Stooges Brass BandSep 7, 2020
Can’t Be Faded
Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game
University Press of Mississippi 2020
Can’t Be Faded: Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game (University Press of Mississippi, 2020) is a collaboration between musician and ethnomusicologist Kyle DeCoste and more than a dozen members of the Stooges Brass Band, past and present. It is the culmination of five years of interviews, research, and writing. Told with humor and candor, it’s as much a personal account of the Stooges’ careers as it is a story of the city’s musicians and, even more generally, a coming-of-age tale about Black men in the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century.
DeCoste and the band members take readers into the barrooms, practice rooms, studios, tour vans, and streets where the music is made and brotherhoods are shaped and strengthened. Comprised of lively firsthand accounts and honest dialogue, Can’t Be Faded is a dynamic approach to collaborative research that offers a sensitive portrait of the humans behind the horns.
The Stooges Brass Band is based in New Orleans, Louisiana. They are known for incorporating elements of hip-hop, funk, and R&B into a more traditional brass band framework. In April 2011, the Stooges Brass Band won the Best Contemporary Brass Band award from the Big Easy Music Awards.
This episode features four members of the Stooges Brass Band: Walter Ramsey, tuba player, trombonist, and leader of the group; Al Growe, trombonist; Garfield Bogan, trombonist, drummer, and vocalist; and Andrew Baham, trumpet player and producer.
Alongside the Stooges Brass Band is co-author Kyle DeCoste, a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at Columbia University. His dissertation explores the cultural politics of childhood in Black popular music in the United States.
Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Florida State University. She is currently working on a dissertation about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations.