Monday, December 13

Not them again!

Headless Household "comes of age" in its 21st year of making music and mayhem, at Center Stage Theater, Monday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m.

What started out as a lark, a raw desire to explore musical neighborhoods left neglected or as yet uninvented, has come of age. Santa Barbara's hopelessly eclectic new music combo Headless Household is celebrating 21 years on the planet at its 15th annual Xmas concert. As usual, multiple guests will join founding members Dick Dunlap (keyboards), Tom Lackner (percussives), Chris Symer (bass) and Joe Woodard (guitars).

Things have happened slowly, and oddly, for the group. It continues to insist on mixing up notions of jazz, rock, country, Europhilia, free improvisation, polka and the proverbial whatever, while freely (and gratefully) taps musical talents of willing guest musicians. The band started its in-house Household Ink label in 1987, and have released six albums so far: Headless Household (1987), Inside/Outside USA (1993), ITEMS (1995), Free Associations (1999), mockhausen (2000), and post-Polka (2003). One or two more albums are in the works, possibly for release in the middle of 2005.

The musical guest list at Center Stage includes, but is not limited to, Julie Christensen, Tom Buckner, Nate Birkey, Jeff Kaiser, Sally Barr, Claudia Kiser and ?

Assorted Headless Household Press Quips

Re: post-Polka:

"Household are men who understand the need to balance irreverence with reverence, who realize that the clarinet can be ominous, who know that clowns are scary...willingness to expand your horizons and a broad sense of humor will help immensely." --Justin Kownacki, Splendid e-zine,

"Strange, cool rumblings from Southern California" --Jas Obrecht, Guitar Player

"Music this wildly diverse can never be properly marketed in this age of specialization, but that doesn't make it any less extraordinary." --Bill Milkowski, Tower Pulse magazine

"Headless Household achieved regional cult status by the late 1990s, thanks to their quirky and eclectic kind of new music, their relentless live shows and a string of albums." --All-Music Guide (

"Headless Household may be Santa Barbara's worst-kept secret or its best-known unknown band." --Ted Mills, Santa Barbara News-Press

"Strange, cool rumblings from Southern California" --Jas Obrecht, Guitar Player.

"Headless Household still seems to think that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Clever without being obnoxious, laid-back without snoozing, their quick-dissolve electric studiohead jazz offers an alternative--not exactly a revolution, more a wink than a nod: We haven't given up, how about you?...Awareness won't get you to heaven, but in this case it gets you pretty far." --Greg Burk, L.A. Weekly

"The opening three performances reveal this cooperative's challenging scopea precision, depth, warmth and ease of feeling that can rival any other outfit in the professional mainstream. Lovely stuff." --David Lewis, Cadence

"Like groups like Medeski, Martin and Wood, Headless Household's vision of jazz is one of expanding boundaries and eclecticism. Wraps it up in a not-quite-round, not-quite square package labeled "jazz." This same cut 'n' paste mentality has propelled artists like Beck to success in the rock world -- it's just that Headless Household, true to their jazz underpinnings, do it live on acoustic instruments rather than in their bedroom with a sampler and a four-track. Items offers a jazz alternative that is alive and vibrant." --noah wane, Splendid e-zine

"Slapping genre tags on Headless Household has never worked, and Mockhausen is their least categorizable album to date. Though their music is supported by a framework of traditional rock/jazz instrumentation--keyboard/piano, guitar, bass and drums--you're just as likely to encounter turntable manipulation and aggressive trumpet-playing. Mockhausen works because the Headless Household never entirely lose sight of the fact that they want to entertain the listener. There are crucial vestiges of musicality--hummable hooks, compelling rhythms or amusing samples--in even the most experimental tracks. However wildly improvisational their music becomes, these guys play with their (metaphorical) eyes open, watching the audience to make certain they're enjoying the ride. This is a crucial distinction, as music in any genre misses the point when it is performed more for the players than the listeners--a pitfall that the Household dodges" --George Zahora, Splendid

"Following a private madness, they assemble (musical) nuggets into something great and, sometimes, even important. Using old and new instrumentation and technologies, Headless Household weave through tight turns and time-signatures" --B.H. Hart, Sound Choice.

"It's hard to categorize these guys, though their music's playful, quirky, sometimes downright silly, sometimes quite soothing" --New Music Distribution Service Catalogue blurb.

"Santa Barbara's comically-inspired jazz-cum-anything quartet... an affable mix of musical sarcasm and accomplished instrumentation. Fusion, country, folk, funk, surf, and even polka all mix together with just enough bite, humor, and variety to buck convention. Prime musical chops keep the irreverence focused... this household is all over the map; in terms of creativity and energy, the group is beyond category." --Roger Len Smith, Jazziz

"They are each virtuosos not only at playing their instruments but at playing with the sounds they make, pulling out all the electronic stops, and the synchronicity of their intuitions is well-honed. The jazz-rock format is subjected to every crazy transformation imaginable as well, their insouciantly swinging, pleasantly tight rendition of whatever the present genre--from blues to polka--yielding periodically to rambunctious deconstructive improvisation, likeable deadpan goofiness, and magnetic introspective musing. They do many different things and do all of them well." --Michael Smith, S.B. Independent

"Household is a fusion band in the broad sense of the word: Woodard and his partners fuse all sorts of musical nuts and bolts--polka, cabaret, country, bossa nova, jazz, progressive rock--into an unholy chassis. Two forces fuel the conflagration: a drive to experiment and a rollicking sense of humor." --Jeff Gordinier, Santa Barbara News Press

"They say that a camel is a horse designed by committee, but the band Headless Household proves that good things can indeed come in collective packages." --Nick Welsh, S.B. Independent

"Crikey!" --Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter

TIME: Monday, December 13, at 8:00 P.M.
$10 general, $7 students & seniors

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Online purchases subject to $1 surcharge

The Center Stage Theater Box Office is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5:00 P.M., and one hour before each performance. See below for location.

Tickets may also be purchased by telephone using Visa, Master Card, and American Express. Phone (805) 963-0408 (V / TDD).

Center Stage Theater is located in the Paseo Nuevo Center, upstairs at the intersection of Chapala and De la Guerra Streets, Santa Barbara, California.

Take Highway 101 to Carrillo Street, exit and turn toward the mountains (northbound turns right, southbound turns left). Proceed to Chapala Street (fourth light) and turn right. Proceed 1-1/2 blocks and turn left into either of two entrances to Paseo Nuevo. Park near the elevator, or proceed to roof-level parking.