Viewing entries tagged
Crys Matthews

12/31/18 - The Best Songs Brian Obsessed About in 2018

In creating the shows in 2018 we shared more than 300 songs, and listened to hundreds more. So what were the best of the best? We’re happy to share! These are Brian’s top 13 which he listened to on repeat in 2018, and a playlist of the top 57 in case you like what you heard and want to dig deeper. We hope you find some new tunes you love! Just a brief intro and then it’s all music for you to enjoy!


Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherTuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice



  1. Greens, by be steadwell (Pop/Soul)

  2. Stronger, by Juxt (Hard Rock)

  3. Cups to the Floor, by Rare Essence (GoGo/Hip Hop)

  4. Bartenders and Bourbon, by Fellowcraft (Rock/Blues)

  5. Petrified (Live), by Chris Cassaday (Folk/Folk Rock)

  6. Vapor, by Black Dog Prowl (Hard Rock/Grunge)

  7. The Imagineers, by Crys Matthews (Folk/Americana)

  8. Forgiveness, by Sol Roots (Blues/Funk)

  9. Long Way Back to Shonto, by Eli Lev (Indie/Indie Rock)

  10. Snow Day, by Tony Craddock, Jr. (Jazz/Gospel)

  11. Private Room (feat. JusPaul), by Footwerk (Hip Hop/Alternative Hip Hop)

  12. Crank It Up (Long Live Rock n’ Roll), by Lindsey Buckingham Palace (Hard Rock/Classic Rock)

  13. Come and Get It, by Pebble To Pearl (R&B/Funk)

->’This Week’s Dose Of DC Music’ Spotify Playlist<-

->’DC Music Rocks Show’ MEGA Spotify Playlist<-

Email Signup Link
For those who don't already conveniently get all this via email!



Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   ** Chad Lesch** ** M4TR (Music 4 The Revolution)**


We're looking for local businesses to sponsor us!  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

DC Music Rocks All Music Episode Jan 01 2019

12/04/18 - Special Guest: Heather Mae

This week on DC Music Rocks, Heather Mae, an artist who writes music for the light seekers and the good trouble makers, stops by for a chat.  The episode also features great tracks by Schreiner, SHAED, MioTiga, and Crys Matthews.

iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, TuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your other podcast app of choice.
Tell Siri, Alexa, or Google Home "Play the podcast DC Music Rocks"!

HM - Glimmer 1.jpg

Heather Mae Bio/Links:

Interview Link:

Heather Mae writes music for the light seekers and the good trouble makers. Her upcoming record, "Glimmer", is a record for when you're in the dark, searching for the light. Piano driven alt-pop featuring cinematic strings, vibrant brass, and a driving bass line, compliment atmospheric tom-heavy drums (a la Fleetwood Mac’s "Go Your Own Way"). Mae, a powerhouse performer and earthshaking vocalist, has taken her personal struggle with mental health, placed it into a record and live show, and turned her experience into a universal light force that shines for every audience member. This is not your mother's social justice music. This is not a flower-in-your-hair, solo acoustic guitar performer singing songs and taking encores while throwing peace. Heather is an empowering, on-fire, musical experience delivered via explosive vocals over high energy rhythm-heavy instrumentation that bursts in the chest of every audience member, moved to their core by her passion and message of self-love. Dubbed “the new queer Adele” by L-Mag, Heather Mae won the 2017 Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase and has opened for acclaimed musical artists such as Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls), Holly Near, Tom Goss, Chris Pureka, and Danielle Ate the Sandwich. Consider donating to her Kickstarter and being the glimmer in the dark for someone who needs it: 



Heather Mae
Heather Mae



  1. ***Uh Oh Love, by Schreiner (Rock, Pop Rock)

  2. Glimmer, by Heather Mae (Pop/Singer-Songwriter)
    THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE ANYWHERE YOU CAN HEAR THIS SONG, it’s not on the web anywhere, and only available as part of the video on her Kick-starter page.

  3. ***Melt, by SHAED (Pop, Indie Pop)

  4. ***Is It Enough, by MioTiga (Indie, Indie R&B)

  5. We Must Be Free, by Crys Matthews (Folk/Americana)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->’This Week’s Dose Of DC Music’ Spotify Playlist<-

->’DC Music Rocks Show’ MEGA Spotify Playlist<-


1) OUR ONE OF A KIND HOLIDAY PLAYLIST! Enjoy our Holiday Playlist!  We created it in collaboration with Listen Local First in DC!  Fantastic 4 hour playlist to have on at your holiday events!! Finally a playlist of holiday songs you HAVEN’T already heard for years!  Enjoy the holidays AND support DC’s music scene!

