I emailed Cyrus Green of the Legendary River Drifters and asked him three questions, and am I ever glad I did. What I got back from him were awesome reasons to see these guys and what their music is all about. If you missed them earlier this week, be sure to check them out on the dates mentioned at the end of this, and if they can resurrect the dead....see them on that tour as well.
"Tell Me a bit about your band."
The River Drifters formed four years ago out of a desire to play in a band whose members could win in a fight against any other local band. That's also why Suzanne took up the musical saw: to have easy access to a deadly weapon on stage. Joe Burkins got put on mandolin because he can play every instrument in the band better than the member playing that instrument. He had never played mandolin before, so we all voted and the mandolin is what we settled on. Cyrus said, "Let's see if he can play this retarded violin." Of course he could, and if he gets any better at it, we may have to switch him to slide whistle.
We're a folk group that veers into heavy metal sometimes. Matthew has a wheat intolerance. That's our main weakness, especially during beer drinking competitions, but Cyrus can drink his weight in beer, so that makes up for it. If Olivia exposed her breasts more, we all think we'd get better press. Darrick and Curtis both look a little like David Koresh, which is probably inhibiting us from getting national attention. We all remember the last time national attention turned to David Koresh.
Speaking of press, we stopped doing straight-faced interviews after we spoke to the Westword about the religious undertones in our music, and they labeled Suzanne a Catholic. She'll take whiskey over worship, as they say, and that's pretty evident in most of our songs, penned by Suzanne or not.
"What do you believe sets you guys apart from all the other bands in Denver?"
We are a cult and there are seven of us. Actually, we are a group of religious zealots, though none of us share a common religion. In this sense, we are a pantheistic cult/band and this fact sets us apart greatly from other Denver "bands." Suzanne is a devout Catholic, can often be seen with rosary in-hand, and who according to Denver's Westword has "...struggled with her faith." Curtis is of the Jewish persuasion and in 2007 briefly flirted with Hasidism, even growing his payot to full-Abrahamic regulation length. Matthew is a recent convert to the Denver chapter of ISKCON (The International Society of Krishna Consciousness) and supplies the rest of the band with an unlimited supply of sesame candies, for which the we are very grateful. Olivia is a born-again Zoroastrian and when not busy keeping the fire alive at temple, divides her time between the River Drifters and bee-keeping. Cyrus is a card-carrying member of the American Atheists and can often be seen wearing an Atheist tee-shirt depicting a mulish praying mantis. Joe is an arm-chair Buddhist and whilst "faux-meditating" in his armchair often meditates about how attachment is a "bummer." Last but not least, Darrick recently told the rest of the band that he is becoming a member of the Church of Later Day Saints and that the real reason he agreed to go with the band on summer tour is so that he could catch a ride to SLC.
"What are your upcoming shows so people can check you out?"
We're heading out on tour so not much in Denver for the next month. We'll be playing the Sunnyside Music Fest in Chaffe park on September 11 and we'll be opening for the always fascinatingly hypnotic Faun Fables at Bender's Tavern on October 5th. We've also been asked to participate in a concert that will be called Dead Rockers Tour and will some really great musicians including Johny Cash, Darby Crash, Joe Strummmer, Keith Richards and Barry White. It's not confirmed yet, but once they figure out the logistics of raising the dead, it's on.
Seriously though, these guys are awesome and incredibly talented. They don't give you a single reason to hate them, in fact after this, I love them that much more.