the subdudes – music matters

the subdudes- for the Grateful Web

Over the course of 20 years and eight albums, the subdudes have quietly become one of America's national musical treasures.

The New Orleans-rooted group is a living synthesis of American music, a vibrant cauldron of sounds that stirs together meaty grooves and jazzy dynamics, soulful R & B swagger, easy vocal harmonies, cheeky rock 'n' roll attitude and folky social consciousness – not to mention exceedingly sharp musicianship and ensemble playing.  It's tight enough to be loose, but never sloppy.

Their distinctive sound is that of Steve Amedee's tambourine, which they used to replace the traditional kick drum. Their decision to forgo conventional rock drumming gave them a distinctive sound, but it might have cost them - because they remain one of the untold stories of rock.  Now the time has come for their story to be told, a little louder.

But in a quiet way – which is to say, Fall 2008 brings us the subdudes, subdued – an all-acoustic tour, their first, that will celebrate a number of different things.  It'll celebrate in advance the mid-October release from Biographica Films of their double DVD, Live at the Ram's Head (the regular electric 'dudes) and Unplugged at Pleasant Plains.

The tour will also celebrate their new relationship with Texas-based Music Road Records for their next CD, due in the spring.

In March 1987, John Magnie (vocals, keyboards, accordion) and Tommy Malone (vocals, guitars) started a new band…

Magnie had begun his musical career in the Denver area with a blues band, then came to New Orleans in the '70s, where he studied the work of the great NOLA pianomen James Booker and Professor Longhair.  Eventually he cofounded the legendary "Little Queenie and the Percolators," in its time one of NOLA's hottest bands.

In 1980, Tommy Malone joined LQ&tP.  A native Louisianan, he'd started at 14 in a cover band called Elroy (which included a drummer named Steve Amedee), then at 18 moved to New Orleans and began working with his two older brothers in Dustwoofie, a country-rock band.  Eventually he joined Little Queenie and the Percolators.  After the band lost steam, Tommy and John formed the Continental Drifters.  "I think we were trying to be edgy, and we just ended up being loud," said John.

One night, as an antidote to the volume and a general dissatisfaction with the direction of the Drifters, they decided to with a different set of rules.  On March 16, 1987, John, Tommy, their friend Johnny Allen from the Drifters and another pal, a veteran of the Bourbon Street club scene, Steve Amedee (vocals, percussion, mandolin) came together at Tipitina's.  Their rule for the night was, play only what you could carry into the club.  Listening to the tape, they knew something special had happened.  The four of them moved to Fort Collins to define themselves, and in the succeeding years signed a contract with Atlantic Records and developed an enthusiastic fan base in Colorado.  But luck was not on their side, and in 1996, they went their separate ways.

Magnie and Amedee joined forces with Tim Cook (vocals, bass, percussion) and worked the Colorado club circuit as the 3 Twins.  During the 3 Twins' era, Tommy Malone was working with the band Tiny Town, then releasing a solo album, Soul Heavy, and re-connecting with Jimmy Messa (vocals, bass, guitar), who'd worked on Bourbon Street and had also been a member of the Continental Drifters.

But the subdudes' peculiar magic could not be denied.  In 2001, the Three Twins and the Tommy Malone Band joined forces to become first the Dudes and then – just as it should be – the subdudes.  The revived subdudes released the splendid Miracle Mule and then followed it up with Behind the Levee – a highly appropriate title in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which included the radio hit "Papa Dukie and the Mud People."  Their most recent studio release was in 2007, Street Symphony.  In addition to the songs Tommy and John bring in, the band has developed an 'everybody in the room' collaborative writing style that has generated highly successful results.

Live at the Ram's Head/Unplugged at Pleasant Plains is a knock-your-socks-off double package of subdued-ian musical pleasure.  The Ram's Head shoot is mostly hand-held, capturing the intimacy of a small room.  You ARE there.  And Pleasant Plains, with more room, is a little more elegant.  Both ways, they capture the power of the music, and that's a wonderful thing.

They may be subdued – but they make a lot of noise.

Rex Foundation: Black Tie Dye Ball w/ DSO – 9/27/08

photos by Mike Moran- for the Grateful Web

Dark Star Orchestra will be playing a benefit show for the Rex Foundation.  The show is taking place on September 27th, in Hollywood, California.

Festivities include:

Reception, Food, Drinks, Goodie Bags, Silent Auction, GA Balcony Seating and Concert Tickets: $150 & $500 (All but $60 is tax deductible)

Upgrade for Reception, with prior purchase of concert ticket:  $120 & $470

To order Reception and Concert Tickets call 415-561-3135 or download the ticket order form

Special Hotel Package offered by the Best Western Hollywood Hills only $129 per night (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) for Rex Supporters. Reservations: 323-464-5181 Toll Free: 800-287-1700. Ask for "Rex Foundation special rate" when making reservations.

