If you go somewhere on a mellow night, maybe there’s not too many people and it’s a Monday or Tuesday, sometimes those end up being the best gigs on the road because you end up taking more chances. You play songs that you wouldn’t normally play.
Marco Benevento, At Wood Magazine
Sometimes it’s fun to forget that Mondays are Mondays and instead look at them as an extension of the weekend that’s just wrapped up. If ever there was a time to do exactly that, it would be November 10th for piano virtuoso Marco Benevento and his psychedelic band at The Hi-Fi in Fountain Square.
Though classically trained at Berklee and a resident of the experimental jazz scene in New York City since the early 2000’s, the non-traditional keyboardist insists that his performances are anything but “jazz.”
“I love jazz, it’s a huge part of who I am as a musician and those ideas and concepts will always be there in my playing and writing, but jazz definitely isn’t my calling. What we’re doing with this band, and where we’ve consistently been heading with the music, is a full on dance party rock vibe!”
Benevento is touring in support of his newest album, Swift, from which the leading track, “At The Show,” can be heard and seen below.
“It was all filmed with Go Pro cameras at Richard Swift’s studio during the recording sessions for Swift,” Benevento tells me via an email. “The best part about it was recording with Richard. His place has such a vibe and he as a person, engineer and musician is so inspiring; there is artwork (that he made!) everywhere.”
Casual fans might think nothing of it when Benevento starts singing a minute and a half into the track, but more studied followers might be surprised to hear the multi-instrumentalist include his own vocals throughout this new album.
After receiving so much positive feedback and admiration for two songs with Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket) on 2012’s TigerFace, Benevento considered partnering up with a vocalist again before ultimately ditching the idea in lieu of his own singing.
Again, from At Wood Magazine, he explains,“When I was writing the new songs for Swift, for a while I thought I would just call Kalmia and have her sing them again. But then I thought, ‘Well then I’m going to do exactly what I’m doing right now.’ And when we perform those songs live with her recorded vocals, you really miss her. You miss the live vocal aspect of it. So I figured I would just do it myself.”
Aside from obvious and necessary communication devices, Benevento says he couldn’t successfully tour without his upright piano, nor without the modest – but essential – crew that makes it all happen.
“We have the band (three of us) and two crews (sound and lights). It’s the best crew I’ve ever toured with, hands down!”
His least favorite thing about touring?
“When the music stops and everyone gets kicked out of the venue and then we have to meet a handful of people at a party and hang out in a hot tub all night. That’s really a drag.”
When I ask about a typical day at Royal Potato Family, the recording label he owns and uses to distribute his and other artists’ music, Benevento playfully fibs, “A typical day starts with yoga and some fresh juice, then we go outside and feed the goats, chickens and give the bees some sugar water. By noon we start drinking heavily to balance out all of the healthy shit that we consumed in the morning. By 2 p.m. most of us are making out with each other and around 3 p.m. we nap. I don’t really remember what happens after that.”
And if you’re curious how the label found its name, Benevento hints that he’d rather share the story in person while on tour, if anybody really cares to hear it.
“The name came from a joke that Bob Dylan told my drummer. Come to the show and I’ll tell you, I swear I will. Just yell from the audience ‘Hey Mr. Dylan, Mr. Dylan. . . .BOB!!!’ and I’ll tell everyone on the spot.”
And finally, in case you’re wondering if his under-the-radar side project Garage A Trois is still active like I was hoping they are, have no fear.
“Stanton, Skerik, Mike D and myself are working on a new record called Daddy Issues. We have a few tunes in the pipeline – “Air Hug,” “Ask Mommy,” “What’s The Best Thing About Duck Tape” and “Don’t Eat That!”‘