The hardest-working band |

The hardest-working band

Dominique Taylor/Vail Daily

When I ask Dave Perron, singer and guitarist for The Laughing Bones, for a press photograph, he said that he doesn’t have one, and downplays his band’s organizational skills.”We’re so half-assed,” he said.Humility aside, The Laughing Bones particular brand of super-tight bluegrass-country-rock and hectic live schedule would seem to indicate otherwise. The Bones are booked solid through the summer – an impressive feat, especially considering that Perron and the band hold down full-time jobs in addition to rocking decks and stages across the valley.”I think we’re so dedicated because we love doing it – it’s better than working, and it’s just fun to be out there in front of people,” Perron said. “We don’t aggressively try and book a lot of shows; the venues call us a lot of the time. The valley’s gotten so big you can play Vail, Avon and Edwards for the weekend crowd.”

Everyone knows bluegrass is big here, but The Laughing Bones have forged a unique image by spiking theirs with liberal amounts of country, rock, Americana and jam-band rock. Even unexpected influences like The Dead Milkmen pop up – most fans would be surprised to learn of metal figurehead Glenn Danzig’s appearance in The Laughing Bones’ playlist.”That’s funny – we did ‘Mother’ by Glen Danzig when we played with Drew Emmitt,” Perron said. “I just grew up listening to that stuff. It doesn’t really influence us directly, but it’s more that (Danzig) shares something with the outlaw-country attitude. My dad was in a Johnny Cash cover band, so I grew up with that.”Perron, who is joined by Bob Masters on lead guitar, Patrick Padgett on banjo, Pete Danforth on Bass and Brian Bontager on drums, has played with bands and solo for years in the valley. He formed The Laughing Bones (named after an old blues song about rolling dice) in 2002. Incorporating different styles into the bluegrass fabric is a conscious decision by the band, and Perron acknowledged that shifting styles helps keep songs fresh and interesting.This band has roots

“A lot of my music is whiskey-drinking country, but Patrick is from Alabama and has a really strong bluegrass background,” he said. “When we do acoustic shows, it’s straight-up bluegrass and country, but when we plug in and go electric it turns into Americana-folk rock. Some of our favorite shows are quiet shows at the Full Belly, but ultimately I like being loud and rockish.”The Laughing Bones often play venues where some might dismiss them as mere background music, but they have a few tricks up their sleeve that always perk up ears and get the crowd dancing.”Whenever we do any Johnny Cash, that turns heads,” Perron said. “A lot of the faster bluegrass, where Bob and Patrick play off each other gets attention. Between the faster Bela-Fleck-like stuff and the old-school country, we attract a pretty wide audience.”The Laughing Bones have written 8-10 original songs, and they want to record, but finding time between jobs and playing shows can be difficult. Perron is a local wine rep, while other members work for companies as varied as country clubs and jeep tours.

The Laughing Bones never write specific songs about their hometown, but local life can’t help but creep into their music. “I just wrote a song called ‘Truck Stop Love,'” Perron said. “It has the line, ‘he knew right away by the smile on her face she’d been drinking.’ The song has nothing to do with Colorado, but it was inspired by this girl I saw.”Between work obligations and the busy demands of fronting The Laughing Bones, will Perron ever see this mysterious woman again?”I’m hoping to see her Thursday night at Red Sky,” he said.Arts & Entertainment Writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or

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