The Renovators

By Waleed Rashidi

Posted June 29, 2011 in Music


Jeff Olds (lead vocals, bass); Ken McSpadden (guitars); Tony Snow (drums); Connor McSpadden (guitars).


Chino, Pomona.


Early Motown & Stax recordings, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Starz, U.F.O, The Plimsouls, 20/20, Paul Collins Beat, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle (“Throw ’em all in a pot and you have the Renovators.”)


Inspiration can unpredictably strike, and many creative types have been known to carry notebooks or call their voicemail to document newly-formed concepts before they evaporate from the brain. For The Renovators bassist/vocalist Jeff Olds, inspiration arrives via observations of daily IE life—and that notebook’s not always been available.

“‘Jackie’s Train,’ for example, deals with the real-life drama of a young woman whose two small children snuck out of the house while she was passed out and wandered onto the train tracks and were killed,” he says. “This story haunted me. Some time had passed and one day I was waiting at a train track in the city where this happened. It was a rather long train, so my mind started to wander.”

Olds says that he yanked out an old invoice, turned it over and wrote the first two verses while the freight was still passing by. He then pulled into the nearest parking lot and finished the song “in a furious span of 10 minutes. I couldn’t grab my guitar fast enough when I got home from work that day to flesh the whole thing out.”

“Once I bring a song into the group I am always scared that they won’t hear my vision, but they always do,” Olds adds. ”I am grateful for their contributions as they are the wheels that drive my observations.”

Olds started The Renovators with guitarist Ken McSpadden three years ago after meeting Tony Snow and adding Connor McSpadden to the mix.

Described by Olds as “bare bones rock ’n’ roll with stories and attitude,” Renovators’ gigs sometime include members of his musical family, resulting in some memorable sets. “One night, my daughter Cait was in the middle of one of her first live performances singing a ballad when a guy comes in yelling ‘Pizza for sale!,’” he recalls. ”You gotta love it.”

The Renovators will hopefully play interrupted at The Press, a spot they’ve graced before in February 2010. “Robin Young (The Press’ operations manager/talent buyer) runs a first-class establishment with a built-in crowd of loyal locals who come for the vibe and music,” says Olds. “We love it.” (Waleed Rashidi)

The Renovators at The Press, 129 Harvard Ave., Claremont, (909) 625-4808; Sat, 10PM.


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