Plumb: Alternative band destined for big things

Monday 1st December 1997

Tony Cummings charts the rise of PLUMB: Tiffany Arbuckle (vocals), Stephen Laiweke (guitar), J J Plasencio (bass), Joe Porter (drums). Matt Stanfield (keyboards).


Fronted by the magnificently named Tiffany Arbuckle - a lady who was once in the highly toted but quickly passed over US band Benjamin -Plumb have made considerable radio impact with their debut eponymous album. It was co-produced by Jars Of Clay's lead singer Dan Haseltine and long time Jars associate Matt Breenlowe. The song "Crazy", a delicious indie pop rock opus has obtained big UCB Cross Rhythms exposure and recently got the ultimate accolade, a cod MOR lounge version on John Jonethis' 'Lounge Freak' album.

But who are Plumb? Their numbers include former Sixpence None The Richer bass player J J Plasencio and their edge guitar sound and haunting little girl lost vocals is a little reminiscent of another popular US alternative band Fleming And John and mainstream's Garbage though the group themselves wouldn't agree. Says Tiffany, "We all have so many different musical influences that there's not one musical reference that a person could say this is a version of. And we intentionally do not want to be a rip off of anything. So that's why no one has actually said, 'You know, this sounds a lot like so and so." So, I guess that's good."

A further attempt at describing Plumb to the uninitiated listener finds Tiffany explaining, "It's a female-fronted, more aggressive, somewhat alternative rock band. But alternative is actually pop now, so I guess it's kind of alternative to alternative."

Tiffany signed with Brentwood Music's alternative label Sublime with the intentions of putting together a band. "They pursued me at first for a solo thing, and I pondered that for a while, but the more players I became friends with, that we'd put together, I wanted them to be members. So, when we started the record we were Plumb." "Yeah, it's not just Tiffany," Stephen Laiweke verifies. "It's five people."

Stephen reports that the bands first few live performances have been received favourably. "It went very well," he says. "We had an incredible response - especially for being a band that nobody's heard of yet - going out and meeting a ton of people and just really having them respond favourably to us, wanting to know what we were all about. And having them get upset because the CD wasn't out yet was actually pretty encouraging."

Tiffany's career began in front of her bedroom mirror. After a while. Tiffany started doing BGVs for Christian pop singer Lisa Bevill. "I've always thought she was great," says Tiffany, "and it was an honour doing background vocals for her."

Plumb's plans are to take their music everywhere, including the mainstream. "It's not really my choice," admits Tiffany. "God has totally laid on our hearts that he came into the world to, yes, encourage other believers, but he also came to heal the sick and the unrighteous. We have to go to them, because they're not going to come to us. And we have accountability and leadership not to emulate the world's lifestyles. We're not going to do drugs to meet the needs of the druggie," she laughs, "but hopefully the light will be evident in us." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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