There is a common misconception about touring musicians that is as often held by themselves as by those they surround themselves with. Contrary to popular belief, they do not always have Superhuman abilities to drink their hoops off without getting dog rough hungover. To illustrate that point, I’d like to draw your attention to the first time Hypnotic Brass Ensemble played Dublin.
Twas a few years back. The great folk in Choice Cuts brought 8 brothers from Chicago who all played different brass instruments to The Sugar Club – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s virgin Irish show. They flew in from the states on a Friday afternoon, after a sleepless journey. When they arrived for sound check the collective testosterone that came off them was intense. Sibling rivalry was definitely in the air and I quickly realized that they wanted to have some serious craic. When I offered to grab them all some coffees, at least two of them shouted out, “and throw a little a Jameson in mine.”
The gig was truly outstanding. The crowd were mesmerized. Especially some of the female audience members. One of whom was so smitten, she performed a relatively public sexual act on her preferred band member in the backstage room. And while not all of the lads may not have been chasing the Mná Na Heireann, every single one of them was dying to get stuck into the stout and whiskey. They wanted a proper Irish session and by fuck they got one. It was like a re-enactment of a Guinness marketing manager’s wet dream. Super slick band play a wicked gig and 400 people are buying them pints.
The next morning I get a call from Mark in Choice Cuts. He tells me that the band got locked after the show and a couple of them left their instruments back stage. That was all well and good but the problem was they were due to be on a London bound plane soon and needed to get back into the club to pick up their gear. So Mark picks me up and we run out to the hotel to talk to the band about who left what and to start packing them . They all started falling out the door. Everyone of them, absolutely dying. A few of them had been sick. A few had to go home early. Another one or two said they were never drinking again. And none of them got laid. Quite simply, they just couldn’t keep up with the Dubs.
The band came back to play more shows in The Sugar Club and in other venues. Every time I’d see them I’d remind them of the pitiful state they were all in that morning and we’d share a laugh. A couple of years later, I found myself stranded in Dublin airport trying to attend my Uncle Eddie’s funeral in New Jersey. Volcanic ash from Iceland meant that they cancelled my flight. At the check in, I saw the lads from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. We were all meant to be on the same flight. They were due to get a connecting flight to Coachella to play their biggest show yet with Snoop Doggy Dog. A major pay loss for the band. So I rang Mark from Choice Cuts and suggested we do a fundraiser for them the next day in The Sugar Club. With 24 hours notice, we sold the show out and all the door proceeds went straight to the band. It was a wicked gig with a lovely energy in the room. The band were really humbled by everyone’s generosity and repeatedly thank the audience. Great blokes.
The band are back in town tomorrow night with the Beck’s Vier Weekender, playing in Meeting House Square. Hypnotic never fail to deliver. They are a fucking brilliant act and as I have noted previously, dab hands in the kitchen. I had a brief phone chat with apparently the best chef in the band, Hudah, who plays trumpet. All of the brothers were raised vegetarians. According to Hudah this diet choice often caused problems for him growing up in the south side of Chicago.
“When you’re the only kid in a class of 29 others, who doesn’t eat meat – you get toughened up pretty quickly. Constant teasing.”
But he still sticks to his vegetarian guns. “Food is not all about what’s on your plate. Food is about how you season it.”
And he certainly aint afraid to throw in the flavours. Whenever he’s not on the road, he cooks himself up a kick ass American Vegetarian breakfast consisting of loaded eggs on pancakes or grits. This is how he does it.
HYPNOTIC BRASS BREAKFAST
Hudah from Hypnotic. He plays a mean trumpet and cooks a wicked brekkie.
1 cup of grits or polenta
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 red pepper
6 florets of steamed broccoli
1 tablespoon of sharp cheddar
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of butter
Stir the polenta with some boiling water on a low heat. Put the lid on for two minutes, take it off and keep stirring til it’s softened. Then throw in one clove of garlic into it with the soy sauce to flavour it. Take it off the heat, put the lid back on and leave it for a bit.
Melt the butter in a pan and fry off the pepper, scallion, garlic and broccoli. Beat the eggs in bowl and throw in the cayenne with some salt. Cook them lightly in the pan and add in the eggs. Scramble them through with the cheese.
Serve the eggs on top of the polenta.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are playing tomorrow night at Meeting House Square and on the 28th at The Cork Jazz Festival.
Sorry that I’ve been slacking off here. Still up to me nads trying to open Damson Diner. It will be very soon, I promise! Please do us a favour and share the love on facebook and twitter. Give us an auld like or a follow!