Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
Glo-Worm singer Pam Berry and drummer Dan Searing agree that opening for the Pizzicato Five marked the zenith of the group’s short career. “It was the first time I’d ever seen anyone using the makeup table in the dressing room,” Searing marvels. “Usually, the makeup table’s full of beer bottles and coffee.”
Glo-Worm itself was as ephemeral as its lilting, shimmery pop; it played fewer than 10 live shows during its lifetime, and Glimmer, a 14-song disc that anthologizes the group’s singles, compilation tracks, and heretofore unreleased material, is its first and last CD. Nobody can decide when, exactly, Glo-Worm started, but all concur that Berry and guitarist Terry Banks began collaborating in 1992, calling on Searing when they entered the studio to record the band’s first single. “They asked me to come and play some brushes or shake a tambourine or something,” Searing recalls. “I sort of got grafted on—I became the tail of the Glo-Worm.”
While Searing was the last to join, Banks was the first to leave; the guitarist’s relocation to Australia occasioned the band’s demise last fall. Banks and his wife became so enamored of the continent while honeymooning there that they applied for residency and, against long odds, actually got it. “They only take 30 or so people a year,” explains Berry. “They really liked it there, so they said, ‘Why not?’”
Among Glimmer’s standouts is the band’s revved-up cover of Petula Clark’s “Downtown.” (Which once again proves the rock ’n’ roll truism that all songs sound better with a whistling interlude.) “I was listening to the oldies station and ‘Barbara Ann’ came on, and I was thinking, ‘It would be great to recreate the party atmosphere they have on that record,’” says Searing. “If you can say anything good about our version of ‘Downtown,’ it’s probably that it has that party atmosphere; we should have dubbed in some crowd noise and glasses tinkling and somebody knocking over an ashtray.”
In the months since Banks’ departure, Berry (who is also City Paper’s classified manager) and Searing have recruited guitarist Eric Eggert and started a new band, the Seashell Sea. They plan to record an album this fall. “Yep,” acknowledges Searing, “it’s another power trio….”
Glimmer is available locally at Vinyl Ink, Go!, and Smash or by mail from K Records, P.O. Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507. —Nicole Arthur