New Record, Live Shows and MORE!!!

Plague Dad, live at the Sun Tiki Studios in Portland, Maine, on Feb. 5, 2022. Photo by WillowPix.

Yeah, it’s been a while since the last post, but there’s been a lot going on.

The important thing is, there’s a lot coming up — not the least of which is a new record: a 10″, called Live At the Sun Tiki, or as we like to call it: L@ST.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a live set, recorded live and in person at the Sun Tiki Studios in Portland, Maine, on February 5, 2022.

It’s limited to 25 lathe-cut copies, each with a different cover, and the art — from Seattle’s Bonz Fuchno — is hella cool. We’re gonna be rolling out Bonz’s covers on our Insta feed in the coming weeks, but the music itself isn’t going to be on any streaming service, or available anywhere else, for that matter – ’cause, you know, we want to be as commercially inaccessible as possible. The records will include a download code and they’ll be available for pre-order soon on our Bandcamp page, but when they’re gone, they’re gone.

We’ll be doing a record release party at the Brass Rail in Portland on Saturday, August 27, with our friends, Pine Tree Riot, and The House Flies, who headlined that infamous show at the Sun Tiki that ended up on the record. It’s gonna be a night to remember … and we’ll hold five copies of the record for the show, so if you miss out on the Bandcamp page, you can score one there.

Can’t wait for the Brass Rail show? No worries.

The folks at Mushroom Stomp Records were kind enough to have us stop by and record a set for them a couple of months ago, and it’s now officially up and running on their YouTube channel. If you’ve got a few minutes, stop by and check it out, ’cause it’s right there, below. We’re wicked proud of it, and Luke did a helluva job capturing the Plague Dad sound.

Not satisfied with mere video? Fine, come catch us live.

We’re playing in Bangor at G-Force on Friday, June 24, with River of Trees (a Mushroom Stomp band) and Peach Hat, who we were lucky enough to see at the Sun Tiki a couple of months ago. It’s gonna be a helluva show. Tickets at the door.

There’s a lot more coming up, too — including a couple of high-profile shows in Portland later this summer, a live set on USM’s WMPG in July, and maybe even a livestream or two, but more about all that later.

Stay tuned, and thanks for listening.

The secret of old dogs busking, and learning new tricks. 

Plague Dad is strangely organic. When I say that, I mean that I, and Frank, have been involved in many musical projects, both together and apart over the past. What makes this current iteration of our long-time music collaboration different is our dedication to playing on the street.

IE: Busking. 

Plague Dad busking in the Old Port, Portland, Maine, circa September 2021.

I personally have had the utmost respect for buskers over the years. And have been influenced by many unnamed street performers in San Francisco, Boston, Kansas City, et al. But I have never really committed to that potential for percussion performance. 

I come from a drum set background, and the idea of trying to make that mobile has always been a challenge. Much less the idea of a quick set up on the street where the stage is the side walk and not level, where we have to find the right place to set up, where my traditional drum kit is a no go. 

So I had to adapt. I have these bongos. For many years. For nearly as long as I’ve known Frank. 

I used them for my own mobile entertainment over the years. But they became the perfect mobile centerpiece. I took up wooden spoons as an instrument as well. And then Frank had this kick box bass drum. It’s heavy, but compact. And not as heavy as either of my 22” kick drums. 

I wanted to meet the spirit of what we are were trying to do. So I pared down my “kit” to those old-ass but great sounding bongos, the kick box, foot jingles and shakers. And the spoons. I’ve recently added washboard to my repertoire, too, to keep things even more mobile. 

So with that mindset, Plague Dad went all in on street performance. 

We started out in the Wharf Alley in Old Port. And started to perform on the street in a few other locations.

The feedback is so immediate: are we just entertaining enough for you to drop a dollar in the case? Or maybe even buy a 7″

I mean, how immediate is that reward? Amazing. Makes you learn and earn. Hones your skills for the idea of chaos, direct marketing in all of its best and worst forms. 

Like nothing I’ve ever experienced up to that point in musical performance. Sharpens your musical skills, your interactive skills, your commitment to play on, even when it sucks a little bit, (or a lot) and there is no money to be had at the moment … but maybe. A little later, maybe, we work the crowd better. Maybe. Perform better. Song select better. Maybe. Read the room.

It all adds up to the best way to rehearse for pay, and create a fully realized sound that evolved on the street one dollar at time. 

