Straight out of the local bar band circuit, Butter includes both Bloomberg BNA’s Dean Scott on guitar and Rachel Boehm on vocals, spinning mostly original rock and roll and blues, some swing, and a smidgen of funk, which can be heard on their 15-song CD Churn Churn Churn. From Baltimore’s 8X10 and Whitlows in Clarendon to the Zoo Bar in Woodley Pk., Butter’s guitar and vocal driven sound draws from Son Volt’s alternative country sound, offers a handshake to Neil Young, and gives a very much approving nod to the Lemonheads. Click here to listen to the sounds of Butter.
CHEAPER THAN THERAPY
Cheaper Than Therapy is more than a band name, it’s a way of life. Bob Ourlian of the Wall Street Journal and Doug Harris of Slate join David Boris, Karen Hopfl Harris, Amar Inamdar, Camille Martone, Pippa Trench, and Marla Viorst, a group of assorted DC archetypes — policy wonks, lawyers, economists, and educators. Coming together from backgrounds in blues, Broadway, classical, rock, funk and jazz, they now play upbeat rock that gets people moving and having a good time. Cheaper than Therapy grew out of a weekend basement jam session, becoming a band that plays all over DC. “We could have formed a book club or trained for a marathon together to relieve the stress of the week, but we think banging around to Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox and the Pretenders is a whole lot cheaper than therapy!” Find out more by friending us on Facebook.
Perhaps you’ve read about Dirty Bomb on one of those free newspapers you get on the Metro. Perhaps you’ve read about Dirty Bomb in one of those free magazines you get at the hair salon. Perhaps you’ve heard Dirty Bomb for free on an international radio network, or saw them for free on a local public-access television channel (Dirty Bomb actually hopes you were sleeping in that particular morning).
Perhaps, you cheap bastard, it’s time you coughed up some cash to buy a copy of “King of the Hill,” Dirty Bomb’s rock opera about a lobbyist who flew too close to the sun. You can find it on iTunes, CDBaby, and other digital retailers, or pick up a copy at Journopalooza.
Who is to blame for this? That sweaty frontman is Andy Sullivan, a Reuters political correspondent. Those other singers are Ali Macadam, a senior editor for National Public Radio, and Ali Weinberg, an associate White House producer for NBC. Is that Reuters White House correspondent Mark Felsenthal on guitar? You bet your sweet ass it is. Drummer Matt Tebo and bassist Joe Loftus are the actual musicians in the band. They work outside of the journalism-industrial complex.
Nobody’s Business is a seven-piece band that comes at you hard with a mix of funky blues, R&B, rock-and-roll, and even a little country–not to mention a growing catalog of originals, including the stirring protest anthem “Righteous Ones“ and the baffling reptile anthem “Lizard Shoes.” The band performs around Washington, D.C. at nightclubs, private events, and benefits. For a price, they’ve also been known to play corporate events, barn raisings, and parole hearings.
You’ll hear Jonathan Landay, the award-winning McClatchy correspondent who everyone should have been listening to during the run-up to the war on Iraq. Landay, a national security reporter who took a club to the administration’s case for Iraqi WMD, wields an axe onstage. A former foreign correspondent for UPI and the Christian Science Monitor, Jonathan has traveled the world with the hardtail Fender Stratocaster that his father—also a newsman—gave to him on his 21st birthday. Not for nothing has Nobel Prize winner and former veep Al Gore identified his blistering riffs as a possible cause of global warming.
Gordon Witkin, a watchdog with the investigative journalists at the Center for Public Integrity, blows a wicked alto sax and sings backups. Witkin, who has also worked to keep politicians accountable as a journalist at Congressional Quarterly and U.S. News & World Report, fell in love with the Devil’s horn after listening to R&B sax legend King Curtis. Gordon has played with Blues You Can Use, an eclectic crew of journos and others that rocked Champion’s in Georgetown. He’s also been a frequent guest with the Jill Watkins Band in Denver.
Washington Post staff writer Fredrick Kunkle, who has written about guns, goats, inbred marriages, and Santa Claus–and still manages to get paid–plays drums. Freddy studied percussion with Jake the Jailbird at the Indiana Pennsylvania Pool Hall & Conservatory and later appeared in such bands as Grapefruit Tumor, Uncle Malarkey, Shame of the Primates, and Flinko. Quentin Tarantino is said to have thought about making a new movie based on his 1973 near-hit song, “If the Shoe Fits, You Must Have A Fetish.” He has actually met Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tom Toles.
Paul Ashin, who channels the spirit of the many rollicking blues greats from his hometown Chicago, knocks the stuffing out of the keyboard. Paul also knows how to make the harmonica wail, talk and bargain for ransom. He has been playing with DC-based blues bands for over 10 years, appearing with Eyewitness Blues and The Blues Hounds. When not playing barrelhouse blues piano and singing, Paul, a former Russian scholar, spends his spare time kicking the tires on the anti-money-laundering machine at the International Monetary Fund.