With the latest updates we made, we’re now covering a 50 mile radius, which is now more inclusive of shows in the suburbs!  We hope you’ll take a look, see what kind of great shows are happening in your neighborhood coming up! Remember you can filter by location, hit the gray button and filter by City and State near you!



  • Jason Masi - Capture The Heart
    11 Song Full Pop Album - RIYL Amos Lee, John Mayer, Ben Harper

  • Caustic Casanova - Pantheon: Vol. 3
    4 Song Hard Rock EP - RIYL Rush, Black Sabbath, Torche, Kyuss, Clutch

  • Makeup Girl - Plans
    Rock Single - RIYL Tame Impala, The Strokes, Frank Ocean

  • Cat Janice - Pricey
    Rock Single - RIYL Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Norah Jones

  • ARIA - Wave
    Hip Hop Single - RIYL Russ, NF, Young Thug

  • Alecia Renece - Matter
    R&B 7 Song Album - Lianne La Havas, India.Arie, Corrine Bailey Rae


Go see a show! Research shows that it reduces stress and makes you happy!

Dec 7 - Fri
Jonny Grave @ State Theatre in Falls Church, VA (Genre: Blues)
FeelFree @ The Soundry in Columbia, MD (Genre: Reggae)
Reed Appleseed & The Woodshedders @ Gypsy Sally's in Washington, DC (Genre: Folk/Country/Indie)

Dec 8 - Sat
Mystery Friends with the Colonies and Lavender @ Black Cat in Washington, DC
Hayley Fahey Music, Opening for Jonathan Sloane at the Soundry in Columbia, MD
Black Dog Prowl @ Dangerously Delicious Pies in Washington, DC

**Our local music calendar is the only place showing you where DC’s talent is playing around DC! See the full list!

Dec 9 - Sun
Rachel Levitin, Emily Henry & more at “Project HERA Presents Women Who Rock: The 90's @ Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, DC

Dec 13 - Thu
Thievery Corporation in town from their ‘Treasures From The Temple Tour’ @ 9:30 Club in Washington, DC
A Shrewdness of Apes @ Dangerously Delicious Pies in Washington, DC
Better Homes @ Jammin Java in Vienna, VA
Marielle Kraft @ Sofar Sounds in Washington, DC





Specific playlists we update weekly:

EMAIL SIGNUP LINK - For those who don't already conveniently get all this via email!


Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  There’s little give aways, but for us to evolve this online platform to cover even more we really need funds and support. We're giving away shirts, and more too!  We can do so much more with your support!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **M4TR**


Interested in spreading the word to our more than 12,000 DC region followers?

4/3/18 - Special Guest: Lindsay, Talent Buyer for Black Cat

Thanks to Lindsay from the Black Cat for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

^^Episode Audio/Post Is Live - Click Above (might need to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^

Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, TuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice




  1. ***Stronger, by Juxt (Hard Rock)

  2. Stand Up, by Heather Mae (Pop, Singer-Songwriter)

  3. The Imagineers, by Crys Matthews (Folk, Americana)

  4. ***Snitch Jacket, by Two Inch Astronaut (Rock)

  5. Skim Milk, by Flasher (Rock)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


DC’s Emancipation Day celebration is Sat Apt 14, Free music and entertainment all day, plus parade and fireworks, downtown at freedom plaza.  Hope you check it out!

DCMR is looking for help.  
Social Media and Website Content Specialist - 100% virtual/remote position.  5-10 hours/week.
    Must be interested in music, local music knowledge a plus but not required.  Experience with simple web design such as Squarespace, Mailchimp, Social Media, and Hootsuite are a plus.  Motivated to take on more also a plus. This isn’t a high paying position but if you’re looking for a fun side regular side hustle that you can do from home, this may be a great fit.  Must be available to complete a few hours of work sometime Friday-Sun, and Wednesday Morning-Midday.
     Interested? Know someone who would be? Send an email to and include a paragraph or two outlining how you/they relate to the above.


