The Tin Men are America's premier sousaphone, washboard and guitar trio. They have been performing at home in New Orleans, around the USA and abroad since 2002, and in August 2015 have released their fourth CD, "On The Shady Side" which was produced by Mark Bingham. Like 2013's "Avocado Woo Woo", 2005's "Freaks For Industry" and 2003's "Super Great Music for Modern Lovers", the new CD finds percussionist/vocalist Washboard Chaz, sousaphonist Matt Perrine and Guitarist vocalist Alex McMurray exploring a truly eclectic array of North American Pop music from jug band to swing jazz to New Orleans R&B to Motown to Easy Listening to Heavy Metal and beyond. Through it all they put their own zany spin on the material and make it their own. Throw in a generous dose of McMurray's own songs, the precocious wit of Perrine's sousaphone and Washboard Chaz’s seemingly boundless charm and the result is what has been described as "One of the most interesting bands to emerge from New Orleans in years" (Offbeat Magazine)
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Alex McMurray - guitar, vocals
Alex McMurray has been called a lot of things: "The most talented songwriter in New Orleans" (Antigravity Magazine June '07); "one of the best young songwriters in the country" (N.O. Gambit 11/03), and "the mad hatter of New Orleans guitar" (AltarNative 11/00). Commentators describe his work as "drawing on the affected weirdness of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Tom Waits" (Bruce Warren/WXPN Phila. PA). He's been compared to artists as diverse as Randy Newman, Buster Pointdexter, Lyle Lovett, Elvis Costello, George Gershwin, The Ramones, Leon Redbone and David Lee Roth.
Born and raised in Red Bank, New Jersey, Alex McMurray moved to New Orleans in 1987 at age eighteen to attend Tulane University, and before graduation was playing the Maple Leaf Bar, Cafe Brasil and Tipitinas. After spending a few years in the sideman's spot he formed Royal Fingerbowl in 1995 to showcase his own songs. They were signed to TVT Records in 1996 and released two cds for that label, Happy Birthday Sabo (1997) and Greyhound Afternoons (2000). A perennial critic's favorite, they were regularly featured on Vin Scelsa's "Idiot's Delight" radio program, and were profiled on NPR by Alex Chadwick. Their music graced the major motion picture Super Troopers. Tours supporting such national acts as Los Lobos, Ween, G Love And Special Sauce, and Squirrel Nut Zippers put them in front of a much wider audience, cultivating a small but dedicated fan base around the country that is still there to this day.
Royal Fingerbowl disbanded in 2001, and not long after McMurray traveled to Japan where he worked for Tokyo Disney, performing sea shanties from May through November 2002. The experience was the impetus for the formation of the Vaplaraiso Men's Chorus, which recorded an album of sea shanties in 2004 and performs around New Orleans, most notably at VooDoo Fest 2008.
2003 McMurray released his first solo CD "Banjaxed" where he was joined by artists such as Rene Coman, David Torkanowsky, Susan Cowsill and Duke Heitger, as well as ex-Fingerbowl bandmates Matt Perrine and Carlo Nuccio. One track, "The Day After Mardi Gras Day" was featured in the Fox Television series "K-Ville". The CD was produced by Jeff Treffinger.
McMurray is also a founding member of another two of New Orleans' most distinctive bands. The Tin Men is comprised of McMurray along with washboard legend "Washboard" Chaz Leary and sousaphone virtuoso Matt Perrine. They have two self-produced CDs 2003's Super Great Music For Modern Lovers and 2005's "Freaks for Industry". 007 specializes in the rock-steady style of Jamaican pop from the late sixties. Here McMurray shares the stage with drummer Jeffrey Clemens of G-Love and Special Sauce, Joe Cabral of The Iguanas and Jonathan Freilich of the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars. 007 also have two self-produced CDs, 2004's "Studied Rudeness" and "You Only Drop Once", which was released at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz Fest. Both the Tin Men and 007 are regular winners at both the Gambit Weekly and Offbeat Magazine awards.
In April of 2009 Alex released his second solo CD titled "How To Be a Cannonball" which took the "Album Of The Year" honors at the 2010 Big Easy Awards in New Orleans (other nominees included Allen Toussaint and Terence Blanchard).
Along with the aforementioned bands, McMurray currently plays and records regularly with a host of musicians around town as a sideman, most notably The Happy Talk Band, Ingrid Lucia, Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road Show, the Schatzy Band, The Jackals and The Geraniums. He currently lives with his wife the artist Kourtney Keller in the Bywater section of New Orleans.
