A little about the band
The sound of Surface Tension began 2011 , with Charlie Weiss, Les Haber , Eva Mae Nicholson , Bob Mamola & Mickey Abbey coming together after playing in and around Sacramento with a number of different bands.
Charlie Weiss: guitar, vocals, writing. Les Haber: keyboard, harmonica, Guitar, Saxxy, vocals, writing. Eva mae Nicholson: vocals, rhythm. Mickey Abbey: Rhythm guitar, vocals, writing. Bob Mamola: Strat, keyboard, vocals. Anthony Montanino: Drums
eva mae nicholson
Les played with the The Orphans of Love from 1976 through 1978. In '78, the band recorded seven of its songs at Moon Studios in Sacramento with David Huston and Steven Holsapple. The two songs from these 16 track recordings which seemed to have come out best, Quick 'n Slick, and Your Money's No Good, were 45rpm. Although the the band stopped performing at the end of 1978, most of the members still play together, in various combinations. One band was Runcible Spoon(1972-1976),with (D.R. Wagner, Les Haber, Lindy Haber, Pat Minor, and Larry Ortiz). Adding Eva Nicholson, of Loomis Rumor, to the great sound of this group . Les thanks all of his friends, "so talented, and generous, for helping us make his music". It occupies a permanent and important place in his life.
I started playing Tuba and Sousaphone in grammar school and then moved on to the guitar while in high school, and started writing poetry as an English teacher in high school encouraged me. In college, I was influenced by Dean Agee. Dean and I formed a band in 1969 called Fat Gary Whiteheart and we performed at the first Earth Day in Davis. After that band broke up, we moved on to form Space. This group became the Sacramento, Orphans of Love, with fellow Surface Tension musician, Les Haber.
The influence of my writing and playing come from listening to Dylan, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, and Dave Van Ronk. British Bands like the Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Animals, Them, Stones also influenced me. Because of my love for the blues and jazz, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Electric Flag, James Cotton, Mississippi John Hurt and John Hammond Jr are heavily reflected in my writing. Jazz greats from Wes Montgomery to Coltrane to Monk were probably some of the first jazz artists I heard.
My Sacramento musical connections includes good friend, Bill Yates.
Mickey Abbey, well known for his Custom Glass Works, is a part of the Surface Tension bar band. Mickey is a self taught guitarist, and friendly “couch musician“. Mickey lends not only a laid back tone to this group, but his studio as well.
Playing with Bob Mamola, Les Haber and a few other friends in his studio, he later added Charlie Weiss and Eva Nicholson, becoming Surface Tension. For the past 4 years, Mickey and Surface Tension have been playing in local bars, venues and for house parties. Musical influences of Mickey include the blues and rock and roll, specifically Lyle Lovett, John Prine and J.J. Cale.
Eva Nicholson is the lead singer for Surface Tension since 2013 . She has a long musical history playing in Northern California from the early 70’s. She and Pegge May played in a song group known as Loomis Rumor in Lake Tahoe for a number of years. Eva is known for her sweet voice and fun, wonderful style. Her ability to harmonize with Les and Bob is outstanding. She often accompanies the band with a variety of percussion instruments.
Bob Mamola, guitarist for Surface Tension starting in 2013, has played with a number of local groups for many years. Starting on the piano as a child, moving on to the acoustic guitar, then on to the bass guitar for Surface Tension. His vocals and harmonies build the Surface Tension sound with a fun beat.
Drummer Anthony Montanino has deep roots in the Sacramento Blues scene. He began his 40 year music career when he returned to Sacramento from military service and his guitarist friends appointed him as the original drummer in the Sunland Blues Band. He went on to be a founding member of Nate Shiner and the Nighthawks and Little Charlie and the Nightcats. Montanino is a professional fine artist, well know for his jazz and blues scenes. He has been the only solo exhibitor at Sacramento’s famous Torch Club. In 2014 Surface Tension convinced him to come out of retirement and play a wider variety of music.