In autumn of 1987 I moved from Eau Claire up to my family's cottage on Shell Lake about 100 miles further north. I was spending winters in Colorado and summers in Wisconsin until I bought a log cabin near Hayward two years later in autumn 1989. During this period I connected with the members of a local band, Molly and the Heymakers, and I started playing with the guitarist, Andy Dee, and the drummer, Joe Lindzius, whenever our schedules would allow. Andy is a slide guitar enthusiast greatly influenced by Duane Allman, Ry Cooder, and the early lap steel players like Leon Macauliffe, Speedy West, and Noel Boggs. He also has a unique wit and an ear for quirky music. I think he is responsible for turning me on to the Rutles. Joe is a Chicago native living in the northwoods and steeped in the blues. His nickname is "Solid Joe" and that describes his drumming but he is also a very talented singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. By gigging with Andy and Joe, I was able to play instruments, perform material, and express myself in ways I normally didn't do with my Fiddlehead Band. I would play lots of piano, some guitar, fiddle, sing together in three part harmony, and dip into a rootsy blues repertoire of original tunes and classic boogie woogie, country, and rock that didn't quite fit into the jazz violin world I had carved out. I named the group "The Subterraneans" after a 1953 Jack Kerouac novel.
We spent September 21-22, 1993 in the Heymakers' studio recording as many tunes as we could without much rehearsal or consideration of creating a final product. It was mostly to document the sound we had forged together just for fun. As I listened to the tapes from time to time I really enjoyed it and after quite a few years and some overdubs, Andy and I mixed it with Mike Von Muchow in LaCrosse as the Heymakers and their studio didn't exist anymore. In 2004 I released it for public consumption.
"Rock This House" - I learned the title track from an old cassette a friend made for me with no indication of who wrote it. I still have not been able to discover the author but we always open our shows with it and it pretty much sets the mood for who we are and what we expect to happen when we play.
"Do You Know" - just a simple blues tune I wrote with a swinging jazz groove. I sing and play lead electric guitar.
"Subterranean Blues" - I wrote our "theme song" on guitar then shred it to pieces with the lowest, dirtiest acoustic violin sound I can muster up.
"Rosalie" - this is an old song written by George Root in the late 1800s that I found in a book of piano music. It's a beautiful melody and shows our love for acoustic strings.
"Hard Drivin' Fiddle Playin' Man" - a fiddle tune I wrote while flatpicking on the guitar that pretty much lives up to the title. We go into outer space at the end - one of our favorite things to do!
"Play With My Body" - written in New Orleans piano style (Professor Longhair, Dr. John, etc.) A bawdy little number with the chorus "You can play with my body, but don't you be messing with my mind..."
"Dobro Stomp" - originally written on guitar, I turned Andy lose on the dobro and he stomped all over it.
"Jump, Jive, N' Then You Wail" - a Louis Prima classic - I love this groove and playing the piano and singing three part harmonies with Joe and Andy. Andy plays some outstanding slide riffs. "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail..."
"Let it Grow" - this song of mine has a set of lyrics referring to a certain botanical species. We stripped the verses off but left the chorus. You'll have to use your imagination. Otherwise, just think of it as a love song.
"Swamp Gas" - a funky guitar instrumental turned into a vehicle for a Subterranean jam.
"Take the Money and Run" - I wrote this after the great Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980's but it could apply to a myriad of scandals since. It's also the title of a great Woody Allen film.
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