Click on Nick to read an article containing his answers to some of Where Y’at’s questions about our music:
This week, we’re touring with our good friends The Revivalists as opening support for a run through the Carolinas. If you’re not acquainted with them, The Revivalists are a fantastic New Orleans rock band that have been taking the music scene by storm as of late. Touring with these guys is a real treat for a plethora of reasons. For instance, we get to hang out with them. These guys are a shining example of a band that treats people like family, which in my opinion is the best attitude a band can have; it’s certainly one Naughty strives to foster. The Revivalists have lent us a helping hand on more than one occasion, like letting us borrow crucial equipment, or selling us their van and trailer on the cheap(huge!). Also, our bands are different enough that the pairing makes sense and doesn’t take away from either show, but are similar enough that our fans tend to like their music, and their fans tend to like our music. It’s a win-win!
A particularly special relationship to me personally is with the Revivalists’ trumpet and keys player, Mike Girardot. Mike’s and my families have been close since before I was born, but Mike played a role during a pivotal moment in what would be the start of my musical career: he gave me my first trumpet lesson. Mike taught me a scale and told me how I was supposed to buzz on the mouthpiece, and from that moment on I was hooked. Through middle school and high school, if I had of questions about trumpet or music, I’d ask Mike. And now our bands are touring together. My 10 year old self would have been so excited had I known that was going to happen. Heck, I’m excited now!
Another cool thing about this tour is that the Revivalists are having various Naughty members sit in on songs throughout the week. Last night the horns played on a few tunes. My philosophy with horns is the more the better; a five-horn section makes a full, phat sound that gives lines serious “oomph”. On the encore, Sam joined the Revivalists’ percussion section, thus creating a three-man rhythm monster. Having that kind of musical interaction on the road can be really refreshing. We had a blast playing with them last night, and can’t wait to do it again tonight!
If you’re looking to get in on the action in the Carolinas, check out our shows page and see if we’re playing near you. We’d love to see you there!
Tomorrow, Naughty will be playing a show at Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street. For those of you not as hip to the New Orleans music scene, Frenchmen is the hub of live music in the French Quarter these days, with something like a dozen music venues within two blocks of each other. “But I thought the hub of music was Bourbon Street!” you may say. Listen. It might have been that way a long time ago, but it really isn’t like that anymore. Now, Bourbon is a great place if you like drunk tourists, aggressively amplified renditions of “Don’t Stop Believin’, ” or taking shots out of a waitress’s…huge tracts of land. Which hey, sometimes people need to blow off some steam in a manner only Bourbon Street can provide, I get it. But as far as good music goes, you’ve got a better bet on Frenchmen (it should be noted that Bourbon does have a few redeemably decent music venues, such as Irvin Mayfield’s and Fritzel’s).
So for this week’s blog, we’re taking a trip down memory lane, down Frenchmen Street (that makes sense, right?).
Frenchmen is where the musicians’ hang happens. It’s not often that I walk through there and can’t find someone I know playing. Sit-ins are a huge part of the New Orleans musical culture, and they are perhaps most prevalent on Frenchmen. Jam sessions with stacked house bands are common, especially later at night, where there is a solid rotation of great musicians trading off playing tunes. Sometimes a combination of local musicians and out of town musicians here for a festival play together, often with no rehearsal. I’ve seen some truly inspiring music happen under these circumstances, where everyone on stage is a badass and the end result is something you’ve never heard before.
In addition to the sweet music, though, there is a healthy amount of crazy shit that happens.
At one of Naughty’s first gigs on Frenchmen, we happened to have an ambitious idiot in our crowd who was so inspired by our music that he decided to crowd surf. Now I have nothing against crowd surfing, but there are certain qualities of the crowd-to-be-surfed that must be present before you throw your body onto it. For instance, the crowd must see that you are about to surf, so they can brace themselves. Also, the crowd must be much larger than two people. If these parameters are not met, as they weren’t with the young man in this story, throwing yourself onto the crowd isn’t called crowd surfing. It is called body slamming. This dude got on the bar, launched himself onto two ladies that were enjoying a nice evening out, and they all slammed onto the stage, knocking over my microphone. Then, realizing that his actions might have be ill-received, the young man took off. The ladies were shaken, but otherwise seemingly ok. Later that night after the set, a dude came up to one of us and told us not to worry about the offender, because he had taken care of him by finding him outside and throwing him into some trashcans.
