"The world's only toy rock 'n' roll band," Pianosaurus, has arrived. It may sound silly but Alex Garvin, founder, lead singer, songwriter and toy rhythm guitarist, takes it seriously. He and band members Bianca Miller, Stephen Dansiger and Richard Jean say they are committed to making good music with toys.
Garvin formed Pianosaurus at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1981, inspired, he says, by a stroll through the musical toy section of Woolworth's.
"I walked out with a whole orchestra for $30, maybe $40," he says proudly, though he admits, "We are the lowest volume band in existence." To compensate, Pianosaurus puts condenser mikes inside the guitars and piano, plus a little foam for soundproofing. "The drums," Garvin says, "sound perfectly good as they are."
Pianosaurus maintains strict standards for its instruments. First, says Garvin, "you have to be able to buy it in a real toy store." And second, "it has to be made of plastic materials, with the exception of the piano -- that's always wooden." One obvious advantage to maintaining such standards is that the whole band can be outfitted for $125.
Pianosaurus' latest album, "Groovy Neighborhood," has a pop flavor and evokes the band's fondness for what Garvin calls the "magic '60s music of bands such as the Beatles and the Turtles."
Pianosaurus will appear at the 9:30 club (930 F Street NW) on Thursday. Doors open at 8 P.M.