Support your local busker. Even if you might not truly dig that person’s particular sound — we were terrible once, too. Hell, a lot of folks might say we still are … 

—-mig

Next up: How did Cops On Acid become the song it is now. 

The new Plague Dad EP is featured in a WMPG-FM podcast, and stay tuned for upcoming shows …

Our new six-song EP dropped nearly two weeks ago now, and momentum around it continues to build — more importantly, people are still buying it over on our Bandcamp page, and for that we’re enormously grateful.

The new EP, titled, “Back In The Tree,” is a cassette-only release, in an opaque white shell with a clear Norelco case. It includes a lyric sheet, liner notes, stickers, and other cool insert stuff, as well as a digital download, too. It’s strictly limited to 100 copies, and there are still a few copies left to be had, but when they’re gone, they’re gone. There won’t be a second run.

Anyhoo, it’s been added to some Spotify playlists, and a few radio stations have started to play some of the tracks, too, but one of the things we’re most proud of is that Lorenzo, who hosts the Podcast Open Mic, gave it some serious play in the latest episode of his show.

Lorenzo was kind enough to devote an entire episode to Plague Dad last month, so to get some more positive attention from his show so soon is kind of a big deal, and we’re truly thankful for it.

You can listen to the episode, which also features a segment on Biddeford singer/songwriter/busker Jim Baumer, using the embed below.

Bandcamp Friday is just around the corner and the new release is ready to go …

The day after tomorrow is, of course, Bandcamp Friday, which means for that day, Bandcamp will forego its cut of all sales and 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the artists.

The new EP from Plague Dad — cassette only, strictly limited to 100 copies, hand numbered, in white opaque shell and a clear Norelco case.

You can get it here.

And Plague Dad’s got something special for you: a brand-new EP, featuring six tracks: five originals, and one cover of a tune called Sickness, by Ted Hawkins – who, if you haven’t heard of, you’d do well to check out.

The new release is cassette-only, but of course includes a download code so you can listen on your various digital devices.

The songs themselves were recorded at Sun Tiki Studios on Forest Ave. in Portland, Maine, and mastered by Dylan Ray down in Nashville, and they sound fucking awesome. If you’ve caught a live Plague Dad show, this tape has that high-energy, Grungefolk vibe. If you haven’t seen ’em live, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

The cassettes themselves are strictly limited to 100 units, hand-numbered, in white shell nested in a clear Norelco case. They include a lyric sheet, liner notes, a Plague Dad sticker, and there’ll probably be some other cool swag stuffed into the package, too.

You don’t wanna miss this one, folks, because when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Plague Dad Drops New Single on Spotify – Here’s Your Link!

So, we’re getting ready to drop a new EP next week on Bandcamp: 6 tunes – five originals and one really cool cover by a dude named Ted Hawkins – and you can get an early listen to the first single exclusively on Spotify right now! Here’s the link!

It’s called, “They Ran Us Off”, and it’s a short song – 2:43 – but powerful. It’s built primarily on a Cmaj7 chord, which isn’t something you hear every day in a folkpunk song, so if you like the tune, and you really wanna do us a solid, add it to a playlist of yours, or even (gasp!) give us a follow! That would be huge, and we’d be eternally grateful.

Frank playing They Ran Us Off

I wrote the music one late night after Mig texted me a poem he’d just written. I don’t know where it came from, we’ve not really talked about that yet, but it was clearly something he felt deeply and needed to get out there, and when I read it for the first time, it connected viscerally. I could feel the pain, the loneliness and the rejection. Maybe because I was feeling a bit of the same stuff at the same time, I dunno, but in a couple of hours I’d texted him back a rough first version that I recorded on my phone, using the voice memo tool, ’cause we’re all sophisto like that.

We polished it up a bit, made a decent recording and had it mastered, and now it’s ready for you to hear if you want. All you gotta do is hit that Spotify link, and maybe even buy the tape when it comes out on Friday, Nov. 5.

The EP itself, btw, is cassette-only, and limited to 100 copies – but don’t worry: each copy comes with a digital download, too. You’ll be able to pre-order soon – follow the blog here if you wanna stay up on all the news re: new releases, shows, lives streams and all the other cool stuff we’ve got going on.

Plague Dad Featured in WMPG Podcast!

You can listen to it here – but the backstory is pretty interesting on its own.

