What piece of equipment do you have to show us today?
My antique, wooden, Maidrite brand washboard! Yeehaw!
How did you come across this particular item?
It was actually given to me by a fan. He gave me 3 or 4 of them that day.
What is it that you like so much about it?
It’s light, it’s funky, it’s old and people always get a kick out of just seeing it. It’s really a perfect street music instrument.
How do you use it, and how has it shaped the way you write music?
I scratch it and I slap it with metal guitar finger picks on my fingers. It’s easy to play rhythms that go between swung and straight feels, and you can click-ety clack on it or slipp-idy slide, so the tunes can have a nice little bounce in it.
Any other interesting points/stories about it?
Sometimes, when we used to play in the BART stations in Oakland, CA (our version of the underground subway), the lady working there would get mad at me for bringing a whole drum set down there. So I had to learn how to play the washboard instead. It’s a really cool instrument because its use for music (besides scrubbing clothes) came out of jug-bands and old Country Blues from the first part of the 20th century, and you don’t see many groups playing that stuff very much these days.
When’s the next show?
Well, my next show is in 3 hours, in the Caribbean, on the top pool deck of a cruise ship. No joke.
The California Honeydrops will be touring Australia from November 21.