The simple question of “Where is your band from?”, is not so simple when asked of BIG PLASTIC FINGER. Common responses are: looking up in the air, “northeast”, or some vague mumbling. Having played together in the NYC area for 4 years, BPF were branching out into New England and in the process of releasing their first LP, “Launching the Tone Arm”, when climate change intervened in 2012.
Two of Big Plastic Finger’s core members, Bonnie Kane and Scott Prato, were among the many thousands of people to have their home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. After a residency in Philadelphia, the two landed in Western Massachusetts.
The unexpected relocations resulted in band personnel changes that eventually led them to working with Philadelphia musicians, Tracy Lisk and Travis Woodson. Meanwhile drummer Mark McClemens, lives in Northern New Jersey. So now Big Plastic Finger is a tri-state band from the NorthEast.
BIG PLASTIC FINGER is led by Bonnie Kane, who terms her work in the area of feedback and extended saxophone & flute technique, as avant-core, a music she defines as mixing the extremes of psychedelic rock and hard core with the energies of avant garde jazz.
Through her legendary projects: W.O.O., W.O.O.Revelator, WORLD OF TOMORROW, and Mambo Mantis, to her duet recordings with Kevin Shea, Federico Ughi, Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut, and Ernesto Diaz- Infante, to her guest recordings with the John Spencer Blues Explosion and The Brian Wilson Shock Treatment, Bonnie Kane has always sought the magic of the moment, bringing her Fresh Sound Guarantee to every performance.
Her dedication to improvisation was influenced by an unusually early and continuous exposure to Sun Ra (she grew up in Philadelphia, and was blessed by June Tyson), a background of equal parts: Hendrix, Ayler, and Zappa – and studies with Sonny Simmons, Paul McCandless, Glenn Moore, Ralph Towner (Oregon), and Jon Raskin (ROVA Saxophone Quartet). A stint in the original Club Foot Orchestra (whose members included Snakefinger (The Residents) and Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart), introduced her to electronic processing for horns, and a brief study at Mills College under Anthony Braxton solidified her direction.
The dynamic music duo of spouses, Bonnie Kane and Scott Prato, has been playing together in bands since the early 1990s – shows, recordings and tours with the Thundering Lizards, World of Tomorrow, The Billy Syndrome, The Brian Wilson Shock Treatment, have all contributed to the nowness of BIG PLASTIC FINGER. Joining with Drummer, Mark McClemens (ex- Born to Go) and original bassist, Brian McCorkle (of Panoply Lab) in 2008, they went through their formative stages performing all around the NYC area.
Fast forwarding to the present, the band is busy turning adversity to their advantage. The physical dislodging has resulted in an increase in touring and festival performances. “Now we are always from out of town, since my concept of home has been reframed”, says Kane. The floodwaters have made us spread out and grow as a band.”