60 Seconds With... Michael McQuaid’s Red Hot Rhythmakers
So then, what’s the band name and what do you ‘do’ in the band?
We’re called Michael McQuaid’s Red Hot Rhythmakers. I’m the bandleader, and I play trumpet and write music for the group.
What do you think people will say you sound like?
We play really old-school big band jazz, the sort of stuff you would have heard in a Chicago speakeasy in the '20s or a Harlem ballroom in the '30s. We’ve got saxes and brass and a stomping rhythm section, plus two great vocalists. It sounds like your grandmother’s records, only in stereo.
What do you love about making music?
This music was meant for dancing, and it’s so exciting to look out over a packed dance floor filled with dancers doing the Charleston and the Lindyhop! The whole room seems to come alive.
What do you hate about the music industry?
The emphasis on music being up-to-date can be pretty depressing – just because something’s new doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. And old music doesn’t stop being good just because time passes – it can come alive anytime someone plays it with passion and skill! That’s what we try to do.
If you could travel back in time and show one of your musical heroes your stuff, who would it be and why?
We’d love to go play for Duke Ellington in Harlem in the '30s. He was this incredibly talented, stylish and intelligent musician, and he demanded quality in everything he did. We’ve played a few shows featuring his music, and I reckon he’d be amazed that a band was playing his stuff in Melbourne in 2012.
What can a punter expect from your live show?
Expect exciting music and relaxed old-school charm, partly thanks to our great swing-dancing crowd. Join in or watch their amazing skills on the floor. And then there’s our music – authentic old-style jazz with wailing saxes, roaring brass and more. We’ll even throw in sousaphone and banjo if you’re lucky.
When’s the gig and with who?
We’re starting our monthly gig at the Victoria Hotel, Brunswick, on Saturday May 5. Doors open at 8.30pm. Entry is $15, or $10 if you book online – see redhotrhythmakers.com for more details.
Anything else to add?
Come along on Saturday and party like it’s 1929!