Spice up the new year with Cajun jams
EDWARDS – Senior editor for Rolling Stone magazine David Frickes describes Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes as “Louisiana stroll spiced with klezmer-style violin and funeral parade horns. … What you’d get if Phish had been born at Tipitina’s and studied under George Clinton and Frank Zappa late every night on the levee.”
If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does. The band plays at The Rumpus Room in Edwards on Thursday. The legend of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes is a swampy tale of friends, funk and fortitude. It is the coagulation of classically trained musicians breaking the confines of the genre in a most likely musical haven – New Orleans. The Sketch has been known to boldly impress its audiences with more than music, which sometimes involves the removal of clothes, bizarre costumes and the coercion of certain audience members to partake in odd antics.
Johnny Sketch is a collection of carefully crafted alter egos, mystical musicians hesitant to share their personal selves but collectively ready to funk beyond the call of duty. Johnny Sketch is a collective, an ensemble, a six-person phone booth in which mild-mannered classical guy Clark Kent goes in and Johnny The Wild Superman comes out. And come to think of it, that also involves costumes and the dumping of garments. It was the 2005 Katrina baptism that solidified the wild alter egos in Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes into a seriously cohesive unit of musicians. Sketch redefined the word “dedicated” when the mega hurricane caught the group mid-tour in Colorado during the fateful August of 2005.
Johnny Sketch could not get back to New Orleans and continued the tour unswervingly, serving up New Orleans funk stew to anyone who would listen. Finally arriving home, Johnny Sketch was met with an onslaught of simple survival and one huge objective: to not only manage each day with limited resources but to keep the band together, rehearsed and on the road. “We had a few goals after Katrina,” Johnny Sketch said. “Let’s start working on new material. Let’s keep this band together. We intend to make this a career. There’s nothing bigger or more fun or more gratifying than all of us playing music all together.”
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