Therefore, in the interest of music-lovers’ health, come to our show tomorrow and help us fill out the crowd so that, in the event of an impromptu crowd-surfer, he might actually get to ride it out.
Hello internet friends! John here.
Tomorrow Naughty is making the trip to the good ol’ Red Stick to be part of a show that is 100% guaranteed to be an absolute rage-fest. I can say that with confidence simply because that’s the way every Galactic show I’ve ever been to goes: enormous crowds of people going totally ape. Galactic is one of those bands that leaves an impact on the cities it visits; you can tell when they played because half the town is groggy and hoarse the next morning from screaming their heads off at the show the night before. That’s about to happen to Baton Rouge tomorrow night, and we’ll be performing in the opening slot.
Our relationship with Galactic goes back to the beginning of the band. Actually, it goes back to birth for our alto saxophone player Nick Ellman, who is cousins with Galactic’s saxophone player Ben Ellman. I remember meeting Ben after one of our first shows at Prytania Bar (then called Cafe Prytania), and shortly after the Naughty horns were invited to sit in on a show at One Eyed Jack’s during Jazz Fest. It was the largest crowd I had ever played in front of, even if it wasn’t my band, and it blew my mind. For months that experience replayed in my head: me standing up there blowing next to Corey Henry and feeling Stanton Moore’s groove keeping rock solid time. I also remember a shit ton of lights and fog. Quite the rush, it was.
Over the last few years, Galactic has really helped us feel welcome in the music scene here in New Orleans and even around the country when our tour schedules intersect in the same city for a night. One time we were playing in Orlando on the same night (different venues) and at the end of their last set they told everyone they’d be hanging out at our show afterwards. And although we’ve only officially opened for them once, on Mardi Gras in Mobile, AL, Galactic has been there for us in other ways. Ben has called the Naughty horns a few times to lay down some lines for various records he was producing, and we even recently recorded on a couple new Galactic songs yet to be released.
So, if it wasn’t obvious enough yet: we’re genuinely looking forward to playing with these musical role-models tomorrow. They’re the epitome of what it means to be New Orleans musicians, because music down here is about community and kinship and the hang, and we’ve felt nothing but love from Galactic since day one.
Baton Rouge, see you at the show! Everyone else, till next week’s blog!
This Saturday we’re going to be headlining a jazz festival for the first time, at the Oak Cliff Jazz Fest in Dallas, TX. It feels like a sort of rite of passage, like kissing a girl for the first time. Or smoking a cigar with your super cool uncle who was always the epitome of manliness and now you’re in that group of people he considers “mature enough” to sit with him and puff through a Cuban he had smuggled out of Mexico himself. You’re not that much older, but for a moment you really feel like an adult.
Superfluous metaphors aside, it really is cool for our music to be considered “jazz” enough to be put on a strictly jazz festival, let alone the headliner. We have a smorgasbord of influences, but jazz is definitely a strong one and it’s good to know that that side of our background is reaching through.
Anyways, we’re ready to throw down. The night before (Friday) we’ll be hitting Austin at Holy Mountain, so for you Austinites out there, we’re not gonna be holding back or anything.
Texas, here we come!
Today we’re very thrilled to announce we have signed with Crossover Touring Agency, joining their talented roster alongside the likes of Kung Fu, Victor Wooten, Rebirth Brass Band, and many more amazing artists and musicians.
We’d like to publicly give thanks to our management team of Max Bonanno, Stu Schayot, and SimplePlay Presents for helping make this happen and we look forward to continue working with them as we progress as a band. Also a special thanks to Mark Brut and Rocky Mountain Artists who have been instrumental in exposing us to new markets, fans, and parts of the country which we hope to be seeing much more frequently in coming years.
To everyone who has listened to our music, come to a show, or simply encouraged us in some way…we love what we do and can’t thank you enough for supporting us. You inspire us everyday to keep doing our thing and we love you all madly. Many thanks and see you soon.
Check out this great article written before our fourth of July show in Raleigh, NC!
Jacksonville, FL – The Underbelly
We were scheduled to play at the Jazz Fest after Dark festival. After loading in most of us were really hungry, and it took us a long time to find any food. We eventually found some bar pizza. After our set we stayed in hotels, which was the only time on this leg of the tour where we all got to sleep in beds. Sam took a shower and had a shower beer, then took a bath and had a bath beer.
