotel California” called “Hotel Cepollina” named after NASA engineer Frank Cepollina, was played as a wakeup call for the astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Fuzzbox Piranha’s former guitarist Jim Rezac had a brother who worked at NASA and he was able to get it used to start the space travelers’ day.

“It was a really cool thing. It was pretty amazing. I didn’t even realize it had happened. I got an email from a Michigan school teacher about how cool it was that we were the first unsigned band to play on the Space Shuttle,” Mr. Shaffer said.

“My wife asked me if I knew it happened. I had no idea. That was really neat.”

Although the rest of Fuzzbox Piranha’s other gigs have had them with their feet firmly planted on earth, the band has now carried a longtime tradition of rocking the area.

The trio, which also consists of drummer Rich Husfelt and guitarist Scott Hynson, will play for downtown Dover’s First Friday celebration on Loockerman Street tonight from 6 to 9.

The family-friendly, free event on Loockerman Street, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m., will also feature local craft beer from Dover’s Fordham and Dominion Brewing, wine from Great American Wine Company and food from local restaurants, the Zaikka food truck and Sarah’s Ice Cream Truck.

Mr. Shaffer and Mr. Husfelt are original members of Fuzzbox Piranha with Mr. Hynson a part of the classic rock group for nine years.

A local band that’s been together for more than a decade is pretty rare but Mr. Shaffer thinks he knows why that’s been able to happen.

“We try to play the good stuff. It’s the stuff everybody knows even if they don’t realize they know it,” he said.

“We also try to have fun with it. If we didn’t have fun with it, we wouldn’t still be doing it. Scott and I grew up together. We’ve known each other since were kids and Rich has been there from the beginning.”

Mr. Shaffer and Mr. Hynson grew up in Denton, Maryland, where Mr. Shaffer still lives. Mr. Hynson now resides in Ridgely, Maryland while Mr. Husfelt is in Dover.

Mr. Shaffer said the band has climbed a whole other level since Mr. Hynson has joined the group

“He’s like Eddie Van Halen. He’s an amazing musician. I’ll be fooling around with a Stone Temple Pilots song and he’ll just walk up to me and say ‘You’re playing it in the wrong key. You should be playing it in B.’ I don’t know how he does that,” he said.

Fuzzbox has been a mainstay of many Delaware and Maryland nightspots for many years.

“There’s never been a whole lot of egos getting in the way of things. Rich and I have played with a few guitarists now and none have ever thought they were bigger than the band itself, which can cause problems,” Mr. Shaffer said.

Although the band used to play a healthy dose of both classic and modern rock, they have stuck to the older stuff of late.

“We found we were getting more jobs that way. You keep playing Led Zeppelin and stuff like that and people seem to like it,” Mr. Shaffer said.

He said they have toyed with the idea of doing a set of just ’90s songs but they haven’t been able to find the time to rehearse it.

“We don’t practice in the summer. We just get so slammed.” Mr. Shaffer said.

If a newer song seems to spark their interest, they will try it out.

“One of us will suggest a song and see what the others think and try to figure out if we can pull it off. With just the three of us, you don’t want it to sound real empty,” Mr. Shaffer said.

The 1989 Depeche Mode tune “Personal Jesus” has become a Fuzzbox favorite.

“We were goofing around with it one night and then we decided to bring it to practice and we had it down pretty quickly. The way we do it is a mix of Marilyn Manson and Depeche Mode,” Mr. Shaffer said.

There are other songs that have become perennial requests from fans.

“We’ll get people coming up to us asking if we’ve done ‘Purple Rain’ yet or ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ anything by AC/DC,” Mr. Shaffer said.

He said while they do take requests, they do have some limits.

“I remember one night this big, burly guy came up to us and asked if we took requests. I said ‘Sure, if we don’t know it, we can probably play something close to it,’’ Mr. Shaffer recalled.

“He then said ‘Can you play some Adele?’ Here we are these three big guys. There’s no way we could pull off anything by a British female like that. We had to pass on that one.”

Along with being heard on the Space Shuttle, other Fuzzbox highlights for Mr. Shaffer have been opening for rock bands such as Kix and Cold.

Tonight’s First Friday performance has Fuzzbox Piranha playing in front of folks of all ages instead of just those old enough to get into a bar or nightclub. Mr. Shaffer said that’s a nice change of pace.

