Three Hour Tour: The Phoenix Rises Again

They're a-gonna raise a fuss, they're a-gonna raise a holler

By Joel Selvine
Chronicle Staff Writer

Phoenix: "1. A bird in Egyptian mythology that consumed itself by fire after 500 years, and rose renewed from its ashes. 2. A thing of unsurpassed excellence or beauty."

Need I say more?

From the ashes of last year's Three Hour Tour carnage has come a newly reformed masterpiece of a band that is certain to make you swoon.

After taking time to grieve the loss of their former bandmates, founding Three Hour Tour members Paula Bocciardi (drums) and Julie Riffle (guitar) began meeting regularly again in January 2000, pretending to have "band practice." Except it was only the two of them. And rather than work on actual music, they allegedly spent the time organizing the rehearsal space ad nauseam, playing "You Don't Know Jack," and trying out the new sandwiches from KFC.

"I really like the 'Triple Crunch,' " muses Julie.

"For awhile Paula insisted on getting the 'Oven Roast,' because she was on some kind of inane diet, but she finally came to her senses."

"Yeah, that thing is really dry and tasteless," agrees Paula.

At any rate, by the time the two of them got around to advertising for new members, fate had thrown some incredible talent their way. So basically they didn't have to do a damned thing.

New singer Diana Daniel met Paula and Julie at a party, where by sheer coincidence she was waxing rhapsodic about a band called Three Hour Tour. According to witnesses, Paula dropped her martini, exclaimed "Wait - I'm the drummer in that band!" and hoped for recognition.

"Hmmm...I don't remember you at all," said Diana.

And thus a strong bond was formed.

Diana hails from the great state of Maine but doesn't have an accent. She does, however, have a strong voice - in fact, she sang professionally for a long time back on the East Coast. Not only that, she's a great entertainer and a fine-looking broad. Record execs have been looking for someone like this for years.

The band's new rhythm guitarist, Dina Munsch was a long-time friend of the band's but had a steady gig playing blues guitar in North Beach saloons. Imagine the band's joy and surprise when suddenly Dina announced that she was joining 'em. This woman's got chops. Let's just say that her guitar-playing can be raw as Southern Comfort, or smooth as a glass of merlot with hints of currant, plum, mink oil, and absinthe. [And my editor says I'm too old to do rock criticism any more!]

"This is the weirdest band I've ever been in," says Dina. "I mean, I've been in bands with convicted felons before, but these chicks are just plain bizarre. They're always giving me handouts, for chrissake. That's not rock and roll!"

Dina is currently recovering from foot surgery, and the band is hoping she'll be out of her cast in time for the gig. If not, they'll just haul her in on a rickshaw and dump her out on the stage.

New bass player Ronnie Johnson is really a guitarist, but Paula and Julie are forcing her to play bass. And as you can tell from her photo, she's not very happy about it.

"When they asked me to buy a stand-up bass for one of our new songs, that was the last straw," says Ronnie. "Can you imagine hefting that thing up the stairs at Kimo's? Sheesh. There's only so much I can do."

Finally, what can we say about Paula Bocciardi and Julie Riffle? Not much. Let's face it: they're going to be with this band 'til the cows come home.

Three Hour Tour has kept its new setlist under wraps, refusing to reveal even the most paltry of details. So of course, speculation in the music industry is running rampant. We know the band has a new instrumental because the website persists in alluding to it, but we don't know anything more than that. There are also rumors that there'll be an old showtune, but that kind of talk is still unsubstantiated. Still, word on the street is that the band is more kick-ass than ever. According to a ponytailed male Baby Boomer who passed by the band's rehearsal space one night, "They were playin' some hard-drivin' 70's rock in there. I think it was one of those songs I used to listen to while upchucking Pabst at the county fair."

Run for cover. Who says there ain't no cure for the summertime blues?

Date: Sunday, July 30

Time: Doors open at 4:00; Three Hour Tour plays at 4:30

Place: Kimo's, Polk and Pine, S.F.

Cover: $5 (an absolute bargain)


Check out the band's website at