A strange but catchy band, Man Man takes blues, rock and pop to create a vaudeville-folk, Gogol Bordello-like sound. The addition of experimental sounds makes Man Man difficult to identify with any one specific resonance.
Man Man began in 2003 and has since made small changes to the bands line-up. The five members, each with their own stage name, are Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner, Christopher “Pow Pow” Powell, Russell “Critter Crat” Higbee, Jamey “Organ ‘Turkey Moth’ Freeman” Robinson and Billy “Chang Wang” Dufala. Known for its exciting, over-the-top shows, Man Man goes on stage with its members wearing all-white outfits and war paint.
Though described as similar to musicians like Tom Waits and Frank Zappa, the band’s lead singer, Kattner said lately, films have been the band’s biggest influence.
“Movies like Cold Mountain and Teen Wolf have been influential to us at the moment,” Kattner said.
The band has been referred to as a joke band but, Kattner said, it isn’t the band’s intention to just be funny – it’s more the members’ attempt to maintain a balance.
“I think having a sense of levity is important,” Kattner said. “We don’t want all of our songs to be about doom and gloom.”
Man Man’s sound is made up of guitars, bass, drums and vocals but the band’s songs also feature piano, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, xylophone and other percussion. Non-instrumental items like spoons and fire extinguishers are sometimes used. On stage, members play different instruments for different songs, allowing them to seamlessly transfer into the next song.
Man Man is touring now in the United States and previously toured abroad in the United Kingdom. The band has released three albums, with its most recent being Rabbit Habits, from Anti Records. Rabbit Habits helped make the band’s music more readily available to its fans, Kattner said.
The band is working on a new album, expected to be released Fall 2010. With the band’s upcoming show at the Trocadero March 5, fans can expect to hear some new tracks.
“We’re very excited for the Philly show,” Honus Honus said. “We can’t wait to have the fans come out and listen to the new songs.”
Stephen Kimmerly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.