BarrelHouse, Downtown Cincinnati, Friday night, about 10. I'm looking for Admiral Walker. The bouncer at the door points me to the back of the bar, by the pool tables. The conflicting sounds of pool balls smashing together and beer glasses thumping on large, wooden tables grow louder as I make my way to the rear.
That's where I find the band looking over the night's set list. There are several of them huddled around the table when I approach. The introductions take up several minutes (this is a large band). Admiral Walker consists of Diedrich Jones (vocals), Peter Ahn (bass), Jeff Riley (sax), PJ Herrington (guitar and vocals), Jerome Kincaid (keyboards), Ron Foster (vocals), Charles Phillips (drums and vocals) and Marvin Hawkins (percussion and vocals).
When the interview begins, there are just three of them; others come and go between pool games and beer runs. Whenever I direct a question at just one of them, the others carry on their own conversations and chime in when I ask a question that interests them.
I am surprised there are so many members in this band. Herrington says they have actually trimmed their number recently. He says that back in June, the band started out as a quartet doing instrumental music in coffee house gigs. Then, they moved on to bigger venues when they added the drummer, Phillips. From there, they just kept adding members.
I am especially curious about the band's name, but according to Jones, the band's name means absolutely nothing.
"Define your music," I say. Immediately I have their attention, as well as some of the others who are standing nearby. Each one seems to have a different definition for me.
"We've got a potpourri of music," says Ahn. "A blend of everything."
"It's a bunch of different styles of music," says Herrington. "It's just fun music that we try to keep very danceable."
They tell me that the Admiral Walker style of music is a combination of Reggae, Dance Hall, Jazz, R&B and Funk, all rolled into one.
"That's what makes the band so much fun and I think that's what makes the band somewhat successful in a short period of time is that we draw from a lot of influences," says Herrington.
"And they don't necessarily have to be musical," says Ahn. "I'm influenced by a lot of writers."
What makes this band unique, according to Foster, is its diversity as far as influences as well the cultural diversity of the band's members. Nearly all of them told me that that music is not just a hobby, it's their work. So what do they do in the daytime? Practice and sleep, they say. Actually, several members play with other local bands, too.
The band's short-term plans are to play out as much as possible, and to begin playing more out-of-town gigs.
Last weekend, Admiral Walker played in Lexington, Ky. According to Herrington, it was a really successful show. In the future, Admiral Walker plans to play as far away as Chicago and North Carolina.
"We try to reach everybody," says Foster.
"We want to gear toward playing live and touring, and we see the recording that we do as a way to propagate our touring," says Herrington. "And that's been the goal since we've been together."
That recording is going to come to fruition in early December, when Admiral Walker expects to release their first CD, which is yet to be titled. Also in the band's near future is the debut of their Web site next month. For now, you can get lots of information on Admiral Walker, including venues and show dates, by going to cincymusic.com.
ADMIRAL WALKER plays at the Mad Frog every Wednesday.