I often say I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be sharing the stage with these guys, and I really do mean it, and not just because they work cheap! Jon is a long-time member of one of New York's best-loved bands, the roots rockin' Beat Rodeo. Whether kickin' ass on the pedal steel, mandolin, or peeling off mind-boggling, deep-pocket riffage on his incredible 1960 Fender Esquire, Jon is first-call sideman of choice for any number of hip artists such as Laura Cantrell, Kelly Willis, Freedy Johnston, Amy Rigby, Ray Davies, Peter Noone, P.F. Sloan, Steve Almaas, The Schramms, The Chelsea Mountain Jamboree, & Will Rigby, to name just a few. Rumor has it he is a cameraman in his "other life," though none of us can actually recall ever having seen him squint. He released an instrumental Christmas CD in 2002 called For Christ's Sake! on Confidential Recordings, as well as contributing to the Husky Team's brilliant Christmas in Memphis. Gentleman Jon adds a unique West Coast honkytonk vibe to the band, & can always be counted on to separate the lean from the fat, & don't we all want that? Famous quote: "forget the praise, just gimme a raise!" Danny has been at it for over 25 years in a "variety of contexts," as he puts it (that's a librarian for ya!), from his salad days with Country Granola to groundbreaking work with Tony Trischka's legendary "newgrass" group Skyline, cutting four records for Flying Fish, the cream of which has been reissued on Rounder Records' Ticket Back - Skyline: A Retrospective 1980-1988. His warm vocal sound & hot lead pickin' has been recognized by Frets Magazine, & has made him a much in-demand player, appearing with Tex Logan, Vasser Clements, David Bromberg, The Alphabet City Opry, Sheriff Uncle Bob & the Goodtimers, as well as guitar workshops & performances all around the world, most recently in Russia, Spain, the UK, & the Czech Republic. You can also find Danny appearing with Mary Olive Smith & the Smokies, in the WKCR-FM Radio Jamboree house band, as well as the acoustic trio, Silk City, who recently released their own fine CD on Sliced Bread Records, Time. He's also the Director of the Fanwood Memorial Library in scenic Fanwood, NJ, & swears they don't have a copy of the dreaded "Necronomicon" by the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred. Long-time Ghost Rocket compatriot, & first choice A-Team sideman when the Nitro Express first got off the ground in early 2000, wily bassist-around-town Mick is a truly solid musician, songwriter, & crackerjack lead & harmony singer, & one of the world's all-time nicest guys. His great stage presence, sharp wardrobe & faultless reliability make him a real pleasure to work with in any respect, vintage GI JOE collection & a curious absence of nipples & navel notwithstanding. Mick is a former member of The Grip Weeds, Tonebenders, The Legendary Wild Ensemble, & has a swell solo CD called Redemption Center, which you can find along with an astonishing assortment of Mp3's, lyrics, photos, funny links, shocking personal details, an impressive graphic design portfolio, & daily surf reports at the Mick Hargreaves Home Page. Holds the slightly dubious honor of being the Ghost Rockets' longest-serving drummist, keeping us all running full-bore with his amazing, loose-wristed freight-train shuffle. Pete has great timing, & instinctively picks up on minute lyrical & musical nuances of a song, which really gives it that something extra...& never fails to slip in some kooky fill that'll crack us up, so we're really blessed to have him aboard for the ride. He has also played & recorded with local artists such as Regular Einstein, Nora Crabtree, among others. Realizing that anyone with moderate craftsman proficiency can build their own drum kits, Pete started up his own company called Whitebelly Drums, & he can whip up a dandy custom trap set to fit your style & needs - featuring all maple Keller shells, in your choice of thicknesses, & a wide variety of stains, wax finishes, high gloss plastic coverings or even groovy crushed velvet - that will knock your socks off! Pete wanted us to tell you that he really loves his car. Isn't that cute?
Yet another old Ghost Rocket drummer, Chris appears with us, as schedules allow, on rhythm guitar, accordion, harmony vocals, & as well as being a fine singer/songwriter to boot. During the better part of the 80's he played with the Delevante brothers in Who's Your Daddy, joining the GRox in 1993 after seeing them rehearsing one fall afternoon in Hoboken's Church Square Park (the subject of his wonderful song, Colder In The Park.), & has also served as a regular member of the floating aggregation known as The Hoboken Honkytonk All Stars. Chris is president of The Systems Group, an internationally recognized broadcast systems design & engineering firm that fabricates & integrates the electronics backbone that supports modern broadcasting facilities. YOWZA! Here's a story about them from a recent MIX Magazine article. It's such a treat to play with Chris again, he's a good guy & a real sparkplug.
| Chris Mehos (guitar, accordion)|
A native of Central Kentucky, Miss Brandi Danielle Hart began singing in church choirs at the age of two. In her teens, she was a touring member & soloist with the Immanuel Baptist Youth Choir, where in addition to singing, she also played violin, handbells, & just about any other noisemaker she could get her little piddies on. Now she's all grown up - though surprisingly uncorrupted by the bright lights and (formerly) smoky barrooms of New York City. When she's not onstage with the Nitro Express, lending her considerable vocal talents as Buddy's main duet singer, or pickin' with Buddy & Josh Reid in their bluegrass band, The Dixie Bee-Liners, she's busy at work on a much-anticipated solo project, The Dainty Bluebell Choir. Keep your eye on her, folks: this one's going places...& she's got my wallet!
