His next project was The Hubcaps! (The exclamation mark was part of the
name. Just like on the cover of Meet The Beatles!)
The Hubcaps! were conceived as a 60's British Invasion cover band. The group
did fairly well, they played regularly. Jon was still writing songs and this
led to the band being sort of schizoid, Jon was introducing originals at
band practice. It soon became a stretch to call The Hubcaps! a '60's band.
In the summer of '88 they released vinyl, recorded at the Salmagundi Studio.
The record was favorably received by Tom Surowicz of The Twin Cities Reader,
by Rick Mason of The St Paul Pioneer Express as well as by The Grateful Dead
Relix Magazine: Issue 16-02 -- March/April - 1989
by Mick Skidmore
The Hubcabs, Night Out (Smash). Debut album by Minnesota trio is a nice mix of laid back R&B, country and pop.
All the songs are written by guitarist/vocalist Jon Manners and there are some good ones, notably "Springtime," and "My Life Story," both of which have something of an Elvis Costello influence, while "Fat Fred" smacks of John Hiatt.
Also impressive is the album's closer "I'm Unemployable," a tale of being a down and out musician.
Night Out My Life Story Work & Play Gotta Lotta Love Fat Fred
The Hubcaps! expanded to a 4-piece before hanging it up. They had managed to
get weeknight bookings in the Twin Cities, at Bunkers, the 400 Bar, and
Whiskey Junction, but the more prestigious gigs eluded them. In other words,
the one's that would pay. A Wednesday night at Bunkers pays for shit. For
their bread and butter they had to get in the van and drive between one and
three hours. It got old.
Members drifted into easier money-making cover bands. They could have done
it as a group, they could've bought Vox Superbeatles, Rickenbachers, plowed
back into the original concept, but they didn't.
After a couple years, Jon, being a fairly subversive guy, was kicked out of
the refuge he had taken in a wedding band. He hasn't played in a band since.
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