The band has been around since 1999. I had been playing music with our bass player, Nick, for a few years in what would later become Rhubarb. When I think of the start of the band, I think of when we went on our first road trip — to CBGB in New York City in December 1999.
“Let Me Tell You Somethin’ ” is your first studio album. How has the process of putting it together affected the band?
Let me tell you somethin’ about making the new album. Recording the music was the only part that wentsmoothly. We had mastering problems, we changed manufactures, and financially it almost killed us. I can’t wait till the next one.
How would you describe your music?
It’s hard for me to describe our music. We play jazz, but were not a jazz band. We play funk, but were not funk band. Someone called our music hip-hop-infused jazz. Someone called our keyboard player raw ’80s. So take it as you will.
This is the fourth year of the Rhubarb Family Picnic in Ellicottville. Tell us how it got started and what it’s all about.
The picnic started out as a crazy idea that has consumed six months of my life for each of the past four years. A friend of mine said Rhubarb Family Picnic as a joke, and the idea just stuck. I mentioned the idea to another friend, and he said, “I got the perfect place.” So I got the land and I know tons of bands. I brought in some port-a-potties, built a stage, and said let’s do it. Since Day One the idea of the picnic has been all about the music. We try to remove ourselves from the festival scene. You’re not going to see rows and rows of vendors, high-priced tickets and extra charges for everything.
Where do you play most of your shows? Are you a touring band?
We play a lot of shows in any of the glorious cities along the New York State Thruway like Utica, Syracuse, Rochester. Some of the best places to play are the small college towns in the middle of nowhere. We have spread some Rhubarb as far as Utah, Colorado, St. Louis, Florida and many points in between. A big tour is in the works to support the new album, which will take us into next year.
Where would you like to see the band in a few years?
In a few years I would like to see the band doing what we are doing now, only on a larger scale. But I really see us in a box of emotion singing songs that will change the world.
What do your mothers think of the band?
I would like all the readers to know all of our moms are real nice and we all enjoy a nice sandwich from time to time.