Where The Beat Goes On

Fingerprints

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I really loved Fingerprints. They were such an under-appreciated band. They had a rockin’ feel. Their live shows were incredible with the lead singer doing backflips during the show. David Pirner/Soul Asylum

In the fertile late 70s Minneapolis scene, the highly skilled and intense five-piece band Fingerprints both fit in and stood out. Bridging elements of basic Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues, Glam and Prog brought a certain familiarity and yet they didn’t sound like anyone else. Lead singer Mark Throne was an athletic powder keg of a front man; the rhythm section of bassist Steve Fjelstad and drummer Kevin Glynn drove the band like a freight train; and the virtuosic guitar playing of Mike Owens, Robb Henry and Jeff Waryan made for audio spectacles galore in every live show. The band released a total of 11 tracks on Twin/Tone Records that were spread out over an EP, two singles, and two cuts on the 1979 comp, Big Hits Of Mid-America Volume III. All of this was done as they worked hard on nailing down a set of songs for the definitive Fingerprints LP, as Robb departed and Jeff took up the reins. Sadly, the group disbanded before the album’s completion. Now, the twenty-four songs they were working on have been restored, completed and mixed – the ‘lost’ Fingerprints album, a vintage feast for the ears that we think is well worth the wait … but we’ll let you be the judge of that! Peter Jesperson Twin/Tone Records co-founder/A&R

Fingerprints formed in the mid 1970’s. The original lineup included Mark Throne on Vocals and Saxophone, Robb Henry and Michael Owens on Guitars and Vocals, Steve Fjelstad on Bass and Kevin Glynn on Drums and Percussion. Lead guitarist Robb Henry, in his late teenage years, had previously been a member of The Mojo Buford Blues Band, Mojo, the infamous Blues Harpist, who played with Muddy Waters on and off from 1953 until Muddy’s death in 1983. Michael Owens, Kevin Glynn & Steve Fjelstad founded Blackberry Way Recording Studios in the mid 1970’s, eventually merging with Paul Starks P. David Studio and went on to record The Replacements, The Trashmen and Soul Asylum to name a few. The Twin/Tone release “Big Hits Of Mid America Vol 3” that includes two tracks from Fingerprints and recorded at Blackberry Way is currently on display in The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. The record label Blackberry Way Records was formed in 1984. Jeff Waryan replaced Robb in 1979. His first gig with the band was two shows opening for Blondie at Jay’s Longhorn in Minneapolis. Afterwards Blondie hung out at Blackberry Way while Mike & Steve helped Jimmy Destri with a band he was producing in NY called Student Teachers. The band was among the first three bands signed by Twin/Tone Records in 1978. The late Tim Carr, A&R at Warner Brothers, called Mike’s song Wasted On You, the best single song on the first three simultaneously released Twin/Tone EP’s. (The little Red Records-Fingerprints, The Suburbs and Curtiss A’s Spooks) Rave reviews followed internationally in Trouser Press, New York Rocker, New Musical Express UK, Minneapolis Tribune and many more.
In addition to dates with Pere Ubu, Blondie and Peter Hammill, Fingerprints headlined at the legendary Longhorn Bar, First Ave, Mothers in Chicago and other venues in the five state area including dates at Duffy’s with Mitch Ryder and Dwight Twilley. The band also headlined at The Walker Art Center Presents “The Cream Of The Crop” supported by Spooks (Curtiss A) and NNB. Fingerprints was also chosen as the first band paired with a movie in The Walker Art Centers Band and a movie in Loring Park, an event that lives on today. In 1979 Fingerprints performed at the M-80 Music Festival and shared the stage with The Fleshtones, Richard Lloyd, Devo and The Records. Devo rehearsed at Blackberry Way before the show. Fingerprints reformed for The Mill City Music Festival in 1999 performing on the KQRS stage following a wonderful set by Willie and The Bees. The festival featured 130 bands including Prince, Gypsy, Willie Murphy, Koerner, Ray and Glover, The Jayhawks, Semisonic and many others.
Fingerprints also reformed in 2019 to perform three sold out shows at The Parkway Theater in MPLS in support of the documentary "Jay's Longhorn" about the infamous bar that in the late 1970's was the Minneapolis counter point to New York’s CBGB's. In addition to several vintage tracks by Fingerprints that were included in the documentary, the band got together and recorded “14 South 5th Street Blues” a song Owens composed about The Longhorn that closes out the documentary as the credits roll. Special guests on the track included Minneapolis stalwarts Curtiss A and The Suicide Commandos Chris Osgood. The track was included as a bonus track on Owens record “The Right Kind Of Crazy” The documentary is currently competing in film festivals internationally. The Queen City Film Festival in Cumberland, Maryland awarded the film “Best Music in a Feature Film”. In October 2015 Steve Earle spun Fingerprints track “Down” on his Hardcore Troubadour Radio Show on Sirius Radio.

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