Rebecca Famularo – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
This is Rebecca’s first band, and she is ever so grateful to play with these talented dudes she lovingly deemed her “old men.” Along with wisdom and talent brought to the stage by the Grey Notes comes musicians who really just want to play. Considering that is all she wants to do, the fit is perfect! Rebecca loves singing the band’s original music along with covers of such great female vocalists as Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Ann Peebles, Norah Jones and others.
The idea for the group began on Father’s Day 2011 when Rebecca asked her father, Tyler, for form a band with her. He replied, “I was waiting for you to ask.” Tyler had played with Mike in the Brandon James Band, which disbanded in April 2011, so Rebecca and Tyler asked Mike to be the Grey Notes’ bassist. They started rehearsing as a trio, and after 18 months of learning 37 cover songs, they played their first gig in April 2013 at Tally’s Tap in Waukesha.
Within a year, with festivals already becoming interested in booking the band, it became a quartet in 2014 with the addition of drummer Jeff Franks. Since then, the band has performed multiple times at Milwaukee’s largest festivals, including Summerfest, Polish Fest, Bastille Days and the Wisconsin State Fair, in addition to live music venues all over the Milwaukee area. Earlier this year, with the departure of Jeff to the Nashville area, the band replaced him with veteran drummer Tom Spolar.
The band has recorded two EPs of original music that have been played on five Milwaukee-area radio stations.
Rebecca’s vocal talent and Tyler’s guitar prowess are the band’s soul identity that makes Rebecca and the Grey Notes the best father-daughter group in the Midwest.
Tyler Famularo – lead guitar
Tyler began playing guitar at age 11, by the time he was 14 he had his first real guitar and amp. It was a 1965 Telecaster and 65 Deluxe Reverb. His oldest brother, who was in the Air Force at the time, sent the money home for it. Thanks Tom. But he really got serious when he was practicing with a drummer. The drummer’s father came home from work and said, “Pack up the gear”. He took them us to his favorite bar, they played about two hours and made about $40 in tips. He was hooked! His first band was the Tykes, which morphed into the Larry Lynne Group, the Balloons, Sky Harbor, the Bandits and the Brandon James Band.
Brandon, who is Tyler’s son, had recorded some of the songs Tyler had written. RCA Nashville heard them, became interested and flew them both down to Nashville, where they performed and came so close to signing a contract.
The Brandon James Band continued for about eight years, drifted away from country music and became more of a southern and classic rock band. Brandon got tired of the politics in music and stopped performing in April 2011. What a shame. He was awesome. But on Father’s Day 2011, Becky asked Tyler with tears in her eyes if he would play music with her, and he replied, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask.” Tyler told Becky they could ask Mike Juley to join them. Mike was the last bass player in the Brandon James Band and was always prepared. She agreed, and Rebecca and the Grey Notes was formed.
With the recent addition of a terrific drummer, Tom Spolar, who has replaced Jeff Franks, Rebecca and the Grey Notes are ready to play their brand of bluesy Americana, some remakes of 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s music, some current female singers and originals songs from a 200-song catalogue.
You can also see Tyler play guitar with the Brennan Totten Band, Smooth Blues Band and The Differentials.
Michael Juley – bassist
After taking piano lessons in grade school Michael switched to clarinet in high school, then didn’t pick up another musical instrument until 1982, when he taught himself to play bass guitar and joined the Milwaukee ’50s-’60s group Granite. Granite disbanded in 1992, and in 1993 Michael joined Hot Type, a band make up mostly of musicians from the newsroom of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Hot Type, a pop and blues band, recorded a CD of original music that was released in 2000. Although the full Hot Type band disbanded in 2003, it still performed once a year at Tosafest through 2011, and Michael remains a member of an acoustic blues Cool Type trio. In 2002, Michael joined the Kenny Todd Blues Band, which played the Milwaukee-Waukesha County blues bar circuit. He was the house bass player for the first year of the startup of the Mamie’s Tuesday night blues jam. The Kenny Todd Blues Band disbanded in 2008, and after a short rest, Michael joined the Milwaukee-based Brandon James Band, which played many of the area’s music festivals and Summerfest. The Brandon James Band’s last gig was in April 2011. In late 2011, Michael joined Rebecca and Tyler Famularo to form Rebecca and the Grey Notes. He lives in Greendale with his wife, Nancy. His day gig was working in the newsroom of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And, yes, he does own a Hofner bass. After all, he is left-handed.
Tom Spolar – drummer
Tom’s parents said they knew he was destined to be a drummer since the age of 3 when they noticed him tapping his foot in time with the music on the Ed Sullivan show…in his sleep. Since then, he has played with countless ensembles, bands, combos and orchestras of all shapes, sizes and genres. He loves live music and will never take for granted the extra joy that comes from playing with talented musicians.
Already a fan of Rebecca and her “old men,” Tom has once again found himself with the best seat in the house and is thrilled to be a Grey Note. If he looks familiar, you may have seen him playing with Tyler as a member of the Differentials or as an occasional sub with Smooth Blues.
“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” – Plato