Morning 40 Federation
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Morning 40 Federation

New Orleans, LA | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | SELF

New Orleans, LA | SELF
Established on Jan, 1998
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Apr
28
Morning 40 Federation @ Siberia

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Apr
23
Morning 40 Federation @ Vaughan's Lounge

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Apr
22
Morning 40 Federation @ Chickie Wah Wah

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Music

Press


As I stumbled into the Hi-Ho Lounge in New Orleans back in May 1998, I was immediately overcome by the intense heat, humidity and Satanic swirl of naked flesh writhing to an unholy climax. Though I could not see past my hand, Tom Waits and Prince appeared to be locked in mortal combat backed by the moans and shrieks of a Salvation Army Band of the Apocalypse. Sweat was dripping from the ceiling, the bartender was chopping lines and a drunken couple were fucking in the corner in perfect time to the music. A lone trombone provided a foghorn thru the murk and I followed its trance to the stage where I first set eyes on the Morning 40 Federation. It was as if Tennessee Williams or Mark Twain had re-written Caligula for the great unwashed...Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn had started a band with Stanley Kowalski and they were gonna burn this motherfucker to the ground. I began to drink heavily...

Eight years, five warrants and two records later, the Forties have emerged from the Lower Ninth Ward with their third and most schizophrenic joint yet, the eminently badass, Ticonderoga. If you were to mix ragtime, hip-hop, punk rock, blues, trad jazz and carnival music you'd have a hint to what the Forties are about, but only when you see and hear them interacting with a mesmerized audience will you truly feel their unique greatness. On Ticonderoga, the boys have finally made the record that matches the intensity of their live show. Josh Cohen's crazed Yin barker of the midway is still dueling Ryan Scully's blissed out Yang; but now more than ever, they lock arms in stoned harmony and their respective songwriting has climbed to even scarier heights. Bailey Smith continues his Artful Dodger approach to guitar, stealing from everybody and making it all his own. Steve Calandra and Mike Andrepont play their bohemian Sly and Robbie roles to the nines and thank God they tricked Rickshaw into showing up at the studio under the guise of a surprise party for a local liquor distributor. His otherworldly brass exploration is the current of the Morning Forty river and all who float down her.

Ticonderoga is an Iroquois word meaning a place between two bodies of water. On August 29, 2005, this word took on new meaning as the Lower Ninth Ward and most of eastern New Orleans were flooded by multiple levee breeches. Scully and his wife remained in the city long after it was evacuated and bore witness to the horror that ensued. It was his solemn duty to represent the band and make sure they had a place to come back to. And come back they did...the boys took the stage at One Eyed Jacks on Halloween 2005 as the only band who could sum up the joy, pain and visceral release of post-Katrina New Orleans. For over two hours they threw signs and blew minds of a city that needed badly a spiritual cleansing. They were naked in no time, signifying rebirth and rejoicing. The bartenders and drug dealers were smiling, the great unwashed were baptized and once again, all was right in the City of New Orleans...

Greg Dulli
Los Angeles, CA
March 4, 2006
- Greg Dulli


"...Calling this "feel-good" music wouldn't do the band justice. It's a wonder this stuff is even legal."
-Leopold Froehlich, Playboy Magazine - Playboy Magazine


“The songs on Ticonderoga are lean and low-slung ...As crudely funny as it is musically tight..”
-Jon Parales, New York Times - New York Times


"Ticonderoga is a party album with an edge." -Evelyn McDonnell, Miami Herald - Miami Herald


Discography

“Conception (ft. Ani Di Franco) / Wild White Tears” Single - Produced by Ben Ellman (Self Released)

“Andre Williams & The New Orleans Hellhounds - Can You Deal With It?” (Bloodshot)  

“Galactic - Ya-Ka-May - Liquor Pangs” (ANTI-)

“Ticonderoga” LP (M80)

“Dirty Water” EP (M80)

“Morning 40 Federation” LP (M80)

“You're My Brother” (Self Released)

“Trick Nasty" (Self Released)

Photos

Bio

The Morning 40 Federation was born and bred in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, formed in 1997 as a drunken quasi-dare by Josh Cohen and Space Rickshaw, amateur saxophonist and trombonist, respectively. The name of their rough assemblage of amateur musicians/pro-drinkers was a sardonic admission of non-guilt, and they didn’t know their way around their instruments. Their first gigs took place at house parties and off-nights in bars, and were more like sweat-and-beer-soaked demolition derbies than actual concerts.

