Summer’s been flying by and there’s not much left. We’ve managed to stay pretty busy, and we’ve powered our way through a few gigs in triple-digit heat. Thanks to all who’ve come out to see us—hope to see you many more times as we ease into fall. But first on our minds now is the well-being of our friends in family back in Louisiana, where devastating flooding has once again brought misery to many. Our hearts go out, and we wish for a quick recovery.
Spring 2016, from Mardi Gras back in February all the way through the recent end of this year’s exceptional crawfish season, kept the Mighty Pelicans mighty busy—thanks to all who had anything to do with booking us and to all who came out to see us, especially these folks: Nalda Daigle and her social club in Lago Vista; Douglas Green over there in Mandeville, LA (great road trip!); all the people who put on and support the annual Jonestown Cajun Cookoff,; Flash, Andy, Jacob, and their crew at Cajun Pizza; David Siebold and everyone associated with the Lakeline and Mueller Farmers’ Markets, Joyce and Jerry and everybody behind the Buchanan Dam Cajun Fest, and all y’all over at Hill Country Water Gardens. Oh—and condolences to Frosty and the Mueller neighborhood bunch. Y’all’s block party has been cancelled four consecutive time because of rain! Hopefully, your party’s best days are still ahead! Things typically slow down for us a little bit in the summer, but we will be playing—check the schedule and come check us out. Happy summertime, everyone!
Well Mardi Gras 2016 is in the books. Last weekend’s three shows were a blast and Mardi Gras night at Rumi’s Tavern was a roof-raiser. Our sincere thanks go out to all our fans and to the staff at Rumi’s—we hope to play there again many more times. So now it’s Lent, the season of sacrifice. But it’s also crawfish season! They’re coming early this year and everybody’s already boiling. If you’re throwing a crawfish boil, let us know if you’d like the Mighty Pelicans to spice it up with some New Orleans Swamp Rock! Our spring calendar’s filling up, but we still have some weekends open.
Despite the 30 mph winds at Saturday's Lakeline gig, we had a blast this weekend--3 gigs in 29 hours. Can't wait for Mardi Gras night at Rumi's Tavern. We hit at 7:00!
Looking forward to these next 4 gigs--Lakeline Farmers' Market Saturday, the annual Mardi Gras party in Lago (sorry, that one's a private event), Mueller Farmers' Market on Sunday, and Rumi's Tavern on Mardi Gras night. We start at 7 at Rumi's, so come on out! Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!
Why the Mighty Pelicans? For starters, the brown pelican is the state bird of Louisiana, the source for most of our musical inspiration. Second, we identify with the pelican’s vibe. Take a look at a pelican sitting on a weathered piling: old, wise, experienced, unconcerned with petty trivialities. Finally, pelicans love seafood just like we do (You ever see them fall from the sky with utter abandon into a school of fish? You ever see Johnny Blue eat a seafood platter? Or Kingfish throw down on a pile of boiled crawfish? ). That’s why we’re the Mighty Pelicans.
Back in the ‘70s, some of Baton Rouge’s best musicians, their brains addled by the events of that tumultuous decade, put together a crazy band prone to outrageous stage antics and satirical songwriting. Shotgun Leboa and the Livestock Show paraded their act, replete with wild costumes and ridiculous stage props, all over Baton Rouge and its hinterlands for a few years before dissolving into the haze of the 1980s. Though the Livestock Show elicited a lot of laughs, their solid musicianship and ability to play well together are what made their shows so convincing (take “Disco Sucks,” for example: yeah, it’s a funny commentary on the ‘70s disco scene, but, man, what a compelling groove!) . Evidently, the band made a lasting impression. Front man Mike DeBosier (“Shotgun”), guitarist Jeff Johnson, multi-instrumentalist Steve Hutter, bassist Doug Johnson, and drummer Kerry Blackmon (yes, the Mighty Pelicans’ bandleader and drummer) met in Baton Rouge in November 2012 for a reunion show at the Varsity Theater. One thing led to another, and the band was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. (To see the official document, on which appear both the words, “Shotgun LeBoa and the Livestock Show” and the official signature of Governor Bobby Jindal, is one of those visual experiences that throws you off balance.) Anyway, ain’t it cool to have a Hall-of-Famer in the band? Kerry “Kingfish” Blackmon moved to Austin in ’82, right after the Livestock Show’s heyday, and had he not, there would be no Mighty Pelicans. So, though it’s a little late in coming, your band-mates congratulate you, Kerry “Kingfish” Blackmon, and we can’t wait for our next gig.
It’s a question we get a lot, and it’s a hard one to answer for people not plugged into New Orleans and South Louisiana music. We’ve adopted the phrase, “New Orleans swamp rock.” We like it because our connections both to New Orleans and to rock and roll are obvious. And we love the swamp. But most of the time, here in Austin, that explanation doesn’t mean anything to anybody. So we probe for a connection: “You know, Gulf Coast rhythm and blues,” or “New Orleans R&B.” Most of the time, no response. So then it moves to name-dropping: Fats Domino, Little Richard, Dr. John, Rufus Jagneaux, Clifton Chenier, the Meters, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint. The Neville Brothers. And then, if we do find a common reference, we have to explain that we do not have a piano player. Or even a sax (well, sometimes). And that we’re not a zydeco band though we do take a zydeco approach to some numbers. And that we’re not a Cajun band though you may hear the influence of Cajun music here and there during a set. Our strongest influence is undoubtedly New Orleans, so let’s look into that. Here’s a link to a 9 min film by David Meirding called the New Orleans Sound—it falls short of painting the whole picture, but it’s a place to start. More on this later. http://vimeo.com/29352148