Quick Conversations with The Gentlemen, Vol. 10

Dear Friends,
We hope you enjoy this Quick Conversation with The Gentlemen.

The Scene: Andy Bean and The Councilman, on the phone.

Andy Bean:  Your flight leaves tomorrow.  10am.  See you soon, bud bud!
The Councilman: OK.  How’s California?  Do you have an awesome tan and a hard body yet?
Andy Bean: Not really.  I look pretty much the same.
The Councilman: You should get an awesome tan.  And a hard body.
Andy Bean:  OK.  We’ll see.
The Councilman:  Andy Bean.  Awesome tan.  Hard Body.
Andy Bean:  Can we talk about something else now?
The Councilman:  Like my awesome tan and hard body?
Andy Bean:  I think I’m gonna hang up the phone.
The Councilman:  Suit yourself, sailor.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Quick Conversation with The Gentlemen.

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

2011 TMGB Superlatives & Awards, Part 3

The 2011 Dry Trousers Award
Andy Bean – Gentleman
A grown man should never have to make the explicit promise to himself not to wet his own trousers on stage.  But, such a promise is occasionally forced upon him.  This was the case for Andy Bean, who in November of 2010 in Portland, OR became the first member of The Two Man Gentlemen Band to release a not-negligible bit of pee-pee stuff into his britches during a performance.

In Andy Bean’s defense, the release was not without provocation. It came, rather, in response to The Councilman’s debuting of a new bit of stage antics – “The Japanese Finish” –  without properly warning his partner.  I think we can all agree that when one’s otherwise sedate and reserved man-friend pantomimes a full blown samurai sword battle and ritual suicide while you slap bass notes for emphasis and a crowd of several hundred looks on in silent horror before erupting into rapturous applause, a small display of celebratory urine is not entirely uncalled for.

Further, the incident occurred at the very conclusion of The Gentlemen’s very last song of the evening.  And it was not until The Gents were safely backstage that the offending wet spot presented itself.  Had Andy Bean had the good sense to wear a sensibly dark pair of trousers or had the audience been satisfied with their scheduled helping of two-man music, the spillage may have gone unnoticed.  Alas, Andy Bean was wearing a sky blue suit and the audience demanded an encore.

Toiling as they are on the very periphery of the music industry, The Gents can little to afford to alienate their meager fan base by withholding encores.  And so, bravely, Andy Bean returned to the stage.  Any hopes he had of keeping the half-dollar sized patch secret, however, were dashed immediately by a few giggling, pointing concertgoers in the front rows and the creepy alacrity of the spot light operator, who lost not a moment in focusing all the illuminating powers at his disposal squarely on Andy Bean’s crotch.  The offending wet-spot was seen easily and clearly from every seat in the house.  And there was much snickering.

With some success, The Gents deflected this unwelcome attention on their midsections to comedic advantage.  But, there was no deflecting the truth.  Extenuating circumstances notwithstanding – the Japanese finish, the sky-blue trousers, the roaring audience, the mischievous spot-light man – Andy Bean had wet himself on stage.

Appropriately, when New Year’s Day 2011 came and the discussion turned to New Year’s resolutions, Andy Bean was quick to share with all his just intentions.  This year, he declared, I will not wet myself on stage.  And here, on this 2nd day of 2012 twelve, we are proud to announce that he kept his promise.

To many more dry years!  Happy New Year, Friends!

-The Gents

2011 TMGB Superlatives and Awards, Part 2

Most Convenient Stage Placement for Rum Consumption
New York, NY – May 2011
It is, we’re happy to say, not entirely unheard of for we Gents to be the official two-man band at some medium-to-high class event.  However, the  fine foods, drinks, and unusually clean people at such gatherings are typically kept a good distance from us.   So, when we are entertaining at an event with such lavish displays of food and beverage as the James Beard Awards (the so-called “Oscars of Food”) and the organizers plop us down directly adjacent to the “Rums of the World” tasting table with the explicit instructions to “play from 8 to 10 pm and eat and drink as much as you like,” we don’t look our gift horse in the mouth.  Which is to say we drink rum all night and high five to our good fortune.

Most Successful Distraction of a Rental Car Employee
Kansas City Airport – July 2011
Our midsummer’s swing through Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming found The Gentlemen abandoning their official Gentlevan for the convenience and comforts of airplanes and rental cars.  Little did we know what misfortunes the plains and mountain states held for our poor temporary vehicle.  Within a seven day span, we suffered two not-negligible windshield cracks upon the more gravelly sections of interstate 70 and watched as a Wyoming hail storm pressed a few dozen permanent dimples into the car’s exterior.  Rolling the battered thing back to the Kansas City airport, we braced ourselves for lengthy insurance claims, upset rental location managers, or worse.

Luckily we were in possession of a jar of Norm-a-Q, the homemade BBQ sauce concocted by our pal Norm in Abilene, KS.  Norm, who among other things only stays up past 8pm when The Gentlemen are in town, makes a really good BBQ sauce.