  • Bencoolen - In The End (Funk Single, RIYL Dave Matthews Band)

  • Kenny Sway - Kissing On The Moon (R&B Single, RIYL Pharrell or D’Angelo)

  • Da Flame - God Answers Prayers (Gospel Single, RIYL Gospel)

  • Oh He Dead - Blood In The Water (Indie, 3 Song EP, RIYL Alabama Shakes)


Two Dragons & A Cheetah - Five By Five

Our ‘DC Artists 2018 Tiny Desk Videos’ Youtube Playlist:

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:


Here’s just a few highlights for the coming week, be sure to check out the calendar for the full list of all the upcoming shows!

Fri Apr 6
--Christos DC @ Tropicalia on U St (Reggae, RIYL Bob Marley)
--Two Dragons and a Cheetah & Allthebestkids @ Red Panda House (Pop/Rock/HipHop, RIYL Alanis Morrisette/Notorious B.I.G.)
--Beanstalk Library & Throwing Plates @ Pearl Street Warehouse (Rock, RIYL Neil Young/Norah Jones)
--Backbeat Underground & Aaron Abernathy @ RNR Hotel (Funk/R&B, RIYL The Funk Ark/Prince/Marvin Gaye)

Sat Apr 7
--Petalpalooza, All Day Festival @ The Wharf
--VA listeners, Brian’s drumming with Fellowcraft @ World of Beer in Ashburn.  Come enjoy some originals and covers, grab a drink, and take a selfie! (Rock, RIYL Jet/The Pixies)

Sun Apr 8
--Broke Royals @ Union Stage (Rock, RIYL The Killers)

Wed Apr 11
--Chris Cassaday Concoction @ Gypsy Sally’s (Pop/Funk/Rock, RIYL Dave Matthews/Sublime)


Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **Music 4 The Revolution (Abu Jibran)**

We're Looking For Sponsors

We're looking for local businesses to sponsor us!  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

Lindsay - Talent Buyer for Black Cat

Video - Bio - Links - Transcript

Lindsay's Bio:

Lindsay Smyers_Black Cat.jpg

Lindsay is the talent buyer at Black Cat. She got her start booking benefit shows in high school for the American Cancer Society. This sparked a lifelong interest in booking shows that have a positive social impact. Black Cat has been an independent bastion in the Washington DC nightlife scene for 25 years. Lindsay has had a major role in the office of Black Cat during the most recent five years in the club’s storied history. Lindsay is a headstrong individual who values ethics and principles over monetary gain when it comes to booking. You can also find her in the garden, at a pottery wheel, or rolling for initiative with her D&D party all while daydreaming about her next major crafting or work project.



Black Cat.jpg


Brian:     On D.C. Music Rocks, we're shinning a spotlight on the great songs, artists and incredible people to keep you informed about your local music community. Lindsay is the talent buyer at Black Cat. She got her start booking benefit shows in high school for the American Cancer Society and this sparked a lifelong interest in booking shows that have a positive social impact. Black Cat has been an independent bastion in the Washington, D.C. nightlife scene for 25 years. Lindsay has had a major role in the office at the Black Cat during most of the recent 5 years and in the clubs storied history. So Lindsay, as a headstrong individual who values ethics and principles over monetary gain when it comes to booking, which is an amazing phrase to hear to come out about you.

    I first came across Lindsay because Fellow Craft has played shows at Black Cat and I certainly have heard of her for so long. I've been a fan of the work that you're doing and the club for so long, so it is a treat to have you sitting here with me. Thanks for being here.

Lindsay:     Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

Brian:     Now, tell us about Black Cat. It's the story ... Why is it called the Black Cat? Or is there a story there? Talk about the history.

Lindsay:     I could tell you probably a better story of why the ... You can write a check to the Black Cat or to Circle One Productions.

Brian:     Oh that's the proper business name?

Lindsay:     Right.

Brian:     Yeah, where does that come from?

Lindsay:     Circle One Productions is a joke that Dante [Frondo 00:01:25] our owner has ... Dante's inferno, the first circle of hell, is really where that comes from, so the Black Cat itself is probably more of just that same ... I don't think there's a specific black cat. I do know that the name has been in his family for years. There was a restaurant in the '20's that was called the Black Cat that has been carried down, so the original story for the name, I'm not sure how far back you'd actually have to go to get it.

Brian:     Interesting. So if you're ever at the Black Cat and Dante is there, ask him. Maybe he might know.

Lindsay:     Or yeah, his ancestors might, yeah.

Brian:     Or his ancestors, right. It's buried in the history books somewhere.

Lindsay:     It's been for a very, very long time.

