After Hate Camels’ debut album “Death Comedy Jams…and one piece of life metal” which memorialized comedians through instrumental prog-rock/metaljazz, composer/leader Geoff Cleveland set his sights on tributes to dead authors and a new suite entitled “Whatcha Readin’ For?”
This tribute to America’s beloved Kurt Vonnegut was written soon after his passing in 2007. As is the tradition with Hate Camels’ music, there are no spoken word samples. It is merely an instrumental tone poem of a composer’s impressions of the individual he is memorializing. It may not even remind the listener of Kurt Vonnegut. This is, however, the first tribute that was written for someone the composer met, as depicted on the cover art.
This performance from May 1, 2008 live at the KUVO studio in Denver turned out to be the last one by Hate Camels, or most recent, since the band is intended to make a comeback. It was edited from its epic 12-minute non-single-worthy length and presented to you here.
CREDITS: Geoff Cleveland-clavinet. Dave Devine-guitar, loops. Paul McDaniel-bass. Mike Whited, Jr.-drums.
Mastered & Edited by Mark Raynes.
Cover Art by Sonia Morarka.
What is a Hate Camel?
HATE CAMEL = CURMUDGEON as described by comedian Bill Hicks in his final performance. (Curmudgeon = “a crusty, ill-tempered and usually old man”-Webster’s)
HATE CAMELS = a “Life Metal/Death Comedy/Jazz” band led by keyboardist Geoff Cleveland and also featuring Dave Devine-guitars, Paul McDaniel-bass and Mike Whited-drums (sometimes Chuck Roy-comedy). Cleveland, a Denver-based jazz musician by trade, decided age 43 was a good time to start a band that rocks with influences of Fantomas, Mastodon, Candiria and many others as well as expressing the inspiration from artists outside the music world, particularly comedians and satirists. Cleveland’s previous bands include The Emergency Broadcast Players, a critically-acclaimed avant-jazz collective which included trumpeter Shane Endsley and bassist Kaveh Rastegar (currently of Kneebody) as well as trumpeter Ron Miles, and tissues4issues, co-led by vocalist Sunny Kim (currently of Prana Trio and Myth of Mitch).
What are “Death Comedy Jams”?
DEATH COMEDY JAMS = INSTRUMENTAL TRIBUTES TO DEAD COMEDIANS
Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)-A warm-spirited comedian w/ hilarious material that his fans are reminded of everyday (especially when at the grocery store).
Richard Pryor (1940-2005)-Considered the best of all time. Master of pathos.
Sam Kinison (1953-1992)-Went from preaching in churches to screaming obscene hilarities in auditoriums.
Lenny Bruce (1925-1966)-Broke doors down and blew doors down. Also known for having his spirit beaten senseless by “the man”.
Bill Hicks (1961-1994)-Honored as a legend in the UK but not known nearly enough in his native country the US. Maybe because the truths he told are so often supPRESSed.
Andy Kaufman (1949-1984)-Liked to play tricks on people and didn’t like being called a comedian.
What is (one piece of) Life Metal?
A metal-anthem tribute to Cleveland’s goddaughter Bella, titled “Peaceful Queen”.
Does the “Death Comedy Jams…” CD come with a spiffy “insert booklet”?
Yes. There is an 8-page “insert booklet” with photos and artwork related to the comedians honored as well as notes from comedians Chuck Roy & Lynn Shawcroft.
What do comedians have to say about Hate Camels and “Death Comedy Jams”?
“I just checked out the song. It’s amazing…Mitch would be sooo flattered. Mitch was inspired by music. And he loved musicians. He would be happy to know that a great musician like Geoff Cleveland was inspired by comedy in the same way.”
Lynn Shawcroft (widow of Mitch Hedberg)
“…the power bass tracks jam in brain for days!!! The guitar work shreds, the drums crush and the nut on the keyboards brings it-like Pryor, like Hedberg, like Kinison-because when you say those names you have to.” Chuck Roy
“You guys tore it up!” Josh Blue (Last Comic Standing winner 2006)
What do other composers of instrumental tributes have to say?
“I love the idea and the unique way you’ve pulled it off. I can appreciate your hard work in creating the right tone and your dedication to these important figures.”