We were greeted by a friendly gentleman at the rental depot.  He smiled at us and asked for some paperwork, which we presented.  He began a survey of the vehicle, but was immediately intercepted by two smiling grown-man faces (us!) asking him if he liked barbeque sauce.  Do I!?  He shouted.  I love it!   We presented him with the Norm-a-Q and watched with delight as all the energies the man typically devotes to the inspection of a returned rental car were diverted to a long and loving examination of the tender bits of pork and peppers floating in the jar.  To our knowledge, he never got around to checking the car for damage.  Thanks, Norm!

Yours Very Truly,
Andy Bean

2011 TMGB Superlatives & Awards, Part 1

Greatest Feat of Two-Man Strength 
Plymouth, MA to Portland, OR via Minivan in 3 1/2 Days 
Said feat included:  A rare bit of October snowy driving in Massachusetts; A 300 mile detour up and over Colorado and Wyoming to avoid a blizzard; A forgotten Amazon Kindle, a cover-up by the hotel where it was left (one shouldn’t really have to file a police report to recover a forgotten item, should they?), and Andy Bean’s subsequent realization that he thinks he prefers regular books anyway; Two visits to Applebee’s (sadly, the only booze-pouring places in many areas after 10pm);  Three instances of Applebee’s related stomach discomfort; Approximately 90 minutes of two-man conversation and 48 and a half hours of dead silence.

The Ideological Loggerheads Award
Short Shifts vs. The Councilman
Though we’re proud of the above accomplishment (see above), the planning for it gave rise to a profound ideological disagreement between The Gentlemen.  When considering how we should approach the cross-country drive, The Councilman advocated for the same two-man driving strategy we’ve always employed; one man drives for 5 to 6 hours then yields to the other guy.  Andy Bean, on the other hand, was convinced that the only way to survive 3,200 minivan miles in three and a half days was a dramatic change of tactics.   He suggested we employ the time-honored hockey-coaching strategy of short-shifts, switching drivers every 8 to 10 minutes.

The conversation went like this:

Andy Bean: Short shifts, like in hockey.
The Councilman:  What are you?  A fucking idiot?
Andy Bean:  I just think we could learn a lot from hockey coaches.
The Councilman:  I’m not fucking switching with you every 8 fucking minutes.

Loggerheads, indeed!

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean

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

 

A True Story of Survival: Part 6!

Editors Note:  As final tribute to our fallen Gentlevan, we offer this remembrance of a past adventure.

Dear Friends,

We gentlemen should perhaps be chastised for stringing our readers along so inelegantly.  That we’ve serialized and spread over two years a tale that in its spoken recounting takes mere minutes to convey is positively shameful.  We hope that you, dear friend, will ingest this final installment with a spirit of forgiveness.

Again, we beseech you to refresh yourself here, here, here, here, and here.

When you left us, The Councilman and I were still separated by depth of night and miles of desert.  He standing sentinel over – or napping within – the crippled Gentlevan. I, having been deposited at the doorstep of a purported “24 hour” tow-truck depot by my unfailingly kind, coal-hauling rescuer, Jeff.   The depot, despite the evident pains its proprietors took to pepper its signage with “Always Open!” boasts, was unmanned.  A scribbled telephone number was taped to the door.  I telephoned it a few times, with no success.  I considered giving up, huddling in a ball upon the depot parking lot, and dreaming of better times.

But we Gentlemen, having forged for ourselves a modest career playing a peculiar and distinctly unpopular brand of two-man music, are nothing if not persistent.  I telephoned again and again leaving repeated and, I’m certain, irritating messages.  Eventually, after several dozen such attempts a groggy and gravelly-voiced man, who I imagined to be quite grizzled in appearance, answered the phone and angrily pledged to appear at the depot to rescue me within minutes.

The man made good on his pledge, arriving shortly thereafter.  I had, as mentioned, expected a rather grizzled fellow.  But I cannot overstate just how this man surpassed even my most fantastical visions of a 24-hour desert tow-truck-driver .  He was not an old man, perhaps in his late forties.  Yet his face was ravined with crevices and canyons unseen on the faces of the dandy eastern men familiar to us gents.  Crawling out of said crevices were wild, bristling, metallic gray hairs like no hairs I’d ever encountered. Like cacti or steel wool, but stiffer, sharper, and connected to a man’s face.  In a fit of late-night loopiness, I put one hand to my own downy side-whiskers and began reaching forward with the other to pat his beard for comparison.   Luckily, at the very last moment, I resisted the compulsion.

It was wise that I did.  Even without the provocation of an unwelcome face rub, he was not a friendly man.  And he was not pleased to see me.  I smiled at him in greeting.  He stared at me angrily.  I offered him some basic information on our situation.  He grunted in acknowledgment.  I asked him his favorite two-man band.  He didn’t have one.  What about Hall & Oates, I asked?  Who are they? he said.  Things were not going well.

