At a top secret underground location in Ashland, The Moneypennies — dressed to the nines, the women in fine silk, the men in tuxedos — gather to rehearse songs that wouldn't exist if it weren't for one man: James Bond.
For security reasons, the true identities of the band members cannot be revealed. In their arrangement they have chosen pseudonyms: Walter P. Peekay heads up the band on lead and rhythm guitar, trumpet and vocals, joined by Christmas Jones on vocals, Q on rhythm and lead guitars, Felix on drums and Kissy Suzuki on bass.
"One of the other top secret bands I'm in, The Delineators, plays a couple of Bond-related songs and I thought, 'Well, why not just have a band that plays Bond songs and spy songs in general?' " Peekay said.
Converging at their clandestine practice space sometime during the winter of 2011, the group slowly amassed its members after methodical and rigorous auditions.
"We had seen Christmas Jones singing somewhere swanky and I asked her if she sang and she said 'yes,' " Peekay said.
"Actually, I think I said, 'kinda,' " Jones said.
"But the key question to the whole process is if she likes James Bond movies," Peekay said. "You don't have to be an expert, but you can be working toward it."
Of course, real credit for the band's beginning can only be given to Bond, his creator and the actors that made him come to life.
"This wouldn't have happened without Ian Fleming," Q said.
"That's true," Peekay added. "None of us would be here because the world would have been destroyed like 50 times over, because of all these super-villains."
This project being so covert, so sensitive, only now is The Moneypennies ready for its grand debut. At 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, sources have revealed that The Moneypennies will appear for the first time at Tabu, 76 N. Pioneer St.
"It's a benefit for Tabu," Q said.
"I kind of think of it as a benefit for humanity," Peekay added.
"We'll be saving the world," Jones said.
"One dive at a time," Q said.
Most importantly, The Moneypennies must premiere somewhere that serves good cocktails. Members encourage the audience to dress up, with the reward of a prize for best dressed as well as prizes for correctly answered Bond trivia questions. The Moneypennies would like to play at The Black Sheep and Caldera Tap House — with one condition.
"As long as they let us drink beer out of a martini glass," Peekay said.
Beer is second choice to the group's favorite drink, the martini. Shaken, not stirred.
"The important one is the cranberry Shirley Temple — shaken, not stirred," Q said.
"I think Bond liked to see the girls shake their booty when they were shaking the martinis," said Suzuki as the group got into a deep discussion on martini theory.
Even though the group has yet to debut publicly, The Moneypennies has recorded a three-song demo CD at another secret agent's recording studio.
"We tried to talk to Snoop Dogg, but he wouldn't produce us," Felix said.
Since the members of the group are highly trained assassins, some of them are new to the music scene. Fortunately, Peekay has been patiently teaching the secret agents how to be killer musicians.
"One thing we got Christmas Jones to do since joining the band is to play the tambourine," Peekay said. "She actually asked me, 'How do you play one?' I said you use it the same way you use a bikini — you shake it."
According to Kissy Suzuki, Jones is a master at the cowbell. Indeed, Christopher Walken would be pleased. Speaking of which, "Christopher Walken has been in a James Bond movie, he was evil and kind of crazy," Peekay said.
"Isn't that the one where they are fighting on the Golden Gate Bridge?" Felix asked.
Obviously, these agents have one weakness which easily distracts them — James Bond movies. Peekay amassed these top notch spies through his network in the spy world.
"I put out a top secret dossier through the Craigslist — I mean through my connections," Peekay said.
"Then it was leaked to Craigslist," Jones added.
As the members of The Moneypennies look for new assignments and operations through drinking establishments in town, they hope to find management whom they can call "M."
Look for the The Moneypennies as agents drive around Ashland in Aston Martins, tailing super-villains and sipping martinis.
Mandy Valencia is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4486 or by email at email@example.com.