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Louisville, KY
The Comedy Attack! is a bi-weekly comedy show every even Sunday @ 9:00 at Groucho's Bar & Karaoke (935 Goss Ave, Germantown, Louisville, KY, USA) hosted by Jake Reber. But who IS Jake Reber? Jacob Thomas Emmanuel Reber is a 6 year Louisvillian musician-comedian-writer-Abraham Lincoln impersonator-cartoon historian-multihypenate. You may remember him for such activities as playing upright bass, abusing language, falling off his bike and always aggressively adventuring. To contact please send 3 proofs of purchase to jacobreber@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The List of the Most Terrifying Musicians in Louisville

It’s no secret that Louisville has a plethora of awesome musical talent.  My Morning Jacket, Cheyenne Mize, Tim Krekel and Jimmy Raney but a few upstanding notables.  Delve deeper into the mysterious underbelly of Louisville’s music scene and you will find so many infuriatingly talented musicians it’s startling­­--soul-crushing talented motherfuckers who blur the line between genius and insanity.  Here’s what our expert panel of musical cowards constructed as the Most Terrifying Musicians in Louisville:

#13-William BentonBehind the bar of Seidenfaden’s, slinging bevs to an unsuspecting populace lies one of Louisville’s great musical minds.  William Benton is one of the last of dying breed of guit-fiddle desperados.  The man plays the guitar with a toy laser gun, for Christ’s sake.  A melancholy presence, if provoked he’ll regale you with tales of worldly travels and vintage professional wrestling.  He’s a being sensitive enough to hear a Quail’s fart as though it’s a sonic boom.  Always be careful around a man who actually uses a Fender Jazzman to play jazz, is all I’m saying. 
Member of legendary ensemble of Louisville past, Lucky Pineapple, these days he helms his own project Cat Casual and the Holy Midnight  and sidemans consummately with a slew of other groups. William was last spotted on Baxter Ave resurrecting dead Earthworms back to this mortal plane with a Goddamned Squire Acoustic.  Unreal.   

#12-Nick Layman:  “He wears a dress, how terrifying can he be?” That precisely why you SHOULD be afraid of him.  Mr. Layman is the local definition of giving absolutely zero shits.  The range of ability with which he is able to convey just how little he cares about you or your long-term hearing is staggering.  Initially a localized Dave Grohl/Keith Moon lovechild on drumbos, these days he can equally fuck up your Christmas on guitar, synthesizer bass, or anything he can get his hands on.  
Can he play the trumpet?  No.  But will that stop him?  You bet yer ass it won’t.
Working best as sideman alongside countless Louisville staples such as The Blackbirds of Paradise, Pleasure Boys, The Cut Family Foundation, Future Killer, and especially as a duo with his wife RayGun Layman who is also a card-carrying BadAss herself, and will make an appearance on this list as soon I gather enough gumption to update and write more regularly.  Nick has spearheaded numerous new projects lately, ever the overachiever, highlighted by the mucho-confrontational Free Jazz explorations of Recreational Nukes, who boast themselves as, "Louisville's most Punk outfit.  Don't believe us?  Book us."

#11-Charles Rivera: Sometime in January 1987 an unsuspecting male Spaniard and gringo woman collaborated to create what would become the modern guitar shaman that is Charles St. Jorge le Deaf-Aids de la Salle Frippeno Rivera.  It is said that as he burst forth from womb to Earth, as he struggled for air through newborn cries his tiny baby-like fingers were already moving in major pentatonic patterns.  Charles followed the usual progression of musical tastes for a youngling: from Garth Brooks to Iron Maiden to John Coltrane.
Primarily Charles is known for two things: continually redefining what living in the moment can truly entail, and running with an entourage more powerful than all incarnations of the nWo combined.  He also gained notoriety in the late-aughts when musicologists and audiologists agreed upon a new standard of measurement to define his playing: “A...ah….fuckton of notes” according to official music spokesperson Jerry Tolson (citation needed).  Charles’ style of no-holds-barred slobber-knocker music is said to have similar effects to eating human meat in the Canadian wilderness, thus earning him his nickname of ‘The Jazz Wendigo.’ He remains almost as hairy in even the form of a man

