Mark Spangler and Doug Fraser are rock guitar players, songwriters and philosophers from Portland, Oregon. They have been playing longer than you. Because they are focused on the Glorious Future, Sparky and Mr. D tend to get touchy when asked about their past exploits. But we do have some sketchy information. They were both members of the legendary Northwest rock band Johnny & the Distractions, although not at the same time. In the late 1980s, Doug joined the platinum-selling band Quarterflash, and rare sightings of the band are still reported today. Mark has played with 60s icon Al Kooper, blues star Robert Cray, and vaguely recalls jamming with Slash... They have also been in-demand session musicians and sidemen in Portland, contributing their guitar stylings to TV and radio commercials, chili cook-offs, wet T-shirt contests and industrial training films. Now, Mark and Doug have teamed up to form Big Pay. More a way of life than a conventional band, Big Pay is a vehicle designed to spread the gospel of Sparky and Mr. D to every corner of the planet. The message is captured in Big Pay's debut recording, Step Up!, a robust collection of 12 original songs that pays homage to the duo's diverse influences. Imagine Billy Gibbons jamming with The James Gang at John Hiatt's house. Or Tom Petty making a cameo in a Firesign Theater skit. Or what might happen if two axe-wielding weirdoes snuck into Abbey Road and spent the night twisting knobs and guzzling Mountain Dew. Whatever listeners may decide to call the music, it's clear that Step Up! Is a rallying cry against the forces of complacency, mediocrity and stupidity. It must be listened to on headphones, especially if you want to catch the backward masking and subliminal satanic messages. And don't worry kids, there's plenty of guitar. But it's not a wank-fest. Really. Well, OK, maybe a little. Otherwise, what's the point of having some cool amps?