Hello again everyone! As we take a well-earned break for Thanksgiving, I can finally sit back and digest some things Naughty Professor has experienced recently. We’ve played a ton of shows, recorded our new album at Studio in the Country, and are about to embark on a quest through the blizzard-gauntlet that is the North East for a winter tour. Spending more time away from New Orleans than ever, our van is beginning to feel more and more like a second home.
Recently Naughty ventured East to play with some incredible up and coming bands that left me spellbound and genuinely inspired. Our first show was at a great new venue in Atlanta Aisle 5 with The Nth Power, a relatively new soul group born in New Orleans with a stacked lineup (includes New Orleans mainstay drummer Nikki Glaspie, former drummer for Dumpstafunk, and soul-expert Nigel Hall on keys) playing music that comes straight from the heart. In my opinion, The Nth Power plays nothing but honest to goodness musical truth.
Then we drove up to Charleston, SC for a show with The Main Squeeze, a powerhouse of a funk/rock group that specializes in flawless execution and soul-ridden song writing. They are a hook machine, a hit factory (If you couldn’t already tell, I like them a lot). No doubt they will continue to explode in the music scene. It was really cool to play with them and I look forward to doing it again!
Coming up next: our 2014-2015 Winter Tour. We’re foraging through the snow to reach GA, NC, D.C., MA, PA, VT, and NY. Having lived in the South my whole life, this experience is a first for me. I’ve never been that far North this deep into winter before, but I think I’m capable of living through it, even if I have to slay a Taun Taun to keep warm.
Check out our shows page for specific dates!
We hope to see all of you soon.
- by John
This weekend we played five shows in three days, during a great tour through Texas with The Revivalists and The London Souls, concluding with a Voodoo set and a raging sold-out Tipitina’s afterparty. It was an ambitious and enthralling experience that has left us exhausted and victorious. Thanks to everyone who came out to one of our shows!
Check out our new video from our show at Blue Nile!
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.