A couple of weeks ago, we played Porchfest, here in Portland, Maine’s Deering Center neighborhood. It was a blast, and a good time was had by all. One of the people we met there was Lorenzo, who hosts WMPG‘s Podcast Open Mic show.

Lorenzo actually caught us over two nights – I think perhaps because he was intrigued with the idea of interviewing some genuine buskers. Or maybe he just didn’t have anything better to do. Who knows.

Plague Dad busking in the Old Port in Portland, Maine.

Anyway, he caught us one night in the Old Port, in our usual spot on Wharf Alley, and originally, that was his plan for the end of it. But evidently, some of the audio didn’t come out too well, so he decided to come down the next week and catch us again to pick up the content needed to fill out the show.

Except, we weren’t there, because we were playing Amigo’s.

We got a text from him, asking where we were, an explained the situation, and a few minutes later, in he walked.

The best part is Lorenzo managed to record a good portion of our set at Amigo’s that night, and put that together with the material he got from our busking sets the week before – and the stuff from Amigo’s is pretty amazing. The crowd reaction alone was some that, as a musician, I’ve never experienced. People really enjoyed the show, an we had a great time playing.

Masked up for busking in Portland, Maine.

Beyond that, it’s the only live material that we’ve gotten recorded to date.

Bottom line, it’s well worth a listen.

New Plague Dad Music Coming Soon …

For the last couple of months, we’ve been woodshedding hard, playing shows at least once, sometimes twice or even three times, per weekend – parties, clubs, Porchfest, busking – you name it; wherever and whenever we can.

And what we’ve only just begun to realize is, we’re not just playing. We’re performing. We’re playing a show. We’re entertaining.

And if you haven’t been able to catch one a them live shows, you’ll soon be able to get an idea of what we’ve been up to during that time – because we’re putting out some new music.

100 copies, to be exact, available on cassette only, and only Bandcamp Friday, which is Nov. 5 – or at one of our live shows, if we have any left. The cassette’s gonna have six, maybe seven tunes on it, but only four are going to be on the digital download. You’re gonna wanna go cassette on this one.

You can buy it here when it goes live on Nov. 5. Don’t worry, there’ll be download codes in the cassettes, which are also gonna contain all sorts of other cassette-only goodies, so really, if you’re on the fence about going digital or cassette – go with the cassette. It’ll be worth your while. Plus, your cool factor will jack up exponentially among your core demographics – cassettes are coming back, big time – didn’t you see Guardians of the Galaxy, ferchrissake? Even Forbes is on the cassette train. This is your chance to be ahead of the curve.

Anyway, we recorded it live at the Sun Tiki in Portland – whose owner, Ian, will be the first to tell you – isn’t a recording studio. It’s a rehearsal studio. There’s bleed. Every band can hear every there band rehearse. Not exactly the best recording conditions.

But here’s the thing: the rooms sound great. Really fucking good. It’s a joy to work there.

MIguel plays the spoons.

Plus, they rent by the hour and it opens really early in the morning – like, 7 a.m.

And no self-respecting musician is gonna get up that early on a Monday or Tuesday to practice. Just sayin’, it ain’t gonna happen.

At least, that’s how we figured it.

So, we booked a room there on a Monday about four months ago, from 8 am to 2 pm, figuring we’d have the place to ourselves. And for the most part, we did.

We brought in our little four-track board, a couple of good microphones, and our busking set-up. We played live for four or five hours, and walked outta there with six tracks that had potential, we thought: five originals and one cover. We had them mastered by a guy named Dylan Ray outta Nashville, who worked wonders.

And, by God, if it don’t sound half bad. In fact, it sounds pretty goddam good.

We’re dropping the first tune – it’s called “They Ran Us Off” – on Oct. 16. It’ll be available on the usual digital distro channels: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, and probably a bunch of others I’ve forgotten about. I’ll post the links here in the blog when I’ve got ’em.

It’s a riveting little tune, though, a tough little number that checks in at around 2:43 seconds, give or take a few seconds of studio chatter we left in there, ’cause why not?

Frank Gallagher plays some guitar.

It emerged out of a poem that Mig texted me late one night, and it struck me just the right way – maybe because I was, at least, in part, in pretty much the same place that Mig’s lyrics described.

But like I said, it’s a tough little song; it’s all about alienation, and indignity, and bullshit – good lord, the bullshit – and ultimately, hope. Because really, that’s all we’ve got.

So, yeah, check the streaming services come Nov. 5 or – even better – join our mailing list, and we’ll send it to you when it comes out.

