Lead guitarist of the children’s group, Mike Fleming, has played everything from horror tinged punk rock to his own brand of roots and rockabilly. Istvan and Mike originally played together when Mike asked Istvan to play drums in The Mike Fleming Special on their first U.S. tour. They went on to do a second tour of the U.S. and then a notorious tour of the Netherlands. A few years later Istvan turned the tables and asked Mike to “play a few solos” on the children’s songs he was working on. Mike came into the studio and went way beyond Istvan’s request and added so much more to the Things I Like e.p.
Mike has the ability to recall and play countless songs of every variety and will do so without hesitation until he is politely asked to stop. His style has developed over the years into something that leaves people smiling and cheering and other musicians scratching their heads in disbelief. Mike is that rare combination of huge natural ability and complete humility. His participation makes the children’s band a reality.
Dimokratia, also known as Demi, is so excited to be the newest addition to the Imaginary Band. Demi graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a degree in Musical Theater Performance. In addition to singing she also works as a company member for Imagination Theater, a touring theater troupe that teaches students about anti-bullying, and many other topical issues.
Demi loves working with children! Other than music and theater she also works as a nanny, and that’s actually how she met Istvan. Strangely enough Demi had been friends with Mike Fleming for years but didn’t know he was friends with Istvan. All three discovered this when Demi came to Mike’s birthday show. After the intial confusion they all decided that this was a sign that she should join the group.
Demi can be seen singing throughout Chiccago, including Davenport’s Piano Bar and Spectrum Bar and Grill in Greektown. You can join her mailing list to see where she’s performing next at mdimokratia@Yahoo.com and/or follow her on: www.facebook.com/dimokratiam
While the spotlight shines brightly and rightly on Istvan, Mike and Demi, you can find Bob where most bass players live — grooving in the background and laying down the low end.
Admired widely for his punctuality and good manners, Bob has known Istvan since the latter was a wee lad, playing odd compositions involving puppets and theramin solos.
Asked to step into the breach in 2011 after original bass slapper Steven P. Slivka left for points south, Bob jumped at the chance to keep the rhythm section orderly and provide a good example to the youthful aspiring rockers who form Istvan’s far-flung fandom.
When he’s not using Istvan’s tuner to keep that A-string in pitch, Bob spends his days driving his many children to various activities and interrupting band rehearsals to field their phones calls.
Ryan was introduced to Istvan by a mutual friend over 10 years ago. The two got along right away. They both loved drums and percussion and shared specific tastes in music that many of their peers didn't. They work well together both on stage and in the studio. They encourage and insult one another like brothers and ultimately bring out the others best.
Ryan loved music from a very young age and was one of those kids that would turn everything in his house into a drum set. He still loves everything to do with percussion. The wide range of people he's played with is proof: J. Davis-hip hop, Poi Dog Pondering-world, MOTO-punk, VEEDEE-psych as well as commercials, etc.
Ryan started to take the recording process seriously a number of years ago and has since started his own recording studio, Berwyn Recording Service. The studio is in the long process of being built but while in the early stages he was able to record the Things I Like e.p. that set the whole kids band in motion.
Robert Arendt has been playing drums since 1978. He’s been performing on bass and guitar professionally for the last 6 years. He is also an audio expert having created live and recorded sounds since his early 20s.Robert has been recording and performing with Linda M. Smith since 1989. He acts as technical director for her most recent show, “Tragedy to Triumph — the Story of Artemisia”, cueing video transitions and mixing sound while performing on bass, guitar and singing harmony.
Other recent works include; “Moby Dick”, a work in progress between Michael Smith and the Blair Thomas Puppet Ensemble, “The Snow Queen”, at the Victory Gardens Theater for it’s last two seasons, sound for Chicago Summer Dance, technical director for “The Grapes of Wrath — a Folk Opera”, produced by Linda M. Smith and Barbara Barrow, music by Michael Smith and various creative and commercial voice-over, recording and editing/restoration projects.
Robert has been aware of Istvan since Istvan’s days in “Woo Woo Stick” and couldn’t be happier as an “Imaginary Band” member providing “the beat that makes the little tikes dance around.”
Gina Tambourine-ah has been playing drum set professionally since she was 15 years old. She got her start playing in polka bands, and jazz trios…and as the word spread, she landed a full time drum throne with a popular Chicago swing band. “I would play an average of 10–12 shows a month, while in high school. My mom told me that I could keep the drumming job as long as I kept my grades up, and kept up with my honors classes.“
In 2001 Gina went on to found The Gina Knight Orchestra. The 8 piece big band played near and far to crowned kings and sultans of the sand. You can get her record You Say at iTunes or Amazon.com.
Like Istvan, Gina loves kids and really loves percussion! She felt that this group was the perfect fit! Besides playing live Gina is putting the finishing touches on a beginners drum set instructional DVD that's available at: www.drumlessonsgirl.com