Matt Perrine - Sousaphone
Born and raised in Sacramento CA, Matt Perrine began his musical career, modestly enough, at the age of 10, playing trombone in his school band. At the age of 11 he began work playing tuba with his first dixieland band. By 12 he had taken up the electric bass, and started writing arrangements for his group. By the ripe old age of 15 he had picked up the acoustic bass and begun composing his own pieces, as well as writing big band arrangements. It wasn't long before his skills and drive brought him work with professionals in the Sacramento area and the opportunity to work with Jessica Williams, Diane Shure, Joey Calderoza, and the Artie Shaw Orchestra.
Matt's move to New Orleans was an obvious choice, steeped as he was in jazz and dixieland. Since his arrival in 1992, he has crossed many musical boundaries. A triple threat, excelling on upright bass, acoustic bass and sousaphone, his reputation as a consummate musician has opened doors into almost every genre in the New Orleans musical arena. On electric bass his prowess extends from rock and roll to reggae to avant-garde and fusion with projects like The Fifth Dimension, Paul Sanchez's Rolling Road Show, Sista Teedy and Cool Riddums, Loose Strings, Aaron and Charles Neville, Jason Marsalis and Neslort. He is a first call jazz player on upright bass, whether it's swing, latin, traditional or be-bop, with world renowned artists like Elis and Branford Marsalis, Lillian and John Boutee, Kermit Ruffins, The Johnny Vidacovich Trio, the Danza Quartet featuring Tom McDermott and Evan Christopher, Henry Butler, and Leigh "Li'l Queenie" Harris.
All these accolades aside, it is on sousaphone where Matt's abilities and imagination soar. Noted as a "virtuoso sousaphone player" by Downbeat magazine, Matt's work on sousaphone has kept him busy, at home and abroad. In 1995 he co-founded The New Orleans Nightcrawlers, acting as tubist, chief composer and arranger, as well as producer of their first eponimously titled recording and co-producer of their third, Live at the Old Point, and their latest release on Threadhead Records, Slither Slice. Combining brass band, jazz and funk elements, the Nightcrawlers have garnered local awards, toured domestic and European festival circuits and produced four recordings which sell internationally. In 1997 Matt brought his talents to the table for the first solo recording by Galactic drummer, Stanton Moore. Joining forces with Stanton and progressive guitarist Charlie Hunter, All Kooked Out is receiving worldwide acclaim and distribution. On the funk front, Matt lends his horn to a longtime musical mainstay of the New Orleans music scene, All That. Acting as the sole bass instrument in a funk / brass-band / hip-hop format, an octave pedal and bass amplifier turn the sousaphone into a sonic atom bomb. Equally comfortable in an acoustic environment, in 1998 Matt began work with trombone legend Ray Anderson, touring the world and recording with "Ray Anderson's Pocket Brass Band" on the Enja label .
The Sydney Morning Herald said this: "It was a revelation that the mighty sousaphone could be played so dexterously. Perrine huffed and puffed great, fat funk lines, slid easily into be-bop walking bass and made solos that could describe yearning as readily as beefy effervescence."
From traditional jazz and dixieland to brass-band to the occasional rock and roll foray, Matt and his tuba have seen work with the likes of OK-Go, The Indigo Girls, New Orleans legend Pete Fountain, Bonerama, Better Than Ezra, Bruce Hornsby, Nicholas Payton and Howard Johnson's tuba ensemble, Gravity.
All of this has not gone unnoticed, either creatively or academically. In the states and abroad, Matt has acted as a teacher, from private to specialized college level classes and clinics. In New Orleans he participates in the Young Audiences Program, bringing special musical presentations to grade-school children in an interactive environment. Before his move to New Orleans he worked in a similar program doing presentations and classes through much of northern California. For 7 years Matt was on staff of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Jazz Camp, taking responsibility for private lessons on tuba and bass as well as ensemble lessons in arranging, theory and performance. He's been repeatedly commissioned by Copenhagen's Rhythmik Music Conservatory to give academic and performance clinics on brass band music. He's brought the same program of study to the Conservatory's sister school in Aahus, Denmark as well. On the home front, Matt has also taught in the music studies program at the University of New Orleans under the direction Elis Marsalis and still accommodates private students.
