Last Wednesday, June 11th, and last night, June 18th, we held auditions live in the Roadhouse with Greg Vandy to find the members of the first and only official Roadhouse Jug Band (now officially named The Dexter Street Stompers), which will be fearlessly led by yours truly. Each night we had five old-timey, irreverent hopefuls come in and play their instrument of choice along to a pre-selected jug band song. They were also subjected to a rigorous short answer interview, and penetrating critiques on their overall style as possible jug band members (either original Depression-era or 60s revival). I believe I can say without hesitation that a good time was had by all!
If you missed either broadcast, you can listen in the archives at the links below. And it’s not too late to vote for your favorite players from last night!
Night 1: June 11, 2008
Our first victim was the brave Casey Coulombe, who came in armed with nothing but a humble jaw harp and a pretty good sense of hobo style. He twanged and sang along to “KC Moan” by the Memphis Jug Band like nobody’s business.
Next up was Boaz Frankel, who not only plays the kazoo with vigor and style, but runs Seattle’s only Kazoo Museum! He got many bonus points for his 3-piece suit and the museum, and his kazooing over “Casey Bill” by the Louisville Jug Band was pretty great too.
Our first female auditioner came in the form of Aveline, of local jug rockers The Beaver Deceivers. She kazooed and sang her way through “Newport Blues” by the Cincinnati Jug Band and “Vo Do De O Do” by ... and the Leasebreakers, which she brought in herself.
Aveline was followed by David Clay on the harmonica, who had a dizzying array of weapons to choose from. He blew a mean harp over “Bucket’s Got a Hole in It” by Washboard Sam, but lost some points with Greg for his Mardi Gras beads.
To close out our first round, we had a last-minute addition in the form of Geoff Smith, who had tagged along with David in case there was room for one more. We had had a last-minute cancellation, so this worked out perfectly. Geoff blew his jug over “Minglewood Blues” by Cannon’s Jug Stompers.
Night 2: June 18, 2008
We dove right into it last night, starting up on a very high note with the intimidating jug stylings of Cameron Preston (aka Cambajamba), also of the Beaver Deceivers, playing over “Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” Cameron not only had the chops, but he had a very pronounced sense of old-time style. Things were really getting interesting here...
Next up was the sasquatch Dan Mahon, who was the epitome of the Big Friendly Giant, who banjoed along to “Mobile Line” by Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band (incorporating some very nice train effects on the banjo). What he might have lacked in formal musical skills he more than made up for in charm and energy.
Finally, the washtub bass! Being the only washtub bass player in the bunch, I have to admit it would have been hard for John Brown not to make it into the band, but he rocked his fine, custom-made instrument on “Stealin’ Stealin’” by the Memphis Jug Band with some serious skills -- and he sure looked the part, too.
We closed out our final round of auditions with back to back washboards (now that I think about it, we probably should have had them swap bars on a song in “dueling washboards” fashion -- ah well!). First was Aimee Zoe Tubbs, who plays in various outfits around town, including the busking duo MoZo. Aimee wasn’t much for the old-time style, but her homemade, tricked out washboard was a sight to behold, and her skills on it as she played along to “Cocaine Habit Blues” by the Memphis Jug Band were undeniable.
The final contestant in this race to form Seattle’s Best Jug Band was Mr. Jeff Heller, yet another member of the Beaver Deceivers. Jeff stuck strictly to the unmodified, old-time washboard, and he had three of them for different effects: glass, zinc and copper. For “Jug Band Music,” by Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band, he stuck to the glass board, showing it who’s boss with his spoons.
So there you have it. Now who will make up the Dexter Street Stompers??? Write firstname.lastname@example.org to cast your vote, tune in to Greg’s show next Wednesday to find out, and be sure to check us out when we play live on the Roadhouse later this summer!