My soul and my mind were pitted against each other today in a terrible battle. My mind won, which means everybody lost, and I was left an empty, self-loathing husk... until Dr Churchmont came home and made everything better by feeding me some home-made matzah-ball soup (she's got a Kaufman grandma back down the line) and reminding me that not everybody is good at all the same things. (I, for example, am NOT good at reading things from top to bottom--I tend to start in the middle and proceed willy-nilly in any direction--but I AM good at playing the guitar, and I'm a MASTER of the seven-minute nap--never mind that it is not nearly as good as the eight-minute nap...)
And then Michael and Theo cheered me at band practice by killing the set The Chris Monti Band is practicing up for the Blackstone River Theater on January 25th . (In the "She's killing it!" sense, not the "She's killing him!' sense.)
In any case... soon as I finish typing this, I'm going to bed so I can wake up refreshed and work on remembering how to sing those 96 Devilfish songs. Thursday night (that's today, unless your reading this now, in which case it's tomorrow... ) The Devilfish will be at The Phoenix in Pawcatuck 7:30 to 10:30 playing dance music for your pleasure.
Sunday, we'll be at The East Providence Yacht Club from 3-7pm. If all goes well with this debut we'll be back there in the summer and you'll be able to hear us across the river from India Pt Park, but on Sunday you'll have to swim or boat or take the bridge across the river and come ALL THE WAY to East Providence to see us.
Two debuts in a week. If we're playing near your town we'd appreciate the support; we'll make it worth your while.
Thanks for reading.
The Devilfish at The Phoenix Thursday 1/15/20 7:30-10:30pm
215 Liberty St, Pawcatuck, CT
The Devilfish at The East Providence Yacht Club Sunday1/19/20 3-7pm 9 Pier Rd, East Providence
The Chris Monti Band at The Blackstone River Theatre Saturday 1/25/20 7:30pm
In the wilds of Cumberland
ps And I'll start by saying god bless you if you made it this far, I myself dozed off during the second paragraph, but if you read and liked Philip Roth's Sabbath's Theater, I gotta hear from you. No matter how excellent that book may have been (in certain ways) It left me feeling frickin terrible. Mickey Sabbath puts Alan Bishop's most terrible characters to shame.
Road Trippin, Chris Monti Band at Blackstone River Theatre (1/25), Devilfish at EP Yacht Club (1/19) and Parlour (1/24)
Dr Churchmont and I had a delightful road trip to North Carolina and back over 10 days around holidays. We ate, drank, visited much family, and for the first time ever, celebrated the feast of seven fishes (our only contribution to that being the delivery of a fancy can of imported scungilli* secured from Ocean Pride Seafood on Atwood ave in Cranston). On the way back home we spent a really delightful day on the Mall in Washington DC, acutely aware of the beauty and the horror of the world, walking amongst the stone edifices of our federal government, simultaneously stately and slimy, on our way in and out of the National Gallery, The American Indian Museum, and The Sackler and Freer Gallerys.
After 3 hours in the National Gallery (a museum time-record for Dr Churchmont) we we were birthed into a wet and shining sunny world after a morning of rain. We walked the length of the Mall over 8 hours, peed in 8 different federally-cleaned toilets and lay upon a park bench gazing up into a now clear and blue sky, sometimes waving to formidable men in uniform and the occasional mob of tourists rolling by on segways. We walked through a large flocks of pigeons and seagulls massed about our countrymen and visitors from all over the world devouring crispy fried birds from a line of delicious and terrible smelling food trucks.
It was an emotional day. I cried quietly but freely in the art museums, strolling toward the Lincoln monument, and walking along the simple and elegant Vietnam War Memorial: black marble and nearly sixty thousand neatly engraved names.
Ostensibly, I am still on vacation, but the music heats up towards the end of the month. The Devilfish play the East Providence Yacht Club for the first time on 1/19, we play our first early-friday show at The Parlour on on 1/24...
And on Saturday 1/25 The Chris Monti Band splits a bill at the lovely Blackstone River Theater with our friend Yacouba Diabate for a night of music from and inspired by West Africa.
I've never bought the idea of music being an escape from anything. Here's to being engaged.
Thanks for reading.
The Devilfish at The East Providence Yacht Club, Sunday, 1/19, early show 3-7
9 Pier Rd, East Providence, RI
The Devilfish at The Parlour, Friday 1/24, early show 6-9pm
1119 North Main St, Providence, RI
The Chris Monti Band at The Blackstone River Theatre, Saturday 1/25, 8-10pm (doors at 7:30) a split bill with Yacouba Diabate
549 Broad St, Cumberland, RI 02864. Call BRT for Tickets: 401-725-9272 $15
As one opportunity vanishes, another appears...
I was bummed to have a gig cancelled on 12/20 but thrilled that Pete Vendettuoli is having me sit in with the Free Radicals at Nick-a-Nees that night. If you like the songs loose and long this show is for you. We start at 9pm musician-time.
