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ISSUE 117 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 5/7/2004

Alt-rock band reveals Screech's powers

By Peter Gloviczki
Executive Editor


Friday, May 7, 2004

To most of us, the name Dustin Diamond has little meaning. But ask a St. Olaf student to describe Screech Powers, Diamond's "Saved By The Bell" alter-ego, and they will likely recall the nerdy genius who brought an essential breed of comedy to the NBC program. How Screech has grown up. A long way from the fabled halls of Bayside High, Diamond can now be found playing bass for the band Salty the Pocketknife.

While it would be easy to dismiss this group as Diamond's empty attempt to maintain his stardom, the music is surprisingly good. Led by female vocalist Rosebud -- whose powerful voice is complemented nicely by Diamond's work on bass -- and showcasing the efforts of guitarist Scott Ireland and drummer Evan Stone, Salty the Pocketknife demonstrates creative lyrics and musical prowess on their 2003 self-titled debut album.

What has Diamond done since leaving Saved By the Bell besides playing bass in rock bands? For one thing, he has not entirely left acting behind. In 2002 he appeared in Big Fat Liar with another famous nerd, Jaleel White, who played Steve Urkel in Family Matters. He is not married and has no children -- good news for those females who preferred Screech to the ripped Slater and the all-American Zach.

Diamond's band members describe their music as "alternative-progressive rock," and their work seems to represent a cross between the Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam. This is especially evident on "Pour No Gasoline," as Diamond's bass sets a stifling tempo and Rosebud sings, "Hear no, speak no/ pour no gasoline, gasoline all over it, all over it." Her voice is difficult to classify as she belts out lyrics in a strong and authoritative tone. While Rosebud may remind listeners of an early Gwen Stefani, her voice is a bit deeper than that of the No Doubt vocalist. Her unique voice has retained its uniqueness and quality over time. Rosebud seems to have done the impossible: she has made her voice stand out amongst the numerous female vocalists on today's music scene.

Unafraid of mixing unorthodox sounds, the group presents Rosebud's intense vocals alongside extended guitar and bass riffs. In fact, Pour No Gasoline features Diamond (bass) and Stone (drums) as both artists provide a rousing introduction to this track. Stone sets a fast pace with his drum solo, and Diamond seems picks up the rhythm seamlessly with his efforts on bass. Ireland is impressive as well, displaying his masterful musicianship and his ability to blend with the eclectic sound produced by his bandmates.

Their website, www.saltythepocketknife.com, describes their album as musical dexterity and audio insanity, and they do well to create a sound that is pleasing to the listener, but also very much their own. The best way to understand this band is to hear their music. However you choose to classify it, whatever it may remind you of, their work is unique.

Be ready for a ride, which is, if nothing else, interesting. This journey through the world of experimental alternative-rock is certainly worth a listener's time.

Diamond's notoriety has made Salty the Pocketknife not only the most well-known group on tiny record label Sonance Records, but quite possibly the most talented as well.

Screech may be all grown up, but Dustin Diamond and his band have created a worthwhile debut attempt. From the strong vocals of Rosebud to Diamond's crisp bass, Salty the Pocketknife does not disappoint.





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