Colonel Mustard

Rock group Colonel Mustard takes on names from the characters of the board game Clue.

"As this band was forming, I was driving to our former keyboard player's house, and it just popped into my head," said Chris Graves, guitarist and vocalist. "I thought, Colonel Mustard, or Professor Plum, then I thought we could all be a character from Clue."

Graves took on the character of Colonel Mustard, bassist and vocalist Johnny Trujillo is Professor Plum, guitarist and vocalist B Wishes is Miss Scarlet, and drummer Sandy Ficca is Mr. Body. "He's the dead guy," said Ficca.

When it comes to music, the band finds inspiration in The Beatles. "The name of this studio is Flabby Road," said Ficca of his home recording studio in Central Point. Ficca also has been a member of Firefall since 1984.

For the Tidings Cafe, Colonel Mustard performed a Beatles medley put together by Trujillo 20 years ago in Ficca's studio.

Other influences include Steely Dan, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.

"Paul Simon is a huge influence on me," said Wishes, "Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, the great songwriters. We all really appreciate the great songwriters."

Graves and Trujillo started playing together about 15 years ago, and Wishes joined them in 2004. Ficca came on board as a band member about six months ago.

The group focuses on bringing rock from many different eras to the stage.

"We can do songs from the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s. We play future music, too, but people really don't comprehend it yet," Trujillo joked.

Most notable, perhaps, is the vocally driven style of the band, as all members sing. The group also insists on not letting any time elapse between songs during a set.

"I think it's a really important element of what we bring, that a lot of other bands don't think about," said Wishes. "We go song, song, song, song, song, so the dancers when they're out there and the song ends they don't have that awkward moment standing around. We just slam right into (the next song) and it keeps the energy up."

One of the highlights for the band was its May show at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford, where they opened for Firefall. A popular band in the late '70s and early '80s, Firefall's 1976 self-titled album became Atlantic Records' quickest album to go gold, featuring such hits as "Livin' Ain't Livin' " and "You Are the Woman."

"It was cool for me because I got to open for Firefall and then play in Firefall," said Ficca. The event was a fundraiser for Ficca's nonprofit organization Use Your Gift, which provides education, guidance and development to aspiring musical artists.

"It all started with a girl doing a senior project," said Ficca, "and I really enjoyed going through that process with her, and it turned out to be a really cool thing for me."

Another memorable gig for Colonel Mustard was the grand opening of Gottschalks in Grants Pass several years ago. "We were in the young misses apparel section," Graves said, laughing.

This summer Colonel Mustard is looking forward to playing some outdoor shows, including Yreka's Concerts in the Park series and Lake of the Woods.

At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 16-17, Colonel Mustard will take the stage at Roscoe's BBQ, 117 S. Main St., Phoenix. Cover is $3.

"I just love that I'm with the most professional musicians out here," said Graves. "I mean really, you'd be searching a long time to find the kind of folks I'm playing with. It's like slipping on a comfortable shirt when we play."

"With these three people, the chemistry is really good and we're all on the same wavelength. Like Chris says, it makes it really easy," Ficca said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mandy Valencia at

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