12/20 The Free Radicals at Nick-a-Nees 9pm 75 South St
On New Years Eve I'll be sitting in with the Superchief Trio (RI's largest trio) for the excellent variety show The Empire Revue. For this special occasion, the show will be at the Wilbury Theater.
Yes, there is a bar; Yes, there is complimentary valet parking; And Yes, the show will end with a dance party.
12/31 The Empire Revue at The Wilbury Theater 40 Sonoma Court, Providence, Rhode Island 02909
Have a good holiday season. Just say No to eggnog. That stuff looks just like that new 'splash-free' bleach I've been seeing at the market. Also, chestnuts: ewww. (I know this is all Christmas-centric, but you gotta write what you know, man, you know, man?
Thanks for reading,
ps Just re-read one of those Dan Fante books, Chump Change. You've got to read those things as quickly as possible; you don't need all that sludge sloshing around in your brain for a week. (pps Stay away from Point Doom, it has none of the redeeming qualities that the others do; I'd like to un-read that one.)
The Devilfish will be doing its boogieish lifeaffirming thing at Nick-a-Nees this Friday night 2/1/2019 at 9:30. I need it like medicine. Boogieish just means we’ll play some boogies. Maybe we only do one boogie, but I’m really looking forward to that boogie.
Saturday 2/9/2019 The Chris Monti Trio will appear with Yacouba Diabate (an excellent Kora player from Burkina Faso, West Africa) at The Blackstone River Theatre. Doors at 7:30, show at 8pm. 549 Broad St, Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864
If you want to check out my current trio (we’ll be doing a set heavy on the west African music) and don’t want to stay up wicked late to do it and don’t want to go to a bar to do it, then this is the spot for you. The Blackstone is a beautiful sit-down grown-up music listening room. The parking is good, the space is great, the sound is excellent. The show is early, 8pm to 10pm. There will be nice ladies selling coffee and tea and snacks between Yacouba's set and our set. I hope you can come.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
I'm delighted to be playing the Pump House in South Kingston this Friday night. The really quite wonderful Morgan Johnston opens the show at 8pm sharp. I'll join her for a few numbers. And then I'll be doing a set on electric guitar with Theo Regan and Matt McLaren, and we'll have Morgan sing with us on a few numbers.
The Pump House is a really beautiful stone and wood venue that by day is a luthier shop and school.
Tickets are $10 at the door. There is a bar and there are also snacks available.
Thanks very much for reading.
Chris and Morgan at The Pump House
ps Your longish winter beard does help keep out the cold but it does look a little scraggly; maybe you could trim it up a bit?
I am working on making two new records and I am running a kickstarter campaign to fund the recording and printing process and to pay the musicians who are playing on the records.
Kickstarter is a secure way you can pledge money to help make this project possible. If you click on the kickstarter link you can see more information about the two records I am working on and you will see a list of premiums (rewards) that are available for different pledge amounts.
If I don't make the amount that I am asking by 11/11/14 I will not get any of the money pledged so please pledge before 11/11/14 if you can.
If you have any questions about this, please email me. If you want to make a contribution but feel uncomfortable using kickstarter, email or call me and we can make that happen.
Thanks very much!
Two thousand fourteen has started strong for music!
I got to crank Steve Jobe’s giant hurdy gurdys for Hurdy Gurdy Palooza 2014 down at the Sandywoods Center For the Arts in Tiverton (where I’ll be opening for Paul Geremia on 22 March, plug plug…). Chris Sadlers and Rachel Rosenkrantz Reimer and I worked the hurdy gurdys for the Jobe/Redfearn Project which performs Steve Jobe and Alec K Redfearns composition on viola, accordion, violin, cello and… drum kit. This is a killer group of musicians and really beautiful, somewhat tricky to play music. Special guests for HG Palooza included the lovely magic man himself, Chris Turner (whose compositions (!) we played) and Lindsay Adler who did a hurdy gurdy duet with Steve (on lap-sized hurdy gurdys) and had Matt McLaren and I join for a spirited number.
The Barn Swallows made their debut at the Driftwood Public House in Plymouth, MA mid January. So far, The Barn Swallows are Ginger Leigh on vocals, fiddle, banjo and guitar and me on vocals acoustic guitar and harp. We’re doing fiddle tunes, folk songs, and handful of covers and a few of my songs. We whipped up 22 songs in 6 weeks, and I’d say, had a pretty great debut gig. The Driftwood Public House is a great spot: an old pub, lots of dark wood, TVs but with the sound off even before we started playing. Ginger and I are looking for an upright bass player willing to learn 30 something songs and able to play in Boston, Plymouth and RI. Pass on the word!
I was interviewed by Jake Haller for his Tell Me About Your Song podcast about my (probably best) song “The Eleven”. Jake’s podcast is good! Good questions, good editing. Check it out. My episode is 27 minutes long. I think I accidentally did not swear at all.
Thanks for Reading!
