fiddle, guitar, concertina and Lead vocals
Thighbiter is known as a fierce captain, who enjoys his rum as much as his music.
With wives in many of the pirate ports of the Caribbean, his knowledge
of the East Indies and fat prizes has allowed the crew of Hellion to flourish .
Bloody Bill Marley , First Mate:
electric tea-chest bass and vocals,
Marley yearns for his own ship so he and the Cap’t can double the plunder taken.
His favorite hunting grounds are the Spanish wrecks off the coast of the Keys,
but Marley is not shy about taking ship, or wench for that matter, where ever the
Butch Cannon, Gunner’s Mate:
percussion, mandolin and vocals
Cannon loves his namesakes and can black the white of your eye with a shot from his
favorite brass 6 pounder at 100 yards. Cannon is quick with a word or a beat and
knows to keep his powder dry and his throat wet!
Kevin McQueen, Bo’sun:
Kevin brings fine guitar playing, a strong voice and a wealth of the most
bawdy songs what ever made a pirate’s hair stand on end. He is the only
surviving member of the Irish Navy ( the dog died) and can be had for a
The afterguard on board ship is any crew member that does not stand
regular watches. On the Hellion the afterguard is lead by our Purser.
The Purser is a key member of The Brigands, and the only temporary
position. The Pursers Term of Service is one year, to be renewed upon
reaching port at the end of season. Here then are the past and current
Pursers of the Hellion
Delwyn Rustleleaves - Purser, Northern
Delwyn ( and she has so many names we shall only list a few) Rustisleaves,
Aimstoplease, Chubbyknees, etc, etc has been Purser for our 2009 Season
and has signed up for the Northern 2010 cruise. Del will at our ports of call
North of Mason-Dixon Line. Delwyn not only sells our CDs and
merchandise, but looks after the Crew, making sure we eat and have plenty
to drink during the long watches.
Malinda Malarkey – Purser
Malinda was Purser for the Hellion during the 2008 cruise and did a right
seamans job of it, too. Never was there one to wring out every farthing to be
had and make the patron enjoy the giving. Now sailing the seas with a different
ship, she has left her mark on The Brigands ( in more ways then one) and we
Pursers De Jour
Here are the Pursers De Jour of The Brigands -
Caribean Pearl - The Pearl has acted as Purser for The Brigands in Florida for two years now, and we figured it be high time she was recognized, but then she is very recognizable!
Misty Blaze - Welcome Misty Blaze, who started this year ( 2010) as a Purser-de Jour( Purser of the Day) at the Fell’s Point Privateer Day, and has signed on as our Maryland Purser. She will be at our ports of call in Maryland. Misty also performs with some close friends of ours,The Drunken Ferrets ( Pirates for Sail), and both groups will be down inRockhall MD later this year.
Katie Cuttlefish (Cuddlefish)- Purser De Jour for Virginia. Katie has just signed on with The Brigands and will be with us at our Virginia performances. Also a member of the Moody Crew, their captain has graciously lent her to us, all temporarily like. And, we may just give her back, some day!
The Wench ( Kristina DeGuy) – The Wench is also a Virginia Purser De Jour. She is one of the first fans of The Brigands, lo these 10 years and more, and she does a right fine job. Buy a CD from her at the Hampton Blackbeard Festival, and you get a free kiss with each CD!
One-eyed Max Parrot – Navigator
One-eyed Max is our newest member – and he IS a parrot. An Amazon
BeeBee parrot to be exact. As one might expect, he is more
concerned with eating the fringe of the Captains hat then
shooting the Sun for the noon reading. Expect to see him
when the weather is warm and the Sun shinning.
Gretchen VonBust – Victualer
We all love Gretchen – especially when it is 4 bells of the Evening
watch and hands are piped to dinner! Call her craft services
or cook or victualer, she feeds us and right well. Huzzah!
The Brigands formed in 2001, when Al was approached by the Blackbeard Festival about performing at the events 3rd year. Both Brett and Erik had been playing music with thier father for some time before that and were very familiar with Al’s fiddle tunes and original music (living with a musician will do that to you). It was an easy step to teach the boys the shantys and sea ballads Al knew, and so The Brigands started. That first year, The Brigands only performed at two events, but were immediately asked to come back for the next year. In 2002, they started a long time relationship with the Connecticut Renaissance Faire; that and the Blackbeard Festival in Hampton Va remain keystones in The Brigands performance season and have a special place deep in the hold of the Hellion. Since then, The Brigands have performed at Faires and Festivals up and down the Eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida, bringing thier unique sound to audience and faire-goers delight. ““““
A typical show would include some music from the Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1750), be it a shanty or ballad or fiddle tune. We try to select music that has actually survived to this day and you will be surprised when you realize that you know some of it already! The performance will also have some of Al’s original fiddle or concertina tunes. The Brigands are known for thier emotive fiddle tunes, whether livey and sprightly or haunting and even sad. There is emotional content in all The Brigands music.
The celtic and Scotish influences are heard, from Al’s love of pipe music and some tunes they perform are bagpipe melodies transposed for the fiddle and concertina. The Brigands also include music from more modern sources and will sneak in a song from “Muppet Treasure Island” ( one of the great pirate movies) if given a chance! Modern sources might also include music from the Age of Sail, the age of the mighty windjammers and clipper ships just before steam took over. The bulk of shantys that survive are from that era, and people associate those closest with the sea. The Brigands shows would not be complete with out plenty of songs about drinking and the ladies, be they olde tunes or Renn Faire traditional songs.
The Brigands instrumenation is a bit different then the usual ‘pirate’ band. Fiddle – this is a traditional sea-going instrument and the fiddle was the companion of many a crew at the capstan, or hauling a yard aloft, keeping the hands in time. During the GAoP, and after, a fiddler was a captive that was welcomed aboard any pirate vessel, and was one of the few crewmen who actualy had Sundays off! The Brigands use a ships drum, not a bohdran, in ther music. The bohdran was only made popular in the early 1900′s. The ships drum however, existed on board sailing vessels to call the ships company in times of immediate need (beat to Quarters, etc). What more natural then the drummer joining in during the times when the hands would dance and sing on the fo’c'sle! Brett’s unique style of following the melodic phrasing of the tune along with the rythm adds bounce and energy to the music. The guitar – primariy a Spanish instrument at the time of the Golden Age, by the Age of Sail, it had become common place on board ship, as sailors took advange of its accompanyment to the songs of home and hearth. Kevins guitar is usualy used as accompanyment to a more primal type of song and his Aarrrggh rated ballads about, you guessed it, women and drinking are some of the funniest salty tunes ever heard. Bass – The Brigands use of a bass is perhaps contraversial, but the English tea-chest bass, made with, yes – an empty tea chest, is an incontravertible fact. Erik’s playing style emulates what would be available on such an instrument, and drives the sound of The Brigands like a brisk topsail breeze, tieing all together.
The Brigands have been called the ultimate tavern band and that is what we aim for. The music heard dockside, in a drinking etablishment frequented by sailors, pirates, freebooters and smugglers alike, was not the music heard in the King’s court nor in the concert halls of the day. It was music for hard working and maybe hard chased men, looking to lift a tankard, seek out the fairer sex and forget for awhile the life at sea, be it hauling nitrates to Chile or luffing matches with a fat prize off the coast of Dry Tortuga.
Thats what a Brigands show is like.