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Band Rock Blues


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"Block Island Music Festival (6/06)"

"Original Graveyard Blues" is how Meantone describes it’s sound. This slide guitar/drums duo sounds like a whole band. Taking their name from the unique 15th century guitar tuning they utilize, Meantone walks on the wild, bluesy and boozy side of life.
- Block Island Times

"8 Days A Week"

All this talk about suburban life and serial rapists is enough to give anyone the blues. For the meanest blues in town, Meantone, a duo of fretless slide guitar and throat and drums, are named after "quarter comma meantone" a system of musical tuning. I could describe it for you but unless your're a musical nerd, you wont have a clue. Look it up on Wikipedia. Tha band play "Devil's Child," a song I'm sure was written about my roomate's daughter. - Portland Phoenix-Amy Martin

"The Night Is Young-Serious blues at Blue, Courtesy of Meantone"

While I can't tell you exactly what is meant by the term "graveyard" blues, you gotta admit, what a cool-sounding phrase that is. And it is exactly what will be served up by the Portland duo Meantone, comprising a dude called Meantone on vocals, fretless and slide guitar and another dude named Young Bret on drums and percussion.

Ready for a spot of random musical history? OK, then, back in Europe from the 15th to the 18th century, there was a popular guitar tuning called quarter comma meantone, and it involved using 31 octaves. Don't ask me, I only took piano lessons, and that was a wicked long time ago. Anyway, I did take a listen to some of Meantone's tunes and was bopping in my chair and downright digging the deep vocals, slick guitar and mean percussion.

"Devil's Child" is something you'd expect to hear coming from a swampy juke joint where the whiskey is flowing and people are getting into trouble. "Knock Knock" is the kind of song that makes me wanna, oh, I don't know, shoot stuff or run through alleys with stray dogs something along those lines. Are you catching what I'm throwing down? Check 'em out Saturday.

Meantone, 9 p.m. Saturday, Blue, 650A Congress, 774-4111 - Aimsel L. Ponti-Portland Press Herald

"Interesting sounds found on Meantone's CD"

When a man writes you and signs off as the name "Meantone," you take notice. It's not every day you get a message like this -- in fact, for me, it was a first. He told me he was a slide blues guitarist, working as a duo with drummer "Young Brett." He told me he was playing in Portsmouth at Bourbon's on Nov. 30. He told me he was sending me a press kit for review. I said "OK."

Meantone's debut album "Original Graveyard Blues," is an interesting take on blues music. Meantone has steeped his vocal chords in plenty of whisky and has come out sounding like a cross between Elvis and John Spencer. His fretless slide guitar playing style is as zany as select Primus tunes with a touch of ZZ Top mixed in for good measure. The two together (vocals, and playing) make for some interesting sounds.

Upon opening Meantone's album the liner notes are nothing more than a long story of how Meantone came to be -- inheriting his "Golden Slide" from, none other than Kingtone "_ crazy. Meantone writes in the voice of Kingtone, "The only way this golden slide will serve you is on guitars without training wheels," which is a humorous introduction into the fretless guitar he continually shreds upon.

It's been said that Robert Johnson garnered his playing ability by selling his soul to the devil down by the crossroads. It wouldn't surprise me if Lucifer sent Meantone himself to aid in teaching Johnson just how to get it done.

Just when you think things couldn't get any more bizarre, they do. Meantone also sports a gas mask, through which he sings several of his tunes to get the echoed "graveyard" effect that makes these songs so fun and, without a doubt, very unique.

With a front cover that boasts a gas-masked face with full-on devil horns jutting out to either side, all the while serving as a platform for a feather stuck cap, and a back cover that includes the track listing, which begins with the aptly titled "2 Hookers & a Case of Beer," it would be sin if you didn't indulge in the contents of "Original Graveyard Blues." Better yet, do yourself the favor of checking out Meantone when he shows up in Portsmouth for what will surely be a memorable evening of good ol' rockin' blues. I'm sure you can pick the record up at the show (or at your local Bull Moose).

-- Christopher Hislop

"Meantone — the man What’d I Say Music Q&A"

Portland blues duo Meantone play the meaner, heavier side of the blues, which they call “Original Graveyard Blues.” Meantone (the man — not to be confused with the band name or the guitar-playing style) plays fretless slide guitar with Young Brett, his drummer, and took a break from the rocking to answer a few of our burning questions.

SW: How do you describe Meantone’s sound?
MT:Meantone is the bastard son of Houndog Taylor and Black Sabbath. It’s “Original Graveyard Blues” and unlike any other blues. All these heavy-rock, metal bands stole from the blues. All I’m doing now is stealing from them and bringing it back to the blues — it’s rightful home.