“It’s kind of cool. We’ll play Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix and I’ll hear kids talking to Scott about that music and I realize there is hope for the younger generation. They aren’t all listening to (Justin) Bieber,” Mr. Shaffer joked.

“We’ll play ‘Cold Shot’ by Stevie Ray Vaughan and I’ll have kids come up and say why are you playing that one and not another one. Kids are really honest. They’ll tell you what they like and what they don’t like.”

And as for that name …

“I was in a band with a guy in the ’80s who was a mean drunk. One day, he decided he hated the name of our band and wanted a new one. I saw a sticker on a briefcase for Morley guitar pedals, which is basically a distortion fuzz box,” Mr. Shaffer said.

“There was a picture of a fish on the wall and I just kept trying to think of a good fish name to go with it and I thought of piranha. He hated it and didn’t want to use it then. So I just kept in the back of mind and when we went to form this band, I pulled it out and it’s stuck to this day.”

Catalitycs perform tonight

Farther up Loockerman Street, the sound of The Catalitycs will ring out on Loockerman Way Plaza starting at 6:30 tonight as part of the Dover Public Library In Harmony Concert Series.

The Catalitycs is the recently formed duo of the aforementioned local singer-songwriter, Jim Rezac and Kenny Belmont, who is best known as the bassist for the local blues group Bad JuJu.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held at the library at 35 E. Loockerman St. at the same time.

Beers, Rims & Notes

Blue Earl Brewing celebrates its outdoor summer grand finale Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.

The second annual Beers, Rims & Notes features a car show, food trucks, and live music. There will be a biergarten, outdoor games and a 50/50 raffle for prizes. Proceeds benefit Citizens’ Hose Company No. 1 Inc. of Smyrna. There is free admission.

Food trucks Rebel Cove, Delicious Craving and Ole Tapas will participate.

Music will be provided by Barrelhouse, The Susquehanna Floods and The Bullets.

Watermelon Man, a watermelon wheat beer, will be released.

There is $10 car pre-registration fee and $15 the day of the show.

For registration and details, contact Tyler Torres at 302-242-4132 or

Blue Earl is at 210 Artisan Drive, Smyrna.

Sandcastle contest

Looking ahead to next weekend, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce will hold its 39th Annual Sandcastle Contest on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Teams will express their artistic flair in the sand; past creations include a breakfast meal, Funland rides, pyramids, dolphins, Olympic athletes and of course traditional sandcastles.

The contest will again be held on the beach in front of Funland between Delaware and Laurel avenues in Rehoboth Beach. The contest is open to both adults and children.

Participants may register their entry anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sculptures may be started at any time on the day of competition, but must be completed for judging by 3 p.m. Winners will be announced at approximately 4:30.

Trophies will be awarded to the top 10 Judge’s Favorites in both the adult and 7-14 child divisions. Children ages 6 and under will all receive a memento.

One Judge’s Favorite will be awarded in the Business category. Two People’s Choice Awards will be given. The general public can vote on their favorite adult and child division creation, by completing an event evaluation. All regular contest rules apply.

Participants can start the weekend with free sculpting lessons on Friday, Sept. 8. Sand sculpting artist Darrell O’Connor will be on the beach at Rehoboth Avenue and the boardwalk from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, giving free sculpting demonstrations and lessons.

The rules are as follows:

• Participants will be divided into four divisions: Business, Adult (15 and older), Child 7-14, and Child 6 and under.

• There is no limit to the number of participants per team. Participants may not be on multiple teams.

• Piles of sand must be formed by manpower only. Mechanical assistance is not allowed.

• To be judged, creations must be built within event “Feather” flag boundaries.

• The sand sculptures must contain only objects natural to the beach (shells, stones, seaweed, etc.) Participants must stay away from the dunes and dune grass.

• Sculptures may not be dampened or sprayed with any solutions other than water. In other words, no sticky stuff.

• Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult when registering for competition. The chamber encourages young participants to enter and asks that parents provide minimal assistance to youth entries.

• Sculpture subject matter is left to the artists’ imagination, however the chamber advises the avoidance of political/ controversial themes.

Now showing

There are no new movies moving into theaters this weekend.

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the comedy “Rough Night,” the military drama “Megan Leavey” and the romance film “Paris Can Wait.”


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