Clad in button-up shirts and fedora’s, with either a pint or bottle of alcohol to accessorize the ensemble, the six members of Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5 will bring their unique blend of storytelling to their debut performance at MR. Fest 2012. My phone interview, albeit short and sweet, with Gregory Lewis, vocalist/guitarist of the Austin-based macabaret band, had been about a week coming. Phone tag and text messaging conversations aside, I look forward to meeting him and his five merry pallbearers: James Sheeran, drummer, Rob Metcalfe, guitarist/percussionist, Danny Dervish, bassist, Philthy Howard, keyboardist/percussionist and James Bonura, saxophonist.
In case you were wondering what ‘macabaret’ means, a Google search leads me to believe it is a fusion between the words ‘cabaret’ and ‘macabre.’ It completely makes sense (at least to me) once you give the band’s second album- released in July 2011- “Delirium Tremendous” a listen.
Jordan Gass-Poore’: How did the band become involved with MR Fest 2012?
Gregory Lewis: As far as how we got involved with that, my bass player (Dervish) asked if we wanted to play. I guess he knows somebody down at the station.
JGP: What was your first reaction when you found out the band will be playing during MR Fest?
GL: Sounds fine. We normally play at the Triple Crown, so it will be nice to play in San Marcos in more than a tiny, little place.
JGP: How long has the band been playing at Triple Crown?
GL: I’m really not good at history. I’m trying to think when my bass player joined because that’s when we basically started playing there a lot. Probably three, four, five years maybe. Probably somewhere around there.
JGP: Had the band played anywhere else in San Marcos prior to playing at Triple Crown?
GL: We played Lucy’s (Bar 141) before, but they’re not really a venue anymore, I don’t think.
JGP: Where did the band’s name come from?
GL: It was originally Mr. Lewis and the Funeral Jazz Quintet and that was kind of a mouthful. But it was basically inspired by New Orleans jazz funerals, stuff like that, because I wanted it to be happy and sad at the same time. Dark music, but festive, if that makes any sense. The Mr. Lewis part, that’s what people used to call me where I grew up (in Michigan).