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Rock’n park

Joe Finkle & the 7/10 Splits shake, rattle ’n’ roll fans at the Road Kings car show.

June 17, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Joe Finkle first sprouted his rockabilly roots while growing up in Tennessee and now he’s bringing the sound to Burbank and other Southland locations with his band, Joe Finkle & the 7/10 Splits.

The group rocked those who flocked to Johnny Carson Park on Sunday for the Burbank Road Kings’ 20th annual Picnic in the Park and Car Show. On the song sheet were Elvis hits and old Beatles songs the Fab Four used to do in Hamburg, West Germany, in the early 1960s, before they became famous in America, he said.

“We do a lot of the old standards and refresh them and put new arrangements to them,” said Finkle, lead singer and rhythm guitarist. (The band’s name, 7/10 Splits, refers to the most difficult pin setup in bowling.) “Lots of people are surprised at the way we play ‘All Shook Up.’”

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Finkle, a Burbank resident, said he arranged another Elvis favorite, “Surrender,” himself. He noticed that in Elvis’ 1970 best hits boxed set, the text mentions how no singer would try the song because the notes at the end were so high.

But Finkle’s band does it, and it gets a great response from the audience, he said.

When he and other band members are rearranging the golden oldies, they add just enough to enhance what the original writers created, he added.

“You should stay true to the song, but if you don’t add something to it, you shouldn’t be up here at all,” Finkle said.

They also played obscure Beatles tunes like “Red Sails in the Sunset,” “Besame Mucho” and “Leave My Kittens Alone.”

“I’ve never heard any other band play those songs,” he said.

A former member of Mars Needs Women, the Memphis Mafia, Red Hot & Blue and Voodoo Train, Finkle credits the band’s unique sound to its members, including Alex Acevedo, who plays guitar and sings backup harmony; Bernie Dresel, former drummer with the Brian Setzer Orchestra; Johnny Hatton, who still plays bass with the Setzer orchestra; and John Snoke on lead guitar.

“When Bernie and Johnny aren’t on the road, I get to use them in my band,” he said. “It’s the sugar on top when you’ve got the five pieces functioning at the same time.”

They bring a lot of energy, professionalism and musicianship to the group, Finkle added.

“John or ‘Gun Snoke,’ which is what we call him, is the architect of the sound we get,” Finkle said.

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