Brian:     And you mentioned the club has a hundred year history, so where does it- ...

Lindsay:     The building.

Brian:     The building does? Tell us more about that history part. You said it's been a part of the culture in D.C., can you share a little bit more about that in terms of how it's connected to the scene? Or some of that specialness, in your opinion.

Lindsay:     The Black Cat? Sure. When Dante opened the place, he was in his early 20's. It's been around for a long time and a lot of his reason for opening it was to create a space for the community for the music that he wanted to play and wanted to share, to be there. So his perspective has always been really great for us in having him still be around. That's kind of one of the things that makes the mom-and-pop business so special, I guess, to the community is that it does focus on things like, "Hey, is this something we want to do? Is this something that would benefit our community? People that we care about." Definitely want to keep the lights on, but that's also a reason why we do want to get smaller, we do want to not kind of fall into the hype machine if you will and kind of stick to our guns and actually try to benefit that community and keep things on the lower side.

Brian:     Wow, I love that. I'm such a fan of the Black Cat, and if you've ever been to the Black Cat, where is the Black Cat?

Lindsay:     It's on 14th street, between S and T. It's actually on the same block, if you remember the old Black Cat, it's the same block, it's just a couple doors down. So I joke, this upcoming renovation is our next iteration, our next Cat life, right.

Brian:     There's nine lives that a cat has and we're getting through some of 'em.

Lindsay:     Yeah, yeah.

Brian:     Oh I like that. Now, for you then, how did you get hooked in with the Black Cat?

Lindsay:     Oh, man I remember going as a young-un. Their only age venue and then kind of entering that community then, but working there when I was 21, I moved back to D.C. to help my sister out who was going through a hard time and ended up staying and I had a good friend named Alex who played a lot of the shows we mentioned earlier back when we were a teenagers together and he was like, "Oh yeah, I started working door almost 8 years ago at this point now." And started working the kitchen and then started working for Vicki who taught me ... Her and Dante taught me everything I know and yeah, that's I guess how that happened.

Brian:     Holy.

Lindsay:     The good ole fashion way.

Brian:     Right, so you got connected in. And that was how long ago now? You've been ... We said five years?

Lindsay:     Eight with the club.

Brian:     Holy smokes.

Lindsay:     Yeah.

Brian:     That's amazing. And especially these days, people don't tend to keep jobs for eight years so it's kind of amazing that you're ... Goes to credit the great family vibe and the love that the Black Cat creates.

Lindsay:     It is. It's really special for me. As someone who moved around every two years growing up, I think the idea of community is something that is a beautiful thing in this world, it's cool.

Brian:     Yeah. And you moved every two years because dad was military?

Lindsay:     Yeah, my dad was military, which brought us to ... He worked at the Pentagon when I was 15 to 18, which is when you can reference those, we call them "die cancer die fest" at Cancer Fest and those would be back in that day from 15 to 18 in Northern Virginia would have been the area for that.

Brian:     That's so cool. And you know what? I have the same story, my dad was military and he was stationed at the Pentagon and I was here as a kid too.

Lindsay:     We're many of us around the area.

Brian:     Right. Absolutely, it's that connection. Now talk about you on the personal side, so outside of the Black Cat, hobbies? What do you do in your free time? Free time, what is that?

Lindsay:     But I have it. So many things, depending on how I'm feeling that free time. One of the things right now that I'm so excited for is April 15th is our last day of frost. I'm a big gardener so I have been germinating since January and I have ... I was joking, I think I have about 85 plants and only room for 28 of them, so if anyone needs any plants, hey let me know. I'm trying to get rid of some. It's a good news when everything germinates but that and I'm building a pottery studio in the garden this year to hopefully bring some pottery skills back into the backyard. And I'm a big hand ... Crochet, knitting, sewing.

Brian:     Wow.

Lindsay:     I like to create my own things.

Brian:     Total artsy side.

Lindsay:     Yeah I guess so.

Brian:     So you got the creative side that's not necessarily making music but it's making other art pieces and stuff like that.

Lindsay:     Making clothes or fill in the blanks. I have a nephew on the way so making a lot of baby booties right now.

Brian:     There you go. Excellent. Oh god, love those nephews. Absolutely. Now, talk about the funniest moment in the history of Black cat. What comes to mind?

