Geezers are a chronologically mature jug band, formed by a group
of highly confused egos. They believe that their musical
prowess is expanding, even though they are rapidly aging. (OK,
so the laws of physics would suggest that they're aging at a
constant rate, no more rapidly than anyone else -- it just seems
rapid.) They also believe that the world is ready to hear
them. Well, at least once...
name suggests, the Geezers have been around a while -- if not
musically, at least temporally. They might have been the
original "boy band," until the Girl Geezers appeared. Pete
Albrecht and Tom Skramstad played at the Coffeehouse
Extempore in the early 70's (only once -- they were never asked
back). Skramstad has played since the late 70's in a bluegrass
group, "The Encampment River Boys." Don Venne
hails from Anoka, so naturally no one knows much about him,
although he's quite active in the New Folk Collective and
pretends to know a lot about music.
of class, there is one other truly professional player in the band --
"Fiddlin' Mary DuShane," a former member of
Buffalo Gals, a terrific Twin Cities acoustic
band playing old time fiddle tunes, original songs, and their
own brand of Cowgirl Swing. Mary’s favorite nickname came from
Garrison Keillor when she played fiddle in the Powdermilk
Biscuit Band, which was the house band on the early Prairie Home
Companion radio show. Garrison called her "The Girl With a
there are the noisiest players in the band, since they are
the principal purveyors of miscellaneous clangy, scrapy,
scratchy, jangly and otherwise cacophonous objects.
They showed up for practice with husbands Tom and Don, and they
were both conscripted. Gai
Skramstad has taken up the challenge of playing the
"lager-phone," perhaps the oddest home-made "tambourine-ish" --
but MUCH bigger -- instrument ever devised. It's origins are
murky, but that may be because it sprang from the murky depths
of Pete's mind. This must be investigated. Mary Rose Cossi
is a nice Italian girl from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (Yoopers
just fit naturally into a jug band, dontcha know?) Among the
many instruments (??) in her arsenal is the heavy and dangerous
ACOUSTIC waffle iron. Yes, and this one ain't made of no modern
materials like lightweight aluminum or some miracle alloy, and
it don't have no TEFLON™ on it. True to its name, this waffle
iron is made of IRON.
newest member of the band is Cindy Gentling, who plays
kazoo in the Geezers, but is also an autoharpist. For
those who don't know, autoharps have 36 strings, so they are 6
times as hard to keep in tune as a guitar. Cindy
apparently has patience which eludes Don, Peter, Mary, Tom and
Bill, none of whom ever has to tune more than 8 strings.
(Not that we ever really get in tune, since jug band music only
demands "approximate" pitch.)
finally, our secret weapon in the 2004 Battle of the Jug Bands
was 15 year old John Hardy, who has since gone on to
whatever teenagers do when they get bored with hanging around
Geezers. John's mouth music is the modern equivalent
of the sound of a jug being played -- just take away the jug.
recently, our friend and bandmate Bill Geezy has
disappeared from the band. Though a mere pup of
less than 50 years, Bill is an all-around musician and songwriter,
having had his songs recorded by no less than Kate McKenzie.
So, as you can see, he added some serious class to the act.
But he's off doing more of his own music, making CD's and
playing non-jug music. We always like to see him, and you
should, too. See
"Bill Geezy and the Promise Breakers" Web Site.