Oct

14

What do you do with a liberal arts education? Play Kazoos, obviously

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mr beanAndy Bean, CC ’01, is one of the gentlemen of the Two-Man-Gentlemen-Band. Together with Fuller Condon (CC ’00) they perform ‘Up-Tempo, Original, Old-Time, Two-Man Music at a reasonable volume.’ Bwog Staffer Brendan Ballou asked Mr. Bean a lot about kazoos.

So what’s the Two-man-Gentlemen-Band?

The two is an Americana band. We play country and Dixieland swing on the banjo, bass and kazoo

When did you start using a kazoo?

We started as street performers in central park, and the kazoo began strictly as a crowd gathering device, like a ram’s horn.

Explain?

You’re in a park with other performers competing for the attention dollars of passers-by, and the kazoo grabs people’s attention. As we gathered big crowds we started incorporating it more into our act. It really began as a things to do other than singing and to gather a crowd.

Don’t you give out kazoos at your performances for everyone to play?

That’s true and we worked out a sponsorship with kazoos.com. it hasn’t happened yet but in the next two months we’re going to have custom Two Man Gentlemen Band kazoos.


So is kazoos.com an official sponsor of the Two Man Gentlemen Band?

Yes, we are officially sponsored by Kazoos.com. They’re not giving us enough stuff so that we have to say, ‘Kazoos.com Presents: The Two Man Gentlemen Band’.

So how did you get interested in this kind of music?

We get asked this a lot. We don’t really know. We don’t really sound like any musician alive or dead, because there aren’t that many banjo – bass – kazoo harmonizing duos. But we both love older music, so that comes out.

I’m  kind of surprised because I expect that this kind of music would be one song at a different tempo every time, but it isn’t. For example, I think ‘General Jackson’s Arm’ is just really moving. Do you think you can actually express some heartfelt emotion, or is this just for fun?

Oh absolutely, this is what we do. I don’t think we’d be able to do this unless we were able to incorporate what we wanted to incorporate. I mean we’re both pretty happy-go-lucky, silly guys, and that comes out in our music. But you know, we have other thoughts and concerns and we hope that comes out too, even if it’s a little less obvious. And actually in the three, four years that we’ve been doing this our sound has changed a lot.

How so?

When we started we sounded more country and now we’re a little more swing and jazzy.

So what’s your day job – you teach at CUNY, right?

That’s right. I teach two classes there and I edit math textbooks. But that’s only two days a week and the other five are spent on music. My partner has a job that’s sort of made for musicians and actors. Every couple of weekends he’ll go off and do market research for Best Buy or some firm and then be back and do music.

Are you at all worried that some day one of your students from CUNY will see you performing on the street?

I think that if I were teaching high school it would be more awkward because you have that student-teacher relationship. I’m not that older than my students to begin with so I don’t think they look at me as an authority figure. I think with college students they realize that teachers have lives.

You teach math, right?

Yeah, I teach math.

So in fact has your Columbia degree served you well?

Both of our parents occasionally mention our $150,000 education and the fact that we’re playing for change.

How do you respond to that – is it just an awkward silence?

I think I gave them some bit about a liberal arts education, you know, encouraging expression. But I think it was tongue-in-cheek

Two Man Gentlemen Band will be playing at Postcrypt Coffee House Saturday October 21st, at 11:00

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4 Comments

  1. Oh Man  

    Bwog, a job thoroughly well done.

  2. Shira  

    Mr. Ballou, you have done the Bwog-reading community a great service!

  3. postcrypt  

    please sign them up!

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