What’s in a name? Ruminations on the Duke McVinnie Band


(Alan O’Rourke)

I believe that every band will live to regret its name at some point, except maybe Avenged Sevenfold, who were, like, avenged seven times!!! Imagine that. I, personally, regret the name of the Duke McVinnie Band sometimes, my favorite original local outfit of the last forever or so. When I recommend and endorse this band – which is always, to everyone – I feel as if the name engenders a comically inaccurate set of assumptions about the music. The name sets you up for some no-bluster heartland rock that may or may not involve the brand names of pickup trucks and that almost certainly involves a big hat.

But this band’s music is an uncategorizable fusion of old roots and modern art, post-Beat poetry, hobo romance, noise-sculpting, space rock and an almost unbearably tender, delicate and weird array of musical compositions. It features some of the finest and most accomplished local players and producers under the steady hand of McVinnie, a grizzled industry vet who has worked with Joan Baez and with Albert Ayler.

So, in the spirit of my own Maximalist aesthetic (why use 25 precise words to describe something when 250 lavishly unnecessary ones will do?), I ask of Duke McVinnie: “Why so simple and functional a band name when something much, much more pretentious would suffice?” Duke goes silent. He doesn’t read his press. It’s the Duke McVinnie Band, stupid.


Hot on the heels of not one but two new albums, 9 and 10 (reviewed by me in the October 16 Almanac Weekly), the DMV appears at Quinn’s in Beacon – a new club on the scene in a repurposed luncheonette, and a place with a well-documented appetite for the outré and outrageous – on Saturday, January 31 at 9 p.m. Eva Rubin opens. Quinn’s is located at 330 Main Street in Beacon. For more information, call (845) 202-7447 or find Quinn’s on Facebook.