Fraser / Live Music: Mustache grows out of open mic jams
January 30, 2009
With inspiration from Frank Zappa, a sense of humor, and a variety of musical talent, a band has surfaced in the Fraser Valley that had no intention of being more than a group that jammed together occasionally.
Andy Moore is the group’s guitarist (electric). He’s been in the Fraser Valley for about nine years, painting mostly during the day and playing various venues at night when he can. Lately, he has been playing with bands Stoney Credenza and most recently with One Time.
He met Greg Travis and Jesse McWilliams, drummer and trumpet player/guitarist (electric) during a paint job. Travis and McWilliams introduced him to Yaniv Salzberg who they knew from playing with Space Heater.
Since 2004, Travis has been a washboard player and sometimes drummer for bluegrass band Hunker Down, which also includes Salzberg. He said his work with Filthy Mustache gives him “another direction to grow,” and that he enjoys switching out his spoons for drumsticks.
“I’ve played a lot of music with these guys,” he said, “and it’s really nice to find a way to get us all to come together.” He appreciates the room for improvisation, “space to jam if we want it.”
McWilliams was playing with Space Heater when he started Hunker Down with Andy Straus as a duo. The two are from the same hometown in Ohio. McWilliams’ talents include singing, songwriting, and playing a variety of instruments. Songs, he said, couldn’t come to fruition “without the amazing music genius” of his band mates.
He and Travis “have always had common understanding of music” and ideas just flow when they’re together, “like beer from the tap.” Salzberg inspires an “out-of-the-box creative juice” and his technical musicianship contributes greatly to their sound, which they “like to describe as a ‘motorcycle made of boobs.'” Moore’s “tasty” riffs, McWilliams said, “carries Filthy Mustache to high mountain plains of musical bliss.”
Salzberg said he loves playing with Filthy Mustache. Lately, he’s been wearing his mustache “on the inside, but it’s due to come out,” he said. “We look forward to creating some new mustachioed fans at the show on Saturday.”
The four started joining in with each other at open mic nights at the Crooked Creek Saloon. Moore said they never really even talked about forming a band, but it wasn’t long before Filthy Mustache “grew out of” their informal jam sessions. They kicked around a few band names and Filthy Mustache “just stuck.” He said they all “thought it’d be funny.”
They played their first official gig and have since been pulling out some decent blues, a bit of alternative “country-oriented stuff,” and a nice mix of rock ‘n’ roll. Their catalogue consists of covers as well as originals by McWilliams and Salzberg, songwriters.
Moore said they’ve been getting tighter along the way. “Yaniv,” he said, “is really killing it on the bass lately,” adding that he means that about Yaniv’s work with all sorts of projects. Travis, Moore said, has great energy and is great at keeping them together on stage. McWilliams’ innovation, Moore adds, has been key to the band’s growing diversity.
“It’s an exciting new direction for the band,” he said.