When I told local musician and "Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour" host Ken Hardley I was interested in writing a "Backstage Pass" feature on his band, I intended to ask him questions and use his responses to craft a feature story. I asked those questions, but as I sat down to write this, I realized I couldn't do Ken Hardley and the Henways justice without letting readers see Hardley's responses first-hand.
Here's a look at our email interview from a couple of weeks ago:
SS: How long has the band been together?
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KH: Although I've played with bassist Dennis Vandewark on and off for over 25 years, we were joined by the extraordinary drummer Dan Vanderzyden, about two years ago. And that was the beginning of the Henways as we know and love them.
SS: What do you all enjoy about playing together?
KH: I can't speak for the poor guys who have to tolerate my rather overbearing presence in this band, but the reality is that I personally have a hard time not performing. Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself." For me, it goes like this, "A fellow who pounds witlessly on a guitar must attract attention to himself in front of large groups of people if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. And have an excuse not to be home cleaning his apartment like regular people." I think Dan likes to get out of the house, and Dennis likes to practice not talking to strangers.
SS: What's particularly nice about playing in the Jamestown area?
KH: We play out of town a fair amount, but it's always good to come home and play here. We have a lot of friends locally, and it's always a warm feeling to see them come through the door when we're playing. Jamestown, for its size and economy, supports local music very well. And a lot of people have Ken Hardley and the Henways T-shirts here in town. We've noticed that people wearing them look very handsome or beautiful for only $15. (They're) available at all our shows. ... Oh, was I supposed to say that?
SS: How do you describe your sound?
KH: I'm probably not a good person to ask. I've been rocking out for a long time and don't hear very well anymore, so I'm not sure exactly how we sound. We intend to play Americana and classic rock, which I'm told we actually do. While we play a wide variety of music, some representative artists are Link Wray, CCR, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and Neil Young. We take requests, which I usually take to mean, "Turn it up, please."
SS: What do you think is unique about your shows that people who haven't seen Ken Hardley and the Henways might enjoy?
KH: We usually give away a bottle of the Official Beverage of the Henways, the exact name of which you will have to discover by attending a show. I will say this - this beverage is also an effective paint remover, bear repellent and it masks unpleasant odors. We have dance contests, we give away Henhead cards and sometimes bartenders play four-handed guitar with me. We also find rides for people, give fashion advice and read minds. We play some music too.
SS: Do you play both covers and originals?
KH: We play interpretations of music written by other people. As Mary Ramsey recently told me, "It's like trying on someone else's clothes." But when we play their songs, they usually want their clothes back.
SS: Are you recording artists?
KH: No. We don't really know how to act unless people are watching us.
SS: What are some of the bigger shows you have coming up?
KH: Big shows make us nervous. But locally we are playing at the AmVets in Sugar Grove, Waddington's Tavern in Falconer, the Jammin' Vine in Northeast, The Bullfrog and Rascal's Tavern in Corry.
SS: What are your goals as a band?
KH: We would like to put a fair tax structure into place for this country. We would like the troops to come home safely and for every child to have enough to eat every day. We would like everyone to fasten their seat belts and use less salt. We think we can make this happen. We think there is great power in music.
According to the official Ken Hardley website, kenhardley.com, he will be in action twice this weekend. On Saturday at 9 p.m., he'll play a solo show at Steener's Pub. On Sunday at 1 p.m., he'll join the Henways during a benefit show at the Celoron Legion.
Take a look at the entertainment options below for more information on that benefit and the other shows this weekend.
Old Dawg Jazz Trio To Play Infinity Cafe: Steve Strom, Steve Eng and Mark Davis will perform as Old Dawg Jazz Trio, an offshoot of Old Dawg Bluegrass, Friday night from 7-9 at the Infinity Cafe, 115 E. Third St., Jamestown.
With a 12-decade combined professional resume, each of the three musicians has performed in various country, folk rock, jazz and bluegrass bands at numerous venues throughout New York and Pennsylvania.
To learn more, visit infinityperformingarts.org or call 664- 0091.
Awaken The Ancients, Red Light Departure Headline Saturday Gateway Center Show: Beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, the Gateway Center, located at 31 Water St., Jamestown, will host a concert featuring Awaken The Ancients, the band formerly known as "Discidium." Red Light Departure will play its last local show until its CD release in late May.
Syracuse metal band Thoughts In Reverse, Unadilla's Trippin On Sunday, New York City's A Crowd Like You, rock-pop band The Still Life, and Buffalo's Come Honor will also perform. Tickets will be $5 and can be purchased at the door. The show is presented by Create.Evolve Productions.
'Benefit Jamboree' For Passamonte Family To Be Held Sunday: The Celoron Legion will host a benefit for Alicia Passamonte, who has been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and her family from 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets will be $15 for adults and $10 for children under 16. Children 5 and under will not be charged.
The price of admission will include draft beer, a spaghetti dinner and live entertainment. The following acts will perform: Ken Hardley and the Henways, BandHanna, Ray D. O'Flyer, Tiny B, and Shawn and Andy.
There will also be a Chinese auction. Those interested in donating items should contact Cynthia at 338-1126. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased by calling the same number. Those who purchase pre-sale tickets will be eligible to win $100.
The benefit is sponsored by friends and family of Alicia and Chris Passamonte.
'Got Pink?' To Be Held Sunday: The third annual "Got Pink?" event will be held at Shawbucks from 1-5 p.m. Sunday. The event will benefit local breast cancer care at WCA.
DJ Fish will provide music from 1-2, and Derek Davis and The Tasty Groove will play from 2-4.
There will also be a raffle, and silent, Chinese and live auctions.
Shawbucks will donate 10 percent of all food and bar sales, while Salon 1 will donate haircuts, mini manicures and pink extensions.
Chautauqua's Got Talent To Continue Monday: The third round of Chautauqua's Got Talent will be held Monday night at 7 in The Spire of Jamestown, located at 317 E. Third St. The 13 remaining acts will continue to compete for the $500 cash prize and a promotional press kit, including a website.
Tickets are on sale at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena and the Labyrinth Press Company for $6 pre-sale and $7 at the door per night. Find and "like" Chautauqua's Got Talent on Facebook for opportunities to get discounts on tickets. The competition will be held Monday nights at The Spire through March 26.
Blue Grass Jam: 7-10, Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave., Celoron. All area bluegrass musicians are welcome to sit in and play.
Bill Ward: 6-9, The Lakeview, 13 Water St., Mayville.
Bad Girls Club: 9-midnight, The Q, 104 W. Second St., Jamestown. Amber Meade, Kristen Kelly and Judy Jai will be the celebrity hosts.
Coal Train: 10-2, The Lakeview, 13 Water St., Mayville.
March of the Leprechauns Pub Crawl: 6-midnight. Tickets are $20 and available at Downtown Jamestown Development Corp.
Richie Leeper and Solid Gold: 8-midnight, Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave., Celoron.
The Willow Creek Band: 9, Lakewood Rod & Gun.
The Unexpected Guests: 9-10:30, Reg Studio Theater. The price of admission will be $5.
The Entertainment Events Preview highlights concerts, festivals and other happenings in the region in each Thursday's paper. Suggestions for submission can be sent to Scott Shelters by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 487-1111, ext. 253.