Vail Valley music: Welcome to the Circus
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -If there’s one person who musician Joziah Longo feels bad for, it’s the guy in charge of the marquee at some of the theaters visited by his band, which plays in Colorado’s Vail Valley Saturday. And it’s true, Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams is a bit of a long winded name. Even Longo admits that. “We’ve thought about shortening it, but we picked that big, long name so it’d be fun, very tongue-in-cheek for people. Plus it prevents us from being too serious about ourselves, which is very helpful,” Longo said during a phone interview from New York. “And really, we get a lot of great press all over the world with it. Writers really like it. But it is a pain in the ass.”The band is returning to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Saturday night. They’ll kick of the Vilar’s fall singer/songwriter series. “When Gandalf Murphy performed last time at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, the show was so great and so well received we knew we wanted to have them back so more people could have the Slambovian experience,” said Kris Sabel, the Vilar’s executive director. “They tour a great deal on the East Coast but don’t make it out west that often. So as soon as we became aware that they were touring out west, we jumped at the opportunity to bring them back.”‘Extraterrestrial Hillbilly Pirate Ball’Really, Longo is generally long winded when it comes to naming things. Take the Slambovian’s (yes, we’re going to shorten the band name for the purpose of this article) upcoming Halloween bash at The Gramercy Theater in New York City. It’s called The Grand Slambovian Extraterrestrial Hillbilly Pirate Ball. The band has been putting on the show for fours years now, but this is the first time it will take place in New York City and it’s the first time promoter Live Nation has asked them to do so. This is a big deal and here’s why.In the early ’90s, the Slambovians – which includes Longo’s wife, Tink, on the accordian, cello, flute and theremin, Sharkey McEwen on guitars and mandolin, Tony Zuzulo on drums and the Longo’s sons, Chen on bass and Orien on keyboards and drums – were known as The Ancestors. Record labels were pursuing the band, trying to get them to sign a contract, Longo said. “But the whole music industry was in such a neurotic, selfish state we didn’t want any part of it,” Longo said. “We just thought, let’s stay away from this, it’s a dinosaur about to fall over dead.”The Ancestors changed their name to the current moniker, effectively exiling themselves from New York City for years, Longo said. “This Halloween party is an experiment for us to go back into New York City,” he said. Universal heartWhile the Slambovian’s often times have fun describing the band’s music -Longo has called it “punk-classical-hillbilly-Floyd” – Longo said their music is easily accessible. “People shouldn’t be thrown off by the name and some of the descriptions of us. There’s a lot of wackiness around the periphery but we try to convey a universal heart.”There’s an adventurous spirit about the Colorado people who take a chance on us, and they get us,” Longo said. “There’s a real earthiness to the band, even though its cerebral in a way. I think Colorado people are like that too, even though that’s a generalization. But we vibe together really well.”High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or email@example.com.