Concert Tickets only: $30.00 available online at or

The Rex Foundation presented the first Black Tie-Dye Ball in Chicago in March 2004. Since then, there have Black Tie-Dye Balls in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado. These festive occasions provide the opportunity to collaborate with gifted performers that care about the Rex Foundation and want to further what the Grateful Dead started 25 years ago. On September 27th, as at each Ball, enjoy a unique musical experience, while also celebrating each community's talent, enterprise and community spirit. Proceeds support local non-profit programs.

2008 marks the Rex Foundation's 25th Anniversary.   This Rex Musical Caravan's Black Tie Dye Ball is a great way to further a tradition of grassroots giving and demonstrate the power of community, service and the arts.

For more information, call 415-561-3134

Emory Joseph presents 'Fennario – Songs By Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter'

Jer- for the Grateful Web

NYC singer/songwriter Emory Joseph pays tribute to the songwriting team of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, the principal songwriters for the Grateful Dead, with his upcoming release, Fennario - Songs by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter (street date August 19 on Iris Records).  At the time of Garcia's passing, the Grateful Dead had been together for 30 years and were the highest-grossing touring act in the world. For Fennario, Joseph carefully selected and recorded material that had never been released on studio albums and re-interpreted some of the best-loved Garcia/Hunter material.

The wide range of music on Fennario draws from the same American palette that inspired Garcia and Hunter, from the sweet country of "It Must Have Been the Roses" to the Memphis rock and roll of "Tennessee Jed" to the Muscle Shoals soul of "Sugaree."

To produce the album, Joseph enlisted the core group of top-shelf multi-instrumentalists he'd used on his critically acclaimed debut album, Labor & Spirits: Tom "T-Bone" Wolk (Hall and Oates, The SNL Band), Duke Levine and Jon Carroll (Mary Chapin Carpenter), and vocalist Soozie Tyrell (The E-Street Band).  The album's other principles are Larry Campbell (who was coming off eight years touring with Bob Dylan and who now plays with the Dead's Phil Lesh), and drummer Dennis McDermott (Marc Cohn). Fennario's twelve tracks were recorded in five 'round-the-clock days at New York's legendary Legacy Recording Studios. There are two guest performances, bassist Lincoln Schleiffer (on "Mission in the Rain") and long-time Garcia associate, mandolinist David Grisman (on "Brown-Eyed Women").

"I produced Fennario to be something that Deadheads and non-Deadheads alike could love." says Joseph.  "I absolutely wanted it to be a respectful tribute to a beautiful working partnership, and something that could maybe help to explain to the world why so many kids spent so many years of their youth following these songs around the country and back. Fennario is a long overdue letter to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter for having written songs that have inspired, amazed, and informed me since I was twelve."

Track listing:

1.       Sugaree

2.       Ramble On Rose

3.       Tennessee Jed

4.       Black Peter

5.       Mission in The Rain

6.       It Must Have Been the Roses

7.       Loose Lucy

8.       New Speedway Boogie

9.       Brown-Eyed Women

10.      Loser

11.      Bird Song

12.      To Lay Me Down

Net of Being – Alex Grey Exhibit in NYC

Alex Grey - for the Grateful Web

I went to NYC on November 10, 2007 to see Phil Lesh and Friends at the Nokia Theater in Times Square – in and of itself quite an event.  I had taken a train from Philadelphia late, on a whim and with just my black zip up hoodie on my back.   When I got to the show, some friends of mine handed me a flyer for the Net of Being opening party.

"Alex Grey's painting, 'Net of Being,' has been introduced to millions of people by the rock band TOOL.  After years of labor this epic work is now on view along with numerous new artworks depicting Grey's mystic visions and an architectural model of the future Chapel of Sacred Mirrors."  In addition to that wall sized painting; nineteen other new works were on display.

At the entrance to 542 W. 27th in Chelsea, NYC – we were greeted by a line of people waiting to get in the building.  The bouncers looked at us, guided us around the ropes and told us to proceed to the 4th floor.  Evidently there is an unrelated club on the second floor of the building, but being let into a club around a velvet rope based on looks was still an amusing experience.

