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In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the boundaries of rock music expanded significantly, when pioneering musicians integrated elements of classical and jazz genres with rock. The Beatles' mid to late 1960s studio recordings, and Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention beginning in the mid 1960s, demonstrated an infusion of these styles and paved the way for what became known as progressive rock or art rock by the early 1970s. European progressive-rock groups such as King Crimson; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Yes; Genesis; Gentle Giant; and PFM composed, recorded, and performed works that employed complex rhythms, elaborate harmonies, counterpoint, symphonic textures, and often imaginative lyrics and melodies. Musicians in these groups sometimes displayed virtuosity and were featured in extended instrumental excursions; many of their recorded works stretch far beyond the three-and-a-half minute stereotypical rock-song formula. Meanwhile, starting in the late 1960s, Miles Davis had begun to infuse jazz with elements of rock. Taking their cue from Miles, instrumental electronic jazz-rock fusion groups formed, such as Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Return To Forever. Like the progressive-rock bands, these fusion groups also preferred extended works that featured musicians with virtuosity and great improvisational skill. The 1970s progressive rock and fusion movements were the primary genres in modern music that inspired the members of However to embark on their musical journey.
Bobby Read and Peter Princiotto met in McLean, Virginia in 1972, and during the years 1972-73 were members of the progressive rock group Black Orchid, with Tim Tanner, Tom Grignon, Ken Hitchcock, and Tom Scott. Black Orchid played both original and cover material.
Bill Kotapish and Pete met in McLean in 1974, and during the years 1974-75 were members of Ancient Moon (a.k.a. Ancient Moon Orchestra), with Scott Martin and Tom Grignon. Tom Grignon, Tom Scott, and Pete formed Ancient Moon in 1973, and Scott Martin joined the group later that year. Tom Scott then joined The Muffins, Ken Hitchcock then played with Ancient Moon through summer 1974, and Bobby sometimes played with Ancient Moon during 1974-75. Ancient Moon also played both originals and covers. The group reunited in 1996 to perform at the Langley High School Class of 1976 - 20 Year Reunion, and in 2012 to perform at the Langley Music Fest.
Bobby, Pete, and other bandmates had also been in various ensembles conducted by George J. Horan, including the Langley High School Jazz Lab and, in the summers of 1973 and 1974, the Wolf Trap Jazz Ensemble. Horan's exhilarating musical direction and sensibilities provided a strong foundation for many young musicians.
In 1975, Pete, Bobby, and Tom Grignon became students at the New England Conservatory (NEC). In April of 1976 at NEC, they performed Dream Sequences, a concert of all original music, including music that would eventually make its way into However’s repertoire. By autumn, the three lived in a group house in Brighton, Massachusetts, where Bill later joined them. By 1977, they began to work together with the intention of forming a new group playing all original music.
Bill had suggested the name “However” for the group at a get-together in McLean at the home of Mark Stuart Holmes, a close friend of the group who later created their LP photography and design. One day in Brighton, a postcard for the group arrived from Mark, addressed to “However,” which solidified the band’s eventual name.
In May 1977, Bill, Pete, and Bobby returned to McLean, while Tom stayed in the Boston area for a few years. However then gained two new members: Pete’s younger brother Joe (a.k.a. “Stellar”) and, in autumn, Don Berkemeyer (a.k.a. “Whitz”). Stellar had been playing in bands, including the Langley Jazz Lab, with Brad Allen, who also would later guest with However. Don, Stellar, and Brad had also been students of George Horan. During 1977-80, However rehearsed on a consistent basis for live performances. After the summer of 1977, Bobby and Stellar took sabbaticals from the group. Tim Valdes, from Alexandria, Virginia (whom However met at NEC), then joined the group from the late summer of 1977 through spring 1978.
On May 14, 1978 (Bill's birthday), Bill, Pete, Don, and Tim (with Bobby sitting in) performed However's debut concert at the McLean Community Center. Gary McAleer from Annandale, Virginia, joined However from autumn 1978 through summer 1979. (During 1978-80, Stellar and Brad played together in the fusion group Etiquette.) In the beginning of 1979, Bobby and Stellar rejoined However. However then began to play shows in the Washington, D.C. area for a growing community of progressive rock fans, established in large part by WGTB FM radio, and cultivated with musician friends Happy The Man and The Muffins. (Stan Whitaker of Happy The Man and Oblivion Sun, and Bill, had played together in a rock band in Germany in 1970-71.) However shows during 1979-80 were performed at Georgetown University, the Metropolitan Arts & Music Association, George Mason University, D.C. Space, the Washington Ethical Society (two different shows), the Childe Harold (two different shows), and the 9:30 Club. Between May 1978 and October 1980, However performed ten live shows; the lineup was Bill, Pete, and Bobby in every show, Stellar in eight shows, Don in the first seven, Gary in four, and Tim in the debut. On October 23, 1980, Bill, Pete, Bobby, and Stellar performed a “final” live However show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., after which However, with this lineup, decided to become exclusively a recording group.
