Percussion personified, that is a description that outlines Tony McBride’s approach to carrying the beat for The Genuine Jug Band. This kit was inspired, in its most basic form - which is two washboards back to back - by Hezzi from The Hoosier Hot Shots. The Professor talked to Hezzi back in the 60’s and he suggested the double boards. This is the same washboard set-up Spike Jones and His City Slickers used. Well, we start there and that is where we leave off. All the rest is purely the Professor's original design and it works great. I mean to say Tony McBride (they call him “Mad Fingers McBride”) makes it work great. Wikipedia describes him as the, "Canadian Washboard King" He has an early 1960’s -20 inch Roger’s Bass drum which he plays, very traditionally, with his right foot. A Yamaha 14” Snare drum that he plays with his left foot via a custom foot pedal, and a 10 inch Gretsch snare drum that he plays as a hand drum. The two washboards are stainless steel. There is a set of tuned temple blocks, a set of tuned restaurant bells, a set of tuned cow bells, two augah horns, a fire alarm, automotive air horns, a set of tuned bulb horns and various wind instruments that he plays all at once. He also sings occasionally. Look for the kit featured in the August addition of "Modern Drummer Magazine" 2014.
Gutbucket n. -1. A homemade Bass instrument with one string using a washtub as a resonator,-2. An early type of jazz characterized by a strong beat and rollicking delivery, -3. (Music) a highly emotional style of jazz playing, 4- a cheap gambling saloon where musicians play. Well, all these answers are correct but if you answered, 1. A homemade Bass instrument with one gut string and a washtub turned upside down as a resonator that was the answer we were looking for. Either way, the word has always been associated with jazz. Having played this instrument for forty three years (and I mean this same instrument!) Terry Devine is the quintessential washtub bass player. He has a two octave range and hits every note dead on. Here is how it is done. Well first, he frets the neck of the bass (yes, it’s fretless) producing the desired notes but he occasionally tightens the tension on the string by pulling back on the neck or loosens the tension and there for is quite literally retuning the instrument as he is playing it. This allows the single string to do the job of several strings and those perfect notes that he hits are all obtained by ear. What looks simple is very difficult and when placed into the hands of an experienced performer can produce a very accurate, unique and exciting bass sound.
Terry Devine can play a hand full of instruments but the ones he loves the most are the gutbucket and yes, the jug. He has been playing the jug as long as he has been playing the washtub bass. Yep! He’s played the same jug all these years and has a two octave range. Jug playing became popular at the beginning of the twentieth century and remained in the music scene until the mid thirties. Starting off as a “poor man’s tuba” it became a fad and was seen in every type of popular band in that era. To uncork the mystery, so to speak, here is the answer to the question; “How Do You Play the Jug?” Here it is in Terry’s own words. "One night God came to me and he said, 'You, my son, shall lead mankind into a new musical awareness.... Go forth with yonder jug and give 'er.” Personally we believe that he may have a few techniques that he just doesn’t want to share. But believe what you want.
Prof. Douglas Fraser plays a pre-war 1931 Gibson Mastertone Tenor Banjo with a back up on stage (in case a string breaks) of a 1928 Ludwig Tenor Banjo. In the 1920s this was the most popular instrument in existence. It was “The Jazz Age!” Today the number of tenor or “Tango Banjos” are steadily decreasing and are no longer a common music store commodity. Fewer still are the players that know the songs written with this instrument in mind. The Professor also plays a 1939 arch top acoustic electric Gibson Tenor Guitar. Now that is a four string guitar that is tuned like a Cello. These were the instruments designed to put the banjo players back on stage in the mid thirties when the swing era hit and banjos temporarily lost their popularity. Vintage tenor guitars are very rare and seldom seen or heard today in any capacity. This instrument is in incredible condition and produces a sound and tonality that helps shape the uniqueness of The Genuine Jug Band.
The Professor is the lead vocalist and was trained by his father, a professional matinee crooner and vaudevillian comic whose career in the 1920s and 30s allowed him the continuous friendship of many of the day’s great performers. Douglas on stage from the age of three was immersed in the style and sound of vintage jazz. As a young man the stage revues constantly referred to his vocal style as “Seemingly churned out of an Edison blue wax cylinder” Of course he sounded like the 1920s because all he had been surrounded by was the authentic recordings and an instructor who knew nothing else. Douglas grew up on the road touring with his parents and at fourteen he began finding his own path. His travels and stage experiences have broadened his vocal intellect and produced a very identifiable style and delivery.