Once upstairs and we forked over our $20 we entered CosMosis, the dance floor area of the space, where Schism, a Tool cover band was just starting. I have been a sometimes fan of TOOL, having seen them in 1993 with Lollapalooza, as well as having seen Adam Jones guest with Melvins – however had not been following their work recently.  Schism sounded great and the space was decorated with Alex Grey wall sized prints, a video display and a generous littering of bean bag chairs.  Alex Grey was painting live and grooving along to the band.

We headed next past the gift shop – which was closed – down a hall filled with people – to the entrance of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors gallery.  COSM had unfortunately closed when the party portion of the evening – however there was a DJ in the darkened room in front of the entrance – which was fairly packed with people dancing.

Past this was the MicroCosm gallery which contained the Net of Being piece as well as other new pieces.  Unfortunately the gallery did not have the glasses that come with the tool album to view the pictures.

When we returned to the other room, I noticed John Barlow attended by several people – watching Alex paint – with a big smile on his face.

The whole experience seemed very familiar as I am fortunate to be able to regularly visit Fenario Gallery in Eugene, OR which boasts similar artists and friends – Martina Hoffman had exhibited in Eugene was purportedly about and at a benefit dinner for CoSM the previous evening.

At the same time I wish I was better prepared to identify celebrities in the middle of the night as I would have done a better job hob-knobbing – and maybe retrieved some interviews in the process.

Go see Tool on tour now – and buy their new album before you go – experience visionary art and music at the cutting edge of psychedelia.

Dark Star Orchestra – More Than Just a Cover Band

photo(s) by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

It was a happenin' day in Princeton as deadheads filled the quaint town just as they have in the past. Tie dies filled the streets, fathers brought their sons to tailgate in the lot, and fans were getting carried out of bars before the show for a trip down memory lane. The Grateful Dead only played one time in Princeton in 1971, which made Dark Star Orchestra's visit that much sweeter. But instead of playing in a gym, DSO chose the beautiful McCarter Theatre as its venue. The ushers at the theatre deserve recognition because they allowed fans to dance in the aisles and indulge in activities usually frowned upon in this venue.

As many people know, DSO covers actual shows note for note like the Grateful Dead played them originally. Tonight it was a show that occurred almost exactly 27 years before. It was May 10, 1980 in Hartford, CT that was being celebrated tonight. They opened big with "New New Minglewood Blues," which got the crowd on their feet early. A little known fact about this song is that it is constantly mislabeled. Many people as a shortcut call it "Minglewood Blues" or "New Minglewood Blues." The reason why this is incorrect is because those are totally different songs already. Both songs were written by Noah Lewis and performed by different jug bands in the 1920's and 1930's. The lyrics have no similarities between them. Speaking of similarities, the next song was haunting because of the likeness of lead singer John Kadlecik's voice to Jerry's. "Peggy-O" was sung with perfect tone and inflection. Then it was Rob Eaton's turn to belt out a hot "Mexicali Blues > El Paso" run.

Next was the first of the Saturday songs. Robert Hunter's lyrics of "Althea" read, "You may be Saturday's child all grown moving with a pinch of grace," blended perfectly with the older crowd enjoying the nostalgia. Smokin' guitar riffs and loud applause came with "Passenger," the song that was originally written as a joke by Phil Lesh. He said that it's a take on the Fleetwood Mac song "Station Man," just sped up with a few different chord changes. The crowd tonight was on their feet clapping along until the calm Brent Mydland song sung by the great Rob Barraco "Far From Me," where everyone sat down to listen. After, Rob Eaton said, "We can't express how grateful we are to play in such a beautiful environment." He was right, springtime in Princeton is gorgeous, and as it drizzled lightly outside, DSO played "Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance" inside. The crowd got a little sleepy until Kadlecik's guitar solo in the set closer "Deal" breathed life back into the theatre, and the crowd was up and clapping in unison.

dsoThe second set opened with one of my favorite song runs "China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider." The rest of the show was pretty much played one song into another until close to the end. "Feel Like a Stranger" kept the crowd going strong.  "Comes a time when the blind man takes your hand says: don't you see?" The lyrics of "Comes a Time" are some of the most inspiring words ever written. This rendition gave it the justice it deserves. "Estimated Prophet" was performed with the same zeal and energy that the subject of the song would preach it with. Weir and Barlow wrote it about the crazy and high type of fan with an important message they felt had to be delivered to everyone. We've all seen them in the crowd.

"He's Gone" and "Uncle John's Band" gallantly took us into "Drums." Then, the fan friendly "Not Fade Away" had the crowd participating as usual. Finally, the best song of the night "Sugar Magnolia" closed the second set. DSO did a great job in the second set convincing the crowd that they were in 1980. I love to watch people's faces at DSO shows because one can always tell who has never seen them before. They all react with amazement and wonderment at the beauty of how well they play the part of the Grateful Dead.