But despite their best intentions, the 40's began to develop honest-to-goodness chops. Their sound -- a mutant hybrid of punk and jazz – coalesced, and they began honing their unique take on songwriting, specializing in hilarious chronicles of boozy camaraderie, spinning tales of the assorted noble lowlifes, space cadets and other crazies that populate the parallel universe version of New Orleans nightlife far off the beaten tourist path. They got sharper without losing their anything-goes, gang-of-stinky-swamp-things onstage vibe, and they acquired new members: guitarist Bailey Smith was recruited in a Decatur Street dive his first night in town in ‘98; guitarist Ryan Scully was shanghaied pirate-style from a life of playing cosmic country music, and Mike Andrepont and Steve Calandra’s rhythm section was cemented. Two self-produced CDs 2000's YOUR MY BROTHER (we know that it should be “You’re,” but whatever) and 2002's TRICK NASTY started racking up regional awards, and in 2004, the band released the self-titled MORNING 40 FEDERATION with M80 Records. Their post-Katrina magnum opus, TICONDEROGA followed in 2006.

2006! Goddamn! That was almost 10 years ago. In the meantime, life happened, as it tends to. The band went on a few extended hiatuses, only playing the occasional show. But the 40's never really stopped playing, and they always kept writing, and over the course of 2016, the Morning 40 Federation will release a series of four 7” EPs, each containing all-new songs and made possible by an Indiegogo campaign (there’s that changing music industry for you). The new material is a welcome blast from the past but also shows a band that’s grown, thanks to the band’s multiple side projects.

Will they make it out of this Carnival season alive? Who knows? But we do know that this decade-old description of the 40s music still rings true today:

“Let’s call the time reverse magic hour, that maybe half-hour of grace between when the darkness of the pre-dawn gives way to full blast sunshine, when the colors of the greenery shrouded shotgun houses are weirdly muted and vibrant at the same time. You’re standing on a deserted street; tree roots crack the sidewalks and old cobblestones show through the blacktop. It’s steaming hot already despite the early hour (the humidity hasn’t dipped below 90 percent all week) and the air is alive with the tropical hum of insects. When you take a deep breath of the heavy, wet air, the odors that assault your nose -- garbage, river water, puke and urine, jasmine and honeysuckle, and the tangy odor from a coffee-roasting warehouse -- create a weirdly invigorating stench cocktail.

“The previous night’s a blur. You have no idea whose place it was that you woke up at, or what happened to the girl who brought you there. You only remember coming to on a couch and nodding hello to the glassy-eyed guy watching cartoons in the living room with stoned patience. But even though you’re feeling the indelicate first touches of a wicked hangover, your eyelids are sticking and your pits are stinking, you feel like a king because on your way out you managed to snag a crumpled pack of smokes and a tallboy of beer from the fridge.

“And as you make your crooked walk on home, you accidentally pass one of your favorite bars. It’s still open, and Ernie K-Doe’s “Here Come the Girls” is rocking on the jukebox. Inside, a couple of cats you know are still going strong from the night before. Your friends yell slurred greetings and before you know it, you’re heading to another joint, sitting on some fools handlebars and singing at the top of your lungs as the squares going to work give you and your pals the stink-eye. Goddamn if it ain’t another glorious, jacked-up dawn in New Orleans…”

Much has changed since those halcyon days of glorious ineptitude and rapturous drunkenness, but much has remained the same. Here’s to the Morning 40 Federation, the once and future kings of New Orleans’s Nighttime World. Long may they reign in benevolent anarchy.

The 40s are:
Mike Andrepont: drums
Josh Cohen: saxophone, vocals
Steve Calandra: bass
Space Rickshaw: tuba, trombone
Ryan Scully: guitar, vocals
Bailey Smith: guitar, vocals

Band Members