In 1980-81, Bill, Pete, Bobby, and Stellar recorded and produced Sudden Dusk, However’s debut LP. Bobby had been concentrating on recording and engineering since 1972, and made it possible for However to record in his home studio. Sudden Dusk was released on December 18, 1981, on Random Radar Records (guests include Don, Tim, and Gary). In spring 1992, several tracks on Sudden Dusk were remixed, and the recording was then remastered. On March 1, 1994, it was released on CD by Kinesis. During 1982-84, Bill, Pete, Bobby, Stellar, Don, and Terresa Gayle recorded and produced However’s second LP Calling. It was released on April 22, 1985, on Cuneiform Records (guests include Tim, Gary, and Kit Watkins). In 1994-95, significant revisions were made to Calling, several new tracks were added, other tracks were remixed, and the recording was remastered. On July 21, 1995, Kinesis released this new version of Calling on CD. North America East Recordings reissued Sudden Dusk on CD and online on December 31, 2009; and Calling on CD on June 17, 2010, and online on July 4, 2010. Both albums include additional mastering and expanded liner notes. Calling includes a previously unreleased track.
On January 3, 1988, Pete, Don, and Tim (with Terresa, Bill, Bobby, and Brad as guests) performed a concert at the Washington Ethical Society. In December 1992, Pete, Stellar, and Brad joined Richard Sinclair, a prog-rock luminary from Canterbury, England, for a performance of Richard’s music in Baltimore, Maryland.
Tim Valdes, an eclectic and versatile musician who performed, recorded, composed, and played over fifteen instruments, including tuned and varied percussion, tabla, drum set, banjo, and several other stringed instruments, died of cancer in November 1990; Sudden Dusk is dedicated to him. Calling is dedicated to Mark Stuart Holmes, an artist who possessed an extraordinary imagination and created works in various media; he died in February 1990.
Bill Kotapish (guitars, bass guitar, drum set, synth, voice) is married and received his J.D. in law in 1987 from Catholic University; he is presently practicing law in Washington, D.C. Bill currently plays guitar in a D.C. area band called the Mike Terpak Blues Explosion. He also has been working with various local musicians, in addition to focusing on solo projects with acoustic and electric guitars.
Peter Princiotto (voice, bass guitars, bass pedals, piano, synth, guitars, Chapman stick) has been a music instructor in Northern Virginia since 1974. In the 1980s, Pete led the folk-rock group Stitch In Time, which included Terresa, Don, and Tim. In 1990, he earned a masters degree in music composition from the Peabody Conservatory. Pete continues to compose, record, and perform, and has worked with his brothers Rob and Stellar, Steve Mullaney, Paul Reisler, Trapezoid and Kid Pan Alley (led by Reisler), Frank Wyatt, Jim & Ashley Cash, Steve Albrecht, and Datta and Rachael-Jayne Groover. He also has been commissioned to compose for film and has been published as a writer and transcriber in Bass Player. Pete has built an extensive archive of printed and recorded music (including music under the direction of George Horan), and released online in 2008 and on CD in 2010 his solo debut Life’s Mystery, which includes tracks with However members. For more info visit
Bobby Read (voice, saxophones, synth, piano, percussion, clarinet, flute) is married and based in Charlottesville, Virginia, as an established performer, recording engineer, and producer. He toured and recorded for many years with Bruce Hornsby, and has worked with numerous artists including Paul Reisler, Trapezoid, John McCutcheon, Michael Manring, ModeReko, and Bonnie Raitt. He also has been commissioned to compose works for The Kennedy Center, National Geographic, and various dance and theater productions. Paul Reisler and Bobby collaborated on the recording Birth Of A River, which was released in 1998. ModeReko’s debut CD was released in 1998, and their second CD was released in 2003. In 2005, Bobby released his solo CD Monkfish, and in 2008 The Bobby Read Quartet released the CD Simbia. For more info visit
Joe “Stellar” Princiotto (drums, cymbals, percussion, synth) has been an established performer in the D.C. metropolitan area and has played live and recorded with more than twenty-five groups including High Idle, The New Potato Caboose, Nothing Sacred, Jason Bear, Happle, and Interface. He also has taught drum set. In addition to However, he has played live and recorded on other projects with However members.
Don “Whitz” Berkemeyer (voice, flute, recorder, bassoon, WX11-wind synth, bass guitar) is married and now a professional photographer based in the Washington, D.C. area. Don’s musical endeavors have included extensive projects with However members including Stitch In Time (with Terresa, Pete, and Tim) and various projects with other local artists. He currently plays with various D.C. area ensembles, including the jazz group GrooveJet.
Terresa Gayle (voice), who debuted with However on Calling, is based in Northern Virginia. She enjoys vocal performance and writing. Her musical endeavors have included projects with However members including Stitch In Time (with Don, Pete, Tim) and various projects with other local artists.
Members of However remain open to the possibility of working on music together. In fact, Bill and Pete were in the studio in 2007-08 to complete and mix a piece that Bill and Bobby had recorded in 1983, which is included on the Calling CD reissue. However hopes you enjoy our CD reissues of Sudden Dusk and Calling on North America East Recordings. However plans to release a new EP containing rare studio tracks, including “No Cows.”
Peter Princiotto with Bill Kotapish
February 1996; updated March 2014
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