Not your average gentlemen…playing in Carbondale |

Not your average gentlemen…playing in Carbondale

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Courtesy photo

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Who says chivalry is dead? For the last few years, banjoist Andy Bean and string bass player Fuller Condon have made name for themselves by being gentlemen ” perfect, kazoo-playing gentlemen. With old-timey suites and kazoos, the Queens duo has a look and sound that’s fun, campy and absolutely original. To celebrate the release of their new CD, “Heavy Petting” the boys are going on tour almost straight through November.

Recently, as he was getting ready to load up their van, Bean gave some gentlemanly insight into this bygone phenomenon.

How did this act come about? In the past, both he and Condon had been in “very, very embarrassing rock bands,” he said. Then, about three years ago, they decided to try something new.

“We went out with an upright bass and banjo and street performed on a lark, and people started throwing money at us.”

Things picked up speed, and soon they found themselves playing several-hour street sets. To keep things interesting, they wanted to add an extra musical dimension to their sound. Since neither knew the harmonica, they picked up the next best thing.

“We were really just trying to fill some time. The first time we played kazoos, people were turning their heads from 200 yards away because it was so loud and piercing. Then it became a staple of the set.”

Describe your sound. “Sort of a vaudevillian, ragtime swing sound.”

“I think it’s happy music, and I think it’s fun. People have fun when they listen to it.”

He was also fairly sure that their group was the only one around featuring a four-string banjo.

“It’s definitely a niche market.”

What can people expect during your Thursday show? “Most importantly, they can expect free kazoos.” (They’re provided by the band’s sponsor,

“They can expect rudimentary kazoo instruction, kazoo-alongs, sing-alongs.”

There will be “strident kazooing,” he added, on various topics such as Howard Taft, the Hindenberg, mathematics and beer.

“And of course they can expect two impeccably dressed young men.” (Laughing)

What does this music mean to you? “It’s really, really fun to write songs in an old fashioned style…we like choosing topics that people may not have written about before.”

“I think we have the only song that compares love to the square root of two.”

What’s it like being the “funny guy” of the group? While he said they’re sometimes compared to the Smothers Brothers, they aren’t really putting on an act. They’re mostly just being themselves ” at least a dimension of themselves. For a short while, Bean was once a teacher at a posh high school, and he still channels the role.

“My sort of stage persona is almost exactly what my teacher persona was. Trying to get the audience’s attention about something and sort of scolding them for not paying attention adequately.”

“I think something about being around those very, very wealthy folks for a year might have taught me how to be more of gentleman.” (Laughing)

How do you want your audience to leave one of your shows? “That would be smiling. That’s all we’re going for. Kind of the old-fashioned entertainment aesthetic. That’s all we’re hoping for. And they’ll also walk away with a free kazoo, and hopefully the smile will come after that.”

What’s the most important thing in your life? “I’d say my wife. I’m very lucky to have a wife that is so understanding while I travel around the country. And a close second would be the four-string banjo.”

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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