The acoustic trio, “Red Herring”, was spawned in the muddy waters of Durham, NC in 1974. The band’s name likely derives from the misleading political landscape of the 70’s, but that might be a lie and no one can remember. This three-headed floundering trio thrived for years in the NC music scene, combining tight vocals (due to poor-fitting jeans), instrumental virtuosity (without the virtue), and “wet” humor. Striving to be the best warm-up act in the southeast, they opened for major bands of the 70’s and 80’s. Two European tours allowed them to besmirch the fine reputation of many storied places of the old world (including the Tivoli Gardens, where the Danish queen mistook their performance for an injured whale at the cetacean exhibit). They were best known as early innovators of the musical styles of “flaccid rock”, “difficult listening”, and “rhythm & ridicule”, well before the popular parody acts of the 1980’s.
Their evolution, as they crawled out of the pond, was interrupted in 1986 when “Ned Herring” [a.k.a Bob Bloomfield) suffered a stroke, though he continued to practice medicine, produce research, lecture, and write several books. “Jed Herring” [a.k.a. Billy Stevens] carried on the musical torch with the “Boney Maroney Band”, “The BilliTones”, and as a solo performer and educator. “Fred Herring” [a.k.a. Stephen Knisley] swam against the current (mostly electrical) as Chair (a type of stool) of bio-medical engineering departments at several prestigious universities, including UNC-CH and NCA&T. Grouper and choreographer from the band’s formative years, “The Yellow Cabette” (a.k.a. Tom Clark), will make it possible for modern-day Durhamites and Chapel-Hilligans to get a taste of this old fried fish shtick by picking up Bob’s Martin 12-string for this once-more-in-this-lifetime performance.
The second set will feature classic rock dance music by The BilliTones, featuring Billy & Toni Stevens, Al Dawson on guitar, Lew Wardell on bass, and Casey Averill on drums. Playing music of the Beatles, Pretenders, Clapton, Jefferson Airplane, etc, The BilliTones will get everyone on their feet for a rocking good time.
Red Herring has not flopped onto (or on) stage in 33 years, and depending on this show’s success, may never do so again – unless, of course, they’re lured in by the right kind of bait. Let’s just hope they don’t get the hook from stage right. In short, this is an opportunity not to be missed – come watch Red Herring sink or swim at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room, on Wednesday, February 27th at 7:30pm.
Sponsored by Black & Global Roots Concerts (www.blackandglobalrootsconcerts.com), Appalachian State University, National Endowment for the Arts, and Our Town (of Chapel Hill & Carrboro)