The Richmond Mafia
I've been in many bands over the years (see the Bio page), but I've been a solo act for 10 years now ... recording the "King of a Thousand Dreams" CD was my chance to work as a bandleader, of sorts, leaning heavily on the talents of an amazing trio of muscians I call The Richmond Mafia ... why that name? A few reasons.
First, the guys are all from Richmond, VA. So, the Richmond part was obvious. Here they are at left, from top to bottom:
Charles Arthur (multi-instrumentalist) ... Charles was an amazing guy to work with. He seems to be able to play just about any instrument you put in his hands (not much of an exaggeration ... on KOTD, he played electric guitar, pedal steel, lap steel, slide guitar, mandolin, harmonica, organ, and piano). Much of the heart, soul and warmth of the songs on KOTD comes directly from Charles ... he brought the songs to life.
Brian Jones (drums) ... Brian's drumming just knocked me out. He was a fantastic collaborator, he was key in arranging the songs' feel and structure, and he had an almost magical ability to grab the core of a song very quickly, and pull the rest of the band in and drive it along ... the songs immediately took shape when Brian hit the skins. I could go on and on, but it might be better to lead you here, to an article about Brian in Richmond Magazine.
Stewart Myers (bass and Mellotron, producer & engineer) ... Stewart is the man! What a brilliant dude. He played some absolute killer bass, added all the perky Mellotron lines for counter-melody and character, and produced/engineered/mixed the record. Stewart is absolutely one of the most talented, fun and easy-going people I've ever worked with -- the vibe of this record is largely due to his guiding hand and stellar mixing/producing skills. He has an amazing ear for overall direction of a song, and he helped move most of the songs to much better places in terms of tempo, arrangement and flow. The songs on KOTD, to my ear, have a beautiful layered 3-D quality ... that's all Stewart. I'll steal his short bio from the White Star Sound website:
Stewart Myers started his professional music career as an RCA recording artist in the Richmond, VA-based band Agents of Good Roots. Since that time he has become an in-demand producer/ engineer/mixer/mulit-instrumentalist. As a bass player he has recorded with many artists across genres including Lifehouse, Jason Mraz, Shawn Colvin, Rachael Yamagata, Liz Phair, and Mandy Moore. In addition to his production work he has engineered tracks for Gomez, Mraz, Josh Kelley, Slaid Cleaves, Yamagata, Parachute and many many more. He has also mixed several major label releases for artists including Jason Mraz and Parachute.
Back to the band name -- The Richmond Mafia. We considered just the plain old geographic one-word name ... like Asia, Europe, Chicago, Boston and Kansas. But Richmond just isn't a famous enoug ... and Virginia doesn't roll off the tongue.
Elvis had The Memphis Mafia ... Now, by no means am I comparing myself to Elvis (I don't even own a leather jumpsuit anymore), but I began my musical journey in life imitating The King as a toddler (see Bio page) ... so, why not steal the "Mafia"
We decided to latch on to long tradition of naming a band via the "Someone and the Somethings" template. From the greats (think Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, KC and the Sunshine Band, Prince and the Revolution, Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band), to the perhaps less-than-great (Markie Mark and the Funky Bunch), to the fine one-hit-wonders (Katrina and the Waves), to the absolute disasters (Felix and the Fancy French Four, a badly-named ensemble singing terrible French love songs).
Funny thing: There is an actual band called "Someone and the Somethings." We may now be the end of the line for this band-naming tactic ... Someone and the Somethings is the ultimate, can't-go-any-further-with-the-pattern self-reference. The Richmond Mafia got in just under the wire!