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Meet Geoff Cleveland: Hate Camels is an instrumental band which combines jazz, metal and comedy for a prog-rockĚ sound. Band members consist of four working jazz musicians: Geoff Cleveland-keys, etc./leader/composer; Dave Devine-guitars; Paul McDaniel-bass; Mike Whited Jr.-drums; and sometimes a comedian, Chuck Roy. Hate Camels' debut CD is called Death Comedy Jams...and one piece of life metalĚ. It features instrumental tributes to dead comedians Mitch Hedberg, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks and Andy Kaufman.
Instrument(s): Clavinet, Theremin, Piano, and others.
Teachers and/or influences? Teachers: Jaki Byard, Dr. Billy Taylor, Yusef Lateef. Influences: Bill Hicks, Mastodon, Igor Stravinsky, Mike Patton, Frank Zappa, and others.
Your sound and approach to music: Sound: Life Metal/Death Comedy Jazz (aka Prog-Rock) Approach: Hard rocking, Instrumental, Avant-Garde. Lots of odd time signatures, Not
Your dream band: Hate Camels is my dream band. The only improvements that can be made are more gigs and more availability from the band members.
Favorite venue: The Lab at Belmar (Lakewood, Colorado).
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Hate Camels' Death Comedy Jams...and one piece of life metal. It has my favorite compositions and band members to listen to, and it is the best recorded and mastered of all my recordings.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Providing entertainment to those who truly listen to music and prefer to be challenged in their earholes. Bridging the gaps between rock, jazz and comedy. Paying tribute to artists outside the music realm, through music.
CDs you are listening to now: Dillinger Escape Plan, Ire Works; Mastodon, Blood Mountain; Dysrhythmia, Barriers & Passages; Fantomas, The Director's Cut; Kneebody, Low Electrical Worker.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Using the roots of jazz combined with newer styles to expand the sound. Jazz is defined, to me, as a style continually in motion and forward-thinking. Artists who stay with a certain kind of jazz from the past are reducing it to museum status.
What is in the near future? Hate Camels is working on music for its second CD. It will include instrumental tributes to authors Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.