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Yellow Cab hosts Nasty Bingo album release show

By Mike Ritchie

Photo: Nasty Bingo plays their album release show Saturday, Jan. 23 at Yellow Cab Building

The core of what is now Nasty Bingo started in 2006. Through many trials, tribulations, experiments in music and different members, they have arrived today with a diversely delivered sound. After much hard work and anticipation, they are releasing their album Take to Air at Yellow Cab.

For a band labeled “folkadelic” playing a vast array of instruments including mandolins and kazoos, they can rock any house, fusing folk, rock, blues, pop, country and gospel.

Drummer, ukulele master, guitarist and singer Steve Phelps, guitarist and banjo player Brian “Red” Baumgardner, singer, writer, kazoo, harmonicas, Matt Byanski, mandolin and violinist Brian Spirk and bassist, backup vocals Ron White make up this loud game of Bingo.

The name literally came from the luck of the game—and they all won.

“We came up with a lot of names, seven or eight, but no one could decide or make a decision,” they recall. “We had a draw one night—write down your best three names—and it was the luck of the draw. Everyone associates it with something dirty like dirty old ladies, smoking cigars in games at dingy carnival motifs.”

While the name does give off certain connotations, it’s all in good fun.

“The dingy carnival thing, it’s supposed to be bright and fun but it’s kinda’ dingy. There’s a fun, folky element, but there’s also something gross and dangerous too. But it’s self-deprecating,” they insist.

Though kazoos may be associated with a certain accordion playing ‘weird guy,’ they say it’s a serious part of their sound.

“They’re real easy and fun to play, to just give yourself a different voice sometimes,” the band explains. “When we got into acoustic, you can play a blues song and play a kazoo for the solo part, no problem—it would totally fit.”

To prove their point in the most rock and roll way, they covered the electric wizard’s music with a kazoo solo: “[We use one] on Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Cross Town Traffic,’ and it fits perfectly.” They have also pushed the acoustic envelope into the metal world: “The hardest thing we’ve done acoustic was [Metallica’s] “Nothing Else Matters.” We’ve done Sabbath, Cult songs and Sound Garden’s Rusty Cage. It’s a great show song. Chris Cornell is amazing.”

As part of the CD release party they are paying homage to one of their favorites, The Band.

“‘The Last Waltz’ was the last show by The Band. We’re recreating the event and the songs,” they promise. “It’s like 30 performers getting together. We’ve done it for three years, the day before and after Thanksgiving at the art institute. The original concert happened on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. It’s considered one of the best concert movies ever made.”

Finding the right mix of talent has been a challenge for them, but the doors are still open to fill certain spots.

“That’s half the battle. Sometimes the best players for the band aren’t the best fit,” they continue. “Our musical tastes and appetites are similar. We clash well and meet well on things, which is good.”

The community aspect of searching for the right group of musicians has led to different collaboration options for the band.

“This Last Waltz experience has been a bevy of contacts in the Oregon District itself,” they explain. “We had two performers from the Oregon Express warm up and play with us onstage.”

They have enough variety in their originals and covers to satisfy most crowds.

“We can do any venue—classic rock venues, three-setters, all original shows,” they say with pride. “We could almost do country crossover stuff as a genre. We also have a gospel crossover song, so we’re accessible, all over the map. The country, bluegrass bands like us, the jam bands like us, classic rock folks like us—all we’re missing is the metal crowd.”

The album release has been long awaited, and the boys are excited.

“It’s gonna be an extravaganza. The Ringers are gonna do an hour. The piano players and percussion are gonna sit in with us. Then, we’ll do an interlude in between our 90-minute to two-hour set. We’re gonna get a little hog wild on the acoustic set in the middle.”

“The exciting thing is we’re putting this CD out, and it’s been a journey,” they reminisce. “I think we’re taking February off to write new stuff, practice once a week, gig once a month and start on a new one.”

Nasty Bingo plays their album release show Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Old Yellow Cab Building, 700 E. Fourth St. Doors are at 7 p.m. and music starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $15 and includes a copy of their new album, Take to Air. Sharon Lane, Paige Beller, Steve Makofka, Scott Loy and Trey Stone and The Ringers are also on the bill. Food by Bad Dog Nice Taco will be available for purchase, along with beer from local microbreweries. For more information, please visit nastybingo.com or yellowcabtavern.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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