Antonio Fletcher’s tuba provides the signature sound for Blacktip Island’s newest band, formed by members of other popular island musical groups. (photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan)
Members of three popular Blacktip Island musical bands this week left their respective groups to form a new supergroup in an effort to grow artistically and create a unique island musical sound.
“We’d been playing the same beach music schtick for years,” The Social Morays’ lead guitarist Gage Hoase said. “We needed to stretch ourselves musically. Tourists loved the stuff, sure, but there’s no tourists now. No one on the island wants to hear faux-Buffett, and me and Marina got tired of playing it.
“We were hanging out offstage at last month’s Battle of the Bands at the Heritage House, shooting the breeze with other bands, and realized Payne and Jessie felt the same way,” Hoase said. “We all wanted to do something totally new and different. We settled on a mix of oompah and ska. We call it ‘oomp-ska.’”
Joining Hoase in the new band are fellow Social Morays drummer Marina DeLow, TURTLE!!! bassist Jessie Catahoula and Young Jacques and the Double Hose spoons-and-beer-bottle virtuoso Payne Hanover.
“We’d all gotten stagnant,” DeLow said. “We gelled pretty fast, though, and played our first gig at last week’s book-launch party. Oomp-ska’s an odd mix, but it works. You just have to give it a few minutes. It grows on you.
“The toughest part was agreeing on a name for the band,” DeLow said. “Then Payne and me realized we’d garbled out the same Frenglish phrase in our respective high school French classes, and both got sent to the principal’s office for it. Gage and Jessie laughed, and now we’re Qu’Est-Ce Que F*ck Que C’est?”
The group also tapped into undeveloped talent on the island.
“We really needed a tuba to get the right amount of ‘oomp’ in our sound,” Hanover said. “That’s where Antonio Fletcher came in. We knew he liked to play his tuba by himself at night, and we knew we had to have him. He gives us that rock-solid foundation to jam from.”
Audience reaction was positive after the band’s debut last Friday.
“I laughed at first, Hugh Calloway said. “But then the rhythm hit and people were dancing like crazy. The sound grabs you. It’s irresistible, really. One minute I was rolling my eyes, the next my feet were moving to the beat, something between a polka and a rumba.”
Music critic Rusty Goby praised the band’s output.
“The individual elements may be derivative, but the final product isn’t,” he said. “This is something totally new and unexpected. It’s Blacktip’s unique musical sound.”
In related news, The Social Morays, TURTLE!!! and Young Jacques and the Double Hose will be auditioning new members this weekend.