Cashmere Jungle Lords

Location:
RICHMOND, Virginia, US
Type:
Artist / Band / Musician
Genre:
Alternative / Surf / Pop Punk
Site(s):
Label:
Little Abner Records
Type:
Indie
Cashmere Jungle Lords is a freaky whacked out band that's been around for over 21 years. They started out living close to the bone in Richmond, Va's Oregon Hill neighborhood in an upstairs apartment they lovingly dubbed Slugland in honor of Elvis' Graceland.
Our first show was May 17, 1984 opening for Joe "King" Carasco and the Crowns. We formed an impromptu marching band at Mardi Gras with the great drummer Carlo Nuccio form Rain Parade and marched down the sidewalk playing our music. Bill from Dash Rip Rock once took us on a pilgrimage to Fats Domino's house. We backed up Robert Gordon, and Dominic played acoustic guitar with him in NYC at the Coney Island High. We opened for the Who at Charlotte Pavilion in 1998. It was amazing.
The band had an huge vegetable garden in the back yard until the guitarist's then girlfriend psycho biatch tore up all the plants in a fit of rage. The bandmates often found themselves fending off would-be groupies with chicken drumsticks. Original bassist John Moore rarely rose from his chambers before sunset, thus earning him the name "The Prince of Darkness". As a goof he was also dubbed "Rainbo Brite". Dominic's nickname of the era was Bunnyholmes. And drummer Sean Sumner (now deceased, God rest his soul) was the inimitable Ponzo Joe. Sean's cat Liebchien was a great mouser and loved to catch the poor rodents, bite their heads off and put the decapitated bodies on display on the carpet of the living room floor.
The band spent it's first years opening for national acts and blowing them off the stage in the opinion of critics who attended. Groups like Lords of the New Church, The Tailgators, Buckwheat Zydeco, Wall of Voodoo. When the band put these reviews in their press kit, a lot of their peers got pissed and said it wasn't cool. The Jungle Lords said the headliners should have played better.
They embarked on numerous tours of the eastern half of the United States. Playing nearly every major
city and college town from Boston to New Orleans, Chicago to Atlanta. they would play 30 cities in as many days and come home with $80 each in their pockets.
One time during a gig in Athens, GA at the infamous Uptown Lounge, Michael Stipe of R.E.M. approached bassist John Moore and told him he smelled like Goldenseal root powder. Stipe also darted into the Lords' dressing room at a Richmond, VA gig held in R.E.M.'s honor and asked if we minded if he hung out. We told him we didn't mind, but had no idea it was Michael Stipe until he left the room and someone exclaimed "I think that was Michael Stipe".
Another time the band stopped for lunch in Alabama and found themselves in the company of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.
Bassist John got scratched by a cat in New Orleans and contracted Cat Scratch Fever. The doctor lanced his armpit and we had to keep removing gauze from the wound and replacing it with a pair of foreceps. John would self-medicate to relieve the pain before Dr. Dom performed the procedures.
Despite heavy charting on college radio and numerous Number 1 hits, the record labels never developed serious interest. There were some inquiries from TVT, Almo Sounds and a few other prominent labels of the era. They said the band was too eclectic. It probably had to do with leader Dominic's peculiar combination of ADD and perfectionism.
Drummer Sumner stabbed Dominic's best friend in a crime of passion over a girlfriend and did time in the Richmond jail. He was replaced by West End mullet-wearin' moustache-sportin Jimmy Kaylis.
The band carried on and continued to impress with it's wild live show. they would often develop comedic skits like "The Secret Origins of the Cashmere Jungle Lords" and perform these prior to starting their musical performance. They wore leopard fur loincloths in the spirit of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Jimmy's Dad was a manufacturer of goods for the Shriners, and he provided us with three fez hats that became the legendary "No 3 Fez". Kaylis was dubbed the Great Kibby as he was half-Lebanese Syrian and bestowed the fez upon John and Dominic.
The band was also privileged to be a part of the incredible club scene on the coast of North Carolina at Mex-Econo restaurant. They played one of the first shows ever there, as well as one of the last. The gigs were epic nearly every time the band showed up. Crowds worked into a frenzy, slinging beer and mosh pitting there way across the painted concrete floor dodging smashed beer bottles and broken glass along the way.



Time wore on. No industry support came. John had a daughter named Charlotte. He was torn. He wanted to rock, but he wanted to do the right thing for his family. At a sold out show at Richmond's famous New Horizon Cafe, he smashed his solid body Ibanez bass to bits and destroyed his amp. He thought if he smashed his axe he wouldn't have to rock anymore. But he was wrong.
The band went out and bought him a sweet black Gibson bass and convinced him to return to the group. He lingered for a while, then quit when the group decided not to work with him on the production of Southern Barber Supply, their first CD release. Bit player Greg Harrup was enlisted as a mercenary bassist to perform on the CD as well as at live shows. The CD was an huge commercial success, receiving rave reviews in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and elsewhere.
Harrup was non-committal, so the Lords sought auditions with other players. Through some kind of cosmic divine intervention, they located John Dacey, a Boston native with an amazing singing voice and a penchant for playing just the right thing without being coached. Dacey has proven on more than one occasion to be a chick magnet, and is quite the band ambassador when milling through the crowds between sets.
At a recent holiday show, the group dressed as Jungle Santa & His Pygmy Elves. Recent shows in the Outer Banks of North Carolina have drawn record attendance.
The music is still fresh, fun and inspiring. Check it.
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