Welcome to the first installment of Brave Combo’s virtual newsletter. We will update this every month to keep you informed about Brave Combo shows, tours, recording projects and other newsworthy items.
Besides current events, we will also have other features, such as interesting moments in Brave Combo history, suggested listening from the members of Brave Combo and chances for you to give us feedback on certain issues. Before we jump ahead of ourselves, we’ll review what Brave Combo did in 1997. Then, fill you in on what’s happening in early 1998.
1997 was a busy year for Brave Combo. We released a new album in March, Group Dance Epidemic, on Rounder Records and hit the road, covering much of the country by Labor day. Highlights included the Napa Wine Auction, the Live Oak Music Fest in southern California, the Bottom Line in New York City and a concert in Washington, D.C. for the National Geographic Society. September and October found us playing many polka festivals that take place around Texas and Oklahoma during Oktoberfest season. Polka is a great-looking word, huh?
Between tours, we found time to knock out some recording projects as well. The result of these sessions can soon be heard in such diverse places as international ice skating competitions, an animated kids show and on a new live album. The skaters music will be in the form of three Elvis songs that the band arranged and recorded for U.S. Olympic ice dancers, Elizabeth Punsalon and Jerod Swallow. Brave Combo’s introduction to the world of high-action animation will come with the premier of the television show, Cyboars, for which we wrote and recorded the theme song. Finally, next March will see the release of a live polka album captured in Denton and Dallas. It includes “Don’t Get Married,” and our tuba and spoon charged,”Do Something Different.” Until then, look for us all over Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Midwest. See details on New Orleans and Florida in “Hot Dates.”
Interesting Moments in Brave Combo History
In 1993, a Tokyo-based record company flew us to Paris, France to perform at the grand opening of a Japanese night club called Shiro. It was located right off the Plac de Bastille which is basically a monument surrounded by a traffic circle. On Bastille Day (July 14) they close off the traffic and celebrate the storming of the infamous prison.
Well, not coincidentally, our performance was on Bastille Day, cause it’s a big deal day. We finished our only set in about 20 minutes (we were in France almost a week for this precious 20 minutes, playing for about 100 Japanese businessmen) and that was bizarre enough, but after the show we decided to mosey over to the battle-zone around the monument. On the way we saw Jeff, hightailing it back to the nightclub imploring,”Don’t do it!” Of course, this intrigued us even more. Jeff’s the toughest guy in the band. We smelled the gun powder first, then we saw almost nothing but smoke. People were going nuts. We would call it a riot in the USA. There had been a band playing happy dance music, but they had to stop because they were getting pelted with cherry bombs. I saw bottle rockets lodge in people’s glasses, one landed in the lap of a guy in a wheelchair. Some hair was on fire, there was plenty of screaming, but no police anywhere. I tried to dodge in and out for a minute (some stupid rite of passage I guess), then I bailed. A few fights broke out, but generally, everyone seemed to accept this as an important ritual. We headed back to the club just in time to find out that the sacred sake barrel had been accidently knocked over and busted by a Frenchman. The whole thing, although very interesting, seemed like a non-event to me. But we heard later that our Japanese sponsors thought all went according to plan.
We learned that, generally, Japanese people think differently than French people. But, that’s okay. Variety makes life worth living. Viva la Difference.
In the next issue of The Machine’s Pump we’ll tell you about an exciting contest for current subscribers. The lucky winner will spend some quality time with Brave Combo, including attending a rehearsal, performing at a recording session and possibly spending the night in the Scottie Room at Jeff’s house (if Gina approves).
January 30 – Main St. Mardi Gras Benefit
Location – Denton Visual Arts Center, Phone number – (940)349-8529
Proceeds benefit Denton Main St.
February 4 – House of Blues
Location – New Orleans, LA, Phone number – (504)529-2583
Also appearing: Rebirth Brass Band – One of New Orleans premier traditional brass bands.
February 5 – The Covered Dish
Location – Gainesville, FL, Phone number – (352)377-3334
Also appearing: The Derailers – Neo Texas swing band creating a buzz on the national roots-rock scene.
February 6 – Skipper’s Smokehouse
Location – Tampa, FL, Phone number – (813)971-0666
Also appearing: Col. Bruce Hampton and the Figi Mariners – Bruce is truly one of our special heros. His music and perspective is truly undefinable and unique.
February 7 – The Sapphire Supper Club
Location – Orlando, FL, Phone number – (407)-246-1419
Also appearing: Joe Oberitis – A highly-revered Polish-style accordionist and a major influence on Brave Combo. He will actually be performing some of his compisitions with us.
“Kind of Blue” – Miles Davis
“Hermanos Hasta El Fin” – La Tropa F
“Possessed” – Klezmatics
“Rumba Caliente” – Los Munequitos De Matanzas 88/77
“Same Train, Another Name” – Merle Haggard
“Freshman Favorites” – The Four Freshman
Average time to wake up
Danny, Joe and Jeff wake up around 9:30 am. Bubba wakes up around 10:00 am. Carl wakes up around 10:30 am, and Alan wakes up around noon.
It’s not a year, it’s 365 days, etc., etc.,etc. When we measure time, we compare. When we compare, our expectations grow. We’re inclined to control, and run the risk of war. Happy New Year!