Clovis NochesPosted: March 16, 2012
I subbed a few times on bass, mostly in 1991 and 1992, New York City
Nancy Lynn Howell – vocals, guitar
G. Doug Pierson – guitar
with a large and revolving cast of members and hired guns, including at various times
Fats Kaplin – accordion, fiddle, and pedal steel
Larry Eagle, Jeremy Dreesen, Ken Meyer, Steve Holley, Robert Bond, Albert Caiati, others – drums
Jeff Myers, Wayne Hammond, Arturo Baguer, Hank Bones, me a few times, others – bass
Alan Goodman – lap steel guitar
Gib Wharton – pedal steel
Ken Pierson – accordion
These two cowboy hats had been playing in New York City for a couple of years already when, as I described at the end of my Oswalds post, I stumbled onto them at this gig that I attended on a whim with Laura Cantrell:
Here’s what the band sounded like at the time. This recording was produced by the drummer, Robert Bond. [For iPad, iPhone, or other non-Flash-enabled devices, go here.]
“Nine Mile Hill” by Clovis Noches
Clovis Noches had formed out of the ashes of the Shakers, a band Nancy and Doug, who were married at the time, had back in Albuquerque. They played a lot of new wave covers and the occasional original. Apparently there was a certain amount of hot pink hair dye involved. Then in an unusual move, Nancy and Doug split up as a couple and relocated to NYC to play original music.
Not long after that Bottom Line show, Nancy and I started dating. Clovis Noches didn’t really have a regular band, more like a revolving cast of capable hired guns (it seems like every pedal steel player in the city passed through the band). It was probably inevitable that as a bass-playing boyfriend, I would eventually get conscripted when someone couldn’t do a gig. I remember subbing with the group maybe 3 times.
Here’s a flyer for one show I did. I remember Larry Eagle was spectacular as a drummer; I sounded better just being in the same room as him.
Clovis Noches put out one single on the Diesel Only label, a 45-only label run by Jeremy Tepper, Jay Sherman Godfrey, and Albert Caiati. Cover design (and the cartoon in the flyer above) by Susan Lathrop.
I liked playing with them, but I really loved seeing them. They were slick, in a good way; they had great players and Nancy was the sort of powerful lead singer that left folks dazed. Maybe I’m biased (Nancy and I got married in October of 1992).
Here’s a later song, with Artie Baguer on standup bass, Larry Eagle on drums, and Alan Goodman (?) on steel guitar:
“48 Steps Down” by Clovis Noches
[For iPad, iPhone, or other non-Flash-enabled devices, go here.]
Concurrent with all this, I was running a band of my own, Flat Old World (about which, of course, more later). Nancy and Doug were both in that, too. And I was playing with Life in a Blender. Blender’s drummer, Ken Meyer, joined Clovis Noches in a lineup towards the end of the band that was more constant: Alan Goodman on lap steel, Ken on drums, and Artie Baguer on standup bass. My impression of the band at that point was that they were exploring some quieter, slower stuff (perhaps partly as a result of the deadly slow, deathly quiet stuff Nancy was singing in Flat Old World).
Somewhere in 1993 or so, the band stopped playing. Flat Old World was on a bit of a roll, and I think Nancy enjoyed singing without having to worry about writing for or fronting a band. Doug was busier with a family. Doug, Nancy, and Ken will all show up repeatedly on this blog. Among other projects, Doug plays now with a group called The Highland Shatners, and Ken and I (in Life in a Blender) are sharing a bill with them tomorrow night. Alan Goodman turned into a flamenco guitarist. Larry Eagle is all over the place, including playing with Bruce Springsteen as the drummer on the Seeger Sessions and collaborating with Andy Statman. Fats Kaplin moved to Nashville and has played with loads of folks, notably Tom Russell, Kevin Welch, and Kristi Rose. Gib Wharton played with the Holmes Brothers for quite a while, and lives in Texas now. Wayne Hammond is apparently playing “comedy rock” in Key West. Among other gems, his act has a song called “The Rectum of Ella Fitzgerald” to the tune of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Robert Bond moved to England (we had a drink with him on our honeymoon); Now he lives in Nashville and Warsaw. Artie Baguer went on to play with many folks, including Amy Allison. Hank Bones is a busy engineer and bassist.