The Short Story:
The Gallus Brothers are a country blues duo based in Bellingham,WA.
Initially brought about through a series of chance encounters involving
pancakes, spoons and a guitar, the brothers have now spent the last decade
performing and making music together. Generally you will find Devin
Champlin fingerpicking his heart out on the guitar while Lucas Hicks holds
down rhythm with a suitcase full of tomfoolery. They are both known to
sing, bust down some fiddle/banjo duets, and occasionally jump on a table,
stand on each other and juggle while playing a good ol' tune from way back.
The Long Story:
In 2000 Lucas Hicks and Devin Champlin met in Bellingham, WA. At the time, Devin was passing through while Lucas was a local of some years and enjoying some popularity with his bluegrass-ish band and with his math-rock/punk/unobtainable-description band. Devin was playing his guitar at the Old Town Cafe to earn his plate of pancakes when Lucas approached and after some small talk, they exchanged CD's and said so long. A few years later, Lucas moved to San Francisco, Devin moved to Bellingham, and the two met again at the Old Town Cafe, this time while Lucas was visiting town. They played a bit of music together and declared if they ever found themselves living in the same town, they ought to form a band. Late summer of 2005 turned out to be the time. Lucas moved back to Bellingham and shortly thereafter, The Gallus Brothers formed.
At that point Devin had already been obsessively playing guitar and learning by listening to old recordings of Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Boy Fuller and the like. He honed his skills playing the streets by day for the crunchy folk of Bellingham, and by night for the drunken college crowd. He also played banjo and guitar in a neo-balkan string band. While in California, Lucas had developed his suitcase percussion kit also known as the marvelous contraption. Comprised of an old suitcase, a kick pedal, some finger cymbals, a desk bell, and a bag of bones, spoons and tomfoolery, the marvelous contraption is an impressive force of rhythm. During this time Lucas played the suitcase with bluesman David Scully. He also continued to play banjo, accordion, and the contraption with The Tanglers, and The Brunos.
When these two first joined forces, they quickly noticed similarities in each other. Among these parallels was a fondness for tequila, punk background, love of old music, and the tendency to hold up their pants with suspenders rather than a belt. They found "Gallus" to be a somewhat outdated term for suspenders and adopted it as their brotherly band name. They also found they were both jugglers, and goofball antics were quickly incorporated into their act. Lucas had done musical acrobalance with his old band Beardo, involving balancing on a partner's leg and shoulder while playing accordion. Devin and a high school buddy used to try to juggle and play guitar simultaneously. These and other hijinks became staples of the Gallus Brothers' live shows. They played often in Bellingham to a crowd of happy dancers, and often ended shows with a sidewalk waltz-a-thon.
They started touring the West coast and found fun times everywhere they went. Southeast Alaska became a special home away from home with outrageously good natured people and unspeakable good times. They befriended Kit Stymee Stovepipe and Alex Anagnostopoulus who were just forming The Crow Quill Night Owls (following the break up of the fabulous Inkwell Rhythm Makers), and they all started finding themselves on the road together, backing up each others bands.
In the spring of 2009, these four musicians joined three bellydancers known as The Indigo in a show called Le Serpent Rouge. The variety show features music, bellydance, humor, and the usual Gallus antics. It's a bizarre mix of talents that creates a fun, entertaining and unique show. They have taken this self produced show all across the country to sold out crowds.
In the fall of 2009 Lucas, Devin, and Kit joined folk/blues/jugband veteran Maria Muldaur on a tour across the US and Canada. They played as her backing band, under the name The Garden of Joy Jugband. The tour was in support of the Grammy nominated CD, Maria Muldaur's Garden of Joy (on which Kit is the featured guitar player). Shortly after this tour they (along with Alex and Washrag Joe of the Inkwells) recorded a kid's jugband CD with Maria called Barnyard Dance.
These days The Gallus Brothers continue to play their music incorporating more fiddle tunes and mandolin rags into the mix. They continue to obsess over old music and ephemera. Lucas teaches music to almost every kid in Bellingham, and keeps learning ragtime music on the button accordion. Devin fixes and builds guitars and mandolins. Life goes on...
That's the story.