Thursday, 30 January: Greg Burgess and Chris Monti, Dueling Electric Guitars
9pm at Nick-a-Nees, 75 South St, Providence, No Cover
(warm and welcoming, pool, meatball sandwiches, maybe escarole and beans)
Wednesday, 5 February: Chris Monti Solo Electric
9pm at The Grange, 166 Broadway, Providence, RI, No Cover
(killer vegetarian and vegan food, good beers and wines you’ve never heard of)
Gigs further in the future:
Saturday 22 March: Chris Monti opening for Paul Geremia
7pm Sandywoods Center for the Arts, Tiverton, RI $18/$20
Saturday 12 April: Chris Monti and Marjorie Thompson Double Bill
8pm Blackstone River Theater, Broad St, Cumberland RI, $12
I saw and danced to the super Tinariwen last night with the sister of my old comrade Professor Hill-Church. Tinariwen is a band of robed Saharan men playing great desert blues on electric guitars and electric bass with a single dude playing a single drum and yet somehow laying down the beats for fantastic dance music.
After that I ran into the Brattle sisters (a cute pair in black jackets) at The Throttles show at the Plough and Stars in Cambridge. As Dan Parker of the Rank Strangers says of watching Throttles guitarist Greg Burgess, “It’s like watcing a giant tarantula climbing up and down the guitar neck.” The Throttles always rock—last night was no exception. Drummer Matt McLaren’s philosophy on sound is, Play quieter and it makes it sound bigger. Jack Hanlon’s joy at playing and muscular mugging remind me to enjoy my life.
To bed at 3am, up at 7:30am to get to the Sheldon St Baptist Church to play some electric guitar with the gospel choir at 10am. Among the preludes pianist Natalie Markward and I played: Old Ship of Zion, His Eye is on the Sparrow, I’ll Fly Away ( a necessary musical evil of my life) and Amazing Grace—a song, as Matt McLaren puts it, by a slave-ship captain who felt bad about it later. The special choir number was the great People Get Ready. There’s not a melody more fun to play on the electric guitar.
Next up in my day was Erica J.’s first-ever tenor ukulele lesson. Also my first-ever tenor ukulele lesson. We worked on the old-time tune Twin Sisters. Erica is taking Brown U’s Old-Time music class now taught by the great Rory McLeod and Sandol Astrausky. Those Brown students and the other members of the folk/old-time community who go to play at that class are really lucky to have Rory and Sandol! Sandol is really great old-time fiddler and Rory (who is a master on the upright bass) plays guitar for the class and really makes old-time guitar interesting with a lot of great, driving, walking bass-lines. Rory is the only person who can back up the great Paul Geremia—a very idiosyncratic country-blues guitarist.
After Erica’s lesson I was off to the Small Axe Café. I stopped on the way to rip open my right front tire and replace it with that little donut in my trunk. At the Small Axe I got to play a few tunes with my friend Tom Duksta. Then Jake Haller joined me for an hour and a half of music. In addition to many Killdevils classics, we played for the first time on two guitars Upterrlainarluta and Violence. Jake seems to hate it and love it when I throw songs at him that he does not know. We hit some Jake Haller chestnuts too: Lady Luck, Jennie and Frank; and some good old blues: San Francisco Bay Blues, Baby Please Don’t Go and Bright Lights, Big City. We finished the set with a sprightly, a capella Workin on a Building with some guitar-body percussion.
I ate a really nice beet walnut gorgonzola radicchio salad courtesy of the Small Axe Café and then hit 1 North to 112 North to 138 west to get to Wyoming, Rhode Island’s Wood River Inn for 5-ish to set up for the Rank Strangers gig. I started off the night playing solo. I was fiddling with my harps, trying to figure out what I should play when Dan Parker started singing The Cuckoo. Hmmm, I thought, I bet I can remember enough verses of the Cuckoo to get through it. I started it off playing the fiddle melody as a single note line on the guitar. Immediately, a table of young women, perhaps for the first time in the history of young women, got all sorts of excited to hear The Cuckoo. Those mysterious young women left before I had a chance to interview them during the set-break. I kept up the bird and guitar-melody themes with Cluck-Old-Hen which I’ve been working on for the puppet show with B Shur (called The Yankee Peddler—more on that later).
I played the baritone uke on a couple of numbers including The Tennessee Waltz and I Truly Understand and then the Rank Strangers helped me finish out my set with a great and raucus Stealin’ and well as my tune Oh My Love, which always sounds good with those boys. We finished up with Chicken Shack—long and shaggy and a pretty good rendition if I may say so.
I scribble now in my notebook during the Rank Stranger’s first set, downing iced-tea, glass after cold glass. I’ll join the band for their second set in half and hour. Good night for now. Thanks for reading.
10/19/12 The Smilemakers and the Killdevils at Sandywoods, Tiverton, 7pm
Chris Monti Solo, BebeRequin, and The Killdevils at Nick-a-Nees 8:30pm
75 South St, PVD