#10-Chris Fitzgerald: Chris can be seen around town eating invisible sandwiches while making sweet love to the upright bass.  At first glance there’s nothing inherently frightening about him or his silky smooth melodic bassings; you probably mistook him for Chris Elliot.  That’s because Mr. Fitzgerald is nothing less than a cerebral mind-fuck on par with the fact Hannibal Lector is a concert pianist.  Starting out fresh-faced as Rush-loving guitarist, he then ditched that noise to play classical and jazz piano for 11 years.  After a brief tenure as a bass guitarist on the wedding circuit, he then found the rainbow bridge to Valhalla whereupon Odin called him to rule the realm of the upright bass.  It is written that somewhere in his labyrinth of dendrites that he also possesses skills on French horn (better known ‘round these parts as the Freedom horn), oboe, kung-fu, and knowledge of why Klingons stopped looking like spray-painted white dudes.

#9-Craig Wagner: Craig is so epic and perfectly Aryan that it’s best to use the German pronunciation of his surname, sounding ‘v’ in place of the ‘w.’ He does things with his fingers that can best be described as miraculous.  In 1997 doctors at Jewish Hospital formed a sex cult dedicated to worshipping his hands, which inspired film director Stanley Kubrick to make “Eyes Wide Shut.”  He is sort of a guitar-shredding version of the film Gremlins: at first the sounds he makes are sweet and he’s cute as a button (sporting a freshly-knit sweater and White Castle coffee), but just when your guard is down the inner demon unleashes a Fippertronic wall of treble at you.  He’s virtually too powerful; even as a sideman he steals the show.  You can literally cut out everything except his solos and the music only gets better. 

#8-Dick Sisto: A Buddhist priest, radio DJ, educator, farmer, and jazz vibraphonist, Dick is certainly no stranger to getting worked hard.  You can catch him every weekend at the Seelbach hotel; the mellow ringing of his vibes are like a hot blast straight in the ear with an Orgone cannon.  Dick produced a son and voice-sake in acclaimed actor Jeremy Sisto, who is the only actor manly enough to portray both Batman and Jesus (besides that other guy).  Though he is known for being a little gruff around the edges, Dick plays very well with others.  Just as long as they can effortlessly sync up with his ability to keep perfect time.  He often teams with jazz guru/pianist Harry Pickens.  If they ever to add drummer Mike Hyman they could create the pinnacle of giggle-inducing jazz trio names: The Harry/Dick & Hyman Experience.
#7-Steve Cooley: The Guitar Emporium is Louisville’s musical Cave of Wonders.  You may feel as though you surely must pay a toll for beholding such splendor.  That toll comes in the form of the tart interrogation of banjo/guitar hobgoblin Steve Cooley.  Of course, you’d be a tad sour too if you lost the banjo spot in New Grass Revival to some hack named Béla Fleck.  Though Steve may be initially intimidating in demeanor, if one proves himself worthy he shall reveal the kindness and wisdom of the guitar ancients.  However, that doesn’t make his prowess on anything with strings or his Gandalf-like appearance any less daunting.   

#6-Ray Rizzo: I remember my first time seeing the Java Men play at the Pour House, now known as Club 21 (aka Club Stab-N-Run).  I thought Rasputin had returned and declared Mortal Kombat on the drums.  Remember that Muppet Show when Animal duels Buddy Rich?  If you combined both of them into a singular rampaging man-beast, he’d still need a neck tattoo to appear as feral as Ray.  Balancing his time between Louisville and New York, the best chance to catch him these days is at The Rudyard Kipling, where Ray is probably performing in at least two of the bands playing at any given performance.  Unfortunately, the only live videos I could find were with Days of the New…I’ve heard many things about Travis Meeks, but he’d have to be truly crazy to fuck with Ray Rizzo

#5-Will Oldham: Also known as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, also known as Palace Music, also known as ‘The Rutherford B. Hayes of Rock,’ also known as the only person you’ve probably heard of on this list.  With such bizarre film credits as a cop in the fifteenth chapter of R. Kelly’s epic poem 'Trapped in the Closet,' the gorilla trainer in Jackass 3D, a beaver in Adult Swim’s Squidbillies, and hanging out  in a Kanye West music video with Zach Galifianakis, it is no small wonder why he may leave you unsettled. 
He is uncategorically insane…perhaps even incategorically unsane.  You have no idea what he’s capable of.  Even he has no idea what he’s capable of.  In addition to sad songs, Mr. Oldham/Billy also posses a penchant for appearing out thin air.  Whenever you are alone in Louisville and feel the chill of an otherworldly presence through your being, it’s often just Mr. Oldham’s beard gently caressing your neck as he kisses your soul.  He’s the only man alive who plans his days less than Bill Murray.

