Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lee Presson and the Nails on Calliopes, the one steam-powered musical instrument

This post is stretching the steampunk link a bit, but the connection between this very lively jazz/swing band and SP is that Dieselpunk magazine once interviewed the lead singer. In that interview, he made a good point about musical instruments that can be considered steampunk ... that there is only one!  Here is what he said:

"I take great pride in the fact that the San Francisco Chronicle coined the term "Goth Swing" to describe LPN in 1996! The "electro-swing" I've heard so far I haven't been that impressed with, although I like the concept. Thomas Dolby's done dieselpunk as well as it could be done. Steampunk? I don't think it has an official sound yet. If you want to get VERY technical, the calliope is the world's only steam-powered instrument (that's right - CIRCUS music) so let's use that as a springboard for something! Second swing revival? Jazz never dies; it just lays low for a while. It'll be back, and we'll be ready."

The band has been active in the San Fran music scene, playing accessible music halls and generally giving audiences a great show (they often play at the DNA Lounge, solo or as part of the burlesque Hubba Hubba Revue. (Just this week, Lee helped with the bash in honor and memory of Eddie Dane, another SF entertainment icon, who recently passed away.) If you would like to learn more about LPN, here is their web site. They have played ballroom, jazz, swing, polka, waltzes... you name it! So by way of musical styles that are still evolving and making toes tap everywhere, I give you something to discover for yourselves. I  intend to investigate calliopes further, soon, though!

~ DS


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