Banjo Bones

  • Genre
  • Americana
  • Awards and Nominations
    • SAMMIES 2019 Nominee★ Country/Americana/Alt-Country ★
  • Musicians
    • Banjo Bones — guitar, vocals
    • Giorgi Khokhobashvili — violin
    • John Lowrey — harmonica
    • Ron Smit — bass
    • Steve Gust — drums
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Q & A

All-time favorite song?


It's a tossup between "16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six" and "Gun Street Girl," both by Tom Waits.

How do you describe your music to people?


The dark side of Americana. That is actually my tagline and captures quite well the vibe of my music.

Tell us about how the band formed.


I started out as a solo artist, then picked up Giorgi on the violin as a soloist, and eventually met my rhythm section in a gig and was taken aback at how good and tight they were. I invited them to back me up for a record release party in 2017 and we've been playing together even since.

Tell us about your best gig in Sac.


The record release party for Cowboy Dreams in 2017 at Blue Lamp was special. It was a good and very supporting turnout that included family that came from very far away (Puerto Rico) to see the show. And the band had a really good night.

Tell us about your worst gig.


I played a gig up in Nevada City that was scheduled in conflict with a huge free concert event of a Grateful Dead cover band. There was no turnout to my gig. Only the staff was there, and a dog that sat in front of the stage and watched us play for that majority of the set. It was really pathetic. But the venue's booker made up for it by booking us as the opener for a touring band from Alabama, and we played to a sold-out crowd, and our show was broadcast over the radio, so all was good.

What artist or band are you a little embarrassed to love, and why?


I secretly loved (and still do) Wang Chung. It is a bit embarrassing because, to some extent, their sound is representative of many things I did not like about 1980s production values; but the fact is, they wrote hooks and melodies that were amazing. Just take the theme song for To Live and Die in LA as an example. I love that entire soundtrack, and it was all done by Wang Chung.

What was the first song you learned to play?


"My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" by Neil Young.

What's next for the band?


This year we are releasing a single in February and a full CD later in the year, probably October. We are also in the very early stages of planning a Northwest tour, but due to logistical and cost reasons, I may do that as a duo rather than full band.

What's the story behind the band name?


Banjo Bones is a reference to the roots foundation of the music. It is not strictly roots music, but the structure (just like the bones of the body) is founded in roots music. As banjo is one of the preeminent instruments of roots music, the combination of the two (banjo and bones) is the complete reference. Over time, the frontman for the band became the persona of Banjo Bones.

What's your favorite local artist/group?


I love working with According to Bazooka and Cash Cartell because they are pros, and I enjoy their music as a fan.

Who are your biggest influences?


Tom Waits, Joe Henry, Towns Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams.

Who first inspired you to play music?


I was inspired to pick up a guitar by hard rock bands of the '70s, such as Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Kiss, etc. But discovering Tom Waits in the 1980s made me want to become a singer and songwriter.

Words to live by?


Don't let others define success for you; only you can define your success bar. And when it stops being fun, stop doing it.

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