Following a year hiatus after the 1984 breakup of the original Tim Ware Group, Tim began focusing once again on the guitar, his “first” instrument. Dismissing critics who disparaged the mandolin as the “poodle of string instruments,” Tim defended the noble mandolin but began using the guitar as his primary Tool of Composition. His new tunes called for a different collection of instruments, and Tim began to assemble a new band.
The first version of TWG v2.0 — assembled in 1985 — consisted of violinist David Balakrishnan, a hold-over from the previous, mandolin-based, group, George Brooks, a young saxophonist Tim had met through his friend Darol Anger, Joy Julks, an amazing fretless electric bassist, and the versatile and eccentric Bay Area percussionist “Bongo” Bob Smith.
After only one concert, Bongo Bob’s many other commitments necessitated finding another percussionist and, through Joy, Tim hooked up with William Kennedy, an Oakland-based drummer who played mostly jazz, funk and rhythm-and-blues. On March 8, 1986, this band went into Canyon Studios in Canyon, California, with Neil Young engineering, and produced three recordings — “Brain in the Rain,” “Dreamer’s Prerogative” and “Light Planes.”
Later in 1986, William Kennedy was asked to join the internationally famous jazz-fusion group, The Yellow Jackets — an offer he could hardly refuse. Joy brought in another colleague, Dutchman Paul van Wageningen, an amazing, first-call drummer in the Bay Area Latin/Salsa scene in the Bay Area.
In November 1986, the TWG went back to Canyon Studios and recorded several new tunes, notably “On China Sea” and “Five O’Clock Shadows.” Tim’s increasing facility at composing for this ensemble is reflected in these recordings.
On January 28, 1988, the TWG went into Arch Street Studios in Berkeley and recorded several tracks — “(Knee-Deep in) Planet Pie,” “Illegal Irelands” and “Café Apocalypso” (with a very young Jenna Mamina on backing vocals – yes, this was the only vocal tune the TWG ever recorded and was, natch, a favorite at concerts). With Mike Marshall at Montreaux Studios, Tim also recorded a few, more “esoteric,” pieces — “Indian Summer,” with Marco Zonka on tabla, and the hypnotic “The Eye Wants To Sleep (But The Head Is No Mattress),” with Turtle Island’s Mark Summer on ‘cello and Paul vW adding MIDI percussion.