His compositions and arranging accomplishments, while not as high profile as performance credits, are broad and expansive as well. His original compositions can be heard on all four New Orleans Nightcrawlers records, Bringing It Home & Bonerama at the Shreridan Opera House; Bonerama and All Kooked Out; Stanton Moore . His musical arrangements, spanning the gamut from jazz standards to original rock and roll can be heard on: Pledge to my People, -Cool Riddums and Sista Teedy; Jubilee , -Stan Mark; Louisianthology, -Tom McDermott; Club Deuce, -Johnny Angel; The Whop Boom Bam, -All That; ... Now Get Out, -Guitar Vic and the Slicktones; New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Funknicity, Live at the Old Point, Slither Slice -The New Orleans Nightcrawlers; Greyhound Afternoons, - Royal Fingerbowl; Live at the Old Point, Live From New York, Bringing it Home, Bonerama at the Sheridan Opera House -Bonerama
In 2007, Matt released his first solo record, Sunflower City, a celebration of the connection between New Orleans music and the music of the caribbean. Featuring a who's-who of New Orleans finest musicians, it was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Traditional Jazz by Gambit Magazine's Big Easy Awards.
Today Matt plays sousaphone with the New Orleans based band, the Tin Men, with songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Alex McMurray and local phenom "Washboard Chaz" Leary. The Tin Men's first release, "Super great Music for Modern Lovers, was nominated by the Big Easy Awards committee for Album of the Year. Matt's Sunflower City band plays regularly around New Orleans, both privately and publicly. He also continues to play in the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, the Danza Quartet, the Hot Club of New Orleans, Paul Sanchez and many other local bands. Matt's newest project, Woof, is a hybrid of heavy funk and rock and roll and will be appearing in New Orleans nightclubs and watering holes this summer.
"Washboard" Chaz Leary
Though comfortable in all forms of our diverse American musical heritage, Washboard Chaz Leary has achieved dominance and international recognition in acoustic country blues.
He has played professionally with an impressive array of world-class musicians, both on the stage and in the recording studio. His reputation as a consummate musician and performer - along with a delightful stage presence has brought him countless excellent reviews and wide popularity.
Originally from New York, Chaz lived in Boulder, CO from 1975-1997, and played with a wide variety of bands including the legendary Ophelia Swing Band, Prosperity Jazz Band, BBQ Bob & Washboard Chaz, Judy Roderick and the Forebears, and Bleecker St. During this time, Chaz was a two time finalist in KBCO's Boulder songwriting contest.
Upon arrival in New Orleans in December 2000, Chaz established himself as a seasoned musician, forming his Washboard Chaz Blues Trio with Ben Maygarden on harmonica and Roberto Luti on slide guitar. Shortly afterward, Chaz joined Alex McMurray and Matt Perrinne on sousaphone to form the Tin Men, one of New Orleans' most unique and recognized bands. Since then, Chaz has also played with the cream of New Orleans musicians, including the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, The Iguanas, Tuba Fats, Royal Fingerbowl, The Jazz Vipers, the Tin Men, The Palmetto Bug Stompers and Washboard Rodeo.
Chaz's talents are becoming synonymous with New Orleans and he was recently featured in a 2005 New Orleans commercial. He played a small part in the CBS movie titled "Just Like the Ones", about miraculous snow storms that hit all over the country, co-starring Mary Tylor Moore and Poppy Montgomery. Chaz's song Mother Died was just featured in Werner Hertzog's remake of The Bad Lieutenant staring Nicholas Cage.
Chaz has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, John Hammond, Taj Mahal, Anders Osborne and Corey Harris among others. He has opened for many blues greats, including Muddy Waters, Robert Cray, Doc Watson and Keb Mo. Chaz's musical talents have been featured on over 100 recordings, including John Hammond's 1998 Grammy nominated "Long as I have You"
He has played festivals and clubs from coast to coast, including the Bottom Line in New York City, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Telluride Blue Grass Festival, the AmericanMusic Hall in San Francisco and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver. He has played successful International tours, with his band Bleecker St. in Germany, in Holland and Germany with David Booker, and in Japan with Chris Mule.
His talents extend from washboard, congas and other hand percussion, drum kit, lead and background vocals, to songwriting and arranging.
Chaz has also developed a strong program of percussion workshops both for adults and for children, as well as having performed for Blues in the Schools programs in Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
Chaz regulary plays New Orleans weddings and events, and will enhance both studio and live performances.