Lindsay:     I mean, this one was hard for me because I find myself dealing with either things that are tragically hilarious or things that are coincidentally what? Oh my gosh how funny. There's nothing really that's, "Oh ha, ha, ha that happened. That's hilarious." So, one story that came to mind is just this funny moment, we had The Wallflowers play and man it was not the right year for them. They had come back and we were pushing the show, it was a great show in the end. It worked out fine, most things do, that's why ... Everything's fine in the end, it's just all the stress leading up to it.

    And I remember, we typically don't have many runners, we're not that big and so I had to pick up Jacob Dillon that night and as we're driving back to the club he's getting ready, we're just chatting about whatever in the car on the way to the club, it's about a five minute drive and I just chuckled and will never forget the moment I looked down and realized that there was only one headlight and it just stuck with me really hard. It was a good moment.

Brian:     Oh my god. And if you didn't catch that, think about it, do a little googling and see if you catch what she just did there 'cause oh it was so good. I love it. Now, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Lindsay:     To be honest, I feel like a lot in the industry you have people that are trying to either convince you of something or to explain something in a way of seeming very big if it comes to ego or pride, or whatever it is. But the best thing I can find in this industry to deal with is being honest and having people ... Will respect you a lot more if you are upfront about what you can deliver or where you're- ...

Brian:     Does that have to do with when a band says how many people they can bring? Or what else are you referring to there?

Lindsay:     I guess most of the time dealing with, "Hey can I bring fire inside?" Like no, "Oh, oh please?" Or do it anyway, or things like that. It's just ... or "Why?" 'Cause of this thing, it's just easier I feel like when you're honest with people and even when it comes to shows that maybe don't do as well or shows that do way above what you would think, everyone can get their high and low points and I guess about being honest with yourself and honest with what you're doing is always gonna kinda come out on top on the end in my opinion.

Brian:     Yeah. Got it. That makes perfect sense. And actually, while we're talking about that, I was just curious, when a band emails you and says, "Hey, we want to play at the Black Cat." What do you look at? What are you thinking about?

Lindsay:     Oh man. So many things. Well, the first thing right, is hey does this fit? Does this fit our genre?

Brian:     What is that genre?

Lindsay:     Variations of alternative rock basically.

Brian:     Okay.

Lindsay:     Right? So that's where ... And now genres are so ... They just bled into each other so much that it's really hard to kinda ... It's one of the tough games that I play constantly.

Brian:     Sure.

Lindsay:     And local is a little different 'cause we want to maintain that community. I want to mention Heather May and Chris, are more singer, song writer types, which you won't typically find, those kinds of artists on the more national scale come through, but locally of course we would want to cater to that more. So, if it fits the genre, if we have the date right? 'Cause coordinating that calendar with two rooms, it's a lot to try to figure out a lot of, "Hey how long can you wait? What do you need to do?" And a lot of back and forth happens before you come to a conclusion.

Brian:     Got it. So the genre and the date, and the potentially how many people they can bring.

Lindsay:     And it's like hey how many are in your band? Do you have a 15 person band? 'Cause the back stage ...

Brian:     Right it's not big enough for five people.

Lindsay:     There's just so many question that go into it, so a lot of the hoping we can do with the new room on the third floor is a real simple setup. Hey, plug in, play and cut down on the expenses to go back into the local community, which we'll do hopefully. That's the plan.

Brian:     That's awesome. I love it. And one more time, if they want to find out more about what's happening at Black Cat, where do they go?


Brian:     That's the place.


11/7/17 - Special Guest: DC Drummer, Ben Tufts

Thanks to DC's incredible drummer, Ben Tufts, for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

^^Episode Audio/Post Is Live - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^

Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice




  1. As Long As I Can See, by Broke Royals (Rock, Alt Rock)
  2. Ribbons & Flowers, by FuzzQueen (Rock, Indie Rock)
  3. Titanic, by Exit Vehicles (Indie, Rock)
  4. Anchor, by Crys Matthews (Folk, Americana)
  5. Get It While You Can, by By and By (Folk, Indie Rock)
  6. Irish Demon, by Virginia Creep (Hard Rock, Noise Rock)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



DANCING IN A CAR VIDEO CONTEST - We’re celebrating the release of our Car Dance Party playlist with a super simple & fun contest.  Yes, there’s prizes!  Tag and Share with friends/family you know with good car dancing skills!

1) Take a 10+ second video of yourself dancing in a car while playing one of your favorite DC artist’s songs!
2) Artist must be DC region - that means not baltimore, not richmond, DC and surrounding region
3) Upload the video as a comment to this post, tagging the artist’s facebook page and giving the song title.
4) click “like” on this facebook post!

