Circle 7, once lauded as the most popular modern rock act in the Quad-Cities, is no more.
The group had a messy break with its lead singer, Dave Martenson, after a gig at Davenport club Stickman's on Aug. 28. An argument over the band's inclusion of two rappers from the local act Fahrenheit 415 on a handful of tunes led to Mr. Martenson's refusal to perform the following night, and, subsequently, sealed his departure, said drummer Greg Tuthill this week.
However, the rift had been growing for some time, according to the percussionist.
``He's been in a blues band for a couple of months now, and the last couple of months he couldn't make practice with us so we started doing some other stuff,'' Mr. Tuthill said. ``It was just another side project we were doing to stay fresh because Dave couldn't make it to practice. We thought since he was doing his thing on the side, we didn't think he would be upset about it. Apparently that bothered him.''
Mr. Martenson couldn't be reached for comment.
Circle 7 exploded onto the local music scene after coming together in August, 1996. It had its first live gig at the Yankee Clipper in downtown Rock Island in October of that year, but it wasn't until early 1997 that fans really began to take notice of the groove-rock outfit.
A promising debut CD, ``The Star-On Machine,'' released in the spring of 1997 produced the radio hits ``Bullet'' and ``Cellophane,'' which gained airplay on Planet 93.5 as well as several other regional stations.
High-profile gigs in Chicago and some major and independent label flirting followed, according to former manager Will Gabbard, but nothing came through.
The remaining trio of Circle 7 -- Mr. Tuthill, guitarist Cosby Johnson and bassist Shannon Dockey -- plans to continue as a unit, adding the two rappers, Marcus and Landon, to the mix. They haven't come up with a new name for the amalgam, but it won't be Circle 7, at least in name, Mr. Tuthill said.
``(However), it's still Circle 7 (in terms of) the people in the group,'' he said.
``We really haven't even practiced together,'' Mr. Tuthill said of the new combo. ``We had about five practices messing around, and we've only written one or two songs from scratch. But we're all very excited about what we did do. It's like starting over, but I'd rather be starting over with the right people. I'm looking forward to seeing what might come out of it.''
What will spring forth from the ashes of Circle 7 is a lawsuit, Mr. Tuthill said. The trio plans to sue Mr. Martenson for his debts incurred while a part of the band.
``We're financially responsible to a few people who have been backing us for the past few years, and he's 25 percent liable for that,'' Mr. Tuthill said. ``Obviously he's not going to put in his fair share. I don't want to do it any other way than legally.''
In brighter news, the new, unnamed act already has its first gig booked -- for Halloween night at Stickman's.