The Crew

Cap’t Robertsgrave  Thighbiter:

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

chance arises.


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!


Scabby Pete, Bo’sun:


Guitar and Lead vocals

Scabby Pete  brings fine rhythm and lead guitar and both harmony and lead vocals to the crew.

When asked where we got ‘im from, the answer is …we stole him, what else?  Steeped in traditional

songs ‘o the sea, Scabby Pete has made the transition to The Brigands tunes in good order, and

adding his own flavor and even whole songs to our ever growing list.

Welcome aboard mate, says we !!




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

on her.

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 in Rockhall 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 – R.I.P , 4/20/15, Navigator






















SALTY BIRD,  Navigator,  11/15/15

A talkin’, singin’, laughin’  yellow shouldeer Amazon,  whose main

job aboard the Hellion is making us laugh, which he does with great









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.  Scabby Pete’s guitar is 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 !

19 Responses to “The Crew”

  • Kristie:

    haha, you guys are amazing.
    Can’t wait to see you again next year at the pirate festival (:

  • Salesmunn:

    You guys need ro get this haul on iTunes!

  • Always a pleasure seeing you lot! Here’s to upcoming good times in Rock Hall!

  • Rosemarie Ross:

    Love your website…..

  • Can’t wait to see you guys at Marcus Hook. Stop by the camp for some rum.

  • You guys were the best part of the 2nd annual Marcus Hook Pirate Feast & Festival. Your music even got me to dance a jig! I have some photo’s I took from this festival and also from Rock Hall. You can find them at:
    I also told you about a fine Tin Whistle Player from the Blackthorn Resort in NY named Robert Handle who would make a fine addition to your band. You can see a video I took of him playing at:

  • Claire the parrot-less:

    Greetings me hearties, from the UK.
    I hope to see you playing sometime soon!

  • Katie Cuttlefish:

    You guys are amazing! I truly love working with you guys! If you need anyone to sell CD’s in the Tidewater area, you know where to find me! :)

    ~Katie Cuttlefish

  • Kitty:

    Big fan. Saw you guys perform at the Pirates ball as well as at the grape tavern at the Blackbeard Pirate festival in Hampton. think you’ll are awesome. Bought two of your CDs :) will keep buying them as long as you’ll keep singing so good.

  • Redjack:

    Was great playing with you blokes in Rock Hall. Can’t wait to see you @ Marcus Hook…

  • Ladee Mae Dae Lily:

    A mighty Arghhhhh to all the crew. This is the eldest to Malinda, and I miss you all. Master William Ruffster,says he too sends his best to you all. We are in dire need of some music. Please let me know whereabouts I can spend my treasures and get all of your sounds…Thank you and love to Butch Cannon…Have a blessed day.

  • Malinda Malarkey:

    Huzzah to the Brigands and their 6 cds!! You men are wonderful! Your music always brightens my day!! I cant wait to see you play again, it’s been far too long!

  • Kimberly Ena:

    We really enjoyed your music at The Fishermen’s Village Pirate Festival in Punta Gorda, Florida. You guys are really talented musicians with a great energy about you and the songs you sing for the crowd. I hope you can come again next year! You have a new follower fan!

  • Kimberly Ena:

    We really enjoyed your music at The Fishermen’s Village Pirate Festival 2013 in Punta Gorda, Florida. You guys are really talented musicians with a great energy about you and the songs you sing for the crowd. I hope you can come again next year! You have a new follower fan!

  • The Wench:

    I love and miss my mates. If I can take care of ‘some things’, I will be there in Hampton in 2014. Just remember I be in the Outer Banks of the Carolinas now. Me door is always open to me mates.

    • The Wench:

      The Hampton Magistrate still has a bounty on me head. Come to North Carolina boys. We will show Roanoke Island what true pyrates are. (I know the cops, we won’t be arrested)

  • Delwyn (Sparkles) Rustleleaves:

    Ahoy my favorite band of scurvy knaves! I have long missed the gently rocking of the Hellion. Recently I pulled out some glorious CD’s that had been packed away and have been fondly remembering the voyages I have taken with the crew of the Hellion. I wished to throw my hat in for the position of purser if ye happen to come to port in Eastport this year. My services would be free of charge save for a copy of that there CD I do not yet have in my possession. Wishing you all calm seas and a steady wind.

Leave a Reply for Kimberly Ena

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