Bastard Bearded Irishmen came together for a one-time show in honor of dearly departed friend, George Evans in November 2008. Members Jim Smerecky and Ben Jaber had been organizing the George Evans Memorial fundraiser for the previous four years through their punk rock outfit, Ragweed. They thought that their shared love of bands like The Pogues and Dropkick Murphys would translate to a great tribute for the annual event in honor George. Jim and Ben recruited four more of George’s (and their) friends to fill out the band: Jon Pitcher on guitar, Danny Rectenwald on mandolin, Dan Stocker on drums and Jaison Karner on keyboards (who is based out of LA and only played the original concert). Since they all had beards at the time, the band was jokingly named Bastard Bearded Irishmen. Obviously, it stuck.
They had so much fun with the predominantly traditional Irish tunes that they decided to keep the band going, but also wanted to add their own flavor. Rachel Karras joined Bastard Bearded Irishmen, or BBI, in January 2009 and was an instant fit with the guys. They continued to learn the classics, but also wanted to throw a curveball into the mix by learning their personal favorites by Irish bands like The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Tossers, etc. At the same time, they didn’t want to be a cover band and have since been rounding out their set of traditional and contemporary Irish classics with original songs that could be classified somewhere in the middle.
Although they are the consummate musical professionals (Danny has a Masters degree in classical guitar, Rachel is a classically trained violist), these guys also know how to have fun and definitely don’t take themselves too seriously. The music will be great, you’ll want to tap your toe or dance and they promise that you will be entertained and left begging for more!