The Mammals: Tell me the story.
“A string band at the core, The Mammals augment their sound with drums and electric guitar to create a collectively harmonized howl as thrilling and rocking as any band currently subverting folk traditions” - no depression
They traveled America in a large diesel van filled with drums, amps, an upright bass, fiddle, guitars and banjos, and they put on a memorable live show that connected rock and traditional Appalachian music in a very organic way.
The Story of The Mammals
Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar first played together at an impromptu rum-drinking bash at Tao's house in October of 2000. By the spring of 2001, after trying out some bad band names, (The Co-Ed Naked Stringband, The G-String Pickers) they settled on the name, The Mammals, inspired by a passage from "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner. The band evolved since its birth in the spring of 2001, picking up new sounds, styles, and band members along the way.
Their first CD “Born Live” (Humble Abode Music) is a rough-hewn collection of their early live concert recordings and gives the impression of a self-made boot-leg. They were a quartet at this time, with Alicia Jo Rabins on fiddle.
Teaming up months later with producer/engineer, Max Feldman, The Mammals, now a trio, entered the home-recording studio to create a more polished but equally energetic gem, “Evolver” (Humble Abode Music.) This ear-catching CD has sparse but fiery string-band tunes, catchy original folksongs, and a few classic covers.
While touring behind "Evolver" in 2002 and 2003, The Mammals began performing with Ken Maiuri on drums, and Pierce Woodward on bass, developing new 5-piece arrangements on the road. In January 2004, the Mammals’ put together another live concert EP called “Migration” (Humble Abode Music) and in April released the quintet studio recording, “Rock That Babe” (Signature Sounds). This CD features the much requested Cuban song "Chan Chan," and the scathing political sing-along "The Bush Boys," as well as traditional banjo-centric favorites and more contemporary-sounding original songs.
On New Year's Eve 2004, Chris Merenda joined The Mammals, replacing Ken on drums, and about a year later, when bassist Pierce Woodward left, he was replaced first by Dan Rose, and then Jacob Silver. Jacob began touring with The Mammals in May of 2005 and appears on The Mammals most recent studio recording, "Departure" (Signature Sounds) which was released in 2006.
They also produced fun and energetic live CD called "Bootleg Six-Pack" (Humble Abode Music) in 2007 featuring songs from a live show in New Hampshire.
As of 2008, The Mammals are in an extended hibernation while the members of the band pursue other musical projects. During this hiatus, they are completing post-production of a live concert DVD "The Mammals Live in Woodstock," a preview of which can be seen on youtube.