Viva Montesa is the best rock n roll duo in the city.
OK, I’m pretty sure its the ONLY rock duo in the city, but the point is that the band is damn good. Anytime it plays a gig, it’s worth checking out, but when Viva Montesa takes to the Gas Lamp stage this Saturday, it’ll be noteworthy because one of the guys can’t make the date. And while most bands could limp through a night without one of its members, this is a situation that puts Viva Montesa at a unique disadvantage.
“That’s what we always joke about,” said frontman Ted Schwick, “we’re always one man away from being a one-man show.”
Schedule conflicts mean that drummer Gary Schwick is sitting out the show with Red Daughters and Quivers this weekend, leaving Ted to carry on solo. Not to say that Viva Montesa fans (or people catching them for the first time) will be deprived of sound. Ted serves as half of his own rhythm section anyway — running his six-string through guitar and bass amps simultaneously to give Viva Montesa that trademark sound — and he’s recently added a new wrinkle to the band’s sound: the harmonica.
“I’d been playing it for almost 10 years,” Ted said of the mouth harp. “(I) just never wanted to use that God-awful head brace. So we did some looking into how to make it hands free. We found this guy who makes these custom little boots that fit on the mic, and that solves that.”
Ted’s been slowly working the harmonica into Viva Montesa’s set ever since, featuring it in a couple of the band’s new songs. He makes no bones about the harp’s importance in the continuing evolution of the band’s sound.
“I’d put it right up there with adding Gary to the vocal mix as level of importance in moving the band forward,” he said.
Considering how vital the Viva Montesa drummer’s harmonies are to the band’s current sound, that’s not a small contribution.
Others have noticed how the harmonica has opened up Ted’s sound as well. He gigged at the Hull Avenue Tavern a couple weeks ago with just an acoustic guitar and the harp, and he recently hit the studio with Superchief, laying down a track for that upcoming album.
“I’m an OK guitar player. I’m not the best singer,” he said. “But I’m pretty good on the harmonica.” CV