Friday, June 29, 2012

Maynard and the Musties - Cheap Cigar

The lazy Susan of Musties includes Joe Maynard guitar, vocals; Naa Koshie Mills, fiddle; Jacques-Maurice Botton, lead guitar, vocals; Dikko Faust, trombone; Alan Young, bass; John McQueenie, Chet Hartin drums; Pierre Scoffoni, drums; David Gould, drums. The album, 'So Many Funerals' had Jim Thomas on Drums; Dennis Shealy, bass; Ryan Adams, lap-steel & piano on Elvis Museum

Maynard and the Musties is a Country-Folk-Rock-Americana Brooklyn band by way of Nashville:
Maynard moved to New York City from Nashville in 1981 to attend art school. He quickly adjusted into the freaky surroundings of the then dilapidated and vibrant New York art scene, and was a painter for well over a decade. Gradually his art became full of words and he found himself simply writing fiction and publishing a couple of xeroxed "zines." He then found himself working at Christies Auction House, and finally in the book department of that glitzy establishment, where he no longer had time to finish his increasingly lengthy fiction pieces. He had always played guitar, if poorly, and songs were generally quicker to write. The guitar was also a comfort zone, reminding him, in a fuzzy, romanticized way, of his childhood in Nashville.

Cheap Cigar released February 2012

The Musties are a nexus of friends, largely in the book or publishing or printing trade... and one used to be a librarian. Most are also southern transplants (one being from the south of France). Naa Koshie Mills, ex-librarian, New Orleans ex-pat, walked into Maynard's book shop that he once had in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. They instantly hit it off, and have been friends and musical collaborators for about 8 years, once calling themselves The Millerite-Redeemers. Maynard and Mo Jepson have known each other since the 1990s. Maynard watched Mo's progressive musical ventures, No No Bun Bun, singing solo at open mics, and later the band Mr. MacGregor. At one point Mo asked Maynard if he wanted to come to a Mr. MacGregor rehearsal and play songs with them. Together with Naa Koshie, and the late, great Drew Glackin, Maynard and the Musties were born.

Soon after, Maynard sought out his own band, as the MacGregor fellers were increasingly unavailable due to marriages, babies and such. Then, he found Dikko Faust, a letter-press printer he had known for years, had indulged himself as a middle-age crisis gift to himself, trombone lessons. Formerly a percussionist, one will notice in Cheap Cigar noises emanating from the trombone section, that one would normally not expect (Miles of Broadway, Marfa, 17 Broken Candles). From playing gigs with Jeph Duarte and the Newton Gang, Joe added the Newton Gang's Chet Hartin at bass, and later brother Gordon Hartin on steel. He also added longtime friend John McQueenie as part time drummer, stealing him away from his Jazz project, Combat Jazz, where McQueenie plays saxophone. They also added Pierre Scoffoni on drums, who came to New York from Aix-en-Provance for grad school at NYU.

Maynard had briefly met Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, as he is co-owner of The Lakeside Lounge where they often play, but had also long admired Roscoe's work with the obvious big acts such as Joan Jett and Steve Earle, but foremost was a fan of his production work with The Blood Oranges and Chip Robinson, who was a a close buddy of Maynard's late roommate Drew Glackin. (Roscoe and Chip did a very eloquent and memorable dobro and guitar duet at Drew's memorial). After hearing Chip's record Mylow, Maynard was certain that he wanted to work with Roscoe. Maynard emailed Ambel, and Ambel scheduled a lunch meeting at Cowboy Technical, where they listened to Tom Waits and talked about music, gear and studio logistics. As coincidence would have it, Ambel moved into Maynard's neighborhood about 3 blocks away, and lunch meetings are now a fairly regular thing. Maynard thinks of Ambel as both a coach, friend, and pretty much a member of the  Musties. Ambel's influence has been huge, including suggestions at rehearsals, suggesting gear and whatnot, and describing the band as such: "You've got your rhythm section, consisting of Joe, drums and bass, and your weirdos: Naa Koshie, Mo and Dikko." Also a big mentor over the years has been Mike Randall, a writer and film maker who Maynard knows from his 'zine days. Randall, a bonafide music school graduate, has an encyclopedic knowledge of country music and country guitar riffs.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! I recently highlighted their new album'West' on a guest post on common folk music's beer/music pairing series. With The Grain: Maynard and the Musties & Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada, Rhizing Bines


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