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Informal Blues

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Informal Blues
Informal Blues Bio:

Old School Blues Made Sexy-

Informal Blues began back in January of 2007 when guitarist Jake Balistrieri needed to put together a blues band to play for their school's (RMSA) annual African American History Celebration concert. The band started with Jake and bassist Sam Gehrke. The two began working on simple blues progressions until they perfected it. Once that was done, they needed horns. Sam approached saxophonist Sean Hirthe, asking if he would like to join the band. A few days later, trumpeter Rodney Johnson became part of the band along with drummer Tim McHatten. When the band had their first practice, everyone came together feeling confident, until they all realized they had no clue what the hell they were doing. Sam and Tim wanted a funky sound, while Sean and Jake were going for more blues. Midwest famous trumpeter Allen Johnson (the school's band director) came in and straightened things out. Within a week, the band had their first song "Don't Bb". It's based on a simple progression filled with a slick horn part and bouncing solos. The band (still without a name) perfected the song, but was still short a tune. With the thought of a needed song in mind, Sean brought up the idea of a jazz classic "Watermelon Man". The basis of the song came from a few different styles the song was played. The bass line was taken from Herbie Hancock's version, the guitar part following the thumping bass line in chords, the drums hitting a funky beat, and the horns staying with the original line. When Sean brought up the song, everyone dug it. The only problem was the band needed a pianist to play the song's incredible piano part. Rodney asked trumpeter/pianist Melvin Jagadinski if he was interested, and he was. So the band rehearsed every day until the time came for auditions. Everyone showed except Tim. That pissed everyone off and Tim was kicked out for his lack of loyalty to the band. Allen talked to another drummer in the school (Tremmel Topps) and he became the new drummer. It seemed cool; he can throw down some mean beats, the only issue is that he's so damn loud. When time came for the concert, everyone started thinking of a name, but nothing came up. The choir director (who was head of the entire concert) labeled the band as 'The Boys of Blues'...what a lame and crappy name. The band was amazing and everything worked out, but right after it, Tremmel was kicked out due to personal issues, and Tim was back in. The band stuck with covers and decided to do the bluesy tune "My Babe". After the amazing performance at the African American Celebration concert, the band began doing many school performances, and on May 22, the band was asked to play at the school's annual Spring Chorus Concert. It was there and then the band thought up the name "Informal Blues" (due to the fact that everyone was dressed nicely while Tim, Sam, Sean, and Melvin all were wearing their street clothes). They did the same tunes as before, "Don't Bb" and "Watermelon Man", this time with Tim back in. The band began rehearsing less, but still sounded great. When June came around, the band played the school's annual Spring Band Concert, this time doing "My Babe"; they brought down the house. The band concert was the last performance at the school, but that wasn't the end for Informal Blues. The band is still doing gigs, such as on June 9, the band played at Sean's saxophone recital. Jake was out of town, so Informal Blue's friend, guitarist Cullen Bogan filled in. There was a talent show involved and the band won 3rd place ($20, $5 each) out of about thirty students. As of summer, 07, Sam, Jake, and Sean have been checking out spots around Milwaukee and playing them (and getting throw out of a few places). They're always looking for a gig...even if it's just for a few people. Recently, their acoustic set has been in use the most...even if it's not preferred.


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Written by: Informal Blues
Mixed by: Sam Gehrke