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The Fifth of Bourbon

Fifth Of Bourbon is an electric blues band from NYC casked in 2010 focused on creative arrangements of both traditional and contemporary blues and rock music.  If you can imagine Janis Joplin fronting Led Zeppelin and performing electric blues versions of Howlin' Wolf songs....that's us.

Influences include Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Janice Joplin, Howlin' Wolf to name a few.  After only a few months we have secured a loyal following and have played to packed houses including headlining BB Kings Blues Club, the Highline Ballroom and other marquee venues across the Big Apple. 

Meet the band:

Matt Fink

Known world-wide for his work as the percussionist for Fifth of Bourbon, many are unaware that Matthew Fink began his musical career as a childhood prodigy in 1979.  After receiving a severe electric shock at the age of three while attempting to plug in a faulty Mighty Mouse night-light, damage sustained to Fink’s auditory cortex left him with an astonishingly accurate sense of rhythm.  Dubbed the “Human Metronome” by his neurologist, news of the boy’s time-keeping ability spread rapidly across the country and it was during his protracted hospital recovery that he was commissioned by NBC to write the snare drum fill that would be featured between the first verse and chorus of the theme song to The Facts of Life.  Haunted by fame and a sordid love-triangle involving cast-members Tootie and Jo at the height of the sitcom’s popularity, Matt defected to the creative team at ABC and composed the trombone part for the Mr. Belvedere score in 1985.  But it wasn’t until 1990 when Fink, back on percussion, rewrote television-theme history by recording the highest number of tom fills ever captured on 60 seconds of reel-to-reel, a track which would go on to become the legendary opener to Beverly Hills 90210.  The theme’s reception was so critically acclaimed that the show’s producers insisted on giving Fink a cameo role, prominently featuring him as Brandon Walsh’s body double during the infamous Brandon-Steve high-five sequence in the opening credits of seasons two and three.

Bands Matt want you to know: 


Kathleen Fletcher

Kathleen's Bio is still a secret! 

Bands Kathleen want you to know: 

Greg Gentile

Greg Gentile is actually the inspiration behind Steve Martin's immortal quote: "I was born a poor black child." Greg's father, Jeremiah Gentile, was the conductor of the British military band in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion, and fathered 11 illegitimate children in his 2 years there. When the Mau Mau rebels took control of Nairobi, Jerry (as he was called) was forced to flee the country. He took all his children back with him to London, except Greg, whom Jerry felt couldn't stand the weather in Britain. After escaping Kenya during the wildebeest migration on the back of a zebra herd south thru Tanzania, Greg was eventually fostered by a clove farmer living in the small island of Pemba. By age 6, Greg had become the worldwide expert on the Pemba Flying Fox, eventually establishing the conservation group that has led to a resurgence of the Flying Fox population, and its precious dung which is used as currency in Pemba. This made Greg a dung millionaire by age 10, which made him yearn for more out of life than smelly currency. 

His life was forever altered at a Taj Mahal concert in Zanzibar, where Taj's hypnotic song named after that city made Greg realize for the first time that there was more to life than analyzing flying bat dung dispersion patterns. When Taj gave Greg a beat up old guitar backstage after the show, Greg was hooked. He studied the guitar with relish, abandoned his life in Pemba, and started jamming at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel. Steve Martin, who was filming "The Three Amigos" in Tanzania, happened in on one of Greg's sets at the hotel, jammed with Greg on the banjo, and immediately hired him as the guitarist for Steve's Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Greg was 11 years old at the time. The rest, as they say, is history. During the 1987 US tour, Greg was abruptly fired, when Steve realized Greg was actually a better comedian, musician and actor than him. By then, however, Greg's rare combination of blistering guitar chops and photographic memory for movie quotations were embraced within the Long Island bluegrass community, who supported his 10 albums over the next decade, each named after one of his lost siblings. It is rumored that Steve's jealousy of Greg's enormous and varied talents was actually why he created the film "The Jerk" 4 years before Steve met Greg. 