The encores were "Alabama Getaway" and "One More Saturday Night" from the original show, which were performed very well. But, DSO had one surprise for the grateful crowd. They added the traditional classic "Don't Ease Me In" as a filler.

Overall, this show was a lot of fun, and I hope that DSO comes back to this venue because I think that it lends itself very well to their shows. The theatre as well as the sound was full and vibrant. Check out the band with their heavy tour schedule this summer and fall. It will truly be a fun adventure.


Beauprez is not good for Colorado- for the Grateful Web

Congressman Beauprez has renewed his membership to the notorious "Dirty Dozen" group of enemies of the environment, the first time a gubernatorial candidate has earned a spot on the annual list.

As reported in various media outlets today, the non-partisan League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday announced that the Congressman's abysmal voting record on environmental issues led to once again naming him a member of Congress's "Dirty Dozen."

The League said the Congressman has issued pro-environment votes just 5 percent of the time during his tenure in Congress. They say the Congressman has voted to:

1) Exempt some oil and gas activities from water-protection laws.

2) Reduce royalty revenues going to Colorado communities to manage energy development impacts.

3) Subsidize oil companies at a time of record-breaking profits.

4) Oppose energy conservation measures such as increasing miles-per-gallon standards of new cars.

The Congressman's wildlife relocation plan also continues to be ridiculed as further evidence of his anti-environment ideology. "Asking elk to change migration patterns is not a sound idea, and certainly points to Bob Beauprez's willingness to bend the laws of nature in an effort to further serve special interests," outfitter Jeff Mead said at yesterday's news conference, according to the Glenwood Post-Independent.

The Congressman first made the "Dirty Dozen" list in 2004 . The League of Conservation Voters also has named Beauprez to "Tom's Tainted Team" for his support of now-resigned Republican leader Tom DeLay's anti-environmental agenda and for accepting money from DeLay.

Pink Floyd Trivia – Round Two

Pink Floyd- for the Grateful Web

Pink Floyd Trivia – Round Two

Welcome to round two of Grateful Web's Pink Floyd trivia!

I'm going to keep with the three-answer format from the first game because no one emailed me and told me that the three-answer format sucked. So here it is again.

Same rules as before: three answers per question; if you think my information is inaccurate, just let me know; I have no problem correcting my errors (I'm not claiming to be an expert by any means; this is just for fun); all comments and criticisms are welcome and seriously considered. The first person to answer all questions correctly wins a Grateful Web t-shirt.

Post your answers in the comment section below. The author will send you the correct answers after you post your own. If you would like to debate the validity of these trivia questions and/or their answers, please send an email to:

  1. What is the name of the building on the cover of Pink Floyd Animals? What prop broke free and disrupted London airspace during a photo-shoot for the album's cover art? Name the allegorical novel from which some of this album's themes are partially borrowed.
  2. Syd Barrett created the name Pink Floyd (originally The Pink Floyd Sound) by combining the first names of what two blues musicians? What is Syd Barrett's real first name?
  3. Which Pink Floyd album makes up the bulk of Syd Barrett's contribution to the Pink Floyd canon? In what year was Syd formally kicked-out of Pink Floyd? Who eventually replaced Syd Barrett in the capacity of lead vocalist and guitarist?
  4. Name the three Pink Floyd albums that were compilations of singles from various other albums before the release of the box set Shine On and the greatest hits album Echoes.
  5. Name David Gilmour's three solo albums.
  6. Who played the role of Pink in the movie Pink Floyd: The Wall? Name the British cartoonist responsible for the animation in this movie. Who directed this movie?
  7. During the recording of which album did Syd Barrett make a surprise visit to the recording studio? Name the recording studio where this visit took place.  Name the multi-part song from this album that is admittedly about Syd Barrett.
  8. On the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason, whose voice can be heard contacting control tower in the song "Learning to Fly?" In the song "Yet Another Movie," you can hear clips from what movie in the background? On which river were the rowing sound effects for "Signs of Life" recorded?
  9. Pink Floyd were such fans of a well-known British comedy troupe that they used some of their initial profits from Dark Side of the Moon to help fund what movie? Name the famous author who gave the title to the album Pink Floyd The Division Bell and who also occasionally worked with Pink Floyd's favorite comedy troupe? What song did David Gilmour perform at this author's funeral?
  10. What famous classic rock musician was the main engineer for Dark Side of the Moon? Who was Pink Floyd's manager during this time and during most of their career? Name the female vocalist for the song "The Great Gig in the Sky."

Click here to play the first edition of Pink Floyd trivia.