Bands in the Neighborhood is on Bonjour, Ganesh!, a nine-member funk and jam band. Here's what frontman Adam Rosenberg had to say. The band plays next on Saturday the 16th at Axum Level X Lounge (1934 9th Street, NW) at 10 PM. They even made a promo video!
How did you all come up with the band name?
It was the product of an elaborate Hindu-Catholic wedding. With Ganesh being the Hindu god of overcoming obstacles (not to mention a ubiquitous symbol giving us some great graphic design possibilities), we thought it would be an auspicious name for a new band.
How did the band form and get so big?
We multiply when we get wet. Just dont feed us after midnight! Just kidding. We emerged from a prior collaboration between guitarist Adam Roseberg and Bassist Mike Strauss. That was basically a straightforward rock band that morphed into something a lot funkier and groovier when drummer Matt Ling came along. Given the grooves we found ourselves playing, horns were just ringing in our ears, and we realized everything would sound better with brass. So we grew...and we grew and we grew...into a band called "Brian"!
How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Myself (adam) and Sax player Mike Nilsson - he lives in Mt Pleasant. Bassist, Mike Strauss lives in Adams Morgan. Some others in Dupont and Logan Circle. One guy lives in Virginia!
Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We practice at the Sitar Music Center in Adams Morgan and we've played a couple shows at Wonderland just for fun.
Working on any records?
Actually yes. We are recording at Inner Ear Studios with our engineer, Hugh McElroy. Hugh actually is a Columbia Heights native as well. He lives over on Otis I believe.
Gone on any tours? Any crazy or terrible tour stories?
Well, it is a stretch to call our New York show at Piano's Bar this summer a "tour". We're a band full of professionals...i.e., not professional musicians. So while we definitely have plans to play more out-of-town gigs, they'll have to be weekend trips parachuting in to particular cities. Given our backgrounds, we are an embarrassingly atypical rock band. As our sax player wrote us from his blackberry on the way up to the New York gig, "nothing says rock and roll quite like the Acela quiet car".
What’s your take on the music scene in Columbia Heights and in DC?
There is a lot of talent out front in DC, but even more talent lying just beneath the surface. A city known for its smart workaholics has a remarkably large number of extremely-talented folks who work too much to play in an organized fashion.
Luke Peterson (Keyboardist): I think every performing musician in DC probably knows a half-dozen non-performing musicians who are better than they are but just keep it in the closet. And every day I am thankful that none of them have made a sales pitch to the rest of my band, because B,G! is an extremely valuable and important outlet for me.
And if you had to rename your band for something Columbia Heights-related, what would it be?
Either Bonjour, Gentrification! or Bonjour, Hipster! or Julia's Empenadas - wait...is that last one already taken? Darn!
And here's that video: