Category Archives: Essays & Declarations

The Gentlemen’s Collected Works in One, Uh… Two Easy Charts!

Dear Friends,
We recognize that some of you occasionally find yourself faced with the unenviable task of describing The Two Man Gentlemen Band to a skeptical acquaintance, family member, or co-worker.  We’ve observed that these conversations typically proceed thusly:

You:  So, there are these two guys…
Acquaintance:  Sounds great!  Tell me more!
You:  Well, they dress well and play music.
Acquaintance:  Oh, man!  What kind?
You:  Uh, a nice combination of older styles.  A bit like a hot-jazz Smothers Brothers.  And funny, too.
Acquaintance:  Weird… but awesome!   What do the sing about?
You:  Oh, man!  So many things.  I could talk about it all day!
Acquaintance:  I’m getting bored.
You:  Uh, oh.

Friends, have you found yourself in this situation?  Have your attempts to present The Two Man Gentlemen Band (in all its splendor) to a potential new initiate been thwarted by their fickle attentions?  We are here to help.  Rather than memorize the eclectic subject matter addressed in The Gentlemen’s catalog, why not just print up this handy little chart for presentation at the appropriate time?  It neatly summarizes the topics we’ve addressed in our published body of musical work (2005 to 2011).  And in handy pie-chart form!

(Click Chart to Enlarge)

Let’s take a few steps back in our imagined conversation, shall we?

Acquaintance:  Weird… but awesome!   What do the sing about?
You:  All sorts of stuff!   Here!  Take a look at this handy chart. (Present Chart)
Acquaintance:  Wow!  So many topics.  I love food & drink.  And I love dancing.  But I’m not so into all the History and Math stuff.
You:  Uh, oh.

Friends, you would be forgiven if at this point you began to panic.  No one like to have their pie chart met with scowls or negativity.  So, if it’s not too much of an imposition, we suggest that you carry around this second chart as well.  It neatly summarizes The Gentlemen’s more recent compositions (2010 to Present), which more heavily emphasize the universal topics of Food & Drink, Dancing, and Love (with an added dose of Nautical Themes for the water lovers amongst you.  Hey, sailor!) while mostly forsaking the niche markets for historical and mathematics based music.  Lovers of said music should, of course, be spared this second graphic.  Either way, no refunds!

(Click Chart to Enlarge)

Acquaintance:   Now, that’s more my style!  Let’s be close friends.
You:  Sounds great!

You’re welcome, friends.  We’re happy to help.

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

 

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2010 Superlatives, Volume 1

Dear Friends,
Let us now reflect on the past year of two-man music-making with our first round of Two Man Gentlemen Band 2010 superlatives.

Most Colorful and Outlandish Pledge (Srikar G. – 1/30/10)
Srikar, a native of Bangalore and a student at Colgate University, organized a lovely concert for us at his college in January.  We are proud to report that he was quite taken with The Gentlemen’s music and offered to help us in any way he can.  He fixated on the idea of bringing us to Bangalore for a performance.  “That’d be lovely,” we told him, and quickly changed the subject to less impractical concert opportunities.  This led Srikar to make his winning pledge:  “No, I’m serious.  I would rather die than not bring you to Bangalore.  I swear to you, if I don’t put on a Two Man Gentlemen Band concert in India in the next 10 years, I will kill myself.”

Worst Valentine’s Day Date (The Trouser Mouse Bar – 2/14/10)
To be clear, The Gentlemen love our friends at The Trouser Mouse Bar in Blue Springs, MO.  That said… Men of the world, if your romantic Valentine’s Day dinner plans consisted of a trip with your lady to a place called The Trouser Mouse to eat fried foods and watch some occasionally bawdy two-man music while sipping pints of Blue Demon (The Trouser Mouse’s in-house answer to Red Bull), The Gentlemen do not have high hopes for your relationship.  Unless, of course, she’s the kind of girl who likes that kind of thing.  In which case, well done!

The Audience Mass Exodus Award (Arcata, CA – 11/5/10)
We Gentlemen are in the privileged position these days that when an act who precedes us on stage announces, “Stick around for The Two Man Gentlemen Band, coming up next!” the audience typically cheers and does, in fact, stick around.  But there are still areas of the world, I’m embarrassed to say, where our two-man music seeds have yet to bear fruit.  And occasionally, the announcement of an impending Two Man Gentlemen Band performance sends a good 90% of an audience scrambling for the exits.  Such was the case here.

More awards coming soon!

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean

A Formal Dedication!

Dear Friends,
You may recall that last year we gentlemen held a contest in which faithful followers were invited to suggest topics for a Two Man Gentlemen Band composition.  The winning topic, a song about two-man music, was suggested by our good pal Julie in Berks County, PA.

We are pleased to announce that, as promised, a song addressing said topic appears on our upcoming album DOS AMIGOS, UNA FIESTA!

The song, Put it in my Ear (When You Make That Music), was composed by The Councilman, who has long had a love for two-man music, and may very well have begun work on said tune well before this contest began.  Either way, we proudly dedicate this composition to Julie!  Enjoy!

Put it in My Ear (When You Make That Music) by seriousbusiness

-The Gents

Haiku Contest! Winner gets a Free T-Shirt!

Dear Friends,
To celebrate the opening of The Two Man Gentlemen Band Store (your source for Gentlemanly music, apparel, and eventually much much more), we announce the first ever Two Man Gentlemen Band Haiku Contest.  To enter, compose a Haiku on a topic that in some way, no matter how vaguely, relates to The Two Man Gentlemen Band.  Post it in the comments section below.  We’ll pick a winner next week and send him or her a lovely new TMGB T-shirt.  Deadline for entries is Mon, Mar 8.

Here are a few, to get you in the mood.

Look! The Councilman
Can bass-fiddle and sip booze
With only two hands!

or

On Friday let’s play
For a dozen old-timers.
A music career!

In the mood?  Splendid!  Good luck!

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

In Praise of A Spasm Band

Dear Friends,
Today we write in praise of our Ft. Wayne pals, The End Times Spasm Band.  Widely considered northeast Indiana’s best spasm band, these youngish bucks (and doe) provide fine entertainment for you eyes and ears.   Take a look.  Take a listen!

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

2009 Superlatives, Late Edition!

Dear Friends,
We offer now our final batch of 2009 superlatives.  Enjoy!

State Debut of the Year! (Portland, ME – 11/14/09)
The fine people of Portland showed themselves to be true enthusiasts of the live music recital, even in the face of significant adversity.   Our Maine debut was beset by awful weather – a downpour of such dreadful proportions that The Councilman and I considered canceling our performance on account of rain (a rather drastic step for an indoor concert).   We arrived, with sopping wet clothing and equipment, fully expecting an empty concert hall.   But, no!  Mainers (or at least the 100 or so we met) are a hardy, cheerful people and had hardily and cheerfully packed the room.  It was a delightful evening, even if my socks never dried.  Thanks, Maine!

Honorable mentions: Louisiana, Alabama, and Iowa; all of whom treated us very nicely on our first visit.

Band Solidarity Demerit: (Andy Bean – Charlotte, NC 10/17/09)
A band solidarity demerit is issued when one Gentlemen violates The Gentlemen’s unspoken code of shared burdens and shared joys.  Andy Bean earned his in October when, at the onset of a one-shot drive home from South Carolina to New York City, he insisted that The Councilman deposit him at the Charlotte, NC airport for a (financially ill-advised) 2 hr flight home, leaving The Councilman 10 hrs of solo driving.  Bad form, Andy Bean!   Such an egregious abandoning of your man-friend – even amidst your complaints of severe road burnout and your “but, I haven’t seen my wife in three weeks!” pleas – is probably unforgivable.   But, the public shaming you will endure here at the hands of our precious few blog readers will, I’m sure, be punishment enough.

The Fake Blood or Real Blood Award! (Asheville, NC – 10/31/09)
During our particularly rowdy Halloween eve show at Jack of the Wood in Asheville, our mailing list, in its travels through the crowd, became smeared with an oozy red liquid.  Was this fake blood from the girl in the gruesome zombie costume or real blood from the drunken gentleman who smashed a glass (during our performance of Fancy Beer!) and, after slipping on his spilled beverage, landed upon the shards, slicing himself open?  A Halloween mystery!

The Safe & Legal Driving Award! (The Councilman – 2009)
In the period from June 2007 to December 2008, Andy Bean, then The Gentlevan’s primary driver, earned 3 speeding tickets (which very nearly caused him to lose his New Jersey and Indiana driving privileges), 2 speeding warnings, 1 catastrophic flat tire, and 4 dents on the van of unidentified origin.  In the period from January 2009 to December 2009, with The Councilman at the Gentlevan’s helm, we traveled over 40,000 miles without incident.  This included a miraculous month-long stint behind the wheel of a manual transmission British car on British roads.  Nice driving, sailor!

All in all, a pleasant year.  Thanks to those of you who shared a piece of it with us!

Yours as ever,
Andy Bean, Passenger
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

More 2009 Superlatives!

Dear Friends,
We’re most pleased to present further awards from the past year of music-making.

Best Two Man Gentlemen Band Impression: Mount Union College (Alliance, OH 3/5/09)
We’ve put these two men on retainer to serve as understudies in case anything awful befalls me and The Councilman.  Pretty convincing, no?

Best Backstage Catering: Opening for Bob Dylan & Willie Nelson (July 2009)
As many of you know, a great many of the venues where we perform lack a backstage area at all, let alone any backstage catering.  So we are  supremely appreciative when it’s offered.  Good thing, too, that this particular spread was as tasty & wholesome as it was.  Had it been anything less, I fear I may have vomited up my pre-show meal from nervousness.  Playing for several thousand people (when one is accustomed to playing for several dozen) can make you a bit queasy.

Most Valuable Third Gentlemen: A Tie!  Brian Kantor (drums) & Matt Downing (tenor guitar)
Not only did these two provide the superb musical accompaniment as part of The Two Man Gentlemen Band Trio & Quartet, they also endured extended bouts of uncomfortable travel.  The backseat of The Gentlevan is intended and entirely fit for liquor-transport, Two Man Gentlemen Band merchandise, and food scraps.  The idea that two moderately-sized men might sit there for any period of time is preposterous.  Mssrs. Kantor and Downing suffered through, by my calculations,  96 and 49 hrs respectively in the back seat.  Most valuable, indeed!

Best Performance at Dick Cheney’s Yacht Club: Miles River Yacht Club (St. Michaels, MD 8/29/09)
To be fair, we only performed at Dick Cheney’s yacht club once.  And Dick Cheney didn’t come to the show.  But he is a member (“That’s his seat over there!” we were told by the old people in attendance.)  Donald Rumsfeld’s a member, too.  He didn’t attend either.  But we like to think they both would’ve enjoyed our show.  Two man music about drinking and romance-making knows no partisan boundaries.  Am I wrong?

Still more to come, friends!

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean, still in Hong Kong
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

Some 2009 Superlatives!

Dear Friends,
2009 was a rather pleasant year for us gents.  Despite what the occasional threadbare suit, anemic turnout, or negative bank account balance might suggest, business is booming!  Below, we share with you some 2009 superlatives.  You are welcome to dispute our choices, and welcome to suggest new categories and winners of your own.

Rowdiest Concert: SUNY Stony Brook Swim Team Bash  (Stony Brook, NY 4/25/09)
No, really.  These swimmers, and their pals, know how to party.  We gents have put on some rowdy recitals, but we’d never seen anything quite like this.  Excessive drunkenness plus a twenties theme?  My goodness, yes!  And there’s video evidence!

Most Peculiar Engagement: Emerson Elementary School (Lakewood, OH 3/6/09)
Yes, an elementary school invited us to conduct an assembly for their entire student body.  School administrators were under the impression that we are historically minded children’s entertainers.  We, in need of a handsome payday, did little to disabuse them of the notion.  The children seemed to enjoy themselves.  The teachers objected to our subject matter (nautical disasters, limb amputations, flu epidemics) and several, so irritated by the deafening sound of a screaming, 500-child re-enactment of the Hindenberg Disaster, shot us looks of hate as we have never before seen from the stage.

Smallest Audience: Studio 99 (Nashua, NH 8/7/09)
7 human paying customers plus 1 bat.  The bat did not pay.  But he did put on the evening’s more entertaining performance.

