Formed in late 2010, Mudgrass includes Dave Lowenstein (bass, vocals), Brennan Orndorff (guitar, vocals), and Mark Markowitz (drums), all of whom played with Shoestring Strap until that band split in late 2007. “We’re a power trio that plays country songs,” says Lowenstein. “We’re a freight train of country-fried rock.”
The band took their name from a 2007 Shoestring Strap full-length. “When Shoestring Strap put out Mudgrass, some of the copies came out with a guy talking about religion on the CD,” says Lowenstein. “The CD factory gave us 1025 new copies for free to make up for their massive error. Then, the band broke up, like, a month later.
“When we got back together as a trio, we weren’t sure what to call the band. Mudgrass became the obvious choice, since we still have hundreds of Mudgrass CDs. We just tell people that the album is called Shoestring Strap.” The band has a new single online, “Oh No Gotta Go,” recorded at P.B.’s Lost Ark Studio. They’ll appear September 12 at Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa and October 12 at Rosie O’Grady’s in Normal Heights.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
Lowenstein: “The Who, Quadrophenia. I was bummed when I realized that my son’s due date was the very night that the Who was slated to play Quadrophenia at the Sports Arena. He ended up being born a week early, sneaky little guy.”
Markowitz: “James Brown, Make It Funky — The Big Payback: 1971–1975. Nothing says ‘make it funky’ more than practicing drums along to this box set.”
Orndorff: “My cassette player has been rolling Willie Dixon’s Big Three Trio.”
TOP RADIO PRESET?
Lowenstein: “I listen to the Joe Rogan podcast a lot. It’s a great little mental adventure to have in the background.... Who knew that ancient aliens and Bigfoot used to do jiu jitsu on mushrooms while wearing hemp?”
MOST VISITED WEBSITE?
Lowenstein: “Facebook, more than I care to admit. What a massive waste of time.”
BEST THING YOU’VE EVER WON?
Orndorff: “A Halloween costume contest. I was an awesome clownfish, tie and all. Prize was a fifth of [Wild] Turkey.”
WHAT’S YOUR POISON?
Lowenstein: “I like me some Ballast Point, Green Flash, Hess, and Stone beer.”
FIRST BOOK READ?
Lowenstein: “Goodnight Moon.”
Markowitz: “Watership Down.”
Orndorff: “I’ll Fix Anthony.”
YOUR TASTIEST DISH (AND WHAT’S YOUR SECRET)?
Lowenstein: “I make a bad-ass egg scramble. No secret, just delicious.”
Markowitz: “Matzah ball soup. Just have patience.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
Lowenstein: “I valet-parked a van driven by Jermaine Jackson with Katherine Jackson, mother of the Jackson clan, as a passenger. There were also some kids in there that I had seen in a Janet or Michael Jackson video.”
Orndorff: “Jim Varney was from my hometown and used to sometimes hang at my local bar.”
YOUR MOST DANGEROUS GAME?
Lowenstein: “Climbing ruins in Cambodia at Angkor Wat and the other sites nearby. People fall all the time and get taken out on stretchers. I hate heights. What was I thinking?”
Markowitz: “Rode a bicycle in Manhattan for almost ten years.”
Lowenstein: “I walked out of Wayne’s World 2 in the theater. I can’t remember why I thought it was so bad, but I’ve never gone back to look.”
LAW YOU’D LIKE TO SEE CHANGED?
Lowenstein: “I probably would have said let bars stay open all night like in New Orleans before I had a baby. Now, I’d probably say we need a law that keeps kids off my lawn.”
Markowitz: “Legalize marijuana already. Think of the debt California can get out of, huh?”
Orndorff: “The ones that prevent me and the cool people from running things.”
SOMETHING YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?
Lowenstein: “This gluten-free flax-and-sunflower bread from Johann’s Bakery that makes the best toast on the planet.”
BIGGEST LIE YOU EVER TOLD?
Lowenstein: “I used to say that I had food poisoning when I didn’t want to go to work. Then one day I got real food poisoning. Two days of constant bi-directional ejection later, I stopped using that line to get out of work.”
Markowitz: “I’m in Guns N’ Roses.”
FIRST JOKE YOU REMEMBER?
Lowenstein: “I wrote this little gem at a young age and submitted it to ZooNooz magazine: What’s a carrot’s favorite baseball player? Veggie Jackson. It didn’t get published — grrr.”
Markowitz: “How do you keep an idiot in suspense?”
Orndorff: “Elephant sits on fence. What time is it? Time for a new fence.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Lowenstein: “One of my upper canine teeth never came in.”
Markowitz: “I’m also the drummer with my fiancée in Three Chord Justice.”
Orndorff: “My music is rather Bieber-esque, except not at all.”