Picus Maximus

Jim Soldi: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Rick Sparhawk: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals

Genre: Rock

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Inception: San Diego, 2011


Picus Maximus was co-founded by two former members of local 1970s band Montezuma’s Revenge, Rick Sparhawk and Jim Soldi. Formed in 1973, they called their music bionic bluegrass.

“One year,” says Sparhawk, “we won first place for best rock, best country, and best bluegrass. It was our Trifecta.”

Soldi has played guitar with Ricky Scaggs and Johnny Cash. Picus Maximus is the scientific name for a bird long thought to be extinct: the ivory billed woodpecker.

“It was registered as extinct for 60 years, but now it’s making a comeback,” laughs Sparhawk. “Well, now I’m making a comeback too.”

This means that Sparhawk is deep in the process of actively promoting Picus Maximus. “I got back in the thinking that I’d promote like it was 20 years ago, but that won’t work today.” He realizes that he needs to create an image and market it, and the field is congested by musical apparitions and players alike.

“Every band out there now has the marketing savvy to look like a real band. Even if they are not.”

The debut Picus Maximus full-length The Tragedy of Johnny Patriot was followed in October 2012 by a collection of spoofs based on the soundtracks of old Hollywood B-movie thrillers, Lullabies for the Cursed (Dakota Records 2012). It was recorded and mastered in Ramona at Soldi's Outhouse Studios and is dedicated as a “sonic tribute to drive-in monster movies.”


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