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Just who are The Treacherous French?
The Treacherous French are:
Charlie Kaupp: vocals, guitars, harmonica, mandolin
Cara Madden-Watson: vocals, drums, washboard, glockenspiel
Phil Bergeron: bass, vocals, spoons, guitar, ukelele
Olivier René: accordion, Jew harp, piano, spoons
The Treacherous French are an eclectic rock band hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. People will always ask "what kind of music do you play?" or "what do you sound like?" We have as much trouble answering these as anyone else - after all, we're not genre-defining rock stars just yet. So embark with us on this objective journey into our sound.
We are a four piece rock band. We have three guys (Phil, Olivier, and Charlie) and a girl (Cara). Charlie plays guitar (electric and acoustic), harmonica, mandolin, and sings. Cara plays drums, assorted percussion, and sings. Phil plays bass (electric and upright), ukelele, and sings. Olivier plays accordion and other keyed instruments. The songs are catchy yet complex, while staying true to their indie, blues, country, and alt-rock roots. All three have played in various other bands in the past, from punk rock to folk rock to dance rock to Celtic jazz folk fusion, and this blend of styles and instrumentation is what makes The Treacherous French what it is.
So how does a group like this come together?
Cara and Charlie met in January of 2011 by merging their influence list and finding a significant amount of overlap. Charlie was looking for accompanying musicians for a new, undefined project, and Cara was looking to get back into playing with a band after a long hiatus. They met on Craigslist somehow, in the musicians section.
They started by picking about a dozen songs to cover, including tracks by The Decemberists, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, and Bad Religion. They expanded the list to include a few other bands, but with a tendency towards the singer-songwriter side of the spectrum, as that sounded better with just two members. After writing a few originals, it was time to add a third member. Ads were written and potential members were auditioned. This went on for at least a few months without success.
One day at practice, Cara and Charlie realized they sounded really solid as a two-piece, so maybe it was time to work on some songs and play some shows. The next step was to find a name, and after three months and about three hundred rejected names, The Treacherous French were born.
After recording a few songs, and through the miracle of multi-track recording, they were able to hear what they might sound like with bass, electric guitar, and deeper vocal harmonies. So, in passing one summer day in 2012, Charlie asked Phil if he wanted to come jam sometime. He seemed to like it, and thus the third member was added, rounding out the sound.
Then one year, Charlie aged. It's been a long-standing band tradition to throw parties with live shows for our birthdays and our friends' birthdays. We had a great party at Charlie's favorite local watering hole, The Dark Horse Inn in San Francisco, and we asked Phil's friend Olivier to join us on stage for a couple of songs... with his accordion. It was such a smashing success that we did it again for another birthday party, but this time for the full set. After that, it was clear that the only thing The Treacherous French needed was full-time accordion, so we asked Olivier to join permanently. The three piece became a four piece, and the sound was forever changed for the better.
Our instrumentation is ever-evolving as well. At any given time, you'll hear guitar, bass, drum kit, up to four voices, washboard, spoons, Jew harp, harmonica, accordion, glockenspiel, and mandolin, all combining together to form a rich soundscape.
Check out our show list and our music downloads, and we hope to see you soon all around the Bay Area!