Saturday, May 24, 2014
By Buck Quigley
Buffalo, NY—Locally-based global think tank The Steam Donkeys announce summit meeting
Before the advent of the World Wide Web (www), in the fervent period of obscure American music that music writers often refer to as the “No Depression” years, when original acts were struggling to carve a niche for themselves in the face of all conceivable odds, one ragtag outfit from the northern border town of Buffalo, NY set itself apart through sheer desperation, force of will, a knowledge of the Eisenhower Interstate system, and clever mechanical ability—to spread its music all over the eastern half of the United States, as far west as Austin to the south, and Minneapolis to the north. That band was improbably called the Steam Donkeys. They have gone on to become one of the most influential global think tanks on earth.
“I suppose, looking back, that the whole global think tank thing never occurred to us until one night in Dunedun, FL,” says Steam Donkeys front man and spokesperson Buck Quigley. “After many shows on the road, we suddenly found ourselves among like-minded friends in the welcoming environment of Dunedin. There was a trampoline involved, a well-dried Christmas tree, and a fire pit.”
Charlie Quill, lead guitar player and Minister of Happiness for the fledgling think tank put it best when he said at the time: “I’m only going to put the tip in.”
The combination of the bone-dry tree and the fire pit was explosive.
“That’s when we knew we had to get serious,” Quigley remembers.
Although the band/think tank has not returned to Dunedin for at least a decade, and the original lineup of the act has not been intact since the departure of fiddle player Doug Moody—who also served as the Sergeant at Arms of the Steam Donkeys—for a top-secret lifestyle somewhere within the vast Adirondack Mountains of New York State, many of the early think tank supporters feel the time is right for a strategic recombobulation or the original group, in the name of peaceful merriment, and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Kelly’s.
“We recognize,” Quigley recalls, “that after long nights pouring over complex issues, it’s doubtful the Steam Donkeys would have ever been able to get back on the road back toward Buffalo, spreading their nascent global message along the way, were it not for the delicious and nutritious meals and so on at Kelly’s,” recalls Quigley.
The show will feature Moody, Quill, and Quigley along with original drummer John Brady and handsome John Weber—all certified think tank members, flying in from all four corners of New York State, like snow birds, for a musical trip into the past while celebrating the kindness of the good, supportive friends that made their music possible.
“We also look forward to some late-night, high-level discussions at Skip’s,” Quigley adds, “Because, well, I suppose I forget why, but something tells me that that may have had something to do with it as well.”