• Signed Copies of both the Subdudes new DVD and CD, Live at the Ram's Head
In 1987, four musicians got together for what they envisioned would be a one-time performance at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. It was a night of mostly acoustic music – sparse instrumentation with a strong emphasis on songwriting and vocal harmonies. The show far exceeded expectations, and on that March night the subdudes were born.
Nearly 10 years later, after five well-received albums and several years of hard touring, the subdudes called it quits.
Spinoff projects ensued, as did the occasional reunion show. Finally, in February of 2002, three of the four original band members decided to get back together. They recruited additional longtime friends to fill out the sound and called themselves the Dudes, but the music was still unmistakably the subdudes.
Today, they are once again the subdudes. And there’s still nobody in the world that sounds like them.
So, welcome back the subdudes: Tommy Malone, John Magnie, Steve Amedée, Tim Cook and Jimmy Messa.
The subdudes started out as an afterthought.
“I think it was just a whim to do something different,” Tommy Malone recalls. “But then I think we realized it was something unique.”
The first show as the subdudes grew out of a sense of frustration that fans weren’t getting the Continental Drifters, a guitar- and keyboard-heavy rock ‘n’ roll band that featured future subdudes Malone, John Magnie, Johnny Ray Allen and Jimmy Messa.
“It all came out of a night where we, the Continental Drifters, played at (the music venue called) Jimmy’s. … We had three or four people come tell us, ‘You’re really too loud,’ ” Magnie says.
“It was one of those things – we’d practice and we’d get all this stuff together, and then you’d play it, and it just wasn’t that well-loved. We were trying to be something avant guard – sorta edgy. I think we were trying to be edgy, and we just ended up being loud.
“Me and Tommy were up at the bar after that, talking, saying, ‘This ain’t working. … We should just do a gig’ – it was sort of a hostile feeling – ‘we’ll just do a gig and be really quiet, we’ll be really subdued – that’s what they want.’
“The idea just came right then – and the word – ‘we’ll be subdued,’ ” Magnie says.
Malone agrees, “We looked at one another and said, ‘That’s the name!’ If we could just be a little more ‘subdued!’ ”