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Accordionists unite! 

Old Vienna owner Zoa Musick and contestant (and Trio Internationale accordionist) Chuck Osborne talk squeezeboxes

New Times The Squeezebox Square Off accordion competition at Old Vienna is being called a “Battle of the Bellows.” What’s a bellow?

Zoa Musick That’s the middle part of the accordion.

- BATTLE OF THE BELLOWS :  Old Vienna presents, “Squeezebox Square Off,” where accordionists gather on Aug. 2 from 3-5 p.m. at Old Vienna Restaurant in Shell Beach. New Times’ own Glen Starkey will be emceeing the event (AKA the Squeeze Master). Curious crowds will gather as -  - IMAGE COURTESY OF OLD VIENNA
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF OLD VIENNA
  • BATTLE OF THE BELLOWS : Old Vienna presents, “Squeezebox Square Off,” where accordionists gather on Aug. 2 from 3-5 p.m. at Old Vienna Restaurant in Shell Beach. New Times’ own Glen Starkey will be emceeing the event (AKA the Squeeze Master). Curious crowds will gather as

New Times What is the history of the accordion? Is it predominately a German instrument?

Musick My opa [German for grandfather] and my little brother both played the accordion, but I don’t know if it originated in Germany.

Chuck Osborne In general the accordion is a worldwide instrument. You can find it in any country you go to. It can be any shape you can imagine. Basically, the accordion consists of some sort of bellows (the breathing mechanism) and it can be controlled by buttons or piano keys.

New Times What kind of accordion will you be playing?

Osborne I’m playing on the world’s first completely digital accordion. It has orchestral sounds, and replicates almost any accordion sound from around the world. I use violin sound, harmonica, clarinet, and a nacho trumpet sound for the Mexican tunes we do, bagpipes for the Scottish or Irish tunes.

New Times What kind of music will the contestants be playing? Covers, originals?

Musick We’ve given them three minutes to play whatever they want. They just need to impress the judges.

New Times What can the crowd expect at the Squeezebox Square Off at Old Vienna?

Musick The plan is that we will get to hear some accordion music, some different styles, and on different types of accordions. And of course, good food and beer.

New Times What’s the only beer that one should drink while listening to an accordion?

Musick Spaten Oktoberfest has to be the best. It’s amber in color, but still light. It’s our most popular.

New Times What’s coming up at Old Vienna that you are excited about, Zoa?

Musick Oktoberfest starts September 12.

New Times Tell us about your musical background, Chuck.

Osborne I direct the Allan Hancock Big Band Jazz and I taught music at Arroyo Grande High School. I’ve been playing the accordion since I was 11 years old [Osborne is 67]. I’m having a lot of fun.

New Times And what about Trio Internationale? They are infamous in South County.

Osborne We are a rock band with a polka problem. Bill Wolf is the drummer and Michael Dias is our singer. We’ve been together five or six years [Trio has been a band for more than 12 years].

New Times What’s your favorite song that Trio plays?

Osborne I like Smoke on the Water.

New Times What will you bring to the contest, Chuck?

Osborne Myself…and my accordion.


Christy Heron doesn’t believe in “No Woman No Cry.” Help her “Stir it Up” as she dries her tears at cheron@newtimesslo.com.

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