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The Wingtips: 35th Anniversary Show

Linoma Mashers

November 1

8:00 pm


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The band that ruled Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska for four years in the eighties is back! The Wingtips, known for their wild and energetic stage shows led the Omaha music scene and brought the British Ska revival of the late 70’s to the heartland. The band formed in 1982 as guitar player Ben Sempek and drummer Steve Aden regrouped their high school garage band. It was a friend of Ben’s, Micky Logsdon, who introduced Ben to Ska, Punk and New Wave, none of which had yet hit the mainstream in the Midwestern United states. This is the musical direction the band would go. The Wingtips played most of 1983 as a three-piece, with bass players “Tumblin” Tim Kobza and later banjo-player turned bassist Chris Sempek, older brother of Ben, rounding out the trio. The group played parties, school dances and any club that would allow minors as hired performers. For visual affect, Rude Boy suits, skinny ties and loafers became the official dress of the band. Near the end of 1983 Ben invited Creighton Prep High School pal and keyboardist Mike “Fins” Findley to join. Mike was heavily into the underground music scene and immediately brought a new dynamic to the band adding lead vocals as well as keyboards. Upon Chris Sempek’s departure, the band was temporarily back to a trio as Findley doubled as the bass player, playing bass parts on his keyboard. Aden had been working as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, Roberto’s, and it was there that he became friends with fellow Westside student Russ Hofmaier, an accomplished bassist who at the time had been playing in his own band, THC. Never actually hearing each other’s band, Steve and Russ would brag about how each had the better band. It was eventually decided that Russ should give the Wingtips a shot and another piece of the puzzle was put into place. During late 1983 and early 1984 the band’s repertoire evolved into nearly all Ska Revival, covering the Two-Tone British bands. It was thought that a horn could be used to accent the material so Aden went to the Westside High’s concert band for Doug “Slugs” Carl, first-chair alto Saxophone player. Doug had also been playing with Westside High’s New Wave band Drastic Fashion. He abruptly jumped ship giving The Wingtips its final member. Or Was it? In 1985, local legend Tony “Chin” Faison, a conga player who had been with another Ska band, The Hut-Suts, began showing up at Wingtip shows. A friendship was formed with the band and he was eventually invited to join. In late 1985, Carl left the band and was replaced by guitarist/saxophonist Jeff Engel, another Westside kid who had been playing with The Way-Outs, a band that featured not one but two younger brothers of the Wingtips! This was the line-up until Aden’s departure and the band’s demise in May of 1986. The Wingtips reunited briefly, in 1994 and again in 2004 for Westside High School class of ’84 reunions. Both reunions were without a saxophonist and the 2004 reunion was without Sempek, who had been living in the Middle East. On New Year’s Eve 2006, for the first time since 1985, the original lineup of Sempek, Aden, Findley, Hofmaier, Carl and Faison reunited for a New Year’s eve show at the Saddle Creek bar in Omaha. After subseuqent reunions in 2007 and again in 2010, the full band minus Carl will reunite at the end of 2013 to celebrate it’s 30 year anniversary.
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