Jupiter, FL – Guanabanas
This gig was outdoors in the middle of the day at the tropical-themed restaurant Guanabanas. It was on some sort of dock so that people could pull up their boats and tie them up and eat and sometimes listen to music. They gave us a lot of beer. After our sets we hung out with Perry, Nick’s and Noah’s former roommate. He took us to the beach, and after the beach we had a good old time at Perry’s family’s house, where we drank Jameson and swam in the pool.
Boca Raton, FL – The Funky Biscuit
When we started our show at the Funky Biscuit there weren’t that many people around, but the few that were there made up for it. The entire set was being recorded by local music videographer Adam from Cheesehead Productions. Check out the set here. The headliner for the night was Lather Up, a organ funk trio that is a side project of the band Heavy Pets. They invited us horn players from Naughty to sit in on a couple tunes. We got onstage and threw together some horn lines and traded solos. Playing with such a tight rhythm section was great; they made it easy for us to play lines that feel right. There’s a certain cohesiveness in any rhythm section that has to be there for anything to “feel good”, and when it’s there, everyone can tell. It’s easier to play with as a musician, it’s easier to dance to, and it’s easier to drink to, and these guys had it.
After the set we were offered a place to stay by a really friendly girl named Kendall. She took us to her “treehouse” in West Palm Beach which was a guest house in an old lady’s backyard with a pool. There wasn’t really a tree to speak of, but Kendall still insisted it was a treehouse so we believed her. We had the next day off, so we spent it at the beach. We bought a bunch of beach toys right before, and Ian got a big pink inflatable ball. That ball kept drifting farther and farther up the coast, and we eventually gave up trying to chase it. We’re hoping to meet up with it in North Carolina when we get there in a few weeks.
Fort Lauderdale – The Stache
The setting for this show was pretty interesting. The venue itself had a dimly-lit speak-easy vibe with a swanky looking bar sporting a tall wall of booze. We were the entertainment for the back half of some sort of cocktail party which cleared out fifteen minutes after we started playing. Luckily Kendall and some of our friends from West Palm Beach had tagged along, so we still had people to play for. After the gig, we said our goodbyes to the gang and headed towards the next destination, one we had been looking forward to for months: Chuck’s house.
Orlando, FL – Tanqueray’s and Universal Studios
Let me start by saying this: Chuck Magid is the man. He’s the singer and guitar player for The Groove Orient, a rock/blues band based out of Orlando. We drove straight from our gig in Fort Lauderdale to his house for the night. Here’s a great picture of him: (Sunflowers)
That night we played a really intimate show with The Groove Orient at the underground venue Tanqueray’s. All of their band members are really great musicians and people; Chuck, Harry, Tom, Drillbit, David, and Paul have become our good friends. They played first, and the place was packed with people. Those guys tore it up; the group dynamic was genuine, their songs were fantastic, and the execution was solid. We tapped into the crowd’s and TGO’s energy for our set, and had an absolute blast. After the gig, we went back to Chuck’s house to drink whiskey and watch a Stevie Ray Vaughn DVD. Everyone eventually passed out, from either booze or sheer exhaustion from the day’s festivities.
The next morning we headed out to Universal Studios to play in the Mardi Gras themed corner of the park. It was incredibly hot. We had a great time playing for the park guests, but we knew we had to conserve some energy because right afterwards we had to drive to our final gig of the Florida run: Ocala.
Ocala, FL – Pi on Broadway
Pi on Broadway is a cozy pizza restaurant with a sweet bar and a second story with a great outside patio space. Its owner, Juan, is a trendsetter in Ocala to say the least, and when he wants to party he invites practically the whole town to party with him. So when we showed up in Ocala, the place was already packed. We played a long set that night, and really enjoyed how lively the crowd was. A local photographer named Patrice Saint-Louis took some great photos from that show, including this one:
After the show Juan took us to his brewery and gave us two enormous growlers full of choice brew. We left Ocala with our bellies full, and drove through the night to officially complete our Florida and Georgia tour. Next up, the North!
Man, that first leg flew by. Florida and Georgia sure treated us right. We played nine shows over ten days, each night meeting intriguing characters and wonderful people. I’m going to be writing weekly (hopefully) posts about our experiences on this tour. So many moments occurred that are worth writing about, but unfortunately I can only manage to document a limited number of them. This means I’ll cover some days more than others in the interest of narrative. Now let me say this: if you were present for any of it, and I left out a moment that you remember fondly, I invite you to write me an email and remind me, and I’ll write about it in the next one. I don’t want to leave anyone out!