--WINNERS decided by the DC Music Rocks team based on 1) number of “likes” on their video by others, 2) energy/enthusiasm/humor, 3) car dance skills!  Current Deadline for submissions 11/25/17

--PRIZES - One (1) Grand Prize winner will have the opportunity to co-host the live radio show with Brian on the air.  Two (2) runners up will receive DC Music Rocks shirts in the mail.

--Tech note: Some phones won’t let you record video and play music on them at the same time normally, but apps like snapchat WILL let you do this or you can use a friend’s phone (company is always fun)!  Be resourceful, you got this!

Car Dance Party playlist link:


SPONSORS - Our sponsorship program is live on our website, we're now looking for sponsors.  The link to the page is below, if you have ideas for businesses who would be a good sponsors or partners for DC Music Rocks, please do reach out, share them with us!


SHIRTS - DC Music Rocks T-shirt’s are up on our website and available through Amazon, they make a great gift idea for your musician friends and family for the holidays!



Timberbrooke - Train Of Thought (Single)

Oddisee - Like Really (Live) (Single)

Our ‘2017 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:


Timberbrooke - Train of Thought (Official Music Video)

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:



Just the one's we talked about on the show, which is just a taste.  Don't forget to visit the full calendar to see all the upcoming shows!

Nov 10 Fri
-Swampcandy @ Songbyrd Music House in Adams Morgan DC
-Jonny Grave @ Pearl Street Warehouse at The Wharf in SW DC
-Come see Brian as a part of PerfectionCraft 2017 (Fellowcraft & The Perfectionists) @ The Ugly Mug in Eastern Market in SE DC

Nov 11 Sat
In DC - Cinema Hearts @ Catharsis on the Mall
In MD - Veronneau @ World-Jazz Summit! @ Amp By Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD
In VA - The Sidleys @ Clydes at Mark Center in Alexandria, VA

Nov 12 Sun
-Broke Royals @ U Street Music Hall on U St in NW DC

Nov 13 Mon
-Bottled up @ Comet Ping Pong in NW DC
-Hayley Fahey Music @ Pearl Street Warehouse at The Wharf in SW DC

Nov 16 Thu
-Skribe @ GYPSY SALLY'S supporting ZACH DEPUTY in Georgetown in NW DC


Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
--Daniel Warren Hill  --David Mohl

Ben Tufts



Ben Tufts

I grew up in Sterling, VA and bought my own drumset in 8th grade from the money I earned delivering newspapers.  I spent a lot of my early youth listening to my parents' record collection--especially The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.  My first band in high school was called "J'aunt."  The apostrophe is silent.  We were an instrumental spazz core band of which there are no existing digital recordings.  We probably played less than a dozen shows ever.  I went to college at Longwood University, where I got a double music major--concentrating in both education and composition.  It was there that I discovered jazz, falling in love with the music of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, especially.  I discovered during my student teaching that I didn't feel prepared to be a band director, so upon graduating I got a data entry job and started playing bass guitar in bands in the DC area.  I started teaching private lessons in 1999, something I still do and feel is an integral part of who I am as an artist.

I went back to school in 2003 to study jazz at University of Maryland with Steve Fidyk, then the drummer for the Army Blues.  Steve's teaching changed my playing AND my teaching.  In 2009 I got divorced and my dad died from cancer, and I threw myself into teaching and performing more than ever.  By 2012, I was touring five or six months out of the year, playing 200 shows a year, teaching dozens of students, etc.  At this point I've played with over 100 artists/bands in the DC region and beyond.  I love the recording process, and studio work is something that has really ramped up for me in recent years.

I do own but my website probably won't be back up by then, so urls:


Ben Tufts


Brian:     On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. Ben Tum ... Ben Tum? I'm so excited you're here, I just can't speak your name right, man. Gosh darn it!

Ben Tufts:     We'll fix that in post.

Brian:     Ben Tufts, one of the premier drummers in the DC region, grew up in Sterling, Virginia and bought his own drum set in 8th grade from the money he earned delivering newspapers. He spent a lot of his early youth listening to his parents' record collections, including and especially, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. He's played with over 100 bands and artists in the DC region and beyond over the years. I met Ben through the scene. We're both drummers, but then, I also ... I took a lesson with this guy at 7DrumCity. I've looked up to you for ages, man, so it is a treat to actually have you here live so I get to share the news about Ben with everybody. Thanks for being here, man.

