If you are a fan of “Mars Attacks!” (and who besides Slim Whitman isn’t?), you know the movie ends with a scene in which Tom Jones and several birds and animals who have survived the invasion emerge from a cave near a crashed Martian spaceship on the shore of Lake Tahoe.
But did you know there is another connection between Lake Tahoe and the 1996 science fiction B movie spoof?
North Shore resident Steve Kershisnik was in Jones’ band at the time. The long-haired bass player can be seen running away after the murderous Martians appear dancing onstage during a performance of the song “It’s Not Unusual.”
Kershisnik has since moved to Tahoe and plays drums for the acid jazz band Groove Foundry, the headliner at Sunday’s opening of the Concerts at Commons Beach series in Tahoe City.
Because of his, well, unusual last name, Jones would announce his bass player as Steve Spence. Spence is Kershisnik’s middle name. Kershisnik, who lived in Los Angeles, played with Jones from 1993-97, and besides the movie appearance, he was on “Good Morning America” and Jay Leno and Jon Stewart’s television shows.
“When we played “Delilah” and “She’s a Lady,” the underwear from older women would start flying,” Kershisnik said. “There would be piles of Victoria’s Secret on the stage.”
Kershisnik also played with Danny Johnson in the band Private Life. But he decided to exit his high-profile lifestyle and move to Lake Tahoe.
“The road isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the dad who was never there. Too many musicians have chosen the road over families. Reality hit me between the thighs.”
So now, like so many do in Tahoe, Kershisnic, who plays several instruments, juggles various jobs. He tunes pianos, instructs about 24 music students and plays with Groove Foundry and gigs with various bands and artists such as Jeff Jones and Ben Martin.
“I don’t miss the days (in L.A.),” he said. “I’ve been there done that. … The vibe of people who play in Groove Foundry is what does it for me. It’s fun and joyous.”
It will be the second Commons Beach appearance in as many years for Groove Foundry, which shared the stage in 2014 with Joy and Madness.
With the lake level unusually low, kayaks and boats will be farther from the stage than they have been in the series’ 12-year history. There will be more beach area, too, along with exposed rocks. Watch for Tom Jones and other creatures and don’t request any Slim Whitman tunes. Sly and the Family Stone would be more appropriate for the R&B-based octet.
- Concerts at Commons Beach
4-7 p.m. Sundays in Tahoe City
June 21 Groove Foundry, Montaña (3 p.m. start)
June 28 Mojo Green, Sugarcane Jane (3 p.m. start)
July 5 Allmond Bros Clan
July 12 SambaDá
July 19 Joy and Madness
July 26 Trey Stone Band with Kendal, the Beer Gardners (3 p.m. start)
Aug. 2 Mumbo Gumbo
Aug. 9 Honey Island Swamp Band
Aug. 16 Con Brio
Aug. 23 Brothers Comatose
Aug. 30 New Monsoon
Sept. 6 Devon Allman Band, the Roemers (3 p.m. start)