Del Rio Bandits


Band Name: The Del Rio Bandits

Genre: Surf & Instro Rock

Geographical Area: Northeast Ohio

Interview with (name): Dean Cohen by email on 11/5/12


1. What is the current line-up of your band (include band member names)?

Our current lineup is Dean Cohen on guitar, Noelle Kuson on keyboard, Bob Walsh on bass, Don Shumaker on drums, Tim McDonald on sax and Erin Rae McKinney on guitar and vocals.


2. How and when did you get started with your band?

The band came together in early 2009. Noelle and I worked together at Sam Ash Music in Cleveland, Oh. I knew she was a pretty good keyboard player and was really into retro rock and roll. When I asked her if she would start a band to play instro rock and roll she said yes right away. We filled out the rest of the band with Donny, Bob, and Tim all of whom had played with me in a jump blues band called the Mercurys. Early this year we added Erin to do some garage rock and fill out the sound more.


3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

Wow, that's a good question. Who HASN'T influenced us? Dick Dale, Link Ray, The Belairs, the Ventures, Duane Eddy, Ray Charles, Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf, The Detroit Cobras, Los Straightjackets. The list goes on and on, dig? Donny's been listening to some Deadbolt and the Cramps. Noelle's been diggin' Camille Howard, a great West Coast Boogie Woogie piano player and singer who was with Roy Milton's Solid Senders. I've been diggin' some of the old Beach Boys stuff lately and Bob works in a C.D. warehouse and listens to EVERYTHING.


4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

So far it's been about 95% covers but that's about to change. We're writing more of our own stuff now.


5. What recording have you done?

Our only recording so far was done a couple of years ago. It's mostly covers and was done for booking purposes. We are currently in a studio recording our first C.D. of all original material. It should be out early next year.


6. What kind of gear do you use?

I use a '62 reissue Jaguar thru a blond '62 Tremolux with a Victoria Reverberato outboard reverb tank. Bob has an early 70's Jazz Bass which he plays thru GK amps. Donny's drum set is a mid 60's Slingerland kit. Erin's rig is a mid 60's Teisco which she plays thru my Victoria tweed 3-10.


7. What is your bandís favorite food/beverage?

Hummm, interesting question. Burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches, pizza I guess. Beer and whiskey for some of the band members, but I'm a club soda and lime kind of guy.


8. How do you get gigs?

Just get on the phone, really. Go down and see the bar owners. Some call us.


9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?

Cleveland is really an 80's cover band, tribute band town. If you can play Jesse's Girl, Sweet Home Alabama, I Want You To Want Me, Play That Funky Music, you'll work 5-6 nights a week for big money. That's sorta not us. If I could play that crap, I'd end up HANGING myself on stage halfway thru the 2nd set on the first gig. We have started to build the beginnings of a scene for instro rock here but it's a tough haul. You've just got to keep plugging away.


10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?

We're the only band of our kind in the area (at least the only one that gigs regular). We're damned good and we LOOK like we're having fun when we play.


11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool youíve used to further your bandís musical path?

I'd have to say Facebook and word of mouth.


12. Whatís the most interesting performance experience youíve had? 

We opened up a show of all hard rock and metal bands at the Beachland Ballroom Tavern, and those cats really dug us. Seriously!


13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?

It's great to be in an organization with like-minded cats like Mike and Sandy. Hopefully the Del Rio Bandits can branch out to the East Coast some time this coming year.


14. Anything else?

We'd love to have NESMA members come to Cleveland for a big show at the Beachland Ballroom sometime next year. We should work together to make it happen. Thanks, and Happy Holidays to all. Dean Cohen, for the Del Rio Bandits.