SW:Meantone is a band of just two people — guitar and drums. From listening to the band, you’d never know it. How do the two of you make the music sound so full?
MT:I restrict poor Young Brett to a two-piece drum set and he uses bundle sticks instead of regular drumsticks. Less is more. This is also a more purist blues drum set. Plus this gives me more room to jump around on the stage. I play fretless slide guitar in 1/4 comma meantone (hence the name). It’s an old European tuning that utilizes more than 12 notes to the octave. I use 31 notes from this tuning. I string my guitars with bass and guitar strings to create the illusion of two players and in combination with the bass amp I use, this creates that huge sound.

SW:Several of Meantone’s songs are written about real people and situations. Where do you find your inspiration?
MT:I bartended and lived in Brooklyn, NY for 12 years which is a backlog of inspiration. You have to have a comical look on life. “Kick Your Ass” was written in Brooklyn because my wife and all the girls I knew were always hassled by guys on the street. Young Brett gives me inspiration by just talking to him. Other times it’s just day to day life. Most of us work hard and live paycheck to paycheck and that’s what “Flatbroke Blues” is all about.

SW:How long have you been playing guitar and how did you get into playing slide guitar? Who are your guitar heroes?
MT:I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years. My first introduction into slide guitar was Elmore James. Then it was Houndog Taylor and Son House. I studied all this classical guitar, classical composition and microtonal music. My first microtonal knowledge was 72 notes to an octave. I still employ it and the slide is perfect to hit all those melody notes. I have a vast array of guitar heroes. On the blues side it’s Houndog Taylor, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Bukka White, Elmore James, T-Model Ford and RL Burnside. On the rock side it’s more about the bands than the individual guitar players — Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Melvins, Frank Zappa. On the classical side it’s the composers — Shostakovich, Bartok, Maneri, Webern, Bach, Biber and Beethoven.

SW:What’s in the future for Meantone?
MT:We just released our debut CD and we’re releasing an EP this fall with a roller girl theme. Three of the five songs are about roller girls. We’re going to play along the Northeast to support both CDs. The big goal would be to receive label and tour support and tour the U.S. and Europe. And, as always, we keep our live shows different. We have about 40 originals and sometimes bring up guest performers and dancers. I even get dragged out in a body bag sometimes. I’m proud to be part of the Portland music scene. There are so many great bands and musicians and I look forward to playing here for a long time.

Copyright © 2007, Maine Community Publications - SWITCH MAGAZINE

"Meantone: "Roller Derby Girls""

Meantone: "Roller Derby Girls"

This is primordial, crust-shifting swing — a slashing, thrusting imperative, featuring Meantone's fretless (and customized) slide guitar and Young Brett's two-drum kit, along with "throat" (Meantone's voice). At 2:19, this track is a good candidate for a time capsule, because it so concisely embodies the elemental connection between rock (blues) music and sex. It's built with a monster call-and-response guitar riff and a shuddering, theatrical vocal that conjures The Cramps' Lux Interior, starting with the pep talk/count-off, "Hey, Young Brett, you like them roller girls?" "Yeah!" "Let's give it to 'em — one, two, three, four…." It's probably best to clear the room of kids and small animals.

David Pence is the host of Radio Junk Drawer, heard Wednesdays from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on community radio station WMPG (90.9 and 104.1 FM; -


"III Songs"- 3 Song EP.
"Original Graveyard Blues" Full length CD.
"Roller Derby Girls"- 5 song cd w/ video.

Tracks available for listening and buying (CD or MP3'S) at or



It all started a long time ago when Kingtone handed down the Golden Magic Slide to Meantone, a bastard son of Son House and Black Sabbath. Kingtone disclaimed, "The only way this Golden Slide will serve you is on guitars without training wheels." Since Meantone already had his training wheels (frets) removed, he knew what Kingtone was saying. Kingtone further disclaimed, "If you dishonor this virtue, your slide and you will burn to dust and will be forced to listen to the crappy pop music forced fed onto the masses for eternity. Meantone knew this was serious. He couldn’t imagine no greater hell than what Kingtone was prophesizing. So, Meantone kidnapped Young Brett from a rodeo show and forced him to play drums to complete the "Original Graveyard Blues" duo.

Meantone's songs are heavy guitar with ripping slide and grooving drums. Meantone's unique tuning that covers the bass and guitar registers along with Young Brett’s maximal playing of his minimalist drum kit, make you think there’s at least three to four people in the band. Another unique aspect of Meantone's fretless guitar and songs is that they are in a tuning that was popular in Europe from the 15th to 18th centuries called quarter comma meantone. You see he's not mean at all, just his sound. Meantone chooses to use 31 notes to the octave from this tuning as opposed to 12 notes on normal guitars. All of this puts a twist on the Blues and makes Meantone unique and fresh.