#4-Jacob Duncan: If you search Jacob Duncan on Youtube, you are met with two options: One is an amateur professional wrestler (from Louisville’s own Ohio Valley Wrestling) and the other is the world’s first saxophone playing Redwood Tree.  While both men exude daunting (perhaps gratuitous manliness), only the horn-wielding Nachbar staple truly inspires both awe and fear.  You may have found yourself there on a Wednesday night after Jacob had roared apart both time and space. 
The 6’9” bearded behemoth makes an alto saxophone look like a plastic toy.  But the most horrifying part of it all is he is so nice --like, so nice you’re willing to give your sister up for marriage just to gain him as family.  So nice you have to wonder if he’s just lowering your guard before he rips your femur straight out of your leg, whittles it into a flute and composes you a ballad.  Then he’d sign the royalties over to you and build you a birdhouse.

#3-Steve Good: With a breast-pocket full of pens and socks climbing up his calves towards his khaki shorts, Steve Good looks just like your dad.  Or like he got kicked off Sesame Street.  He could be the previously unseen face of Mr. Pipe from the Ren & Stimpy Show. That, on top of the fact he played with Donovan, must mean he’s fairly harmless…
However, the Ut Gret/Liberation Prophecy mastermind conjures wicked air sculptures on his many woodwinds.  His tone is the sonic equivalent of your family being held at gunpoint.  He blows minds so hard the US government has assigned a four letter classification to all of his audio recordings: JFKO.  Rumor has it he ritualistically tortures his saxophone to keep it in check.  From all accounts, he never uses the front door to his house.  

#2-Mike Hyman: Mike, together with Jason and Ray, form the Holy Trinity of Louisville Percussoids.  However, Mike Hyman is unequaled by man or beast in raw testicular fortitude.  The imposing drummeister is fear incarnate for musicians and innocent bystanders alike.  When touring with jazz legend Joe Henderson at only 17 years old, and was affectionately referred to only as El Diabolo e Phobos la Chupacabre.  Roughly translated, this means: “Evil Tyrant of Time and Bringer of Dripping Loins.”  This was long before he adapted a steely-eyed glare and bulldog build as his signature look.  Mike can’t even listen to music anymore, as none exists that could possibly satiate his rage.  So he chooses to make eyeglasses to the sounds of nature by day and drum like John Bonham on ballads by night.  When Mike plays at the Nachbar, it doesn’t smell bad from the faulty plumbing, rather from everyone simultaneously shitting themselves.     

#1-Sonny Stevens: Virtually the perfect sideman, Sonny has worked with everyone from Dixieland bands to the noisiest free groups.  However, most people know him as, “that guy I don’t stand near in the Nachbar.”  Good luck finding a photo of him where he isn't completely shrouded in darkness.  He’s like a gritty reboot of Robin Williams as a bassist powered by the Dark Side of the Force.  With every note plucked the souls of fallen Jedi past flood from his body, even in the dead of winter.  Even his shadow is terrified of him.  He can most often be seen feverishly anticipating telepathic musings from the drummer in a manically-obsessed daze, or chugging Red-Hots beside his truck.  His instrument is over one hundred years old, but no one truly knows how old Sonny himself is.  His hands are powerful enough to crush time, yet gentle enough to crush hipsters.  Legend has it that after gigs he spends his nights bounding across the shotgun rooftops of Germantown, black cape flapping in the putrid Louisville air.

BONUS-Jason Tiemann: Jason makes grooves so dirty they have boogers stuck to them.  He is a drummer in high-demand for many reasons, most of which involve him striking down with furious anger upon them skins.  When not murdering the drums, Jason can be found murdering grass and driving a monster truck with his yard service.  If not occupied with drumsticks, his hands will always be holding a Bitburger in the left and a whey protein shake in the right, which he’ll then proceed to drink like Stone Cold Steve Austin.  The only thing that could make his shredding more impressive is if he finally found a gig where he didn’t need a shirt. 


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