He agreed to take me to our hobbled van, where he would either fix our flat for us or tow us back to town.  Both options, he insisted, would cost “a lot of money.”   I assured him I was good for it.  He seemed doubtful.  We squeezed into his tow-truck for the journey back to the Gentlevan.

Now friends, I fancy myself a pleasant conversationalist, able to squeeze a bit of friendly chit chat from the shyest cashier or the moodiest teen.   But, sitting beside this man, hearing each of my polite inquiries swatted aside by single syllabled grunts, I feared that I had met my match.   This man seemed accustomed to silence.  And though I, too, am a lover of a long, quiet drive (The Councilman can confirm this) this was my first and possible only encounter with a Utah desert tow truck driver.  I thus felt entitled to an informative thirty minutes together picking this gentleman’s brain; especially since as I was about to fill this man’s pockets with hard earned music money.   A man must seize his opportunities.  So I persisted, badgering him on all manner of topics on which he might have expertise – bristle grooming, tow-truck maintenance, desert flora, desert fauna, etc.

He predictably showed no interest in any of these, remaining stubbornly silent.  Silent, that is, until I inquired about past stranded motorists he’d rescued.  A-ha!  His face came alive.  His permanent grimace loosened.  His entire countenance transformed.  While moments before, every aspect of his expression screamed “I have no wish to speak with you, fruity young music man,” he now seemed positively ready to burst with cheerful tales of his own desert truck driving heroism.

Perhaps, cheerful is not the right word.  What I’d interpreted as a man becoming effusive and ready to chit-chat was in fact the sight of a man becoming enraged.  He began “The problem with you people is…” and proceeded to describe, in laborious detail, the mental failings of every poor citizen he’d ever assisted on the roads.  Car ran out of gas?  You were a “f*cking moron.”  Engine over-heated in 125 deg Utah heat?  A “god-damned big city idiot.”  Flat tire and stripped lug-nut? (This was, you may recall, my current predicament)  You’ve “got no business driving.”   Latino?  Female?  Or some combination thereof?  Also “no business driving.”  And so on for twenty-some-odd miles.

It was then, as his utter contempt for his clientele (and presumably me) became apparent, that I ruled out adding the customary 10% desert-tow-truck-driver tip for services to my impending bill.  Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy our time together.  I did immensely.

And then… “The Councilman!” I cried.  “Huh?” the driver asked.  “My car.” I answered, gesturing to the opposite side of the interstate.   The tow-truck man abruptly threw us into a u-turn, at some sixty miles per hour, across the unpaved median, sending my head cracking again the passenger side window, and reinforcing my decision not to tip.

“Councilman!” I cried again as we pulled aside him.

“Andy Bean!” He bellowed in return.

We exchanged pleasantries and The Councilman summarized his hours of loneliness for me, focusing most of his attention on the number of tiny desert rabbits he’d seen liquified at close range by speeding big-rigs. “It was horrible, Andy Bean.  I still hear their screams.”

As I consoled him, our friendly tow-truck man got to work noisily.  For all his faults as a driving companion, the man did speedy work on our stripped lug-nut.  Our lawnmower-like and woefully under-inflated spare tire was installed within moments.

As revenge for his surly behavior, I endeavored to make the payment process as awkward as possible.  I made several weak, but sufficiently irritating quips:  “I was just kidding before.  I don’t really have any money.” or “This credit card is stolen, but it usually works.” or “Can we just give you some CDs instead?”  The Councilman guffawed at each, perfectly on cue.  We strung the man along thusly for a few minutes.  But, as if was nearing 4am, we put an end to this nonsense, paid our bill, remounted the Gentlevan, and proceeded westward in search of fame, riches, and all the trappings of a life in the two-man music industry.

THE END.

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean

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

Quick Conversations with The Gentlemen, Vol. 9

Dear Friends,
We hope you enjoy this Quick Conversation with The Gentlemen.

The Scene: Andy Bean and The Councilman are backstage before a concert.

Andy Bean: The promoter wants us to keep the show especially clean tonight.
The Councilman: Really?  Why?
Andy Bean: Apparently there’s a convention in town for attorneys who prosecute sexual deviants.  And they’re all coming to the show.
The Councilman: Does that mean I can’t sing “Sex Crimes!”?
Andy Bean:  You wrote a song called “Sex Crimes”?
The Councilman: Yup.  Gotta write what you know, Andy Bean.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Quick Conversation with The Gentlemen.

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

Quick Conversations with The Gentlemen, Vol. 8

Dear Friends,
We hope you enjoy this Quick Conversation with The Gentlemen.

The Scene: Andy Bean encounters an Old-Timer in a hotel elevator.

Old-Timer: Nice bowtie.
Andy Bean: Thanks, old-timer!
Old-Timer: Reminds me of how I used to dress when I was a young man.
Andy Bean: Yeah, not too many young people dress this way anymore, do they?
Old-Timer: Young people dress like shit.

(Exeunt Old-Timer)

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Quick Conversation with The Gentlemen.

Yours very truly,
Andy Bean
The Two Man Gentlemen Band

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