Absolutes are not very common. Reality doesn't often like to trade in them. However, if you were to walk into just about any music venue, practice room or recording studio around town and say “Jim Viner is the best drummer in Iowa,” you would find yourself on about as solid ground as it gets.
Viner has plied his trade with some of the most iconic acts in the state's history, as Brother Trucker, High and Lonesome, Head Candy and The Diplomats of Solid Sound have all counted him as a member at one time or another. He has composed and played music for television and film, and with decades of experience under his belt, there is no questioning his chops. And now, after years of rounding out other people's sounds, Viner is ready to put his own best foot forward, in the form of Jim Viner's Incredible B3 Band, and their debut album, “Comango!”
“I kind of just wanted the experience of doing it,” he said of being a band leader. “I've been in lots of bands, and I'd made up a couple songs, so I thought 'I can probably make up a few more'.”
the Incredible B3 Band draws its name from the Hammond B3 organ at the core of its sound. The B3 is a seminal piece of equipment, the precursor to modern synthesizers, which are played by former Odetta accompanist Radoslav Lorkovic and Viner's Diplomats band mate Nate Basinger. The rest of the band draws heavily on the Diplomats as well, with guitarists Doug Robertson and saxophonist Eddie McKinley joining in.
“I've obviously played with those guys a whole bunch,” Viner said. “They could take my basic ideas and embellish them and make them a little fuller.”
“I have a four year old,” Viner said, by way of explaining the album's recording. “A lot of things right now relate to my child. So we had a day in January four years ago, where we all happened to be in town at once. So we got into the studio and recorded most of the stuff in one day. Then about 10 months later we managed to get in and do some more work, and a little more editing after that. I like to say that it was one week's worth of work over a four year period.”
Originally appeared in Cityview on Jaunary 7, 2016