Vancouver bar band Trama rose from the ashes of Shama to make good music, that’s all – ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MARCH 18, 1983 By Steve Newton

Vancouver bar band Trama rose from the ashes of Shama to make good music, that’s all



By Steve Newton

“We’re not trying to shake up the music world,” says Trama bassist-vocalist Michael Sicoly “We’re just trying to make good music, that’s all.”

They may not be shaking up the music world, but since forming 18 short months ago, Trama have certainly caused a good portion of Vancouver’s club-going population to get up and shake a leg to the band’s infectious staple of originals and sixties cover tunes.

Shunning the thought of playing today’s overblown Top 40 songs, Trama concentrates on the sound of yesteryear, striking nostalgic chords with tunes by the Hollies, the Turtles, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

Sicoly, along with drummer Tommy Stewart and guitarist-vocalist Mick Dalla-Vicenza, formed Trama because, he says, “We dug each other a lot. We enjoyed doing a lot of fun music, so we said, ‘Let’s get together and do some clubs.’ It started out as a joke really–just getting into clubs and having a laugh–and it still is…to a degree.”

The group came together after the Sault St. Marie band Shama, of which Sicoly and Dalla-Vicenza were members, broke up late in 1980. At that time Stewart was still playing for the Vancouver recording group Trooper.


“Trooper was just doing tours,” says Sicoly, “and they were having six and seven month stints of doing nothing, so Tommy was bored and when we asked him if he wanted to do some club work he said yes. And he really got to like it. I guess it really turned him on more than the stuff that Trooper was doing because he had been so bored with them.”

The group got their name by taking the TR from Trooper and the AMA from Shama to make TRAMA.

Sicoly says he had no regrets about Shama breaking up, because it was “a band with really no direction–a total misdirection.” The other members of Shama included Jeff Neill, who currently plays guitar for Streetheart, and drummer Brien Armstrong, who now works as a life insurance salesman.


According to Sicoly, Trama is mainly a sixties band. “Right now we’re doing a lot of sixties music. We do play about half a dozen original tunes on stage, but we don’t overdo it. And we’re also somewhat of a novelty group. We play a lot of novelty things because we like to have fun with the audience. I like to think that it’s a pretty original group in that we don’t take things too seriously. We just have a bit of fun with it–and it rubs off.”

Sicoly is the main writer of Trama’s original material, but he points out that everybody is “sort of a collective pitcher-in.” He says that their original tunes are not really patterned after anything, but that “it’s just our kind of music. And we don’t take that overly seriously either. We just sit down and write a tune and whatever comes out comes out.”

Aside from Vancouver, the only other places Trama plays are Vancouver Island and, once in while, Whistler. The band doesn’t go on the road much because, Sicoly says, it’s really not feasible. “There’s a lot of things to do around town, so we play every week nonstop.”

One might think that, with all the various clubs they visit, there would be some that stand out for one reason or another, but according to Sicoly, a club is a club.

“Generally the people who come out are all the same–whether it’s Vancouver, Abbotsford, or wherever. There’s always the same things in a club–just decor and drinks–so no club is different from another. The people always respond well enough for me.”

When asked what other clubs acts he likes to check out when he’s got the chance, Sicoly doesn’t hesitate.

“I think Crisis is a good band, to be quite honest with you. Many of the other ones I’m not really too crazy about because they don’t do anything original. But Crisis is quite an original concept because they really flow right from the soul. They don’t follow leaders, which is something we’ve never wanted to do either.”

Future plans for Trama include the recording of an album, according to Sicoly.

“We just want to release a record, get it out there, and see if it sticks. And we all believe we’ve got a good shot at it because our following  is pretty strong around town. We’ll probably be covering a few tunes on record too, because we might as well keep the same formula. I figure it works.”

Trama is playing at the Boo Pub in Coquitlam this weekend, and will open for Three Dog Night in Victoria on Sunday night.

Used with permission. Please check out Steve Newton’s site His interviews have been legendary for years.

Vancouver bar band Trama rose from the ashes of Shama to make good music, that’s all