Little Ricky's House of Chankletas

Little Ricky's House of Chankletas

BandComedyAvant-garde

To try and find a convenient musical category is to miss the point. They take their lead from a diverse pool of musical influences, from John Cage to Frank Zappa to Marcel Duchamp. Little Ricky's House of Chankletas makes art right in front of your face.

Biography

A scenario:
May 20th, 2007. Brooklyn, NY. A well dressed man sits at a piano and plays the opening strains of Puccini’s Recondita armonia. Santa Claus sits in the audience, yells epithets at unsuspecting spectators. When the pianist has finished the introduction of the aria, his supple, effortless classical tenor voice wafts through the room:

“Prickprickprickprickprickprick….”

Santa makes his way to a guitar. Just before the heartrending aria’s final cadence, a cacophony of sound erupts like of shopping carts colliding in the produce section, unleashing the fury of a hundred repressed housewives. Triumphantly enter Undead Hot Dog and Undead Banana. Cheers erupt from the audience. Finally, The Prick enters, guiding the ensemble to the next set of uncharted musical territory.

Circa 1993, a young Joe Mapplebeck began recording a passion for the unpredictable. Initial experiments ensued with comedy troupe Cheese Theatre, including Joe, Aramis Sartorio, Conrad Stojak, and Eric Terzo. The first CD was a soundtrack to one of their videos, but was too experimental for its time and was shelved. Joe continued composing and recording alone until bassist Carlos Alvarado; highly humored by the music; inspired him to fill out the project with other members. Enter Barry Seroff and Kurt Nepogoda, and the compositionColostrom was introduced to the public.

Barry and Joe soon found that their passions were quite similar. The presence of the unpredictable in the music of John Cage, Frank Zappa and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as the philosophic influence of Zen, had already guided his compositional style. Add to this mixture gifted engineer and creative spirit Kurt Nepogoda, and Little Ricky’s House of Chankletas was out and about gigging.

Since this early period, the ensemble has become more of a collective of musicians with Joe and Barry at the helm. The music is defined by the musicians playing it, leading to drastic shifts of the mood and texture of each piece depending on the players involved at the time. This aspect heightens the primary concept of the band, which is rooted in creating an atmosphere in which anything can happen. To create this environment, they take influence from Zen teachings as much as from Western influences. The idea is that of a Zen koan: to create a situation in which the mind, trying to relate the most unrelated ideas, is shocked into a state of enlightenment. While this is all well and good, the idea of enlightenment may be a little out of their league, so they settle for comedy. The resulting comedy, however, is unlike anything seen before.

These ideas are also pervasive through the music. Since the observer cannot be prepared for the performance, each performance is an original composition. Furthermore, these compositions are improvisatory, leading to open-ended ideas often directed by the reaction from the audience. The instrumentation also reflects this—they frequently focus on ethnic instruments as well as found objects (often donated or annexed from audience members), leading to surprisingly original tone colors and melodic concepts.

Aside from unforgettable concerts, the band has released two acclaimed studio releases; Bb Cat on Sachimay Interventions (with drummer Gerry Tuohy) and 27 New York Antisonnets on OKS Recordings of North America (with pianist/vocalist Stefan Paolini). More info, contact, recordings and live video can be found at www.myspace.com/littlerickyimprov. Words cannot do justice, it must be experienced. Consider yourself invited to go sandal shopping at Little Ricky’s House of Chankletas.

Discography

Bb Cat- Sachimay Interventions released 2003
27 New York Antisonnets- OKS Recordings of North America released 2007

Set List

A set is usually flows uninterrupted from beginning to end, but with recognizable divisions between sections. Beginnings are usually instrumental, designed to warm up the crowd. About 15 minutes in, the band will typically begin interacting with the audience, encouraging participation.