Joe “The Shadow“ Hodges, a scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, concocts his own brand of cool-handed logorhythms on rhythm guitar. One Nobody’s Business fan has described Joe’s style as “minimalist”–whatever that means. A picker of old-timey traditional string music, Joe is also the band’s resident technical wizard. He sings too.
Ray Thibodeaux is formerly a member of Nashville Freight & The Mighty Freightliners, a country band in New Delhi. Arguably the best country-bluegrass band in all of New Delhi. When he’s not playing bass, he sometimes hangs out at Fish in the Hood or Judy’s with tacos and an ice-cold Corona.
Melissa Bronez’s lead-singing career peaked early — in high school — as a founding member of Frizzie Lizzie and the Humans, whose set list included dubious classics, such as Cat Scratch Fever and Too Hot To Handle. The Humans’ only gig was an ill-advised guest appearance at an underage backyard drinking party that was marred by the inquiry of a gang of girls who approached Melissa mid-set to ask when the show would be over. Many years and therapy sessions later, after returning to the D.C. area, she rekindled her interest in singing inspired by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Patti Griffin, and Shawn Colvin. While her published pieces have been limited to federal government memos, Christmas card letters and the PTA newsletter, her byline did once appear above the fold with a 1987 personal ad selected as “Ad of the Week” in Norfolk, Virginia’s City Paper. She also performs with local groups, the Backyard Blues Band and the Garrett Park Musicians Club.
The Stepping Stones started life in 2009 with a single aim in mind: to be Washington’s best Monkees cover band. Improbably, soon after it was founded, another, better Monkees cover band came along, forcing the Stepping Stones to expand its repertoire. Today the Stepping Stones embrace music that is – to borrow the title of an Errol Morris documentary – fast, cheap and out of control.
Meet the band:
John Kelly (drums, vocals) has been at the Washington Post since 1989 and has penned the five-day-a-week “John Kelly’s Washington” column since 2004. In the early ‘80s John played drums with local power poppers the Item, once sharing the bill at dc space with Minor Threat. More recently he was one third of the Spectacles, whose farewell gig was at the Black Cat in 2012. John is a Sagittarius and his favorite food is steamed mussels.
Dan deVise (keyboards, guitar, vocals), another Postie and aspirant author, has played solo and in various duos and cover bands since the ’80s. His former band mates include humorist Dave Barry and “Marley and Me” author John Grogan. His favorite musical memories include being called “chickens–t” onstage by Marty Balin and having a bass thrown at him by Minuteman Mike Watt. Dan’s favorite inert gas is argon.
To cope with the on-the-edge life of a college professor and economic researcher, Tim Brennan (guitar) strives for “serenity, now” by playing in a vocal-guitar jazz/pop duo with Dayle McCarthy (often at Hershey’s), as well as the Stepping Stones and, thankfully pre-YouTube, bassist with John Kelly in the Item. Tim’s waiting for the Stepping Stones to cover Southside Johnny, but has been told not to hold his breath. Tim loves calamari.
Chuck Dolan (bass, vocals) has played around D.C. over the last 20 years with acts such as Mike Shupp, Billy Coulter, the Howling MAD and the Spectacles. Chuck writes software during the day, enjoys long walks indoors and is allergic to cats so he only has three cats.
Long-rumored in existence but kept tightly shrouded in the secrecy of Tom Toles’ basement, Suspicious Package finally exploded onto the Washington, DC music scene in May 2008 with their sell-out premiere performance at the Red and the Black in DC’s Atlas District. They’ve since performed at the Rock and Roll Hotel, the National Press Club, the Hard Rock Café, the embassies of Finland, Italy, Denmark, and Germany, Andrews Air Force Base, Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium, the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York City harbor, and other venues. The band plays frequently for charity benefits. In August 2010 they performed for over a thousand people at Arena Beniamino Gigli in Porto Recanati, Italy, and appeared on national television. Suspicious Package has been mentioned in SPIN magazine and Rolling Stone (Italian edition) magazine. In 2011 they won the National Press Club’s Journopalooza charity battle of the media bands for the title of DC’s best media band. In 2013, Suspicious Package will play events for the National Press Foundation and the Washington Press Club Foundation, and there are rumors of bar gigs in California and NYC.
Suspicious Package plays a mix of rock, blues, punk, pop, alternative, zydeco and originals. Pulitzer prize-winning Washington Post political cartoonist Tom Toles drives the rhythm of Suspicious Package on drums and vocals, former TIME and Bloomberg correspondent Tim Burger plays bass, with Medill National Security Journalism Initiative Director Josh Meyer on lead guitar and vocals. Senior US government officials Bryan Greene and Christina Sevilla also sing and play rhythm guitar and keyboards, respectively. Suspiciously, none of the members had ever played in a rock band prior to their 2008 debut. Join Suspicious Package on Facebook or follow on twitter @SusPackageE