Bands Greg want you to know: 

Fred Gilde

Frederic was born in East New York to Anke and Heinrich Gilde, a pair of enterprising Austrian immigrants.  Heir to the Gilde typewriter fortune, his parents revolutionized the industry with the invention of the carriage return in the late 1940s.  Fred was forced into the business on his sixth birthday, working as a copywriter for his family’s publishing subsidiary, and by age nine was the fastest typist in Brooklyn.  By the time he finished high school Fred’s accolades included the invention of the underscore key, voted Best New Punctuation Mark  in 1991, and the first-ever use of all capital letters in an email to show that the author was, without a doubt, extremely pissed off.  Although the latter crossed the boundaries of social norms and was viewed as literary heresy at the time, twenty years later Gilde is widely regarded as a revolutionary in the field of punctuatory linguistics.  During his teenage years, Fred parlayed his tremendous dexterity on the typewriter into job as a pianist for the business development arm of Casio Keyboards.  While working the night shift and perfecting his skills on the ivories, Fred single-handedly developed the technology which allowed the now-infamous Casio dog-barking sample to be combined with the Bossa Nova drum beat, an advance which some have argued to be the greatest in the company’s history, making its SK-5 miniature 32-key personal keyboard the icon of frivolous consumer spending in the late 1980s.

Bands Fred want you to know: 

Ken Umezaki

The Northeast’s most accomplished bass guitar player doesn’t have a birth certificate.  His story first aired on Hard Copy in 1989 and was later featured in an episode of National Geographic’s Mysteries of Planet Earth.  Initially discovered working at an In-N-Out Burger in Fresno, California, with no identification or paperwork, Ken was diagnosed with amnesia, unaware of any facts related to his childhood or upbringing.  While some contested that he appeared Japanese and others Danish, blood tests were unable to reveal a link to any known heritage or nationality.  As DNA testing became more robust in the 1990s, forensic genealogists were still no closer to tracing his lineage even with a library of several million reference samples from populations across the globe.  News reports of the so-called “Man From Nowhere” sent cults of quasi-religious followers to Umezaki’s house, believing he was a divine creation of sorts.  The annual pilgrimages evolved into what is more commonly known today as Burning Man, where Ken was convinced by several fanatics to learn the bass guitar in order to fill an empty spot in a newly formed Grateful Dead cover band.  While his origin remains a mystery, publicity was so widespread that even renowned physicist Stephen Hawking commented, “While the laws of particle physics certainly do permit the spontaneous appearance of a Ken Umezaki by way of a quantum fluctuation, the odds of such an occurrence are extremely low—approximately one in six.”

Bands Ken want you to know: 

Scott Warren

Scott has recently entered the witness protection program and we are legally obligated to withhold his true identity and background. 

Bands Scott want you to know: 

Our Songs

Over time we will be jotting down some reasons why we picked some of our songs to cover as part of our song list, along with relevant history and links to the recordings that inspired us. 

I Just Want To Make Love To You

 

The original song is the classic Muddy Waters tune from 1954, penned by Willie Dixon.  Our version was inspired by the cover James Blood Ulmer recorded on his Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions record from 2003. Vernon Reid produced the album, recorded at the legendary Sun Studios, which resulted in "some of the greasiest, knottiest, most sureal blues music ever." A distinct, almost funk-influenced arrangement of Ulmer's version made it a perfect song for us to "mess around with" a bit when we do it live.

Nazz Are Blue

"The Nazz Are Blue" was originally recorded in 1966 by The Yardbirds from their album which is now known as Roger the Engineer.  The song took its title from Lord Buckley's comic monologue, "The Nazz", which is a re-telling of the tale of Jesus of Nazareth.  This pre-Page era song never made it to the US version of the album, and is a rare Yardbirds songs with Jeff Beck singing lead.  When Scott brought this to us, none of us had heard of it, but with it's great lead riffs and rockin' beat we fell in love with it.  One of our favorites to play live, and the live take we did for our EP is the band's favorite from that session.

Evil (Going On)

 

 Howlin' Wolf first recorded this song (also penned by Willie Dixon) for Chess records in 1954, and has been covered by all kinds of artists since, from the Faces to Steve Miller.  We discovered Pat Travers' version from his 2007 album Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights) and decided to whip up a funk, heavy metal, blues version, which showcases our drummer Matt Fink's chops big time live!