Out of the basement, on the stage

March 11, 2009|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Maryland has a governor who's not afraid to belt out: "With me wack-fol-the-do-fol-the-diddle-idle-day."

Nor is Martin O'Malley shy, in the title song on his new CD, about singing an ode to Irish horse racing at a time when the Maryland racetracks he vowed to save with slots are in bankruptcy.

There's even an image of a horse and jockey on the front of Galway Races, the O'Malley's March CD released yesterday.

Perhaps the product placement on the CD's back cover will lift another local industry; O'Malley is shown from behind, one ripped arm aloft, in an Under Armour muscle shirt.

O'Malley's on-again, off-again Celtic rock career is "Banished to the Basement" no more.

The band is out with the new CD, its fifth, but the first since the frontman took a day job running the nation's 19th-most-populous state. O'Malley's March will also do two shows in Baltimore on Saturday night at Creative Alliance. There are plans for a tour of some sort after the General Assembly adjourns.

Other bands plan their tours around - what? - their members' drug rehab? Here, instead of a blurry mix of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, we've got an orderly progression: sine die, rock 'n' roll.

The band picked away at the 13-track CD - there's a link to hear a bit of it at my column online - for more than two years. All that time, the working title was "Banished to the Basement," a reference to how O'Malley had to play down his rocker image when he was running for governor, said Jared Denhard, the group's Celtic harpist, trombonist and highland piper.

"It was, like, he was considered not allowed to play when Doug Duncan and Bob Ehrlich were jumping all over him for having a band," Denhard said.

Ehrlich took more than a few hits from Team O'Malley for playing lots of golf in while office. Can't O'Malley be fairly accused of strumming while Maryland burns? Or should Republicans and Dems alike just concede that everyone needs a way to blow off gubernatorial steam?

Denhard suggests that the band hasn't actually taken up much of O'Malley's time, which should reassure citizens of Maryland, if not fans who shelled out $25 for Saturday's show.

(Denhard predicts the band will be as smooth as an old, estranged comedy duo who prepared separately for a comeback. "It's like when Cheech and Chong reunited for their tour," he said. "They just watched their old videos.")

The band played twice in the space of four days in September, at a Canton festival and at a fundraiser for O'Malley. But since then, Denhard said, they haven't gotten together, not even to finish the album. "Most of it we recorded one person at a time," combining the tracks later, he said.

The governor's schedule wasn't the only reason they went that route. They recorded in drummer Jamie Wilson's Lauraville basement, which is so crowded the whole band can't fit.

O'Malley's March will step it up once the legislative session is over. The band will do some "barnstorming ... to promote the CD," Denhard said. No dates have been set, except to play for wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on March 18.

"We probably have to do something so it's not just 50 boxes of CDs piled up in Jamie's basement," Denhard said. "It's kind of scary. CDs are kind of over. I haven't bought one in years."

Heavy, man, heavy

A public service poster on a billboard in Johns Hopkins' Levering Hall shows a student passed out on Rodin's The Thinker, giant Bacardi bottle beside him.

"This must be a visitor," it reads. "Hopkins students are more responsible."

If that's true, then Dr. Miriam Mintzer is out of luck. Thumbtacked to a billboard across the hall is her solicitation for test subjects, a spy tells me.

"Have you used Psychedelic Drugs?" it asks.

Mintzer, an associate professor of psychiatry, is looking for men and women ages 18 to 40 who have taken hallucinogenic drugs, for a study at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Participants can earn up to $1,380. They can put that toward tuition - at some other school, naturally.

Dozed off during English?

Not clear just what office former Governor Ehrlich is running for, but it's not state grammarian. From his latest fundraising appeal: "We will continue recruiting candidates for state government offices who understand these principals." How about recruiting candidates who understand the difference between principal and principle? And from his newly relaunched Web site: "The Ehrlich's have two sons, Drew (9) and Joshua (4), and live in Annapolis, Md." We've been over this! The Ehrlichs - just add an s, simple as that - have two sons. They also have a problem distinguishing plurals from possessives.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.