Ben Tufts:     I appreciate it. It's my pleasure to be here. May I say, I wanted to at some point say this. What you're doing with this show for the scene is really remarkable. It's one of the things that I think doesn't get said enough. So, thank you for that

Brian:     I appreciate it. Absolutely. Now, let's talk about you. Talk about you professionally. You're a musician. You're a drummer. How would you describe yourself [crosstalk 00:01:24] front?

Ben Tufts:     I would describe myself as a drummer. I do also play bass guitar and a bunch of different percussion instruments, and I'm dangerous enough on keyboard and guitar to sit down and plunk out some chords, but I wouldn't dare to perform on those instruments most of the time, because I'm in bands with people who are much better at it than I am.

Brian:     Got it.

Ben Tufts:     But I'm a drummer, and a teacher. Teaching is actually a huge piece of what I do and who I am.

Brian:     Yeah, talk about that. The teaching. We said earlier, 7DRumCity, and the place out in Chantilly. What was the name?

Ben Tufts:     Contemporary Music Center. I've been at Contemporary Music Center for over 10 years now. I've been teaching in the area for almost 20, actually. 7DrumCity, I was actually the first drum teacher that 7DrumCity hired. Miles Ryan, who runs that place, is a visionary. If you had told me four years ago that the DC area would embrace a lessons and rehearsal studio, but a lesson studio that was dedicated to just drums, I would have laughed you off the sidewalk. I've never been happier to be so wrong, because Miles identified a real need within the scene. It's a beautiful place, not just because I get to teach drums there. I really appreciate that, but there's just a sense of community there, which you've witnessed.

Brian:     Yes.

Ben Tufts:     It's really unlike any other place I've worked, and I've taught at a lot of places.

Brian:     Definitely, if you're a musician or you're looking to be involved in the music scene, 7DrumCity is a great place to go to at least find an entry point and find people like you, for sure.

Ben Tufts:     Yep.

Brian:     Absolutely. So, there's lessons, and then you play with a lot of different artists. How many currently? Can you even keep track? Does it get crazy?

Ben Tufts:     Well, it's kind of a boring answer, so I'll try to get through really quickly. Essentially, when you're a freelance drummer, there's a little bit of a gray area, but there's bands that you're invested in where you rehearse every week and everybody's on the hook for money stuff, and everybody gets to make decisions about the band. A show doesn't get booked without everybody being on board. That's a band.

Brian:     Yes.

Ben Tufts:     And then, I also play with a number of artists, and with some of these folks, I have an even longer musical relationship than the bands I've been in. But folks who ... Generally singer/songwriters. Folks who play many shows where they don't even need ... not only do they not need a drummer, but they don't need a band. They might play wineries. They might play coffee shops. They might play open mics. It's just them and a guitar. When they need to make a record with a full band, or when they need to play a bigger show, I might be on the list of drummers that they would call.

      If you include just bands, the projects that I'm invested in right now are FuzzQueen, who we just heard, a band called Uptown Boys Choir, which is a band formed around Kevin de Souza, who's the primary songwriter there, and a noise rock outfit called Virginia Creep.

Brian:     Nice.

Ben Tufts:     J.R. Hayes, who's also the vocalist for Pig Destroyer.

Brian:     Wow. Now you said ... I meant to ask you. So, FuzzQueen. Where does the name come from for that?

Ben Tufts:     FuzzQueen is a relatively new band. At least, that's what we tell people. Because people like to hear new. We'd been playing shows for about a year. Chris Stelloh and Erin Frisby, who are in the band, have a long association going back five years, because all three of us were in another band called Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray.

Brian:     Wow.

Ben Tufts:     Yeah, it's a mouthful, which is one of the reasons why we changed the name. Essentially what happened is we had some personnel changes a couple years ago, went through some kinda band soul-searching, and we had a record that we decided we needed to shelve and not put out. We came away from that ... We decided originally to rebrand. But we very quickly realized with the election and a couple of other influences ... I like to say that Erin's songwriting (she's the primary songwriter for FuzzQueen) kinda became weaponized. She was very inspired by the events surrounding the election. Everybody in the band has always been pretty socially conscious, but we realize that we were suddenly in a new band. The band's name, FuzzQueen, was actually the name of an ill-fated side project that Erin and Chris had when they used to live on the other side of the country from me and the old bassist in that old band.