And we won’t spam you. Promise.

And there’ll be more to come; we’ve got some special surprises in store in the coming weeks, and we truly hope you’ll sign on and stick around a while. It’s gonna be fun.

All the photos here, btw, were done by Ryan Schools, who’s an amazing photog. I’d’a linked to his sit here if he had one, but he doesn’t. That said, you wanna book him, lemme know. I can put you in touch.

Plague Dad Played Amigo’s In Portland Last Week

For most of the summer, we’ve been setting up on Friday and Saturday nights down on Wharf St., in Portland’s Old Port, busking from about 10pm until the bars close – and last Friday was no different. It had been raining hard all day, though, and we weren’t sure we were going to get to play. But by around 10, the rain had cleared off and it turned into a rather nice evening, so we packed our gear and headed down to the Old Port to play a few sets.

Plague Dad – Live at Amigo’s in Portland, Maine’s Old Port, on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021

Now, usually, we’re competing against the live band that’s playing at Amigo’s, where they have an awesome outdoor patio and feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights. On this night, though, the rain apparently scared off whichever band was supposed to play, because when we rolled up at 10 to set up in the alley, the place was silent. Nothing happenin’ at all.

We talked briefly with the door man at back, who confirmed that the band had not shown up and there was no live music at Amigo’s that night.

So, sensing an opportunity, I grabbed my guitar case and went up to the front door. The door man took one look at me and said, hey, you guys playing here tonight?

“We sure are,” I said. “Is the manager around?”

Amigos Mexican Restaurant in Portland, Maine’s Old Port -a great spot for good food, the finest local beers and some of the best live music in town.

Yeah, somewhere, he said. You’ll find her.

And find her I did, behind the bar. I ordered a beer. As she place the ice-cold brew in front of me, I said, hey, I hear your band tonight didn’t show. Would it be okay if we played here?

She looked me up and down and said, who are you?

I told her that we’re a band called Plague Dad, and she might’ve heard us because we’ve been busking pretty much every Friday night out front of her joint for the last couple of months, and drawing a pretty good crowd, too. I explained that we had our own PA, our own mics, and that we were ready to go. All we need is a small space to set up in.

She thought about it for a moment and said, eh, never heard of you. I think we’re good, but thanks for stopping by.

Thankfully, though, three of the servers who working there that night were standing near by and heard the conversation.

Alanna White, who also happens to be the Head Chef at the East Ender, piped right up: Did you say Plague Dad, she said? I said yeah, that’s us, and we were hoping to fill in if here tonight if nothing else is going on.

I’ve heard you guys, she said, out there busking every Friday – you guys are awesome!

Alanna turned to the manager and said, hey, these guys are great – you’ve got to let them play here tonight. They’d be perfect, and people will love them.

And so, based on that particularly credible personal testimony, the manager gave us the go-ahead. I can’t pay you, she said, but you can play for tips.

Lorenzo, host of WMPG’s
Podcast Open Mic show.

Good enough. We grabbed our gear – a Roland Street Cube Ex, two mics, two mic stands, my guitar and mandolin, and Mig’s percussion rig – and set up in the corner of the patio.

Fifteen minutes later, we were underway, and an hour later the place was packed and people were rockin’ out and having a great time.

We set up our case for tips, just like we were busking out in the alley, and people must have liked what they heard, because they were extraordinarily generous that night. We also sold four records – which you can pick up here at Bandcamp, if you’re so inclined.

We did manage did to get a few pictures that night – one’s posted above – but more importantly, Lorenzo, who who host’s WMPG‘s Podcast Open Mic show, was in the house and managed to record pretty darn near the whole set for his show. Word is, it’s gonna be go live soon, and we’ll post the link as soon as we get it.

And with any luck, we’ll be back at Amigo’s soon to do another show.

Plague Dad’s Playing Porchfest!

We just got the word: we’ll be playing Porchfest this year in Portland’s Deering Center neighborhood: Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. at 68 Brentwood St.

This year is the 7th Annual Porchfest, and the event has taken on a life of its own: 60 artists performing on the front porches of houses throughout the neighborhood. This year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet.

Porchfest is a neighborhood event, and it runs on the power of the people who support it. The organizers are still looking for volunteers to help out. Shifts as a Porchfest Ambassador are only an hour long and anyone who signs up to help out gets an exclusive Porchfest t-shirt. You can sign up here.