The genre-bending Hawk Tubley & The Ozymandians will be swooping into John & Peter’s on Saturday, Nov. 4, and they’re worth checking out.
Their sound has its roots in country, folk, blues and some basic rock and jazz, but it’s when the harder-edged electric and psychedelic influences emerge that one realizes these guys are not only technically solid, but also smart and funny.
“Hawk Tubley” is the stage name of singer/songwriter George Mostoller, who’s lived in places like California, Alabama and New York, and currently calls Philadelphia home. He says the moniker “Hawk Tubley” came to him in a dream.
“It’s much easier to talk about Hawk Tubley than to talk about myself,” he explained.
“So much of music today is machine created that there’s almost no a melodic structure that a person can see,” said Mostoller of the creative process. “All the songs I write I can play by myself, although they sound better with a band.”
Mostoller started his music career playing at CBGB in New York City in the 1980s with the Hæmorrhoids. Throughout the 1990s, he lived in Birmingham, Alabama, where his bands, including Eat More Possum, the Freeloaders, the Green Eggs, and Partial To Mabel, played all over the Southeast and opened for acts like Southern Culture on the Skids, Jason & the Scorchers, the Radiators, James Taylor, and David Allen Coe.
In 2000, Hawk Tubley moved back to Philadelphia, and in 2011 released his first solo album “Cooking With Dynamite!” which featured contributions from renowned bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band, Dead & Company) and the Sun Ra Arkestra’s Marshall Allen.
In 2017, Hawk Tubley and the Ozymandians (Andres Villamil on bass, Mike “Luxor” Szekely on drums, and Andy “Major Headspin” Davis on the electric guitar) released “Pond Kings In April,” a mix of Americana, cowboy folk, and good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, featuring Hawk Tubley’s distinctive voice and songwriting.
There’s an element of the unexpected in each song that’s a definite attraction, whether an unusual choice of instrument or a sudden drift into psychedelia. “Grade B Prisoner of Love” from the “Pond Kings of April” LP is one example, a slice of Americana with outrageous bagpipe riffs.
“It’s a quality of having good, creative musicians,” Mostoller said, when asked if the band’s quirkiness came from excessive drug use.
His bandmates certainly sport excellent musical pedigrees. Bassist Andres Villamil grew up in Philadelphia and studied Film Scoring and Performance at both New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. He’s worked with artists like Potato Valdez, Buster Poindexter (David Johansen), Trent Reznor, John Zorn, Eartha Kitt, Cypress Hill, Chick Corea, Bryan Ferry, and Duran Duran, among others.
Andrew Davis, composer and electric guitarist, studied guitar under Steve Abshire. As a composer, his works have been performed by groups like Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, and the Daedalus Quartet.
With a catalog of over 400 songs, keyboard king Dave Cope is one of the most prolific and eclectic musical minds to have ever graced the stages and studios of Philadelphia. Drummer Mike Szekely studied jazz at the Hartt School of Music (Hartford, Connecticut) led by the late saxophonist Jackie McLean and percussion with drum master Milford Graves at Bennington College.
Hawk Tubley & the Ozymandians will take the stage at John & Peter’s, 96. S. Main St. in New Hope, on Saturday, Nov. 4, at around 9 p.m. There’s no cover, so there’s no excuse.