Garbage Pizza (MP3 album)
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14 MP3 Songs in this album (37:00) !
Related styles: FOLK: Alternative Folk, ROCK: Comedy Rock
People who are interested in The Arrogant Worms Stan Rogers Jonathan Coulton should consider this download.
Who we are:
Dave Stagner - vocals, guitars and guitar-like things, etc
Justin Hartley - vocals, percussion, accordion, sound effects
John Kentner - vocals, banjo, melodia, whistles and the like
Tami âToken Chickâ Murck - vocals, guitars, percussion, voice of reason
Weâre not really sure how the name âFeng Shui Ninjasâ came about. It was some sort of conversation about gaming, perhaps.
What we are:
More seriously, weâre a folk band - of sorts - based in the Twin Cities. Itâs easy for bands to say they donât fall into any specific categories, but with us itâs actually kinda true. We play both originals and covers, traditional and modern, reverent and irreverent, serious and comedy. An original rock song may be followed by a traditional 19th century folk song, leading into a 1980s New Wave cover.
Dave met John and Justin through music circles at Minneapolis science fiction conventions. The band got together for the first time at Daveâs house in the autumn of 2006, fumbling through covers of James McMurtry and Fleetwood Mac, plus some of Daveâs original songs and traditional folk. Some sort of natural chemistry was apparent from the start. We started meeting regularly, just playing whatever came to mind, working with originals that Justin was bringing, and getting a sense of the music.
Things really came together one evening when Justin started playing a martial-sounding beat on the tambourine. Dave and John recognized it almost simultaneously as the drum part for âBurning Bridgesâ, the theme of the 1970 war movie Kellyâs Heroes. Justin had never even heard of the movie, but Dave had it on VHS and played the theme for him. The original is a huge, bombastic orchestra-and-chorus Hollywood production, but the band had other ideas. Dave and John brought acoustic guitar, banjo, and harmonica to the mix (along with Justinâs tambourine), and John sang the lead while Dave harmonized on the chorus. And magic was made - the simple, folk-based approach brought the bluesy lyrics to the foreground and sounded far more appropriate than the heavy-handed original production. We quickly recorded it, and that recording is on the first album, Garbage Pizza.
The next big breakthrough was when Justin brought some lyrics he was working on for âWriting a Bookâ, a song about the struggles of an unpublished novelist. Dave put together chords and a melody and started singing it, but both Dave and John agreed the song needed a bridge. Justin came back the next week with a ânovelâ of a bridge, some three pages of unworkable madness. This led to a lot of silly comments while trying to make usable lyrics - until we realized that the intra-band snarking and asides WERE the song! Another attempt at recording led to Justin knocking over a mic stand during his wild âaccordion soloâ. For all the flaws of that recording, it captured something essential. Itâs now the opening song on Garbage Pizza.
As time went on, the trio stayed in the basement, developing their sound but not really sharing it with the world. At some point, they realized that something was missing - an X chromosome. A female voice (and an additional guitar) would do a lot to fill out the bandâs sound. Justin met Tami while working at the Minnesota Rennaisance Festival in 2007, and thought sheâd be a good fit. He introduced her briefly to Dave, and they invited her to come play and see what would happen.
It turned out that Tami was a perfect fit for the band. Besides a beautiful voice, she brought her edgy, serious songwriting, a determination to get the band out of the basement and in front of audiences, and a real work ethic. She was like Snow White to our three dwarves.
The Feng Shui Ninjasâ first ârealâ show was July 4 2008, at the Convergence science fiction convention. A large and enthusiastic audience watched, and the bandâs crazy-quilt blend of music was a big hit. A series of concerts followed, cementing their reputation for energetic, improvisational, and often silly live performances.
Plans for a first album coalesced into Garbage Pizza, a document of who the Feng Shui Ninjas are and how they got to this point. Besides recent recordings, it has historic recordings from before Tami joined (including Burning Bridges, the first song ever recorded by the band), and instrumentals recorded for a documentary film. The album documents not just the music, but the spirit of how the music is made. For example, The Rainbow Song is a recording of the first time the entire band performed that song together - the first take, even. Several songs on the album are effectively live recordings with no overdubs.
We had amazing fun making this album. We hope you have as much fun listening to it!
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