John Andrew Kraus did not have headphones as a teenager. His brother’s ridiculously large stereo speakers turned inward at a distance barely exceeding the width of John Andrew Kraus’ head would have to do.(for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were best understood this way.)
John Andrew Kraus did not play jazz or classical music like his four siblings. Singing with a reed instrument in your mouth was just not practical. A loud electric guitar would do instead.
John Andrew Kraus sang harmonies with his dad in the car, secretly enjoying the lush vocal harmonies of the Gatlin Brothers, the Irish Rovers and the rest of dad’s washed up, old-persons’ music. How could John Andrew Kraus like Nick Cave and Larry Gatlin? The struggle would torment young John Andrew for years.
So, when the other siblings went on to earn advanced degrees in music, John Andrew Kraus went to sea -- on Tall Ships. That is to say, working on large wooden vessels with multiple masts, doing the work of sailors.
And it was there that John Andrew Kraus stayed for ten years, learning the ropes and lots and lots of sea shanties. It’s actually just part of the job.
John Andrew Kraus eventually became Captain. Armed with a 100-ton masters ticket, he was now poised for a long and fruitful career in seafaring. What a perfect time to quit the job and pick up a banjo. John Andrew Kraus tore himself from the sea and hit the road for a year of playing banjo with L.A.’s bluegrass-punk darlings, Rose’s Pawn Shop.
It was on the corner of St. Anne and Bourbon Street in New Orleans while on tour with said punk-grassers when John Andrew Kraus’ destiny became clear. To marry his two passions in life: music and sailing, but how? John Andrew Kraus hates most folk singers and people in general, so this unlikely matrimony leaves one obvious and narrow genre: Sea Shanties - Often offensive songs sung by degenerate sailors created beyond the ears of any civilized company. So, upon determined research, a home recording studio, a pair of headphones (finally), “donkey off a dead horse” was born.
Taking a pointed stance against traditionally performed music, John Andrew Kraus produces a collection of some of the finest songs of the sea from the past 2 centuries. In “donkey off a dead horse”, John Andrew Kraus modernizes a selection of sea shanties into one relevant and urgent-sounding CD that leaves mockers of trad music singing, and trad music lovers scratching their heads and checking their rule books.