Streets of San Francisco: Catch the beat (and brass, and buckets, and accordions) of SF's iconic street musicians -- our exclusive interviews
Do you have recordings or a Web site? I have a lot of songs and string quartet and solo viola stuff that I've written and played on my website (www.benjaminbarnes.com). You can download it for free. There's a spot where you can make a donation. I've gotten about 26 dollars. (Laughs)
I'm playing a free show at Caffeinated Comics on May 16th. We're going to play an acoustic show, with songs I wrote and Bowie covers, Beatles covers, Led Zep and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." (Huston)
Where are your favorite places to play? Montgomery Bart Station, sometimes Fisherman's Wharf.
What styles of music do you play? Love songs.
What are your favorite songs? "All The Woman I Need" by Luther Vandross, and anything Barry White.
How many years have you been playing on the street? 10.
What are your necessary accessories? Sparkly blue nail polish, mini Bible, Newports.
How long do you play? I stay until my dick gets hard and then probably longer.
Why do you do it? To entertain people and make some money. I don't play for my health. (Schadewald)
Name: Brass Liberation Orchestra
When was the BLO founded? 2002-ish
How many members are there? Probably about 20 at the moment. 50 or more for the life of the band.
Where are your favorite spots to play? How do you get the word out? We play for change: picket lines, street marches, demonstrations. Wherever people want to dance in the street. We mostly play at events that other people are publicizing, (but) when we do our own shows, we use email and word of mouth.
What's been your most memorable performance? Depends on who you ask! Demos at the start of the Iraq War where the band was arrested en masse? Oakland Oscar Grant marches? Whole Foods "Hey Mackey" pro-healthcare protest?
Are there other street bands you admire? There are many street bands whose music we admire. Some bands with similar political orientation include Rude Mechanical Orchestra (NYC), Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble (Montreal), Cackalack Thunder (Greensboro, NC). We also respect the youth work of Loco Bloco in the Mission, who are currently facing a budget crisis and could use some fundraising support.
What's your favorite song to play together? A lot of us love New Orleans Second Line, and also Balkan brass music. One song we play at almost every gig is "Roma Rama," a simplified Balkan-style tune written for us by Axel Hererra. (Nicole Gluckstern)
Name: Federico Petrozzino
What styles of music do you play? I play mostly folk and Beatles covers.
Where are your favorite places to play? I've played at Mills College and Ireland's 32. But I make my living as a street musician playing around here (Powell BART station).
How long have you been playing on the streets or underground? I've been out here for about 3 months since I got in to town from Argentina.
What do you like about it, and why do you do it? It's nice when you feeling like you're doing good and people will walk by and smile or give you a wink.
What don't you like about it? To be honest, I love the bums. But sometimes they can be crazy, which can turn some people away. It's a distraction, but we try to be respectful.