Ralston is so much in demand that in two recent festivals — each with three bands — he never left the stage. The University of Virginia grad has become the go-to bassist for a cross section of the top Richmond improvisational bands, as well as playing rock and Brazilian.
Recent Affiliations: Fight the Big Bull, Ombak, Glows in the Dark, Brian Jones Mingus Trio, Ilad (rock), Os Magrelos (Brazilian).
Future Projects: A band named Humans with different musicians every night playing all kinds of music. Ralston has written music for it, but hasn't had the free time to make it happen.
Performance Story: “When I was playing with Bio Ritmo we opened once in Central Park for the legendary salsa band Sonoro Poncera. There were thousands of people, NewYorRicans waving Puerto Rican flags, some of them with their own percussion instruments. This music was their life. And here we were onstage: The horn section was a bunch of white Anglos from the suburbs. It was surreal — we felt like such outsiders, until we started to play. Then it was very, very cool.”
An exuberant and intensely playful trombonist, Pace is equally at ease leading his own No BS Brass Band, funking out in a drop-dead serious James Brown tribute band, or playing bluegrass and country with the Hot Seats (originally Special Ed) or Old School Freight Train.
Recent Affiliations: No BS Brass Band, Fight the Big Bull, Bungalo6, the Big Payback, Glows in the Dark; has also played with Kool and the Gang, the O'Jays, the Neville Brothers, the Dirty Dozen Brass, Old School Freight Train and Bio Ritmo.
Future Projects: Putting together a new trombone-drum-sousaphone trio, writing for the next No BS CD and assembling a hip-hop band, the Supa Fly Floosies.
Performance Story: No BS Brass played last year's Best Friends Day — an amiable riot of gutter-punk and super-metal bands, Speedos and skateboards. “It was crazy — we were the only nonhardcore band. It turned out it was not that huge a stretch. We're invited back this year.”
Perhaps the ultimate local crossover player, Richardson flies around the world to perform with symphony orchestras, creates popular music with nationally known Rhythm and Brass, and plays regularly with a jazz band in Athens, Greece. And he still finds time occasionally to sit in on the local scene.
Recent Affiliations: Recorded with the No BS Brass Band, Modern Groove Syndicate and the Oregon Hill Funk All Stars. Also plays with the Richmond Symphony.
Future Projects: Richardson is recording Doug Richard's genre-bending “Intercontinental Concerto for Trumpet and Jazz Orchestra” for inclusion on his next CD.
Performance Story: In a New Year's Eve performance in Szechwan, China, Richardson found the entire audience composed of clueless Communist Party officials who watched the concert in stone-faced silence. The concert was broadcast across China, giving him his second-largest audience. “The largest was for a McDonald's Super Bowl commercial in 1995,” Richardson says. “Of course no one knew or cared who played that gig.”
Dusty and Jeremy Simmons
For more than a decade, together and apart, brothers Dusty (drums) and Jeremy (bass) have carved a wide swath through a variety of genres. They play together in Gray-V, a band that straddles the musical chasm between Kenny Rogers and Frank Zappa; they also play groove-centric jazz in trombonist Sam Savage's Savage Funk as well as a Ben Folds Five-esque power trio, Glass Sugardaddy.
Dusty: DJ Williams Projekt, Oregon Hill Funk All-Stars, the Big Payback (often featuring Jeremy on soundboard).
Jeremy: Black Cash, Sin City Revival, commercial music for Sprint, BMW, Starburst and Coca-Cola.
Future Projects: Unnamed Allman Brothers tribute band (in rehearsal), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road project (with Daniel Clarke), Dusty's solo hip-hop project.
Performance Story: “We can get away with almost anything with Gray-V,” says Jeremy. “Once we auctioned off a drum solo to a member of the audience. While he was whaling away behind the band's groove, we fried bacon and eggs onstage and fed it to him. Any kind of subject matter, any kind of riff will work if the band is smooth.” S