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Combining snatches of dialogue from film & TV with radio static, putting historic speeches to a beat -- this the sort of weird science producer Joe Harvard long enjoyed making in the privacy of his home and studio when he'd come home from a gig after playing roots rocks in the usual manner. As One Banned Man he now does it for an audience, using looping & electronics & old-fashioned chutzpah. Bringing along the funk-disco beats, punk spirit & garage DIY ethos of his youth, Joe Harvard slides seamlessly from traditional song form to ambient atmosphere, moving from dance groove to country ballad, Afro-Cuban jazz to searing rocker in a garbage-in, garbage-out performance reflecting a lifetime of diverse musical experience.
Originally from Jeffries Point, East Boston, singer and guitarist JH has played on records by Dinosaur, Jr., the Pernice Brothers, Throwing Muses, and on dozens of other major and indie label releases and recordings; as co-founder and former owner of Boston's Fort Apache Recording he was an indie pioneer and spiritual midwife to hundreds more. Harvard gave Helldorado Productions its name, a trio that left a legacy in the form of the still-vibrant music scene at the Middle East Restaurant in Cambridge, and established Little Big Horn Productions in Columbus, Ohio during a 3-year self-imposed exile-cum-geographic cure gone wrong there.
A Harvard-trained archaeologist, he was profoundly influenced by travels to Pakistan & Arabia in 1980-82, but attempts to incorporate Indo-Arabic (as well as African) musical elements into his group the bones were hampered by his lack of skill as a guitarist. As his playing improved so did his ability to meld these influences with power-pop, country and garage song structures, & Harvard tried (again, unsuccessfully) to formulate a synthesis on 1990's "Country Eastern", recorded at 'the Fort' with a cast of local luminaries. His love affair with the 'drone' characteristic of Eastern music was a factor in Joe's decision to write "The Velvet Underground & Nico" for Continuum's 33-1/3 series in 2004, & upon returning to full-time performing and recording at that time he began acquiring the skills he recognized he needed to get at the sound in his head. His use of bouzouki, coral sitar, baglama saz cumbus, timbura & similar instruments during live shows with the Joe Harvard Band over those next 6 years provided the education necessary, and led to a 2010 Asbury Music Award for Top Multi-Instrumentalist.
(Joe also shared an AMA for Top Avant-garde Act 2010 with partner Mallory Massara for their 113-episode Long Weekend show, & received Top American Act in '09. He was first winner of the Boston Phoenix/WFNX Reader's Poll for Top Local Producer in '90, as well as first winner of the MOTH NYC Grand Storyslam in '02, a story-telling competition pitting the winners of a dozen previous monthly shows against one another. ]
Following a fall-out with Live Nation & local promoters over a joke made at the Asbury Music Awards Joe found himself blackballed locally, & seeking a new identity he re-invented himself in 2010 as a "musically non-sectarian" one man band, using a suitcase kick drum, an upright snare & a guitar.
In 2013, after a summer of acoustic geet & 'frumset' workouts busking for tips on the AP Boardwalk Joe felt ready for Phase Two: add electricity! Providence intervened when he was given a Kaoss pad to use in his role as multi-instrumentalist with the dub-reggae group Dub Proof -- sparking the creation of the Spacecase, a vintage American Tourister loaded with gadgets. It even matched the original foot drum. With the ball now rolling Joe added keyboard, a lap steel with a guitar synth pickup, an iPod running dialogue samples through the Kaoss pad, a 'percussion shrub' & an analog synth to his ever-evolving rig. Then he began looking for new rooms to perform in as One Banned Man.
In August, 2013 OBM began recording in the kitchenette on a Korg D1200 MKII, using "a process of 'first takes only', so the results will be as real as possible -- warts & all." The LP "2013" was lost in its entirety when the Korg momentarily lost its mind, & work now proceeds using Ableton Live & a Macbook Pro, Novation Launchpad / Launch Control, & Korg Kaossilator, KAossilator for iPhone, Kaoss 2 & Mini Kaoss 2 pads into a Mackie 1202 VLZ which feeds a twin circuit pedal board. One circuit is a stereo TC Flashback loop delay into a TC Ditto loop pedal into a pair of amps, while the other is Boss tuner - Crybaby wah wah - Vox Delay Lab loop delay pedal & splits to the Mackie for looping with the TC circuit as well as into a Vox Night Train 15w guitar amp with either a 12" greenback Celestion or a no-name 15", depending on mood.