Best Post-Recital Experience: New York Burlesque Festival (Brooklyn, NY 10/1/09)
Though not specifically invited to do so, The Councilman and I took it upon ourselves to tend bar in the backstage dressing room after our set.  Our duties consisted entirely of asking scantily clad burlesque dancers whether they’d prefer a shot of Jagermeister or a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (the only items in stock).  We remained, despite the obvious temptations towards rogueishness, perfect gentlemen.  The Councilman has told me since that is was the greatest evening of his life.

Most Elegant Treatment: Festival du Jazz de Almodovar (Almodovar, Portugal 4/29/09)
These lovely folks flew us from London (where we’d finished our UK tour), chauffeured us across the lovely Portuguese countryside, took us out to a delicious sunset dinner in the hills, arranged a fully catered backstage (we were too full to enjoy it), rustled up a full-house for our concert, treated us to an evening on the town afterwards, arranged a lovely hotel room for each gentlemen, chauffeured us back across the lovely Portuguese countryside, flew us back home to New York City, and (best of all given exchange rates at the time) paid us in Euros.  Concert promoters, take note!

Most Patient Audience: JJ’s Bohemia (Chattanooga, TN 6/23/09)
It was a Tuesday night.  The recital was advertised as a 9pm start.  The first of two openers took the stage at 11pm.  We went on just before 1am.  Nobody left early.  But then again, Chattanooga does advertise itself as Tennessee’s Most Patient City.  So I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.

More later, friends!

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean, from Hong Kong
The Two Man Gentlemen Band


New Hampshire: The Gentlemen have put you On Notice!

Dear Friends,
The time has come to speak of New Hampshire, the state of my rearing.  New Hampshire, The Gentlemen have put you On Notice.

I, Andy Bean, this essay’s author and a noted 4-stringed instrumentalist, spent a majority of my formative years cavorting about the granite state.   There, between the ages of 4 and 18, I humbly gathered a small passel of those accolades common amongst promising rural young persons.  For the people and places of New Hampshire, I developed a lasting affection.  Surely, I thought at the time, when I return to this state some years in the future, as one half of a majestic two man musical combo, my home state will welcome me with open ears and wallets.  But, oh the naivety of youth!

Over the last two summers, The Gentlemen have performed in New Hampshire twice.  Attendance at these recitals, despite splendid work by the recitals’ organizers and glowing notices in some of the state’s leading dailies, has been abominable.

Perhaps, I mused to my partner, The Councilman, My Youthful accolades have little influence on the habits of two-man music enthusiasts.

How I wish I knew you in your fit & able youth, replied The Councilman.  I tire of your older self.

After such failures, a less understanding duo might abandon the state altogether.  But, given my personal ties to the area and my habit of returning there frequently to murder fish with a stick and hook, we have vowed to give New Hampshire one last opportunity to witness our musical prowess.  Two concerts approach.

Friday, November 20th at The Salt Hill Pub in Lebanon, NH.
Saturday, November 21st at The Brass Heart Inn in Chocorua, NH.

As we wish to leave little to chance with attendance at these performances, we shall now entice you, New Hampshirites and music lovers all over New England, with two items.

  1. We have composed a musical number about Franklin Pierce, our nation’s 14th President and the only one from the Granite State.

    We will perform this composition at both New Hampshire engagements.  In the songs, we proudly rhyme Pierce with Beers.  It is not to be missed.
    .
  2. And for those amongst you who require a more visual temptation, I present to you the following photograph.

    It shows yours truly attempting to remove fish from a New Hampshire river by force.  Sometimes, a man must do his fishing in short pants.

See, New Hampshirites!  Franklin Pierce, Fishing, Short Pants!  You and The Gentlemen have common interests!   Let us prove this to you in person next month.  Join us, won’t you?

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean, Former New Hampshirite
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

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Opening for BOB DYLAN, WILLIE NELSON, & JOHN MELLENCAMP!

Dear Friends!
Big news!  The Two Man Gentlemen Band is joining this summer’s Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, & John Mellencamp tour for three dates in July!  No, really.  We open these shows:

July 10 – Fifth Third Field – Dayton, OH
July 11 – Classic Park – Eastlake, OH
July 31 – Amphitheater at the Wharf – Orange Beach, AL

We’ll be playing as a quartet for these shows.  Our good pals, The Wiyos, open the rest of the tour.  A very very special thank you to our friends at the Charisma Artist Agency for all they did to make this happen. Vaudevillian banjo music hits the mainstream!  

Incredulously,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band