The Panini Brothers got their name from a random ordering of the same sandwich at dinner with their wives. The ladies “thought it was the dumbest possible name for a band, and that sealed it,” said Mike DeGiorgi, one of three guitarists for the Paninis. DeGiorgi, Larry Sakayama, and Chip Conway originally just got together at Larry’s Smith Mountain Lake (SML) home to jam on cover tunes, but considering that Larry and Mike are two of the most gifted local songwriters that I personally know, their ambitions exceeded the not-so-simple cover. Joined by keyboardist, Mark Earnhardt, and drummer, Scott Thomas, the Paninis started feeding the locals with their own special blend of blues, rock, folk and jazz.
Their debut CD, “Eyes on the Water”, is a tribute to the band’s self-admitted randomness: It “makes a certain kind of collective sense. Our tastes are very different. Each songwriter trusts that input from the other brothers will make a song better,” said DeGiorgi. It’s only fitting that this SML band recorded their first album at Blackwater Recording Studio with Harold Thompson.