Night Moves members say goodbye to Flying Dorito Brothers on Friday (INTERVIEW)
Considering the pretty-boy charlatanism that dominates Nashville these days, it's hard to say with a straight face that country music is making a resurgence. More country heads of this generation have decided to reach back to the good ol' days, when heartbreak had machismo and white lightnin' was still the biggest thrill of all.
The Flying Dorito Brothers -- a local collective of eight good-timin' young dudes -- embody this nostalgic appreciation; as indicated by their shrewd play on The Flying Burrito Brothers, they're a Gram Parsons cover band. Gimme Noise spent time with the guys in their final days before an indefinite hiatus.
Parsons is famous for building a bridge between country and rock music before his death in 1973. Since 2010, the Flying Dorito Brothers have paid their respects by singing, dancing and drinking all over that bridge. The band consists of Night Moves members Micky Alfano and Mark Ritsema, as well as Alex Pennaz, Hunter Ness, Oskar Brummel, Tim Evenson, Anders Imboden and Sky Audsley. This Friday they'll play their last show at Palmer's -- with Hot Freaks and Vogue -- before going on an indefinite hiatus, coming as a result of Night Moves' intensified schedule after signing to Domino Records, and other benign complications.
It would seem that starting a country cover band with eight drinking buddies might lack motives beyond having a rip-roarin' time. And though Alfano admits "it was kind of an excuse not to drink alone," the Dorito Bros project is equal parts tribute and good times. The homage to their hero exists as much in the attitude (read: inebriation) as the songs themselves.
"I felt like I wasn't hearing this type of music in Minneapolis, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to do this," Alfano tells Gimme Noise. "I wanted to go out to a bar and hear these songs."
"It is kind of a tribute, since we get drunk in spirit," Ritsema adds. "[The Flying Burrito Brothers] weren't that great on stage when they played. We're also kinda bad sometimes." With limited internet presence and no recorded material, the band keeps itself pretty well hidden unless you catch them live. But with the help of venues like Palmer's, the Nomad and Hymie's Vintage Records, they've gained traction as a must-see live act, which, if nothing else, has resulted in a lot of free booze for the band.
"When we first started playing, someone would just buy a case of beer and we'd take turns. Then we started figuring out that if we played shows we could get paid some money to buy beer. So none of us have really bought beer for like the last year now," Imboden explains, while passing around a 1.75 of Black Velvet whisky, purchased from the band fund.
And that's as much a success story as the Dorito Bros hoped for. Plus, they still have close to a $1,000 surplus of "beer money" going into the indefinite hiatus. They debated at the interview what to do with overage, ranging from more beer to a neon Flying Dorito Brothers sign. As of now, however, putting it all down on roulette is the front-runner. That's right, they do also "covers" of Parsons' ride-or-die lifestyle.
"I know that this sounds like a joke, but I am almost entirely serious that we should put it all on red," Alfano says.
"I thought you said black," Pennaz responds.
For the home-bodied Parsons fan, the Dorito Brother's impending dissolution won't mean much -- the original Gilded Palace is theirs for the torrenting. But for those that wish to see these songs in a live setting, played with the imperfect precision their creator intended, Friday might be the last chance.
The Flying Dorito Brothers. With Hot Freaks and Vogue. 9 p.m. Friday, February 24 at Palmer's, 500 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis. Click here.
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