Band Member Biographies
& Band History:
was born in New Jersey, was raised primarily in Akron, Ohio, and
is a graduate of Kent State. He's also resided in Virginia and downstate
Indiana (close to Bean Blossom where he had a chance to jam with
Brother Birch Monroe). Early on he played the guitar and began working
in church music, playing for some of the first guitar masses. He
then "found" bluegrass music and worked at the songs of Doc Watson,
Norman Blake and Bill Harrell. He also has an interest in Django
Reinhart and gypsy jazz. Bob has a day
job -- he works in the communications industry.
was born and raised in Southern California. His early musical influence
was Spade Cooley, the "King of Western Swing." He became interested
in bluegrass in high school, but didn't begin to pursue an instrument
until after his return from Vietnam, where he spent two years as
a uniformed representative of the United States government. He also
worked at the Lava Lamp plant in Chicago, and knows the secret.
to Chicago and took up the banjo. He then moved to Madison to gain
Masters Degrees at the University of Wisconsin, and began playing
in various bluegrass bands. His banjo is a 1999 Gibson Granada.
He retired his 1926 Gibson TB-3 conversion.
Scott R Shank
R. Shank, previously a member of SpareTime, and featured prominently
on our first CD, has returned on Dobro. This multi-instrumentalist
and vocalist is equally adept at country, rock, and bluegrass, and
has a particular fondness for the classic Flatt & Scruggs sound.
Over the years he's shared the stage with luminaries such as “Uncle
Josh” Graves and Jerry Douglas.
Ward brings a hard driving mandolin to the band as well as high
lonesome vocals. After years of forays into country and rock, he's
embraced bluegrass. Another multi-instrumentalist (he's been known
to pick up a guitar and fiddle), Dale puts his high tenor to good
use in harmonies or lead vocal work. A Dale Ward bobble-head
is in the future.....
Docken rounds out the group on bass. She's been subbing for several
years with SpareTime and now steps into the full time slot. The
Minnesota native plays an upright Kay bass.
transformations are happening to the SpareTime bunch as Bob &
Lisa Steeno change addresses. Bobby has taken an early retirement
and they are moving to a et to be built cottage on Florida's panhandle.
The remaining band, Bob Batyko & Jim Robarts, will be using
various sit in guests to continue the SpareTime tradition. The Steeno's
are already planning the reunion gigs next summer with appearances
at Flatrock and the Bluegrass Bash on the agenda.
good-bye Steeno gig is planned for the breakfast brunch at the Eldorado
on Sunday Sept. 12 th . The Steeno's and friends will perform. Then
we'll wave good-bye (ie Dorothy and the wizard leaving for Kansas)
as the Steeno van and pop-up leave Wisconsin for the start of retirement
Steeno's, there's no place like home…..
the road goes on forever and SpareTime never ends….
Gone: SpareTime Continues
Steeno's have now moved to Florida where they are basking in a tropical
paradise. To contact them please see the “Contact us” page.
continues and welcomes bass player Lorie Docken
to the band. She has been the “back-up” bassist for 2 years and
takes over the job full-time (well part-time since we are only SpareTime).
musician friends are gracing us with their presence on the stage.
This adds new songs to the repertoire with different voices and
Labor Day weekend gig at the Roxbury Tavern featured
Jim and Laura Lotridge and young Dane
. Jim and Laura play with Kevin Tubb and the Welldiggers
and also with the perennial local bluegrass band, Pat
Downings' Down from the Hills.
September Hody Bar gig featured mandolin and tenor
singer Dale Ward . Dale regularly practices and
plays with Jefferson County .
October Hody Bar gig includes Madison bluegrass
all-stars George Diak on mandolin and Scott
Shank on Dobro. George and Scott have both played with
SpareTime before. Having them again adds volumes of songs to the
Stay tuned to see who else stops in……
The SpareTime Bluegrass Band 2004
is indicative of both the state of bluegrass music and the fact
that everyone has an actual job. Years ago the Country Gazette released
an album titled "Don't give Up Your Day Job"-a joshing reminder
to bluegrass artists of where there priorities might lay. SpareTime,
no fools, took the advice to heart and dedicated themselves to having
Bluegrass fun in their "Spare Time."
ago on a cold, dark night"…..is a wonderful opening line for a song,
and has relevance to The SpareTime Bluegrass Band as an indicator
of how much time has passed for the band. It was some ten years
ago (the origins are hazy-indicating much beer under the bridge)
that SpareTime was formed by Dave Carper, Steve "Buck "Bethel, Bob
Batyko, and Bobby Steeno. Over the years other musicians have cycled
through the group, most notably Sims Delaney-Potthoff, Jennifer
Little, and Scott R. Shank. Other musicians were "Spare Parts" for
the band-a loose mélange of players brought in on special occasions.
George Diak, Lorie Docken, and Mike Schmidt spared their time to
be with the band.
core lineup is:
year has seen Rebecca Patek on fiddle for various dates.
is thoroughly grounded in "traditional" bluegrass and performs numbers
from Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, and Jimmy Martin.
SpareTime also dips into numbers by Robbie Fulks, the Rolling Stones,
Blind Faith, and Bob Dylan (with occasional forays in John Hartford
and polka music). In short the mix is eclectic, but rooted in a
bluegrass instrumentation and sensibility.
the bluegrass world is a small, cohesive mix of professional and
semi-professional bands, the SpareTime Bluegrass Band has appeared
on bills with Del McCoury, James King, Special Consensus, David
Davis & the Warrior River Boys, and Lynne Morris. Of course SpareTime
has played its share of weddings, bars, church bazaars, water parks,
and birthday parties. Once they even backed up an older gentleman
on musical saw (mercifully for only one song and suffering the criticisms
of the saw "artist" when they didn't seem to pick up the musical
key quickly enough). In the words of the Grateful Dead, "What a
long strange trip it's been."
personal front everyone has a college education, everyone has adult
children no longer living at home. Everyone has a job. Everyone
(amazingly) has a full head of hair. On the individual, personal