Meet the Benevento Russo Duo (Relix Revisited)
The bands often share rehearsal space, club bills and even projects. “[Before The Duo took off] I was trying to get Russo to join Jacob Fred,” Haas continues. “Everything happens for a reason and if Russo had joined Jacob Fred, I would be drinking way too much whiskey right now.”
Back home in September 2006 Russo and Benevento are catching up after a few days apart. Russo mentions that he saw an ex girlfriend at a recent show, and Benevento is stoked that he got out of paying a parking ticket incurred at a recent gig. While The Duo has recently rubbed elbows with jam-rock rock royalty, Russo and Benevento are still, first and foremost, working musicians, struggling to make their mark on the live music scene. They talk like any pair of old friends, inserting jokes into each other’s sentences. “I saw Phish at the Garden State Arts Center 11 years ago… my parents dropped me off and would say ‘Don’t smoke what those guys are selling,’” Benevento says. “To be playing there with Trey and Mike is amazing. But what made it even more amazing is that it felt natural.”
“And now we’re back in our shitty little van,” Russo chimes in. “I can see The Duo just progressing, getting larger,” Russo says. “Like, Joe could have three drum sets and I could have six keyboards and an upright bass,” Benevento quips.
“I think what I learned the most from being on tour with Trey is that we can’t be overly concerned with what our fans think,” Benevento says. “He is super successful because he keeps his listeners on their toes and that’s great, but, we have to follow what we truly believe in to create our music. Even if that means playing a ballad or this weird mix of jazz and rock. Nobody wants to hear you not being yourself.”
After we finish chatting, Russo returns home to decompress after a late night performance at CBGB, while Benevento slips inside his apartment to prepare for a jazz gig at 55 Bar. On his way in, the keyboardist passes his refrigerator, which houses a collage of pictures drawn from The Duo’s two decade journey from suburban Franklin Lakes, NJ, to the heart of instrumental indie-rock. His mind begins to drift, recalling one particular image taken his final day at Berklee. “When I got my diploma, the people who handed it to me were actually David Bowie and Wayne Shorter,” Benevento says. “I always loved what a cool mix of worlds that could be.”
6 DEGREES OF JOE AND MARCO
If Joe Russo plays in American Babies with Brothers Past’s Tom Hamilton and BP is the new Lake Trout and Lake Trout sounds a lot like Radiohead and Radiohead has claimed Phish’s throne and Phish has been replaced by GRAB (Gordon-Russo-Anastasio-Benevento) and G.R.A.B. features Joe and Marco, then The Duo is not only one of the best underground bands out there, but also the new Kevin Bacon. Just don’t tell Marco that Joe and Tommy are the new Brad and Jen.
Broke musicians in New York, The Duo often collaborated with members of Dub Trio, who spent the summer opening for Gnarls Barkley.
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
Throughout 2003, Marco Benevento played a series of gigs at Tribeca Rock Club with Rashawn Ross, who toured as a member of DMB in 2006.
Benevento and Russo often play Led Zeppelin covers as Bustle in Your Hedgegrow with Scott Metzger and WEEN’s Dave Dreiwitz.
Play Pause Stop was produced by onetime Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain.
The Duo have jammed with all four members of Phish, including Page McConnell, who played keyboards on Tenacious D’s self-titled breakthrough.
Joe Russo has collaborated with (and even more frequently text messages with) Umphrey’s McGee, which invited Wilco’s Glenn Kotche onstage last year.
On June 25, 2005, The Duo were joined onstage at Ram’s Head by Gov’t Mule bassist Andy Hess, who recorded on Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time CD.
The Duo spent the summer on the road with Phil Lesh, whose “friends” included longtime Bob Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell.
On May 8, 2006, Joe Russo subbed for King of France’s Michael Azerrad, who wrote the definitive book on Nirvana.
On July 17, 2004, The Duo participated in a funk power jam at Gathering of the Vibes, featuring Fuzz, who played guitar with Talking Heads rhytmn section Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth of Tom Tom Club.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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