Band Profiles: Doug and John

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Dug and John chuffing with Jake, the World’s Largest Cat

As we drove across the country we could tell when Doug and John had put on heavy metal music because the “DuggieBuggy” would put on speed.

I came to the band via John.  My friend/cousin Kristen was dating John when I met her in 1984.  I remember her telling me: “See that guy?  I’m gonna marry him some day.”  And she did.

John, back in the day

John Bartlit is one of those genius musicians.  Piano prodigy, guitar crazy composing percussionist who makes his living in Albuquerque as a jazz drummer.  He can make music out of a mop handle and a concrete floor.  When I wanted to record a CD to teach kids ukulele, John was my first call. We set up in his garage with Daniel Ward as engineer.  I wanted to put down simple tracks and John was going to add a little special sauce where needed.  Things grew and became more complicated with every song.  Next thing you know 42 saw tracks have been laid down for “Down in the Valley” and Daniel is mixing and mastering a monster.

John contributed arrangements and played nearly all the parts, including tracks of banjo, bass, slide ukulele, beer can lid, found object percussion, jaw harp, and so many more oddities I couldn’t even name them if I tried.

John playing prepared electric guitar for Links Ensemble on John Cage's Fontana Mix

John playing prepared electric guitar for Links Ensemble on John Cage’s Fontana Mix

Doug (also known as “Dug”) comes from South Carolina, and his dry drawl makes everything he says sound funnier.  He is a professor at Glendale Community College in PHX,  and is beloved by his students for his unique blend of intellectualism and bubbaism.  (Bubbalectual?)  His New Classical music ensembles Links and, Crossing 32nd Street plays amazing contemporary chamber music. He can talk Finnegan’s Wake, esoteric electronic music and modern dance masters while holding happy hour court in the local microbrewery where the staff all know him on a first-name basis.  Be warned:he can make you laugh so hard the IPA will come out of your nose.  Here is a link to Dug playing a theremin solo in a Skumbaag song….

Not pictured: Dug’s most famous costume- the diaper.

John and Doug are founding members of Links Ensemble, dedicated to playing contemporary Chamber music and trans media performance.

John Bartlit, Andrew Squire, Doug Nottingham, Hovey Dean Corbin, Craig McClelland,and Andrew Fitek (not pictured: Daniel Ward)

If Dug is the the Lion to Craig’s  Tin Man, John would be the Wizard.

We are heading to the garage to work out a version of the Winky song with heavy metal break, and I get to read the Axolotl Rap tonight  when  Skumbaag tears it up at Sonny’s Pizzeria in Fish Creek.  What the local crowd will think of us is anybody’s guess…..

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