Atlanta, GA – 529
Our stop in Atlanta was a fun one. Our gig that night was at 529, a cozy dive bar in the downtown area. They were playing Godzilla with the sound turned off on the TVs as we loaded in. They turned it off at some point to show a somewhat fuzzy camera view of the stage in the adjacent room. A bit later we played our set, and as we were unloading from the stage we had the opportunity to meet the next band, an avant-garde/free jazz group. Apparently there’s a sizable (comparatively) avant-garde/free jazz scene in Atlanta; there were people coming out to really listen to these musicians playing some great creative music. All in all a great evening.
After our gig at 529, the band split up between my uncle Joe’s and aunt Andrea’s house, and Bill’s grandparents’ house. The next day we had off, so Ian gave a lesson to my cousin Max, who is an incredibly bright thirteen year old and has started to play tenor saxophone. Max was pretty thrilled. I think Ian might be his favorite saxophone player. As Max was learning the ways of the sax, the rest of us there were cracking up at Alex, the quick-witted nine year old, who will probably end up a stand-up comedian at some point. After that we played some competitive mini-golf, agreeing that the losers would buy the winner a T-shirt. Noah won.
Meanwhile, in the other group, Bill’s grandparents took them to Cracker Barrel.
Savannah, GA – The Social Club
We had to pull into the alley behind the venue. I thought that was cool. This was a cool joint with a pool table. We usually play pool if there’s a pool table, and ping pong if there’s a ping pong table.
We played two sets that night, and in between the sets we stopped and chatted with a few of the people who had been listening. It was a pretty casual setup; mostly people there to hang out, not really a concert but more of a “for your entertainment” vibe. Bill’s friend from college named Matt came up and told us he enjoyed our playing, and after a conversation he invited us to sleep at his place for the night. We gladly accepted.
After the last set, three of us went to Matt’s house and three went to Noah’s friend’s house (Brendan). My group went with Matt. We met Matt’s wife Vanessa and hung out with his dogs. Matt told us that he is in the Army in the Airborne Division, and that he jumps out of planes on the regs and has been deployed in the Middle East twice. And this dude was our age. Talk about a humbling moment. It made me realize that I don’t even think I would have the capacity to do that. I told him that, and he said, “I didn’t think I could either, but when everyone around you is doing it, you just go ahead and do it.” Hats off to you, Matt, and to all the other people in the armed forces for putting your life on the line for loved ones and your country. That takes bravery.
Athens, GA – The Green Room
First off, the venue is aptly titled; the green room in the Green Room was a welcome sight. Couches, outlets, a bathroom. Behind a door. Hubble, the manager, made us feel extremely welcome. Though the show wasn’t too populated, we felt right at home. There was one dude who came in and was really into us for five minutes. He was an older skinny man who looked like he had been to a lot of music festivals. He had the long hair and beard to match. He bought us a round of shots, danced his ass off for a song and a half, and then abruptly peaced. That night we stayed at our good friend’s older brother’s (Will Fleenor) house.
The next morning we picked up early to head to the second state of our tour, Florida.
To Be Continued…
The South has been good to us so far this year.
Over the last few months, we’ve had a blast sharing the stage with some incredible bands and playing for some great crowds. In January we travelled through Florida, making some great friends (shoutout to Chuck and all the dudes from Groove Orient and Buster Keaton!) in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ocala. During Carnival season we had the privilege of playing on a bill with Galactic during Mobile’s Mardi Gras. During Jazz Fest, our homies from Chicago, The Heard, and our homie locals, Loose Willis, played with us on Frenchman Street in an inordinately stacked funk lineup (if you haven’t checked them both out, do it, you owe it to yourself). And there were many other truly phenomenal shows in between.
But now, we’re really about to put the rubber to the road. The pedal to the metal. We’re piling in the van, putting that sucker in tow mode and hauling the whole shebang across the country for Naughty Professor’s first ever National Tour. Starting May 21st, we’ll be heading to Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Washington D.C., New York, Vermont, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, and more. Six dudes, three axels, one Summer, and one hell of a long-time-comin’ visit to the corners of the United States of America.
We can’t wait to meet new people, see old friends, and play music for you. When we’re in your area, hit us up if you have any interest in meeting up, saying hi, talking about music and life, doing a small amount of chilling, etc. We welcome the invitation. In the mean time, stay tuned through our news page (right here!) about what’s going on, and our Shows page for an up-to-date list of our gigs.