Brian:     Oh.

Ben Tufts:     The already had all the social media, but they'd never really done anything with it. When we were talking about rebranding, I had serious band name envy. I was like, "I want to be in a band called FuzzQueen." They're like, "No, no, no. That was our other thing. We can't call it ... That was something else."

Brian:     That was something else.

Ben Tufts:     I advocated for it and advocated for it. We made lists, and anybody who's in a band knows how that goes. It's the least fun thing and the hardest thing about being in a band is picking a good name.

Brian:     Yeah.

Ben Tufts:     Finally, one day, I forget who said it, but Erin and/or Chris was just like, "Okay, you know what? It's FuzzQueen." Immediately, it made sense, because the band is a lot more aggressive than our older outfit. We hardly play any of the same songs. They use a lot pedals and some of those pedals are ...

Brian:     Fuzzy.

Ben Tufts:     Fuzz pedals. People joke when they meet us at clubs, they're like, "Oh, so you guys are the fuzz," because Chris and I both have quite long beards, "and you must be the queen." Pointing at Erin. Which is kind of goofy. So, that's our name and it couldn't have worked out better.

Brian:     That's awesome! So you do all this stuff with drumming. I do want to touch on what do you do outside of drumming, like hobbies. What else do you do?

Ben Tufts:     If you'd asked me a few years ago, I would have told you nothing, but being a workaholic, there's an end game to that that's not pretty, where you can really burn yourself out. Several years ago, after a couple life events, I started to think about what I wanted in my life besides music, was just something that since leaving college I never even considered for a moment, because every second, every minute, was about teaching or recording or performing. I started running. At this point, I'm a pretty avid runner. I run between 10 and 20 miles a week.

Brian:     Holy smokes!

Ben Tufts:     I haven't done a lot of racing this year, but I enjoy racing also. Officially, I've run a half-marathon. I've not run a full marathon yet. That's something that I aspire to do eventually.

Brian:     When you can find the time.

Ben Tufts:     Yeah. Also for a couple years, I've been a pretty avid kayaker, and I actually bought my own boat in July, and recently completed a three day, 45 mile kayaking trip with an old friend of mine. That's another thing I really enjoy. Being out on the water.

Brian:     That's amazing. Running and kayaking. I love it, man. Very cool. One of my favorite questions to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ben Tufts:     Don't stop. Say more. Do you mean to musicians in particular?

Brian:     It's up to you.

Ben Tufts:     I think one of my favorite things to say, and I don't actually remember where I heard this or if I read this somewhere is would you rather live with the answer or the question? That tends to be a motivator for me with a lot of my more important life decisions.

Brian:     Which way do you lean?

Ben Tufts:     Always ... Ten times out of ten, I always have to know the answer. I'd rather know the answer than live with the question. Sometimes it gets me in a lot of trouble.

Brian:     Yeah, but, you know what? My personal is I live life without regrets and it's almost the same idea, which is, I'd regret it if I didn't ask, so I ask, I get it. Now, if folks want to find out more about you and the cool things that are going on, where do they go to find you.

Ben Tufts:     As I mentioned earlier, I'm pretty active on social media, so my Instagram account is just my name, bentufts, B-E-N-T-U-F-T-S. I'm on Twitter at bentuftsdrums, and you can also find my Facebook fan page where I list a lot of my shows and I also post a lot of educational content from lessons, transcriptions, photos of my students, and that sort of thing. My Facebook fan page. You can find that pretty easily by searching my name.

Brian:     Quickly. I'd regret it if we didn't mention it. Talk about Ben Tufts and Friends real quick.

Ben Tufts:     For the past few years, seven or eight years now, I've been hosting yearly concerts that are fundraisers for the Craig Tufts Educational Scholarship Fund. My father, Craig Tufts, was the Chief Naturalist at the National Wildlife Federation for my entire life growing up. He passed away nine years ago, and it was one of his wishes that any funds would be put in a scholarship fund to send kids to study nature. I host a yearly concert of original music, which we actually skipped on this past summer, because I was needing to regroup, but there's generally been a Jammin' Job in Vienna where we, for an entire day, host original artists. In the past few years, in the late winter, I've been hosting tribute shows. Coming up this February, we don't have a location yet, but we're going to be doing a tribute to the Police. All of the proceeds from those shows go to the fund.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Ben Tufts:     That's the Ben Tufts and Friends concept, yeah.

Brian:     I love it.