| Brandi Hart (Regular Guest Star/duet singer)|
When the boys have other gigs, I call on these handpicked, Grade A, USDA Choice sidemen. Mark has big hands, & you know what that means! The pride of Rosemount, MN, & one of the Notorious Boquist Brothers (the other two are in a little group you might've heard of called Son Volt), we met through a personal ad in Bass Master Quarterly. Mark started on the drums at age 11, & proudly states he finally took his first lesson (from Gene Krupa's main man Sam Ulano) last year, & says that set him straight, alright. His first gig was at a barn dance with his brothers in their acoustic ensemble, the Broken Beaus. Mark has also graced the stage with such notables as Big Back 40, The Disciples Of Agriculture, & 34 Satellite, who have been giving him lots of work lately. Mark was our first drummer; he's tall, friendly, a whiz in the kitchen, & also dishes out one of the grooviest backbeats you could ever lean up against. "Seg" was seriously bitten by the banjo bug during The Great Folk Scare, moving up the musical evolutionary scale to bluegrass soon after, & making stops along the way to pick up some Travis licks on the guitar. He played with the Clinton Hill Ramblers for awhile before taking a break to raise family & buildings. Five years ago he went ballistic for the pedal steel, & has been performing ever since with Tumbleweed (which he describes as a "commercial-rock-country-Nashville guy-with-hat" act), The Big Galoots, off-Broadway with The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the WDVR-FM "Heartlands Hayride" house band, as well as logging gigs with Sun Records legend Billy Lee Riley, The Lonely Samoans, Due West, The Chelsea Mountain Jamboree's salute to Merle Haggard..."and a few other odds & ends," including BW&NE!
I met Josh several years ago when he was the Sunday morning DJ for WKCR's long-running bluegrass program, The Moonshine Show, & immediately challenged him to a legendary on-air Everclear drinking contest (which I soundly lost!). More recently, he played bass with The Blind Pharaohs, until the lead guitarist tried to crush his windpipe. A real bluegrass boy, & one of my best friends, he is also adept on the 5-string, guitar, upright bass, knows all the harmony parts, is mighty tall cotton as a songwriter, & owns a shockingly grotesque pair of "Big Pooty-Drawer pants" that make his ass look 4 foot wide. How many folks can say that? [How many WOULD?? - ed.] Josh proudly states that his butt comprises nearly 40% of his total body weight, even without the trousers. Sorry girls, he's taken!
| Cousin Josh Reid (bass guitar)|
Mike is a composer, producer, & studio musician in the New York area. He's written music for many television & radio commercials, played guitar, pedal steel & dobro for advertisements, CDs, & film scores; performed in the orchestra for Broadway & off-Broadway productions; & toured North America performing with various rock, country & bluegrass bands. Mike is also a freelance writer, & currently edits On Stage Magazine, as well as being the author of three instructional books: "Slide Guitar," "Easy Blues Riffs for Guitar," & "Country Rock Riffs for Guitar." Mike most recently authored "How to be a Working Musician," but has yet to take up my suggestion to pen the supplement, ''...and Actually Get Paid!" We met on a nightmarish bluegrass gig in Butt Ugly, New Jersey, & have been laughing about it ever since. He's a top-flight musician, super nice guy, & always a treat to pick with. A superb dobro player, you'll be hearing more from Mike on upcoming recordings by The Chelsea Mountain Boys, Nitro Express, & more. A longtime pal & pickin' partner, Boo kindly lends his considerable b-bender talents to BW&NE whenever the need arises. You may recognize him from the Demolition String Band, who have spent much of the last two years touring in support of their CD, "Pulling Up Atlantis." Could be you've heard him on WFUV-FM's "Live In Studio A" with Rita Houston, or on "Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour." Maybe you recognize Boo as the Johnny Reb banjo picker a-wanderin' Times Square in an episode of Michael Moore's The Awful Truth, or even from our part-time bluegrass ensemble, The Blackwater Shoals...but most likely you recognize him as the frenzied guy shrieking horrible epithets from the car behind you in the Holland Tunnel toll line. In his off hours, whenever the hell that is, Boo runs Acoustic Performance Systems, a dealer/pro-shop specializing in highly personalized service & top quality products (McIntyre, L. R. Baggs, George L, Spectraflex, Aspect Design Labs, Paige, etc.) owned & used in the trenches by the proprietor himself. Boo builds some mighty fine custom pedal boards, as used by Lloyd Cole & band, Jack Petruzeli & Andrew Carillo (Joan Osborne), longtime James Taylor guitarist Bob Mann, Buddy, & others. But his crowning achievment is having developed the most scientifically faultless, precision waffle process it has ever been my privilege to sample.
| Mike Levine (pedal steel, dobro)|
Dave lives, breathes & pounds in Hoboken, NJ, & has worked with many different artists over the years, including The Big Galoots, Frank Bango & the Magic Fingers, Skanatra, Big Happy Crowd, Gimme The Gun, & The Marys. Dave has recently been touring with NYC alt.country-rockers, The Hangdogs. Rumors that his mother lost him to them in a poker game are unconfirmed at press time. A self-proclaimed "worshiper at the temple of Mark Horn," you just never know when "Pickles" (a nickname he thoroughly despises) will sneak up behind you, jab a finger into your chest and yell, "I'm warning you!"
| Dave "Pickles" Stengel (drums)|