Spice

Spice members, left to right, Herb Wiese, Dennis Palmer and Harlan Ice practice and discuss their music. The band wrote a song about Danville called “Midnight Sounds.”

Members of the longtime band “Spice” might be aging, but they’re not old.

The three men, who are in their 60s, have kept up with the newest technology and now are using the Internet to share their music.

One of their original songs — which they call a “shining star” among their creations — can be heard on the popular Web site, YouTube.

The copyrighted song, “Midnight Sounds,” was written by Dennis Palmer of Danville, with music by band members Harlan Ice of Georgetown and Herb Wiese of Danville. Alan Wait played acoustic guitar and Terry Cottrell was on harmonica.

The song goes back to the days in the 1950s and ’60s when the west side of Danville was bustling with activity. At night, a person could hear the noise from Western Brick, General Motors, the variety club and the railroad.

The song memorializes a “blue collar past in a blue collar town,” where “tired men worked for well-deserved pay.”

The idea for the song took root when Wiese mentioned all those businesses west of town, saying, “Those sounds are gone. They’ll never be heard again.”

Palmer was on a plane when he penned the words to the song, which has a country flavor, and e-mailed it to Wiese.

Wiese liked it, noting the words could apply to Anytown, U.S.A. — any town that was once booming and is now quiet.

Palmer and Wiese grew up with those sounds, and thought they would last forever.

“We kind of hope a lot of people around here can hear ‘Midnight Sounds,’” Palmer said. “We think a lot of people can relate to it.”

And, they wouldn’t object if someone like Alan Jackson heard it, liked it and recorded it.

The song can be heard on the Internet; eventually, the group’s MySpace account will be set up so people can download a song for 99 cents. Copies also have been taken to WITY Radio and KISS Country, which have been playing it in the mornings.

Spice, which plays a variety of music, was formed in 1962. Ice and Wiese are two of the original members; Palmer joined in the ’70s.

The band played numerous wedding receptions and office parties, and also performed every weekend at the Elks Club, then on Liberty Lane, in the 1970s. They also played at Freddie’s in Westville, the Lamplighter and the Boat Club. Its last gig was New Year’s Eve at the Elks in 1981.

They don’t do shows anymore; instead, they’ve been concentrating on writing original material in the last few months.

The group has gone through numerous drummers and guitarists. Now, Ice is on keyboard, Palmer on bass guitar and Wiese on acoustic guitar. Wiese is retired from Miller Distributor and has a studio in his garage; Ice is retired from the Vermilion County circuit clerk’s office; and Palmer runs Village Builders with his wife, Joan.

The men like to crack jokes about their age.

Wiese said the band decided to get back together and try to sell records because “we need something to supplement our Social Security.”

He added, “We’re thinking about changing our name to ‘The Metamucil Men.’”

The group has produced a video, shot at Wiese’s home. In it, they sing Chuck Berry’s “Nadine,” and dedicate it to the late Nadine Schramm.

“We had a lot of fun doing this,” Wiese said of the video, which features family and friends acting silly.

This fall, they’ll make a DVD of “Midnight Sounds.”

They also plan to compile a CD, but Ice quipped, “If we live long enough, we might get it done.”

The group’s other original songs are:

--“Bucket of Chicken,” which is about the band’s early days when they would practice, accompanied by a bucket of chicken and a case of beer. Donna Ice, Harlan’s wife, wrote the words.

--“Ode to Jean,” a tribute to four women who have retired from Illinois Bell. The women, known as the Golden Girls, frequent the Knights of Columbus.

--“Sorry About That,” a light-hearted number about people’s tendency to shrug things off.

--“Midnight Moon” is still in production.

When the trio is practicing and writing music, they don’t have to worry about anyone calling the cops about loud music. They don’t use amplifiers, so there’s no noise to disturb the neighbors.

ON THE NET

You can hear “Midnight Sounds” by going to http://www.youtube, and typing the name of the song into the search box, then scroll down until you see the song by Spice.

Spice also has accounts on Facebook and MySpace.

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