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April 28, 2009

The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad: From lewd to lovable

dirty marmaduke flute squadOur guest blogging continues with a piece from local musician Ryan Graham:

I’m Ryan Graham, the lead guitarist for The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad, one of the most offensive bands in Baltimore.

I’m also in The Hilltop Hightops, Baltimore’s only hard-rock children’s band.

Same members, different band.

The same people who sing "I Like Fat Girls" for drunken bar-goers now sing "I Like Kitties" for 4-year-olds.

I think Sam envisioned some evil plan to corrupt American’s youth when he asked me to write about this, but the reality is a little less insidious ...

DMFS has been around since 2005. We love playing for our awesome fans at Baltimore’s amazing venues, but we can’t really afford to give up our jobs and go on tour. When you never venture out of your comfort zone, the music can turn stale and the energy and excitement can die. (I’m looking at you, Sting!)

So, we decided to start a side project. But it had to be different. Jazz quartet? Polka? Milli Vanilli tribute band? Nothing other than original hard rock seemed very appealing. But we wanted to play at different venues to different crowds, places DMFS couldn’t play because of our "adult" content.

hilltop hightopsThen one day my little niece saw a live video of us jumping around on stage like idiots, and she was laughing hysterically. And it hit me that we were already a kids band, but with really filthy lyrics. If we just tweaked our act a bit we might be able to play for large, appreciative (albeit young) audiences at a wide variety of venues!

The best part so far has been coming up with the songs. Like a lot of people our age, we still have one foot stuck in our youth, and fully submerging ourselves in that mindset is fun and refreshing.

But I’d forgotten how hard it is to build a band up from scratch. Rehearsals, photo shoots, promo videos, press kits, postcards, websites. It’s a ton of work with no immediate payback; we haven’t even booked our first gig yet.

I was also bummed that one member of DMFS wanted no part of this. We ended up bringing in an old friend to take his place, but it definitely deflated our morale.

I do hope the hard work pays off and The Hilltop Hightops are successful. The market for children’s music doesn’t seem as oversaturated as other genres, and most of the stuff already out there is horribly bland folk-pop that I personally think is insulting to kids. I don’t know how parents stand to listen to that junk; it would drive me nuts.

Some people would say DMFS has sold out, but who cares? We’re playing music we enjoy and having fun with it, and that’s the whole point of being in a band. It's not like we ever had much artistic integrity to begin with, given that our lead singer wears a horse head and sings about necrophilia.

Plus, someone has to teach kids how to throw the goat.

(At top, photo of The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad. At bottom, photo of The Hilltop Hightops)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music


I won't lie, this is all very fun.

I can't believe that no one in the band is on an offender registry or otherwise legally precluded from being around children. Especially the creepy pirate guy... kids are scared of beards.

I was reminded by Sam's "2 year" post that I totally forgot to mention that Chris Sligh is a guest vocalist on "Anchovy Pancakes"! We met him during our Next Great American Band stint; apparently he's still close with one of the producers.

He did it for free when he was in town a while back because he said he liked that we were helping kids and Jesus. We did explain to him that there was no religious stuff on the album, but he insisted that kids and Jesus go hand in hand. Kept going on about there being two sets of footprints or something.

He's looking good lately. Cut his frizzy hair, dropped some weight, and apparently has some "cred" now because of the Rascal Flatts song. Great guy!

Chris Sligh??!!? Why didn't you say so?!?!?


Sounds like a lot of fun, although the Milli Vanilli tribute band would probably have been more up my alley, haha.

CantonKate, you ask and you shall receive:

The Flute Squad's latest set, from The Talking Head on May 1, 2009:

I tape' em only because I feel sorry for their parents.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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